Her Tenacious Spirit


My daughter’s first breath wheezed with a puny meow, but the sounds increased in depth and volume, until much of our oxygen was gone.

As Laura grew, the list of  her sufferings expanded. Flakes fell from her raw skin, exposing oozing flesh. Eggs brought out blisters, but nuts could kill. Her lungs stuttered, her stomach hurt, yet sometimes when she cried, I could find no reason.

Like a child flung from paradise and plunged into hell, pain battled with bafflement and anger.

She was a cracked cog in the wrong machine, juddering through school and fumbling youth, misunderstood and not understanding the rules, a magnet for juvenile cruelty, adolescent jibe, unkind adult attack.

She was so timid, so unprepared for society, yet she became determined to partake. Bravely she tried to play the game, and for a while she held her own.

At seventeen my daughter had grown into physical magnificence and apparent independence. She moved into her own home, and even took care of a hapless, helpless young friend.

Away from me, dark creatures circled around her. Grateful for the attention, and unable to tell the difference between angels and devils, she thought they were good people, but they stole secret pieces of her.

Each time she tripped, she fell out of my reach, and every fall cut deep. Her frail self-esteem shrank to invisibility, and she began self-medicating todull the pain.

In the wake of addiction, her hard-won dignity was stolen by dirty brown liquid on a stained spoon.

In my mind, a zigzag line on a graph indicate the moments of hope and the months of despair. The months became years, constantly stretching all of my fears. Laura lost weight to the point of danger, her face took on a course texture, her limbs developed a dance of their own. Psychosis set in. In the mud of her mind, monstrous men marched through locked doors, raped her, tore out her hair and bruised names onto her legs as she slept. She stritched sticky tape across all entrances, to know they’d been there.

Inanimate objects leapt across tables. Worms wriggled in her epidermis. Receipts she found on the ground revealed secret messages. Light fittings concealed hidden cameras. Poisonous gas seeped through walls. The Ministry of Defence needed to be informed.

The police and others in authority warned me she was likely to die, adding that they didn’t now how she had clung on so long. Some hoped that a mishap would land her in hospital for a decent time. So did I, if it may save her life.

Her life took her to nightmare places, and her mind carried her far beyond. If there is anywhere blacker than a starless night, she has been there.

My friends and many strangers promised to pray for her recovery. They sent caring messages and prayers. I shared them with her, and gradually saw a change. At the same time I kept my distance, explaining that the drugs made her abusive, and I would not tolerate abuse.

I would never have guessed that her spirit could be so tenacious. A year later, kind messages still arrive, and I still convey each one to her. She feels nurtured, which in turn makes her feel worthy. My struggling child is a fine woman now. She knows she can have a better future. She’s clean, and temporarily living with me. The sparkle in her eye reflects back onto me, making me shine. I glow with pride when I think af all she has already achieved. she’s fought her way through countless ills, and come out of them strong and positive.

Next week she’ll move in with someone wonderful, who has seen her potential. He hates drug addiction, and will support her in every way, with no hidden agenda. He’s comfortably rough around the edges, which suits Laura well, but more than that, he’s a wise, thoughtful, family man. Laura has a new family to love, and to be loved by.

And what of his interest in us? Fraternity, and a wish to see Laura well and moving forward in life.

It will happen.

Written for The Daily Post #Tenacious

©Jane Paterson Basil

42 thoughts on “Her Tenacious Spirit

  1. I agree with Thomas. It seems like your writing skills improve with your mothering skills. I admire you for both. This was so tender and well-written. Stay strong. Both you and your beautiful girl. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Such a powerful story told in your inimitable, powerful style, Jane. Wow! What a journey for you all- especially Laura and you. And such wonderful news to hear about the next steps forward. Bless you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wasn’t sure if I should post this, thinking it may seem disrespectful to Laura, but I think it comes across as I intended – as a tribute to her strength. Her road was never going to be an easy one. she fell into a lot of potholes, but she climbed out. A few years ago her consellor planned to give her a year’s counselling to prepare her for CBT. She was to chaotic to go to the sessions, but now she’s worked it all out for herself. She’s incredible.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe she needed this rough journey. Many wonderful people, angels incarnated, have started on the same premises as she did, only to become the light of the world for so many. May she find that light in and out of her, so that she can spread it, in turn.


    1. That’s what I believe. It’s a dangerous way to find yourself, but I think it was the only road she could take.
      She has atypical autism. Her brain is unusual. She can’t retain information unless she finds it out for herself. She doesn’t know if July is in summer or winter, but she knows all sorts of obscure facts, and can do the oddest things in her head with numbers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow what a journey you’ve both had! She looks so like you and well and shiny again which is a huge achievement after everything she’s encountered …. very tenacious and so are you to set the boundaries and pass on the light and love. My prayers and thoughts are with you both, take care k

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was a horrible and beautiful short history of a young life. Things have changed so much! I hope Laura survives and thrives in her new environment. You did say she likes horses and they have them there, right? She looks like you, Jane. ❤ {{{Jane & Laura}}}

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She used to like horses, but when she saw David’s giants she was a bit nervous. I’m sure she’ll come to love them. David’s son works with them, and Laura got on well with him.
      Things have changed, but when I look back, it’s almost as if none of it ever happened, except that we’re closer than ever, and she has a new maturity to her. My helpless, confused little girl has become an incredible woman.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful! Your daughter and your writing! I love a happy ending, especially when for most addicts and their families it doesn’t end that way! Prayers for you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

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