I keep telling myself this, knowing it’s true, knowing I don’t quite believe it yet. Bargaining, they call it. I keep trying to figure out how to get her well again or at least safe.
Right now, it is all awful. We are past the point where she will take shelter voluntarily. If I try to get her committed, it will compromise our relationship beyond repair. Even if I succeed, there’s no guarantee. She may still end up back on the streets without anyone she trusts to turn to. If I don’t try, she continues to suffer as she has been.
As long as I am trying, I have not given up. As long as I haven’t given up, I don’t have to accept that some things cannot be fixed.
I am mad at her. I am mad at someone who is so deeply ill. How can anyone be mad at her?
I am mad that she cannot see me. She cannot see the pain and grief that this experience has caused me. I am mad that she has cast a shadow over my life and created a separateness in me that very few can understand. Still, I think I’m selfish for thinking of my feelings when her situation is so dire.
She cannot see beyond her own illness. Her illness blinds her. I know this. She loves me and she is concerned about me. Yet her concerns are all informed by her delusions. Everything, even her love for me, is filtered through that lens.
Still I am mad. Never before have I felt so keenly the cruelty of life. My parents’ divorce, my brother’s death, my own illnesses. Not even the 25 year of my mother’s illness prior to her second disappearance have prepared me for finding her on the street.
Above all, she has ruined my illusion that everything and everyone is somehow redeemable.
She is gone and she is still here. She is no longer the mother I knew, yet she still knows me as her daughter. Yet she doesn’t know the difference her illness makes. To her, there is no illness.
Imagine a parasite that can completely conceal itself from its host. This is how she can take her experiences as true. She would have to have insight to know she needs help. This parasite gives no sign of its presence.
All the time I spent trying to convince her, trying to introduce alternate explanations of her experience, wasted. I didn’t know insight was not possible until it wasn’t, until this parasite blocks that door. No, it disappears that door. It does not exist.
Some things cannot be fixed.
Also published on Medium.