The Darkness and Light

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Wildflowers-field-sunset.jpgThis morning I was downloading some music of artists that I discovered at the BottleRock Festival this past weekend. There are, apparently, a lot of bands called something like "The Wild" or Wild. Skipping thru songs, trying to find the band I heard, I come across There's A Darkness (But There's Also A Light). NOT the band I saw, but the lyrics pop up and I read.

I used to kill myself to feel like I was alive, 

But since I lost you friend, I learned it was a lie… 

All those walls we build so tall and wide, 

It’s a coward’s way to be alive. 

Well… the last few years I’ve been going out of my mind, 

trying to grow up but not feel old at the same time… 

I hid the pain that lived inside… 

I was hopeless; you gave me a reason to fight. 

I always wake up on the road, 

singing songs about going home. 

I’m a hypocrite and a ghost, 

I haunt the cities between the coasts, 

so I know that the ones that we love never really leave, 

so I’ll see you in the rearview… smiling from the backseat. 

We’re for the ones who scream love…loud at the night. 

There’s a darkness, but there’s also a light. 

All these memories get jumbled, 

like some book that I read… 

as a kid and could imagine a thousand ways for it to end, 

but I know you can’t shed dead skin without shedding a few tears, 

so all those times I wanna disappear, I know you’ll be right here. 

…and to the wolves I’ll scream love… in your name like a flame. 

You taught me to never be ashamed.

I read and I begin to cry, nearly wailing, as I am struck by one memory of McKenzie in the backseat of a car talking to me about, I'm not even sure what. But she is smiling, after having been a bit annoyed with someone or something. I have talked to her and told her a story and she is smiling. I am thinking to myself, "She's going to be OK. I will be her sounding board. I will be for her what I needed when I was in her shoes. She will know she's not alone."  

That memory of a hope that I once had makes me admit to myself that I so desperately miss it - the hope. I will say it - As long as someone is alive, we can hope that all will be ok. But when they are gone... the potential, the plans, all the possibility - it's all gone too. I go back to what I have said before. The hardest thing for me in all this, is not that McKenzie hurt the way she did; what I find so debilitating is that I cannot fix this. Ever.

August turned 11 in March. She is beginning her walk into puberty and I see her emotions rise and fall like a tide. I am on this walk with her, though she may not realize it yet. She is standing at the start of it all and she is recognizing that there is a Darkness. And I am there, saying, Yes, but there is also a light.  I am no longer a holiday gawker at the Darkness. I am a seasoned, scarred warrior. I am familiar with the terror of the unknown beyond what I would ever wish upon the worst of men, though, to her, I am just her mom. 

Moms and Dads, aunts and uncles, let's teach these kids that there is no reason to be ashamed of the Darkness. Let's walk with them and leave behind that false rule that they must go alone. Let's tell them our secrets, lay out our mistakes and let's smile and shrug and say, "Parts of my life really sucked. But here is how I got through it. Here is how I get to the next day when a night is so dark and I am so scared that I can barely speak." Let's let them wake us in the middle of the night, let's show them how to embrace time off to care for emotions. The world is full of disappointment and hard knocks for our kids, be their safe place. Get into the details of their lives and show them how to fight their way to the light. Be the light.

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