“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Ah, as you all know, I have been in the middle of a nasty crash for some time now. It has, quite frankly, scared me. I had been used to bouncing back rather easily from stress-related and exertion-related mini crashes. I expected the same from this one... but it didn't exactly go that way. So, relying on many of your own experiences and suggestions, today I did a little personal exploring.

I sat down to write about my current stresses to confront the emotions surrounding them. There are several swirling around my psyche these days -- back to school, soccer for the boys, a new school for my struggling son, the economy and our new business, a messy house. But as soon as I started writing, the only thing that my pen would allow to find its way to paper was my daughter who is now off to college.

I am happy for her. I am proud of the young lady I have raised. I feel she is ready for this next step in her life. I know she will excel. I know she is in a good place. I am excited to see where she takes this adventure and who she chooses to become. I love her so much.

Then, the image that came to my mind was not my teenager who just left home, but my baby as I first held her in my arms. I thought about our special relationship as she grew to be a toddler. I remember our wonderful friendship and how everything about her was delightful to me. I loved being a mom! I caught myself thinking, "I've never been happier than during those early days of motherhood."

I broadened the picture in my mind and thought about what was going on in my life back then, and I realized it was not an easy time for me. It wasn't the bliss I was painting it to be. I, like many others with CFS, had been abused as a child. Having a child of my own brought up suppressed emotions, and I began dealing with the issue for the first time ever. It was beyond painful -- it was excruciating. There were times when I thought I would lose myself in the pain of it all and just stop being. My husband was remarkable, loving, and supportive ... but it was in the love of my little girl that I found solace and relief. Holding her, loving her, having her love me back unconditionally -- it gave me a reason to live when I really didn't want to anymore.

I realize how much I have relied on her over the years. When I went through a horrible depression, she took on extra responsibilities to help around the house, even though she was only 8 years old. She has always been able to reason with her brothers and sisters to restore peace in our home. She treated her brothers and sisters like friends, inviting the younger girls into her room for "sleep overs" and including her younger brother in her own circle of friends. Since I've had CFS, she has helped rally the kids to do their chores when I was too exhausted to nag any longer, and she has run numerous errands for me in her car.

I realized that my reaction to her leaving home hasn't been fear for her, but rather fear for me. Even though I am years into the healing process, it terrifies me to think that IT might rear its ugly head again, and she won't be here. It feels like someone took away my security blanket in the middle of the night while I'm still afraid of the dark.

I'm not that little girl anymore. I'm a grown up, and grown ups don't need their children to take care of them (at least for another 30 years or more, I hope!). It's time to start using my adult coping skills and let my girl go.

As I write, there is a storm brewing outside. A fierce wind is blowing leaves and debris into the roads, and the temperature has dipped 20 degrees. Instead of smelling the smoke from the recent fires, I smell the fragrance from the flowers in my yard that have been disturbed by the upheaval and dust mixed with a trace of moisture. The clouds are dark and enigmatic, moving closer. There's a crackle on the radio that tells me lightning has started nearby, and I hear distant thunder. I love this weather! It sweeps away the heavy 100+ degree F days that have been lingering too long. Everything is fresh and new. It mirrors my soul.


Dusty Bogwrangler said...

Shelli, I broke down whilst reading your post as your situation is so similar to mine and I was able to see something about my relationship with my own daughter I hadn't seen before. My daughter turned eighteen and left home the same week as my main abuser died. That triggered the major onset of my CFS.

My issues surfaced after her birth and I can identify with the struggle of mixed feelings, both of intense love for your child, but also of having to deal with this terrible revelation.

I think CFS is a kind of safety valve or protest by the body for what the mind rejects.

I've always felt that I gave my daughter the life I couldn't have. I protected her. When she left I kind of lost my meaning. It's this I need to focus on now. Without your writing I wouldn't have realised.

Thanks so much, and hang in. You have awesome courage.

Lori P said...

I'm amazed at your wonderful writing and emotional story. My heart goes out to you.

Renee said...

What a beautiful, honest, and healing post, Shelli. And just look how your words are helping others already.
I cannot relate to the abuse issues but have such empathy as I have an adopted daughter who also was abused as a very young girl...her pain and suffering and strength and courage have taught me alot.
Your insights are amazing, Shelli, and a gift for everyone. Bless you in your healing process and bless all who read this post.
Thank you.

me/cfs warrior said...


I too cried when I read your post and I don't have a daughter who just went off to college. It was beautifully written and so very moving.

It sounds like you are sorting through the powerful emotions of grief all everything that goes along with acknowledging the abuse.

My thoughts and prayers are with you...

Shelli said...

Thank you, so much.

Jo, I have noticed hints of similarities between us when reading many of your posts. I wore a red dress to my abuser's funeral. :) It is interesting how that event puts you into a tailspin, and how differently we each handle it. I am glad my post was helpful to you, as yours have been to me. Healing isn't such a burden when it's shared.