I wrote this in the week after my ex-husband and father of my daughters moved out of our family home. The move was sudden, unexpected, and final. I filed for divorce shortly thereafter following 16 years of marriage. Charly is my daughter who has autism. She was 8 years old at the time. She experiences anxiety when expressing and interpreting emotion and this was both a break-through for her emotional connectivity and a bonding moment for the two of us.
This morning started like any other. Pre-dawn. I was sitting on the floor of the dark shower, meditating as I let the steam and the heat of the water comfort my body, when the shower door opened. It was Charly. Her face shattered me. Without a word, she took off her jammies, stepped into the stream and sank, like a pile of the sweetest bones, into my lap. Delicate wrists and tiny fingers grasped for a hold around my neck. Were she to have let go, she’d have been swept away by her pain.
She laid her head on my chest and closed her weary brown eyes. I wrapped my body around her as tightly as I could and stroked her hair while she listened to my heartbeat. In the reflection of the glass. I watched her eyes silently turn red, swell to capacity, and overflow…over and over and over and over. Mine did the same and our tears disappeared together into the warm rain. I felt the staccato of her breathing. Mine found the same rhythm. We stayed that way, intertwined, completely connected, totally still, save for our tears and our breath, for a very long time. I would’ve stayed there forever. I held her until her mind was finally quiet. Quiet enough to move forward again. We rose with the sun.
I will always remember it as one of the most delicate, beautiful, and precious moments of my life…the warmth, the comfort, the stillness, the honesty, the love, the ache, the closeness, and the shared grief. The darkness of the room, the sound of the water, the life in our breath, and the dawn starting to peek through the window as I held my child, skin-to-skin, and we gave each other the strength to get through one more day.