When gray becomes black, I can’t see my way through it anymore. I keep trying to swim up through the thick of it, but I stop believing that I can break the surface and find air again. It sinks into my lungs, filling the air spaces, sucking me down. I consider giving up. Fighting through this is so exhausting, and there is never a complete victory. It always comes back. There is no final battle, from which I can walk away victorious, leaving this beast permanently slain. It always comes back, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I plan, no matter how many small victories I have. I always have to face it, and fight it, in a million big and small ways, every day. When I win a small victory, it does feel good. I bask in it, breathe it in, throw my head back and open my heart to soak in all of the good feelings, hoping they will give me strength for the next battle. But then…it’s waiting for me the next morning, as soon as I open my eyes. The heaviness. The bleakness. The hopelessness. The overwhelming fear and exhaustion that comes with the thought of facing another fall. Another winter. Another set of holidays. So. Much. Effort. A forced march through exhaustion and pain. Please, can we just skip it this year? Can I wake up to a fresh spring morning, brimming with hope and possibility? Do I have to do pumpkins and decorations and plans? Plans always remind me of the community that I don’t have, of how unloved and unwanted I am, of how much I’ve failed as a human. Can I please feel hope, instead of this dread? Do I have to spend the next 6 or so months feeling smothered, trying to force myself to make it merry for my kids, knowing before I even start that I’ll fail? Do I have to spend money that I don’t have on fall clothes, on gifts they don’t need? The change of seasons and the need for new clothing for my children always causes a sense of panic. I’m not prepared. I’ve forgotten something. They are older and bigger and I haven’t taught them what they need to know to be ready for this new season in their lives. I’ve been too wrapped up in grief, in despair, in fighting to want to stay here, to truly mother them. How will they make their way? What love and light will bouy them along on their journey? I don’t only have to do it for myself, I have to do it for them. I HAVE TO. But I’m so tired. My soul is tired. There’s a huge hole in the middle of it, and it will never heal. I consider escape. Permanent escape. Because this pain is unrelenting. But my living children…so I stay. But I know I’m not what they need. I’m not able to be, because I am half dead inside, and try as I might, don’t know how to be fully alive again.

They deserve better. They deserve so much better. They deserve to be consumed by love, soaked in it, steeped in it, lifted up by it. They need their parents to show up for them. Lord, help me to do it.

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