My difficult child is in jail for another week. Without the benefit of a hired attorney, she is caught in the system now without an advocate. I'm powerless to help her, we both have to ride this out to the end. This last bout of her life drama has taken a toll on me. I reached my end point. I knew there would be grief and sorrow about this. What I didn't expect was the door opening for the buried sorrow of a lifetime of dealing with mental illness to come barreling out. I have not only been one of the few people in my family not afflicted with some form of mental illness, but the one appointed to be responsible for and caretaker to the family members who were afflicted. One way of looking at it is that I have been taking care of difficult child's in one way or the other since I was 3 years old. As DDD mentioned to me, you do this for a lifetime and then realize one day that your life is coming to an end and decades of it have been eaten up with caring for difficult child's. The impact that these illnesses have had on my life is profound. I think for my own self preservation, I have never looked at it like the sacrifice it's been, plus so much of it has been me just putting out massive fires created by someone else. The drama, intensity, maniacal disregard for others boundaries, rages, crying jags, skewered realities, lack of forethought or insight, brilliance without consciousness or direction, horrible choices leading to destruction, poverty and unimaginable sorrow has brought me to my knees on countless occasions and taken immense bites out of the joy and peace I have always been attempting to create. I've learned that in closing the door to my daughter's toxic life, I have made the final choice in a series of very difficult choices to in some manner shut out or disconnect from yet another unstable or mentally challenged person in my family. She is the final one, after my parents, my siblings and my ex. This is over the last 20 years of detaching from the insanity and accepting that I cannot do any more. I guess I was so busy either putting out the blazing infernos of the insane behavior or finding a way out of the connection with the perpetrator that I didn't have the time to feel the sorrow about what this has all cost me. I feel a lot of grief now. It's grief not only for the losses I've incurred as a result of caring for family members and the toll that took on my life, it's grief that I didn't have these family members, Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, daughter, in a 'normal' capacity, to love, connect with, enjoy and be a part in their lives. I did not have a 'normal' upbringing because of this. And, now I do not have a 'normal' connection with my own child. I missed all of that. Sometimes the sorrow is overwhelming in it's depth. I can see that I have also learned so much on this life path, it's given me a deep understanding of humanity, compassion, insight, humor, many things. I also can feel gratitude for my SO, my granddaughter and the life I managed to create in spite of all of the mental illness. I am aware of that at the same time that I am feeling all of this sorrow. But the sorrow is very present now. In the long run I believe it's a healthy and positive experience to feel all of this, to let it out, to express it. But, man, it hurts. The other day when SO and I were driving all over the county trying to work out getting difficult child's car out of the impound lot, I was sobbing in the car and at one point said to SO, "I feel so sorry for myself." Even to myself, I sounded like a young child who was just in too deep, too overwhelmed and just so deeply sad. I've been showing up for these kinds of dramas my whole life and now it's just become too much. I don't want to do it anymore. My body can still feel the fatigue and depletion from the stress of the last couple of weeks. Perhaps the last couple of decades. When I was younger I could deal with it with the strength of a young body, but now the stress has a huge impact on me in all ways. I'm just worn out, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. It's odd to say I feel sorry for myself. I think it's a luxury I couldn't allow myself before with so many and so much to take care of. Not to say feeling sorry for oneself is a good thing, certainly it can become an old and worn out way of being and doesn't serve you. However, I believe it's important for me to understand the impact of all of it and feel the pain of the losses so that I can move through it. It's hard, the focus of it is on me now, the codependent formula has shifted in a healthy way, external focus has turned inward, which doesn't feel so good right now. I'd like to think I've reached the end of this era, there aren't any more family members to take care of, I've detached from all of them. I hope this ending brings me peace and a sense of resolution that I have done all I can and now it's time to put my efforts into my own life. It's been a very long journey and I am very tired now. Right now I can't see down the road, I am only feeling the losses and disappointments, the future is not clear. I'm fortunate in that I have a lot of support, I'm surrounded by love and care, something I didn't always have so that's a wonderful thing. I need to just rest in that bubble for awhile until I get my self back, my strength back, my life back.