There is a woman who goes to the same park every day and she brings a kite with her. She draws on the wings with magic markers. She wears a tattered camel-skin coat and her legs are covered in leotards. Her hands are freckled and dance to the rhythm of a tremor. She pauses before flying the kite to write in her journal and sip coffee from her thermos. She eats a croissant out of her side pocket. The flakes fall from her fingers en route to her mouth and the wind grabs them and releases them into a pocket of sky where they transform into butterflies.
Her eyes are dull and her skin is marked like treads on a tire. She throws the kite up with all her might and begins to run awkwardly; her feet driven by ankles that dangle and bounce as if connected by a string.
The kite flies and glides as she runs beneath determined to support and guide it. Suddenly she runs out of field and cannot prevent the kite from diving and crashing to the ground.
She bends down over it as if she has come upon a wounded animal. Her lips kiss its spine as her hands stroke its wings. She holds it against her chest and surrenders to the fact that it will never fly again.
She returns to where she was sitting and writes in her journal as the sun sets over the roof of the dimly lit chalet in the distance.
"I have somehow managed to fill another day, to escape the confines of my abode. I tried to fly a kite for you today my sweetheart but I ran out of room below".
There was no wind, no speed, and no spell to carry the kite anywhere far. There was only my will and that my dear just wasn’t enough. I wish I could fly a kite that would pull me so strongly that I would no longer have to run. It would pull me up to the sky and as its wings flapped and glided I would see you looking down upon me and you would reach for me and I would be with you for eternity.
That will never happen because a kite does not think or feel, it simply pulls at a string that is held by someone who remains on the ground.
I miss you every second of every day. There are few other thoughts than the ones of you. My love for you is that of mother to a son and there is no force, no wind stronger.
Please help me, help me keep that kite in the sky just long enough so that I can reach you and then let go of the string. I am down on my knees no longer able to fill the passing days without you. I would trade my soul and sell my heart to be with you. Come and get me and do so quickly because I am finished and I am dying from nothing and anything."
She closes her journal and packs her things. She exits the park and returns to her apartment. She reaches her door, opens it and just as she is walking over the threshold, she sees a light. It surrounds and swallows her. She falls to the floor and just as she feels her eyes close and her breath cease, her son appears and hands her a kite and together they run on an open field that never ends with a kite that never lands.
This post was written in dedication to one of the brave and hopeful moms who attended support groups that I facilitated and who did all she could to fight the fight with her son who struggled/battled with mental illness. Unfortunately the illness won. Mental illness is often a secret - a whisper in the air - a mystery - a demon that haunts its victims and destroys their minds. At some point - someone will love someone who suffers from mental illness on one level or another - reach out even if they cannot- help transform the secret into a shout and the mystery into a discovery. You may just save a life.