The Remains of Paradise

 

For 20 years since diagnosed, I have walked past an ever-changing garden on my way to appointments, even winter didn’t suppress its beauty. Its mysterious tender was meticulous in planning through every season but yesterday it was gone. In its place; mashed soil and a path of winding dirt where splendor used to grow.
The scent was gone, the scene was gone, my diagnosis very much in tack. Twenty years of growth, ripped out, gutted.
I looked around, others must know what is missing? But people walked by unaware, too young or too busy to remember. There have been better gardens bigger, brighter, yet this one regardless what was in my mind I always paused before it. This one held significance, memories of my illness and the beauty found while trying to weed and conquer it.
I’ve made this walk most times in solitude but once many years ago I walked the path, my daughter’s small hand in mine, unaware her mother had to tend to her failing mind. I pointed to the full blooms as she skipped and sang along joyously beside me.
That day, sitting in the office, she sat at a table colouring as the session progressed and my eyes filled with tears.
“When will I know?” as I looked over at her
“Know what?” he replied.
“If she is me”
He leans back and tells me the odds.
If there is one thing that could break my heart is knowing I could pass on such a cruel illness.
I continued living for her, for my family and I was truly happy for moments, moments I forgot the illness existed and welcomed another child.
The years continued, and my garden grew out of control, tangled, I became distant and thought the best way of them not being me is not existing.
That little carefree girl in 2009 gave me all the love I had given her. With only the help of her father, she became a caretaker to me and her brother. Today, I see the effects, but she still grew wildly beautiful. I could write the endless things she did and still does out of love, but it would be too many to list. She and those I hold dear proved love wasn’t a word but an action.
Since the chaos, breakdown, they showed me compassion, forgiveness for and illness the ones I hold dear know I didn’t choose. I am beyond grateful for the fresh start, living to see how my daughter is as a mother and the strong, beautiful girl being raised in her light.
I cannot get back the past, it is gone, it’s lived its life now I must live mine.
Sometimes things must me ripped out to begin again properly. I must believe this because I have lived gutted, barren and survived.
On solid ground I build my Paradise of belonging with hope, fortitude, and gratitude with those I adore.

 

 

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