This is part two of my response to Reena’s Exploration Challenge Week 11. You can find part 1 HERE.
The first part of my post covers the first question – although it doesn’t do so until you reach almost to the end of the poem. 🙂 Now for my answer to the second question:
I described my daughter as an angry fox. I chose the metaphor to match her hair; some of you will know it has a lovely red glow to it. Also, owing to my surname and the colour of my own hair (which has since faded to a lighter colour) I used to go by the nickname of Basil Brush. Basil Brush was a fictional fox in the form of a puppet that starred in a popular children’s comedy TV show in the ’70s.
It wasn’t the best metaphor I could have chosen, but once I started, I decided to run with it. The most accurate thing about my story is its ending. The night my youngest daughter came to me, broken and bleeding after a violent attack, from a man who tried but failed to break her neck (the memory of which still makes me cry), I knew there had been a change in her perspective, and if she could hold onto it for long enough to make that change a reality, I knew it would change my life.
Has my perspective changed? Yes, it has. Laura has risen far above my highest expectations. She’s made me more proud than I ever thought possible, and more than that, she’s been instrumental in my son’s recovery from addiction. Paul’s journey has been hard; he’s undertaking his recovery in his home town, learning to avoid the triggers which must pop up daily. Even the staircase to my flat is a trigger. I don’t often speak about Paul; his addiction stripped him of all compassion, leading him to hurt me deeply throughout those torturous years. The wounds are slow to heal, but we’re making good progress. He switched to a vegan diet a while ago, so lot of his attention is concentrated on food. He and his girlfriend have offered to cook me a meal next week. I look forward to it with relish. He’s a good cook, but more than that, it will be another step towards healing.
Now it is time to turn my mind to the rest of my family. My two elder daughters have suffered too, but through their suffering, I have always known I can count on their support. My oldest grandson has been witness to things he should never have seen, but he’s come through like the champion he is. It’s been difficult to maintain close relationships with my four younger grandsons, so I have a lot of ground to make up.
(Life is not always easy for the siblings of prodigal children. I must tell them that my pride is not limited to those who have recently returned to the fold. I must let them know that they are magnificent.)
Looking back at my life, I can see how my strength has increased, along with the increasing difficulties I’ve faced. It’s a bit like weight lifting – as the weights get heavier, your muscles split and heal continuously. My mental health has suffered, but I do my best to keep on top of it, constantly reviewing and learning.
I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be, and happier than I had come to expect.
Yes, yes, yes; my perspective has changed, but only for the better.
©Jane Paterson Basil