Lady of the Night

“Mom,” my daughter says as she nestles next to me, as if a chick under the mother hen’s wing. She couldn’t possibly get any closer. “I wrote a new poem. Read it.”

Elya drove an hour on a Sunday afternoon to draw strength from being around family.

She hands me her phone and I read the poem.

“Do you get it?” She asks.

“An affair?” I answer.

“No. Read it again.” She insists.

I reread the poem and struggle to discern who this Lady of the Night is. A tormentor of soul to be sure, yet a “…teacher and friend.” My mind cannot pull together the meaning. “Hmm…” I mumble.

She finally can’t stand the gap between her intended message and my mental perplexity so she blurts, “She’s depression.”

I reread the poem and the meaning crystallizes. “I get it now.” Her poem makes perfect sense to me because I am very familiar with this dark visitor.

Depression. I mull the meaning of the poem’s riddle over in my mind. This is “the little bit of crazy” that my daughter says characterizes our family. I’d add anxiety to that description as well.

A family full of artistic souls is bound to, at times, struggle with this deep, dark emotion.

“I haven’t written any poems lately because I’ve been so happy.” My daughter goes on to explain. “But now that my boyfriend is in Italy, and I miss him, it’s back.” I watch an eerie smile creep across her face. She’s in full affair mode with this evil temptress, the Lady of the Night.

We artistic types have a strange love affair with depression. We dread and yet crave the Lady of the Night. When she visits, we detest the anguish and yet know that we generate some of our best writing and art while wrestling with this temptress. We must write and create our way out of her spell, and thus she is our “beloved teacher and friend.”

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