Shared Lives

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My daughter says she listens to the sound of my feet shuffling each morning,

my slippers scuffing well-worn carpet as if on automatic pilot.


Even behind her closed door, she feels me move.


Years spent locked in joint struggle does that. Or it doesn’t. We were lucky.


This new life, the daily battle to make do with what we had,

to figure out how to make almost nothing stretch into something

was my doing. I summoned the rabbit hole.


At first, it was almost a game.

Pancakes for dinner and loud music blaring as we danced in the kitchen.

We relished this new place where the rules of yesterday no longer applied.


No more angry voices or fists making that hollow sound when they open holes in walls.

Bottles of beer no longer turned over on tabletops or stacked in corners.

No more demands that even she knew could never quite be satisfied.


We slipped into routines we created by chance.


Those days slipped into months and soon into years.

We still shared tears. She patted my back as I cried the time the bathtub was left running

and water poured from the ceiling. I can’t fix this I told her as it rained on our heads.

I can still hear her little voice whisper. It’s ok, Mommy.


These were words she’d often say as we climbed the mountains single mothers face.

She wasn’t yet ten when she was rushed to the hospital with a bad asthma attack.

Even when she lay still in that bed, exhausted, she’d whisper. It’s ok, Mommy.

Somehow it was and our new life slowly became the only one we knew.


She’s off to classes most days and working the others while I spend mine at my desk.

She says she wants to take a picture of me as I write. It’s the image she’s used to now.


I suppose this is the way she’ll remember me; author of a life we shared.












  1. Too many things that I can relate to. It makes my heart hurt. My children also struggle with coming to terms with their father’s abuse. Of me, of them. Not quite as bad as what you describe, but bad enough.
    My child also was hospitalised with respiratory problems, just 10. The ex as usual being irrational.
    I left to deal with it all, with my child’s fears.
    As I said, too many things that dig deep for me. I am sorry you had to go through this. I know it sometimes feels like you’re not sure you were right to take that plunge down the rabbit hole. But most times, it was worth the plunge.
    Thank you for reminding me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your heartfelt comment. ❤️ It seems we have traveled a similar journey. I am now 10 years beyond those times and happily remarried. My children are lovely young adults and we are all finding our way on a great new path. I’m sorry for what you’ve experienced. I’m not sure where you are in all of this, but I wish you peace and happiness. -Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Michele.
        4 years post separation, I’m still struggling with getting a divorce, he is now at the point where he refuses medical care for the younger kids.
        At least they’re all becoming aware that they fear his reactions and that it’s not normal. I’m struggling, some days more than others. My body is crumbling under the weight of stress. I’m fighting it off as best I can, some days more successfully than others (yesterday was a good day, today is rather shitty 😉).
        We’re slowly getting out from under his influence and healing.
        I have met wonderful women and men, one in particular, who help me navigate the harder days.
        Slowly getting there 😊
        Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

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