Whereto, Persephone?

Memoir Excerpt:

“Something snapped in me back in the woods of Virginia. Not because I saw with such clarity what Angie was falling back into. In fact, my wailing in the woods had very little to do with my daughter. Losing her to the madness of addiction was just the final loss in a string of losses I had never properly grieved or shouted out or laid to rest. Loss of self more than anything—that was my greatest loss. I’d been carrying the empty weight of that around since I was a child and I wanted to be free of it.

The way I’d been managing the challenge of Angie’s illness, certainly in the beginning, reflected an unhealthy lack of self-regard much of the time. It wasn’t my load to carry anymore and doing so only slowed my progress in my own recovery. Slowly through a decade of Twelve-Step work I’d become a better person, though being only human, I’ve had plenty of slips. But somehow Angie’s latest relapse pushed me to the front of another perfect storm: of old useless attitudes confronting renewal, growth—and love. Love in all its forms: from detachment with love to a joyful embrace of myself. I was finally letting go of my painful past and moving forward lighter and freer.

Angie ran away from Virginia only to find out that she couldn’t leave the addict behind. I’ll never know exactly how she ended up in the hospital for the second time, and it doesn’t matter. Angie was a grown woman learning to live in a new city. Her sister was close but unlikely to be drawn into her drama. Caroline knew a few addicts and knew plenty about addiction. But she was carefully and lovingly detached. Angie was really on her own again with no parents around. She was at yet another crossroads where she was faced with the same choices that had confronted her many times before. Would addiction continue to squeeze the life and humanity out of my daughter as it had in the past?”


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