To My Struggling Parent:
I love you. You were a great parent to me growing up. I know you’re hurting, feeling empty and anxious. I’ve been there. You taught me to face fear and pain and swallow my pride both for myself and the greater good. You taught me that working hard and sacrificing would get me somewhere. You taught me about great music, great sarcasm, creative problem solving, and how to be respectful. You taught me to fix things, and build things, and find the answer even when I thought it was impossible. I know you still know how to do those things, even though you’re exhausted and your memory is clouded by fear and a voice that says you’re not good enough. You are.
I want you to be well. I want you to know that I believe in you. I need you to know that you’re better than what the lying voice of depression tells you. I need you to understand that you’re not crazy, or less than, or a failure because you need help. I need and want you to be a present grandparent who can take pride and joy in your grandchildren with clear eyes and a full heart. Right now you don’t have either of those; you’re choosing to abandon the things you once loved and you’re letting fear and the easy path of avoidance win.
You’re giving us lip service because you don’t want to talk about it. It. We can’t even say it aloud. Please stop trying to hide from us. Please stop asking us to comply with requests to enable the situation because *tomorrow* you’ll try harder, but not today. You’re the only one that can make the leap to get better, and the wait-and-see/I’ll do it on my own approaches have only made things worse. If I, if we, could shoulder the burden for you, we would, because we love you that much. Please stop pushing us away. Please accept help. Please don’t throw away your grandchildren, children, and marriage for alcohol and pills because you’re afraid to go talk to someone about the problems you’re having, or have a surgery that could help you rid yourself of physical pain that’s caused you to turn to these things.
I cannot overstate how much we love you and how grateful we are for everything you have given us … for the things you continue to give us when you’re able. Above all, you have to know that. And I’m going to hope beyond all hope that you realize sooner than later that we all just want YOU back, but you’re the only one that can reach beyond the darkness and start to let the light in. Until then, we’ll be out here shining it.
Your eldest child.