I don’t want my daughter. I don’t. It’s sad and it’s horrible but this is true. We’ve been discussing what steps to take to help Mary when I have my next surgery at the end of September. Luke will take over the day-to-day interaction with staff and clinicians for at least a month, maybe two. He will continue to visit Mary every week. Luke will play point-person while I recover.
The family clinician at the RTC thinks that perhaps Mary can come home to visit me on a day pass following surgery. He thinks this would be good for her. His theory would need her to safely manage a one-hour car ride back to our house. There she could visit with me while my spine is healing from the latest fusion. Then I guess she would safely make the hour trip back to her residential school.
For whatever reason I nodded and smiled while calmly discussing this.
“Maybe,” I said.
“She might be triggered to be at home.” I said.
“She might be triggered by my post-operative-using-a-walker-taking-pain-medication state.” I said.
She might she might she might she might…..
Then I got home and promptly had a panic attack. I woke up from vivid nightmares the following three nights in a row. Each time I clung to Luke shaking and struggling to breathe. The thought of having her here threw me into a dark place emotionally.
The thing about having a spinal fusion is that it is HARD. My body takes forever to recover. I’m exhausted. I’m in pain. It throws the entire family off. The kids revert into fight/flight mode.
I’m not talking about how hard it is on Mary. I’m talking about how hard it is on me.
My last spinal fusion had the added difficulty of maintaining physical safety from my violent child. Mary was triggered when she saw me in a weakened state. Mary came at me hard. She came at me frequently.
Carl and I spent a lot of time hiding behind a dead-bolted door waiting for the police while she attempted to break it down. Luke had to switch to part-time per diem work so that he could be home when she was home. Carl and I needed him to physically protect us from Mary.
I don’t want that stress again. I don’t want to be reminded of how vulnerable I was. I don’t want to be reminded that I was helpless to protect Carl. He has always been terrified of her. My strong line-backer son cowers in a paralyzed fear when his little sister begins to laugh/scream. I don’t want her here.
A lot of what we do is to help Mary’s healing process. All of the therapy, the meetings, the research. We bend and contort our family life in intricate ways to control her world. If we can make her feel safe then she can recover. If we can manipulate all the variables perhaps she won’t rage as dangerously etc.
How would a home visit work? A staff member could accompany her. Luke would be here. We would probably be safe. I doubt she would try to attack me with an “outside” person present.
I still can’t do it. I went back and said no.
I do not care if that makes me a bad mother.
This time it isn’t about Mary’s recovery. This time it’s about my own.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.