Can love conquer all?

It has rained all day and is raining still. Looking out of the window I see little sign of it letting up. This evening, as I was eating dinner, my buzzer rang. When I pressed the intercom to ask who was there, I heard the voice of my troubled daughter. She asked me if she could come in and maybe stay the night. I turned her away. She didn’t protest.

She is banned from entering this block of flats, just as she is banned from several other places, but she knows that if I wished to, I could let her in through the back door, and unless she had another drug-fuelled psychotic episode while she was here, nobody would be any the wiser.

She may have nowhere to stay tonight. There are few people left who feel able to tolerate her, and the two or three who do are in a similar condition to her, although I only know of one other who clearly drags the shadow of death wherever he goes.

I returned to the carefully prepared meal that I had been enjoying, and hastily shovelled forkfuls into my mouth, chewing a little and swallowing without pleasure. The food had lost its savour and I no longer wanted it, but I was taught to eat every scrap, so that is what I did.

Although I wanted to curl up in a corner and scream, I forced myself to carry on composing my day six assignment for WordPress Writing 101. I could sense Laura sitting outside on a bench below me, just out of eyesight, with the rain soaking into her woven summer jacket. I reminded myself, over and over, that I must not go to her. Her only chance – though it’s a slim one – lies in me refusing admittance, and discouraging contact. If I stay strong she may choose to go into recovery. I may be the one thing she is not prepared to lose to her multiple drug habit. Her organs are shutting down, and if she doesn’t stop using she is unlikely to live much longer. Having regular contact with me makes her habit worse. She has a need to prove to me what a mess she is, and the more she sees me, the more drugs she consumes.

I keep my curtains open all evening. I live on the top floor, so people have to look up to see in my window, and, should they do so, they will see little more than ceiling. After about forty minutes I sensed movement outside. I looked down, and saw my daughter walking away. My leg muscles twitched in an effort to rebel against my brain, which told me not to chase after her. My brain won. These days it usually does.

I watched the rain and I wondered – not for the first time – whether that brief glimpse of her, as she turned and glanced my way, was the last time I will ever see her alive. It was dark, and I couldn’t see the only beautiful feature that she has retained, her hazel eyes.

The last time I looked into those eyes I reminded her that it was her choice to live or to die, and told her that, should she die, I would like her to know that I love her very much. I would like that comforting thought to be with her when she takes her last breath and finally steps into eternal peace.

I think I have reached beyond fear, but I am very sad and lost tonight, and I wonder, can love conquer all?

©Jane Paterson Basil


30 thoughts on “Can love conquer all?

  1. I believe love changes and we do too. Today I watched my grandchildren and know. Love is my children and the kindness shared with other people. I learn with old age. Man and woman must change or fall apart. Love is like a flower garden. Need care, concern and must be waters with daily gifts of reminders. The people near are loved. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Made me think today.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree. We change and grow, and love matures. The thing I want the most for my daughter is for her to find fulfilment. If she cannot do so I want her to be at peace.If she dies the misery of her short life will hang over me, but I hope I’ll never forget the rare happy moments that she knew in her troubled life.
      Love must be unselfish in order to survive. I’m trying to release with love. It’s hard.

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  2. Oh Janey… Your post has me in tears. You are doing with your daughter’s life what I can’t even do with Bran who doesn’t have a drug habit or anything like that, but he’s still not willing to take on the responsibility of becoming an independent adult. You have no idea, my dear, how much I admire you — and fear for you all the same. Can love conquer all? I believe it can. But sometimes it has to be really tough. You’re the softest tough person I’ve ever known. {{{Janey}}} ❤

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    1. I’m not a tough person. My son came close to death because I wasn’t tough enough. Prison saved his life. I don’t know why my children have to be so extremes – there are plenty of people with addiction to these nasty drugs who keep ticking over for many years. Some even maintain a ‘normal’ lifestyle.
      Laura is such a mess that it’s hard to recognise her. When I look at her I see someone who has stolen her, and I want them to give her back to me. It’s like the Film ‘The Exorcist’.(ugh) She’s stuck inside, but the may let her die.

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  3. I’m so sorry, Jane. When I read one of your posts from a few weeks ago, I thought your daughter might be finding a better way – finding strength enough to live.
    I think love is a truly strong force, but only if both sides are willing to accept it. Your daughter has her choices to make. You did a wonderful and brave thing – the absolutely right thing – by telling her that no matter what happens, you love her. If she can hold onto that, through everything, you’ve done your best by her – the rest is up to her.
    I’m so sorry you have to go through this- I can’t imagine how tough it is to have to let her walk away. But you’ve done all you can do.
    Love to you, Jane and all best wishes X

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    1. Thank you, Lynn for your kind words. Laura is a troubled soul. Before she was even born, I sensed her pain. As a baby and as a child, she cried all the time. She was uncomfortable and in pain. When she wasn’t unhappy it was usually because rage had overcome her.She was bewildered and confused, but she gradually learned the rules of living, and fought to make things better for herself. She got a room in a shared house, moved a vulnerable 15 year old friend in, looked after her and got a job which she did better than most people could have. It was like a miracle. Then her boss started using her as his sex slave, and everything gradually crumbled. I did everything I could, but things just got worse and worse…
      I want her to have peace. If she can only get it through death, I have to face that fact.

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  4. I was also brought to tears by your heart-wrenching post. I hope your daughter can reach the other side of her struggles. It’s a dreadful situation for a mother to be in. your strength and courage is admirable. i can only imagine the pain you both endure with such experiences.Your daughter will know, I hope, that you truly act in her best interest. By what you’ve written the choice of letting her in really out of your hands anyway and clearly she must realise that. She will have known it to be the response she should expect and I’m sure you’re right, that to allow her in wouldn’t have helped her. How devastating for a mother to see their child grow to be riddled with such demons. Very best wishes, Jane 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much Collette. It’s a hard choice to make, but the support of good people such as you makes it easier to bear, and gives me strength. I am not brave or strong. I’d crumble without the support of my older daughters and my friends, both online and off. Between all of you, you hold me up.

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    1. Over a year later, my daughter still clings to life. Her health and state of mind have improved, but her mind is frail. This post was a hard one to write honestly. Thank you for reading. I feel an unspoken empathy concealed in your comment.

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      1. I felt an honor being able to read it, if that makes sense. A sense of it being sacred and not just read casually but taken afterward with me, to think of during last evening and feel through the time and you versus myself what you were expressing and how you did express so much. It is not easy to reach others with our pain and experiences, you reached me and I in turn only wish for the best possibly outcome for your child as that is a very hard thing which part of me does not seem capable of really imagining and part of me does because of drug-addiction/mental-illness in my own family though I never think two people’s experiences are the same. I just felt drawn to your fierce truth and well written emotions.

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        1. I have a (not very imaginative) friend who tells me he knows what I’m going through. Nobody who’s truly suffered would say they know how suffering feels to another. Only when someone says they can’t quite imagine how it felt (as you did) do I know that they intuit better than most.Thank you for your compassion and understanding. I’ve read your poetry, seen your use of metaphor and ellegory, and wondered what lay behind it – apart from the obvious intelligence and imagination. Now you’ve given me a couple of clues.

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          1. Yeah I don’t really think someone can know because even if it’s the same thing which it rarely is, lots of other stuff to factor in, seems insensitive to say you know, even if that’s not how they meant it. Thanks for saying you read my stuff, I appreciate that. I had a really powerful few hours reading some of your older work last night, it’s weird to say I liked it as of course, the pain isn’t something you can ‘like’ but I definitely related to the pain and the way you expressed it. I suppose I do like that because it helps us feel like we’re not the only one who feels things the sameish way. x

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            1. I’m not sure how I’d feel about reading work as raw as some of mine is. I think it may tear me apart, as I only know that I can survive; I don’t know whether others are able to. But maybe my survival instinct shows in my writing. Perhaps that’s what makes it bearable to read.
              Whatever the reason, I’m relieved that my words are of some benefit.

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              1. You should only read what you feel you want to read, many times people who feel really raw do not want to read raw work because it’s like being hit over the head with a hammer again and again, they need RELIEF not reminder. You are right, your survival instinct does show in your writing that is exactly what it is.

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                  1. You’re not self-pitying at all. Even if you were it would be okay but you’re not. That you want to help others says a lot about the kind of person you are. xx

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                    1. I can’t do it full time. I have a friend who’s been clean from heroin for fifteen years, and supporting addicts through recovery is his life’s work. It breaks him apart, but he never gives up. I love him and would lay flowers at his feet, but he has no use for flowers. He’s a truly great man.

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                    2. You don’t need to do it full time (neither can most of us, I know I can’t) you do more than most and you CARE that’s more than probably half this planet! You stand up for those who cannot always stand up for themselves. It’s easier to judge, I see that all the time.

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