A few days ago, sobbing into my husband’s chest, I said aren’t you glad I’m on antidepressants?

Yes, he said. I am. I imagined the mess I’d be without them. Medication and meditation, yoga and dance, meetings and writing and friends and therapy. There are so many beautiful things in my life but the foundation those things were built on is a rumbling fault line. I wish there were things to write about other than my parents’ illnesses— the hospitals and surgeries and oxygen tanks and cancers and Parkinson’s and dementia, the doctor’s visits and healing wounds and the PTs and follow ups—but it’s the ocean I’m swimming in. Their world is my origin story and I carry them with me everywhere.

I am beyond lucky that our relationships are good. That we have made and given amends. That we can fight and make up, laugh harder than hell, speak difficult truths, that my parents have never been anything but real to me. That despite whatever failings we’ve had, we’ve stuck it out and for now we’re still here navigating this strange and foreign new together.

My parents are the twin peaks that formed me. I’m a mother and a teacher and a friend and wife but I was a daughter first. They had no other biological children and though they married people who did, people who are my parents as truly as I’m their daughter, I am an only child, the sole heir of my parents’ genetics and traumas, of their beautiful, scorching love.

Valley Haggard1 Comment