nature vs nurture

She was just lying there in Coley’s arms, everything limp but her jaw, which was tirelessly grinding her teeth. A few more pieces of my heart chipped off and dissolved into my bloodstream. Her eyes searched the room for sources of safety and comfort. I tried to meet them and give her everything I could.

Juniper had just experienced yet another seizure (they have become all too common nowadays - a routine nightmare we can’t seem to shake). And there, in Coley’s arms that day, she lay exhausted from another rough breakthrough. I was so worried for her, so worried for laurel and Coley and Townes and everything in our little world. Coley had just ridden this one out without me. I looked into her eyes and she stared back like someone who had just weathered a storm. I could still see the fear behind all of those barriers of bravery she’s built.

I wanted to become a warm blanket to cover them all and keep them safe, but I felt more like a block of ice: numb from imprisonment. One always tends to feel a helplessness in the aftermath of a seizure - like someone you love has been wrongfully accused and passed down a life sentence. We all synchronized with June’s wavelengths: disillusionment, confusion and exhaustion after the burst of destructive energy. I felt the helplessness of the seizures trying to take parts of my little girl away from me.

I thought about how even June’s medications could be taking parts of her away from me without me even knowing it. If you can imagine a loved one hooked on drugs, taking barbiturates, benzos and other tranqs everyday, you’d feel like your were missing out on parts of them. June takes nerve pain, anti-convulsants and benzodiazepine medications twice a day.

The line of drugs she has been on, is currently on and may to take in the future, marched deep into my thoughts and into the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t stop thinking about how these drugs could bring in side effects that stunt her neurological development in key areas and make her miss critical windows.

There I was with all of my thoughts, as I watched June grind her teeth and gasp for air, the ghosts in the room swarming all around us. Her flesh still absorbing her medications and sending their little packages of love and destruction into her throbbing, tired brain.

I remember looking out the window that day and seeing a hole in the ground where a tree once stood. I had planted that tree and cared for it the best I could. Despite the energy I put into it, it had died recently. I had done my best to save it, watering it frequently and providing it with fertilizer. I don’t know if it was nature or my interventions that killed it, but it was gone. And when I ripped its dead trunk up, it took pieces of the earth with it - leaving a hole where it had once been.

I’m still so scared that these seizures could take parts of my Juniper away from me, but I’m scared my efforts to stop it could do the same.