I have studied “hard things.” Things like abnormal psychology, severe disorders, and grave tragedies; what happens to the brain when these issues seemingly hijack a person. I have learned “proper responses” to many of them, but only truly an expert in some of the them. I know enough to be dangerous, as the saying goes.
I know nothing.
Facts, collected. Studies, numbers, questions asked and answered. Papers and papers and papers written. Case studies, caseloads, observations, tests, clients.
Now, I sit in front of my eight-year-old daughter to explain suicide.
I know the facts. It is not about willpower or lack of love. A parent doesn’t leave a child willingly.
My heavy heart blocks my knowledgeable brain. My fear of “hard things” keeps me from meeting her eye. My palms are sweating and I can feel the prick of tears beginning.
This is not train-able. No class, seminar, or test for this moment. I am a mom, with her daughter, summoning courage.
Not finding it. Digging deep. Wanting to punt to my husband.
But I know this is it. This is the work. These are the crossroad moments; the moments where I accept the truth and teach that truth to my daughter. And truth, no matter how painful, is not worse than the cover-up. Ever.
I have been thinking that is it our human instinct to shrink from challenge, that fear is our instinct. But I think I’m wrong. Our hearts are courageous, we just get in the habit of listening to our fearful brains.
She will understand a heartbreaking part of the world…a part where people are so sad and depressed; they listen to the voice that says, “enough.”
A deep breath.
Faith in strength. Faith in love. Faith in courage. Faith in her.
Faith in myself.