update on my homeless daughter living in her car with those cats......

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have been collecting my thoughts and making an attempt to put what has happened in the last few months into some kind of order, for my own self, and to be able to share it with you. When I left for a 2 week vacation which would take me 3000 miles away from my homeless daughter, I was in a deep turmoil the likes of which I have never experienced. Suffice it to say, leaving was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do.

    I want to first say that when I left, many of you wrote me in response to my turmoil and your words made an important difference. I heard you when many of you said, “she will be homeless wherever you are.” Leaving town when my only child was so down and out and I was leaving to go to have fun and relax went against everything I had known to be real and true and how it is supposed to be when you are a parent and you love your child. It was very, very hard.

    Your support and your parting words to me gave me the strength and the commitment to just go. I was going to the island of Kauai which is the one place on the planet I experience a real sense of “home” and of peace of mind, so it ended up being the perfect place for me to be. As soon as we got off the plane, I felt that balmy, warm air embrace my worn out mothers heart and I knew I was in the right place.

    Before I left I think I had done all the heavy lifting of detaching from my difficult child, seeing her for the truth of who she is and understanding that I had no control over her choices or her life. I left feeling empty and exhausted. Tired from the devastating journey of letting go of my daughter and the life she had chosen to live. It had been a very long process.

    However, as each day went by I felt better and more and more detached. What I believe occurred was acceptance of what is. Acceptance, just a word……… and the longest journey I’ve ever taken. Upon my return when I saw my therapist, he said, “you really made quite the statement to your daughter, you said, ‘you have your life and I have mine, and I’m leaving town to go live mine.”

    I received an email from my difficult child after being away for one week. She didn’t ask me for anything, I was 3000 miles away. She seemed to be wanting a connection with me and told me she had slept in her car, it was really cold and raining, she had no money left for gas to heat the car or to eat and she was really alone. I was not in town this time. She was truly alone. Oddly I didn’t react with that horror in the pit of my stomach, the parent nightmarish worry and dread and fear. I read it and thought, ‘well, looks like she hit bottom.’

    Before I left town, just as we were walking out the door, I said to my SO,”I feel like I should leave difficult child some emergency cash and put it in an envelope outside so she can access it.” He said, “Do it.” I left $75 in an envelope outside on the porch. I don’t know, is that enabling? Who cares. I did it for me, to help me leave town. It felt right.

    I emailed difficult child about the cash. She went and got it and it got her through that moment.

    The next time I spoke to her, it was when we were home a few days. She told me while we were gone, she had applied for and received food stamps and medical insurance from social services. I had been trying to get her to do that for 2 years. I had given up on it months ago. She had handled all her parole issues and paid back some of the restitution to the authorities. She had worked out the issues with having to work off some of her jail time with volunteering in the town we live in. She was actively looking for a place to live. She seemed different, determined to get out of where she was. I couldn’t help thinking that somewhere inside of her, she had an awakening about my not being there and it really was up to her now.

    Last week she found a place to live. As soon as she works out the details she will be moving in to a situation with two roommates, both work and seem like healthy, hardworking people who have futures. She has abandoned her old group of deadbeat friends and has a few new friends who have careers and seem ‘normal’ to me. Amazingly she can keep her 4 cats. She’s been looking for jobs and considering going back to school in the future.

    For the last few days she’s been staying with us. What a difference from just a short while ago. No drama. No emotional outbursts. We had my SO’s 10 year old grandson here for a few days who is a precocious, funny, delightful kid. I saw my difficult child laughing with him and playing with him in a way I haven’t witnessed in over 15 years. Sometimes when I am talking to her, she looks like she did years ago before the stress and bitterness and craziness took her over. I asked she and my granddaughter to make an attempt to put their differences aside for my sake because I am doing the best I can for both of them and their relationship is theirs to work out, to keep me out of the middle. They are both doing that. My difficult child will stay with us until her room is ready in her new dwelling. Sometime between now and about 2 weeks. It doesn’t matter; we are all okay with it. I think everyone realizes the changes that have taken place and we’re all on the same page about it.

    She and I drove together the other day to the chiropractor about an hour away. I used to just dread being in the car with her, the intensity, the never-ending drama of her life told to me in an enclosed small space would just make me crazy; I could barely stand it for 5 minutes and avoided it like the plague. But, it was quiet. We talked about all kinds of things, it was a normal conversation. I actually enjoyed it.

    She is still an intense and unusual person with issues and stuff to work out for her self. She is who she is. The difference is I worked really hard to disconnect from her and her life, I don’t feel guilty or responsible for her, I think I understand the difference between enabling and helping, I have accepted the way it all is, and I know I have my own life to live now. She is on her own path. I can help in small ways which feel good to me, and the rest is up to her, we both know that. Whatever happened when I was away, broke the connection we had which kept us stuck in a pattern of dysfunction. I think she recognized the reality of life without me and I recognized she is on her own and I can only be responsible for me now.

    I told her I would help pay for part of her storage unit to get her stuff out and help with some of the financials to get her started. As it turns out, that is more minimal than I originally thought because her rent is only $300. Which is unheard of around here, about half of the usual cost of just a room. She can actually afford to pay for her new place and also pay for all her bills. I can help by paying for a chiropractic adjustment for her, or offer a place to land until her place is ready, so she can save some money for a few weeks. I feel good about what I can do, no more resentments.

    I guess the best part for me, other then not having to worry about her being literally on the streets, is that she just seems as if a big hunk of some kind of craziness or stress or fear or something seems to have left her. And, whatever kept me stuck to her in a negative, dysfunctional way has left me. We are separate people living our own lives. Is that the breaking of the proverbial umbilical cord? Is that the long tyrannical reign of codependency and enabling coming to an end? Is that my daughter waking up from a long, sad road of grief and loss? Is that mental illness starting to smooth out because of her age? (Some experts say that at around 40 some of these mental anomalies can get better) Is it me recognizing that I’m not getting any younger and I need to be free to have the rest of my life in peace? Is it the acceptance of what is that freed me? I don’t know, perhaps it’s all of it.

    That peace we talk about is present right now. It may be elusive and be gone tomorrow with another issue to have to deal with, but right now, it’s all okay in my world. And, I want you all to know, that at the worst time in my life you provided me with a safe place to land, a soft and inviting place where you held me while I figured out how to proceed. I can’t express in words how much that meant to me and how much it helped me. I hope I can give back just a little of what has been given to me. I read your posts every day and send you all my prayers for this road we parents find ourselves on to get easier and for all of us to find our way through. You are all remarkable people given extraordinary circumstances to maneuver yourselves through…… and you do it with dignity, grace and love. Thanks for being there. God bless all of you………….
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Wow! What a great update!

    I am proud of you - and proud of your difficult child, too!

    (((hugs))) to you both!
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    What an insightful post. Thank you so much for sharing the depth of your experience. I sincerely hope that the future will have a positive impact on all four of you. Hugs. DDD
  4. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Wonderful post. I am happy that you have learned to find peace among the chaos and take care of yourself. I hope your difficult child stayes on her new path and also finds peace. -RM
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the lovely post. So glad she's doing better right now.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you for that post, it is what I needed to hear right now. I pray that someday I get to the place you are at. Your words were very inspirational to me and you identified so many of the feelings I have had recently. I can hear the peace in your words and I'm so happy that you are able to live your life, allow her to live hers and disconnect from the craziness.

  7. Your post sounded so healthy, so calm, so healing. I am glad for you and for your daughter. What a wonderful step in the right direction for your family.

    And thank you. I really needed to read exactly what you wrote today. It gives me hope that we will come through the other side of this and hopefully we will all be okay.

    God bless you too.
  8. Mrs.McNear51

    Mrs.McNear51 Member

    What a wonderful post. My difficult child has recently made many changes, and I too, see a peace in her now. It's a reminder to all of us that HOPE is key in our relationships with our difficult child's, no matter what. Blessings to you all.
  9. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Great post. I've read that people with Borderline (BPD) get somewhat better as they reach their thirties. I hope the good trend continues.

  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I got very choked up reading this. You have been on quite a journey. I hope and pray things continue to improve and more peace comes your way.
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm so glad that your trip allowed you to regroup and recharge, and to find that acceptance that can be so difficult to achive. I know what you mean about feeling the air embrace you.. I have a favorite getaway spot where that happens to me too; I just exhale when I get there, every single time. We all need that.

    It sounds like you're in a great place right now .... and are remembering to just take things one day at a time. I'm glad your daughter seems on her way to a more stable life. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you all for your kindness, as always, it means a lot. I just wanted to share that yesterday, Easter Sunday, was a really good day. My difficult child has been gone for a few days. She and her new roommates were cleaning out her room which had been used as a storage room, so it required work. I had saved this sofa bed for her, stored in the garage for months, hoping she would need it in her new place .......someday. Everyone kept telling me to get rid of it, that she wasn't going to get it together. I hung onto that couch, with that tiny bit of hope we all hold onto for our difficult child's. Well, yesterday, she and the new roommate came over to pick up the couch. We loaded it into his truck. She was busy collecting some of her stuff from all over my house. Then she happily announced that they were going to the store to pick up stuff for dinner. I stood in the driveway watching them drive away. My heart was so happy. I remembered standing right there about 3 months ago watching her drive away after I told her she had to leave. My heart was broken then. Wow. Now she is in her new life. I don't know how this will all pan out, but right now, the tears running down my cheeks are not tears of fear and worry and grief, they're tears of such relief and such promise that maybe she has found her way. I still have that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, I think most of you know that one, our difficult child's are so unpredictable, uncertainty almost always reigns, you never really know how it will go.......................it may take some time for that to go away, but for right now, I am very, very grateful.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    Thanks you for sharing such a beautiful post!! i sense your peace right now, and it truly is amazing and wonderful.
  15. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...whatever you paid for that vacation...it was TOTALLY worth it!! LOL!!

    Yes, unpredictable....but that is not your life. It is hers. Hers is unpredictable. Yours is peaceful. So, whatever comes up...you just remember your life is peaceful now.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Recovering or Recovered Enabler - lol......Or Enabler At all?

    Your post made me cry in happiness to see that you finally had a moment of release, happiness and normalcy in life that you so deeply needed. Both of you as a matter of fact. I love that your Mommy heart left the money under the mat for her in a moment of projecting "what if". My thought in seeing that moment in my minds eye was "I wonder what went through your daughters mind as she sat in her car, frozen, desperate, with four cats, out of money, out of food, out of "friends - or so called ones", alone with no one to turn to except a bowed head - and her Mother thinking once again of her - as she bent down to pull up the mat and reach for an envelope of money from a Mother that God gave her that has NEVER given up on her??? TRULY she had to know at that moment reaching down while at her lowest you were reaching out to her. I think it's incredible. And I'm sure she wasn't alone.......in that car. I think she got so tired of being like she was......Know what I mean?? One can hope. For Easter this year? I think you got quite a few good things in your "basket" as it were. I'm so very happy for you.
    ...(snort) You're a good "egg" - Sorry couldn't resist the metaphore.

    Hugs & Love