It was mid 2010 when I met her. She had commented on a post of a fellow blogger recounting her tales of what it was like to rage as a young child. Every word she typed captured the hearts of each mother reading it. Finally … someone had explained what their own children were going through. She was an inspiration, a breath of fresh air, and a young woman destined for greatness.
Within days I brought to her the idea of Ask a Bipolar and together we founded this website. Two young bipolar women who were just out to share their experiences with bipolar disorder. Although at the time she was only 15, every post she composed read as though the words were being spoken by a scholarly middle aged woman. This post on when and why she decided to seek help for her illness is only a glimpse of how amazing this young lady is. She has no doubt been through more in the last 16 years of her life than I have in the past 30+ of my own.
This past week, our dear friend, Erika was faced with another tragedy no teenager should have to endure. The mind of an adult, the years of a teenager … yet still a little girl … Erika bravely stood by her mother’s bedside, watching as life itself disappeared right before her eyes. My heart goes out to her as she mourns her mother’s death and I wish that all our readers will keep her in their thoughts and prayers for the difficult days to come.
Another wonderful, amazing friend of Ask a Bipolar, Chrisa, was able to travel to Erika’s side and help as she grieved for the woman who raised her. By the trip’s end, Chrisa wrote a beautiful, heartfelt recount of this devastating event of which I am pleased she has allowed me to share with you all. HOWEVER, I’m only going to give you the first half and the rest you will have to read on her own site, as that is where the comments belong and to her the credit for such a loving story is deserved.
A Tale of Grace…In a Cape
by Chrisa at “The Mind Storm”
She opened the door to her aunt’s home, head down, eyes upturned, peering at me over the dark rims of her glasses. She eeked out a small smile – more of a grimace, really – as she looked at me, both friend and stranger, allowed me to awkwardly hug her, and asked me in to the place she’d been calling home for the past several days. Her aunt, welcoming yet understandably cautious of a 40-something year old woman who had traveled 900 miles to visit a sixteen-year-old she’d never met, graciously asked me to sit and made me coffee, although she never drinks the stuff. We sat there for a while, me explaining myself to a protective aunt who felt a little less cautious, and she regurgitating the events of the days she’d just spent, sitting along side her mother’s hospital bed, waiting for her mom to die.
Her small frame was enveloped in a long, hooded, black, fleece cape with a bright red lining. The cape belonged to her aunt, before this began, but she wore it as if it was her shield, pulled tight around her, grazing the tops of her boots. She talked about school and the friends she missed. She lamented the pets that would now need to find new homes, as she couldn’t take them back to college with her. She wrinkled her forehead at the caller ID on the phone, identifying that the caller was someone she didn’t wish to speak to. She reassured me, without being asked, that her psychiatrist had been in touch with her daily, his voice, she said, “like human Prozac,” smoothing over some of the rougher edges of an experience I can’t even begin to imagine. Just weeks before, her young life was heading skyward. She had begun college, a few hours from home. She was feeling hopeful and happy. She’d made new friends and was learning new things. Then her aunt showed up at her dorm room door to deliver the news that shattered the idyllic existence she’d created for herself.
She attended the wake for her mother later in the day with what she expressed as a nervousness of the anticipated crowd. But she arrived, still shrouded in her fleece shield, and accepted the hugs and sorrowful looks from people who knew her when she was small, but for whom she had no recollection. After a time, her friends, children no older than she, gathered around her to cocoon her from what was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. They shuttled her outside into the crisp evening air … (Click here to read more … and believe me … you want to read more!)