Five a.m. she comes hurtling into our room. Screams invade our sleep and dawn’s light shows her clawing at her face. John and I sit erect, grab our girl who is one week from leaving for her second year of college. We hold her. Right now she is a fetal infant.
“What? What happened?” we cry. Now three of us are quaking.
“I’ll never get over this,” she wails. She tells us her friend, the guy she had a crush on, the guy she was supposed to be hanging out with last night, shot himself.
Another friend had called to tell her what happened. As soon as she got the call, she checked Alex’s Facebook page and saw his final words, “Finally free” and then her world went dark.
No parent knows the right thing to do in moments like this. We did the only thing we knew how to do. We let go and prayed.
“God we ask you to help us right now…be with Alex’s family. Please help us all,” John prayed.
My daughter struggled through a rough semester. She circled around a bit, lost her zeal for schoolwork and the meaning of life, but eventually with the help of counseling, medication, and writing she healed.
Last May, she graduated and took a corporate job in Texas, 1006 miles from home. I had always told myself college was temporary and she’d be back. But with her choice, we had to grieve and let go. For days I put photos to music and cried. John wrapped the nightlight he’d kept since she was a baby and gave it to her for her new apartment.
In a sense the video, the nightlight, they were our prayers. And we let go.
Even though Taylor is bright, friendly, and resourceful, her job is stressful. Her friends are getting married and having babies and she wonders if life is passing her by. Working 60 hours a week, she struggles to find the reward. Last week, while stuck in traffic, she called. “Mom I just need to know it’s going to get better,” she sobbed.
Does she need a counselor I wondered — since that’s what I do for a living. Maybe I’ll just ask the right questions, to help broaden her path and help her see options. I wondered if I should just let her cry? She screams, “Mom! I hate this traffic. Who are all these freakin’ people that want to live in this city?”
“Help, God,” I whisper. I let go and pray. Pray and let go.
What did you do when you didn’t know what to do?
*This blog post is part of a parenting carnival over at Sarah Bessey’s blog.