Yesterday I attended the final meeting for Sissy's LIPT case (see side bar for acronym dictionary). I had nothing but great things to tell them. I was all too happy to say that my daughter is doing better. This afternoon her IFI supervisor stopped by to say farewell because Sissy's stepping down to CORE services and hopefully being assigned to the same therapist as before.
I hesitate to say how well Sissy is doing because I know how it feels to be on the other end of the spectrum - wishing a child well and knowing s/he will never accomplish it. Sissy is indeed well - suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, threats of harm to others, dissociative identity concerns and schizophrenic tendencies - all have ceased. By that measure, she is well.
But she'll always have deficits, always be a RAD, isn't likely to be a tax-paying wage earner and will be dependent on a care giver indefinitely. She's not likely to catch up on her developmental delays or social struggles and will always choose tears and screams over cool-downs and processing appropriately. And redirection? That will always be a skill she'll need help with.
Still, at this place with her, three months home as of tomorrow, I am dumbfounded. I have more than my "daughter back", I have the daughter I always knew she could be. She hugs! She laughs! She expresses herself with language instead of shutting down and dissociating. She is witty and hormonal. She is funny and thoughtful. She rocks in her sleep (SO cute) and plays nicely with the dog. She even made A/B honor roll this past nine weeks!
If the time comes that my daughter returns to the dark place of mental illness, I will have this time to remind her that she made it through once, she'll make it through again.
This morning, after taking the kids to school, I was driving past the giant water tower, slowing down to peer out the windshield at the dozen or so turkey vultures roosting on the side walls, patiently waiting. morbid scene I thought to myself as I drove past the road kill on the white dashed line. everyone has a job to do. I'm glad the vultures are eager to the task of removing such a gruesome sight. I sure don't want that job. But just look at them! They can't wait until the traffic clears to swoop down and gobble that up!
It occurred to me as I drove further on the same road toward the turn that leads to my little subdivision that parenting children through abuse, trauma, attachment disorder, developmental delay and mental illness IS a gruesome job that most people don't want to undertake and yet, someone has to do it. I haven't always been an eager, hungry turkey vulture jumping at the chance to swoop in and help my daughter but I haven't given up either. Now that I see that she has the capacity for wellness, I doubt I ever will.
Is this the end of this journey? It's been such a long, hard road; such a bizarre, horrific odyssey of pain, sorrow and grief. I don't think it's the end of the journey but a new chapter. One in which I hope to help others find their peace in their puzzles.