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Learning to let the world turn without you

Posted Aug 10 2009 10:05pm

A week or so back I discovered that my daughter has an account on one of the social network sites. I found this through my son’s account where she had responded to something he had posted. It was an interesting coincidence that gave me a peek into my daughter’s life.

Aside from liking a lot of the same movies, books and T.V. shows, two things struck me as I read what she’d written about herself.  One was her philosophy, the other was that her favorite thing to do was sleep. In fact it was the first and last on the list. She ended the list of interests with “sleeping, sleeping and sleeping because I love to sleep…” I’m probably over thinking this but to me it says she’s depressed, but then again that’s my frame of reference.  Her cousin that she used to live with told me that she slept all the time and she was worried that she was depressed. Sleeping is a way to avoid the issues in your life.

The quote she used to illustrate her philosophy was “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”

After much mulling it over I decided that I would send her the link to my post ‘A Letter to My Daughter’. I had shared this letter with some close friends whose opinions I trust. Without exception they all said something along the lines of, “Oh, you must send that to your daughter. Any young woman would love to get that kind of letter from her father. I don’t know how she could not respond.”

I only have her cell phone number and although she’s never answered it, I thought surely she at least listens to the few messages I’ve left in the past or reads the texts I’ve sent her. After all that’s how I notified her that her grandmother had died.  I decided to send her the link in a text message & through the social website and hope for the best.

Last night I tried to look at her profile again but found she’d changed it from public to private. I guess that answers that. What struck me about all this is how unemotional its impact was. Previously I would have ruminated endlessly and sunk into a deep funk. This go around it wasn’t so devastating. In fact it wasn’t devastating at all. It struck me that the problem is on her side. Perhaps issues with depression, relationships, definitely issues with her mother. I’m still concerned about her but there’s no urge to obsess about the estrangement anymore.

At this point I’ve tried everything I can think of to communicate with her. A few texts messages over the years or an occasional voice message on her phone. I didn’t want to over do it so I purposefully kept it to a minimum, just a message about our dog Marley dying (she had found him as a puppy) or a wish for a happy birthday. Christmas presents were kept to one and sent with her brother. That was it. I wanted to give her space.

I don’t know what else I can do.

My Tai Chi teacher has a nice way of accepting things. He’s Buddhist and so believes in Karma. For him it’s much easier to accept the things that life brings you when you realize it’s from actions taken in the past. Actually the very distant past, lifetimes ago. For him these are things that are beyond your control. You might as well relax, accept them and do the right thing now. It’s a great way to avoid guilt.

I can’t continue to overthink this anymore. To keep going over and over what may or may not have happened in her life doesn’t serve any purpose except to keep feeding my anxiety and depression. Thinking about the estrangement from your child is one of the worst kinds of rumination. After all these years I think I’ve figured out I don’t know what happened, I may never know what happened and there’s nothing I can do to change it. All I can do is relax and accept it. There is great power in  ‘Don’t Know!’

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