My father had undergone some surgery two days previously. He had come home from the hospital the night before. I decided to visit him.
I have a key to my parents' home. I walked to their house and went inside. My dad was asleep in his recliner. I sat in the rocker next to my father. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him to tell me Tabitha would be okay and that I wasn't some sort of horrible failure parent. I wanted him to tell me he loved me.
Instead I wept silently, watching him sleep.
I thought about how much I love my father; how much I enjoy working with him; how, when we're together, we can talk about anything and end up feeling lighter; how we love to laugh. I thought about the things he taught me and how sometimes he made mistakes. I thought about how grateful I am that he's my dad.
Then I wondered if anyone felt the same depth of feeling for me. I wondered if I was loved. I wondered if anyone in the world was grateful I was alive. I decided maybe there was someone, I just was too tired to think of who that might be. I wished with all my heart that whomever it was would tell me because in that moment I felt completely alone. I felt I had no value. I thought about waking my dad and asking for a hug but couldn't bring myself to interrupt his healing sleep.
Then I went home and wandered about my house, wondering what to do next.
I've not been able to write about this until now. Six months later I can finally talk of when I felt that every part of myself was being used up, when I was certain I would never smile again, when I was so exhausted that I was certain one morning I would be too tired to awake and I welcomed that moment.
I think there are others who have felt depleted as I was, who wish for hugs and comforting words and rest, who yearn to be told they're loved and needed and appreciated. Today I still have moments when I'm scared and sad. I still wonder if all my parenting efforts were pointless because I failed anyway. And sometimes I'm unsure how anyone can possibly love me.
If you are one who has felt as I have, or who currently experiences such feelings, you're not alone. I don't know you, but I pray for you every night. I ask that you, as well as I, will have continued strength, that we won't give up, that we'll think about each other and remember that everyone experiences sadness and hard times. I pray that those who visit my blog will remember to hug those they love, to spend time with the people who need them, and cherish moments of beauty and joy.
Remember that I'm thinking about you and sending enormous wishes and prayers that your load will be lightened.
To those who have emailed me privately: Sometimes I don't check my email account, especially when I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed, so I didn't read what you sent until long after it was written. But I can't thank you enough for your words. I needed them then. I need them now. I wish I could hug each of you.