Unrelentingly Beautiful


I think I hit a breaking point.

Scratch that.

I did hit a breaking point.

It occurred about 4 months ago when I found myself curled on the cold floor of my moonlit kitchen. I had a pint of dark chocolate coconut milk “ice cream” in one hand and the cordless phone in the other. I did my best to balance the receiver against my ear in between alternating sobs and icy bites of chocolate. I gently ran my toes up and down the groves of grout separating each tile as my mom tried her best, from afar, to calm my sadness. I could picture her quietly tiptoeing out of her room; taking special care not to wake my sleeping father.


I was a mess.


Mom tried to reason with me.

Honey, this too shall pass.

She tried to entice my sensibilities.

You know, Leslie, you have been through so much. It’s okay to let yourself cry.

And lastly, mom was, well, mom.

I love you. You need to sleep. Do you want me to come over? I can leave now.


Though I convinced her to stay, remove her house shoes, and tiptoe back to bed, part of me did want my mom to don her super-mama cape, rush to my rescue, and make it all better. She’s good at that. I am lucky to have learned from the best.

When Aiden was in treatment, we (Chris, Aiden, Riley pup and me) lived in my parents’ abode. It was a bit cramped at times  – physically and emotionally – but it was exactly what we all needed. Chris, wearing his sole provider hat, often slept in the guest room while the little man and I slept in my old, yet updated, bedroom next door. The pale pink walls adorned with tiny hearts and floors encased with dusty rose carpet had since been replaced with a more neutral pallet. My Gavin Rossdale posters and friendship photo collages were things of the past, likely taking up space in a tattered cardboard box somewhere in my parents’ basement.

Despite the changes, though, my room offered comfort and familiarity. On the nights I felt myself breaking, I would hug my sleeping boy a bit tighter. I would listen to the consistent quips of his tiny breath against my chest and I would try with all my might to fall asleep. Sleep did not always become me. It was on those nights, when all I wanted to do was cry, that I would find my mom curled up next to me. Helping to calm my quite tears. We didn’t talk. She was just there. She helped make it all better.

I placed my indulgence back in the freezer, lingering a bit as I pulled the drawer open; letting the icy blast freeze the trail of tears on my face and re-awaken my senses. I was ready to head back upstairs, slip in to bed and wait, yet again, for my groundhog day to commence.


* * *


I know that we all have breaking points. At the moment described above I had just lost my grandfather, was worried about Aiden’s upcoming scans, felt as though my marriage was crumbling at my feet and was questioning the healthfulness of a particular friendship. Though I wanted to reach out to a couple close friends, I didn’t. It seemed too overwhelming to start the conversation and too needy to ask for help. My mom is an amazing support but the more I kept my worries and fears to myself, the deeper I felt myself sinking. I stopped writing. I stopped emailing. I stopped calling. I just stopped.

Fortunately, reflection topped with a heaping spoonful of therapy is a powerful tool against depression. Coconut milk “ice cream” on the cold kitchen floor not so much. Losing a loved one, PTSD, marriage struggles and letting go of negativity are all part of my life but I am looking at each as an opportunity to grow and help others. THIS is why I am writing again. THIS, with the support of my family and friends, is why I am continuing to share my story.

I have learned that the people that matter in life will always be there and will not forsake me for my periodic lapses in communication. True supporters will also not liken Facebook posts to barometers of well-being. Lets be real, I will not be posting selfies while having a panic attack.  Lastly, life is unfair but unrelentingly beautiful.

Recently, Aiden, Chris and me shared some mint chocolatey chip goodness.  It was the real-deal (yes – we were seated in chairs) and it was ahhh-mazing.  Riley even got to lick whip cream off the spoon.  These tiny moment keep me going.

Unrelentingly beautiful, people.  Unrelentingly beautiful…