He vowed to love her. For better or worse. For rich or poor. To love her to the best of his ability for not only the rest of her life, but for the remainder of his as well. He promised to cherish her. But the reality, he is a promise broken.
One of the only ways I can explain what is inside of me is to say that it is an abyss. A swirling mass of emotions that sometimes rages. Sometimes calms. Sometimes swirls along at the bottom of my consciousness. And then soars to the very top of me. Covering every inch. Sometimes I stare down into the abyss. Standing at the very edge with my tiptoes on the ledge. And I look down into the emptiness and nothingness that is at the core of me. Sometimes it takes everything I have to not just jump in and finally allow the darkness to take me. Because it beckons me. Calls my name. Now the little girl that I used to chase around the house to hear her laughter. The little girl that I have shared every secret with, every smile, every tear, every hope and dream with, is staring into that same abyss within herself. And I do not know if I can stop her from creeping to the edge.
I don’t think she even truly understands what is happening. This is a new feeling for her. I know the abyss well. And while she has not had an easy life by a long shot, she has never faced the strength of that pull into darkness. To just succumb to the emptiness. She does not know what awaits at the bottom. I made my own promise to her long ago. I promised to always protect her. But now, I do not know if I can keep that promise. It is out of my hands. And I do not want to become yet another promise broken.
Last night I went over to spend time with my sister and niece and nephew. It was supposed to be an escape for both of us. An escape for me from the health issues that I have been struggling with lately. And a chance for her to get some help with the kids so she could get a couple moments to breathe. It turned into a nightmare.
My sister and her mom got into a screaming match. They are both wrought with emotion and strung as tight as can be. My aunt (that’s what I call my sister’s mom) is scared out of her mind that my sister will return to my brother in law. She is scared that my sister is breaking down into nothing, and that there is nothing we can do. My sister, on the other hand, is shattered. On the brink of a complete nervous breakdown. Unaware of the true extent of her brokenness. And so both of them just exploded against each other. Taking all of those other emotions out on each other. My sister was drunk and continued to drink. My aunt left the house for hours. I tried to talk to my sister, as I took care of the kids, but she could hear nothing that I said. She is so consumed with wanting her “family” back that she cannot see anything else. It is almost as though she has not examined her face enough to see the bruises that still circle her eyes. The marks on her neck that are only just now beginning to fade. I want to scream at her, “Look in the mirror! Look a little closer! A little longer! Truly see what he did to you!” But it would be no use. She is beyond words at this point. She would not hear me even if she was looking into my eyes as I spoke. She is in denial. I know this. But she is also about to jump into the abyss. With pure abandon. With both feet. And she doesn’t even know it.
It breaks my heart. It has broken me. And my niece and nephew, I want to protect them as well. The first time I held my nephew in my arms, I whispered into his ear that I would protect and take care of him to the best of my ability for the rest of my life. And I did the same with my niece. But from this, I don’t know how to save them. Any of them. “Well baby, mommy is going crazy and no longer knows what way is up. Yes, mommy is crying all the time because she’s sad. Yes, mommy’s face is black and blue, but there is no bandaid that can fix it. No baby, daddy is not going to come home soon.” I do not want to be a promise broken. But I have no idea how to destroy the abyss. It lives within me. I don’t want it to live within them as well. I promised.