| Lynne did some thinking of her own as she watched Autumn sleep. She looked so...at peace.After Autumn's inspired speech, Lynne did some soul searching
of her own. When Jason rushed out of the room, she immediately began to heap recriminations upon him. He expected to be able to just walk into Autumn's
hospital room and pretend that everything was normal? He never made that kind of effort to be there for me, as he did for Autumn. With a start, she wondered
if perhaps she was a little jealous of Autumn. No, that was silly; Autumn was the child...but she seemed so much older than her parents, but at the same
time, fragile just as she had been when she was a baby. That led Lynne to more disturbing thoughts. Who had been the one to care for Autumn's basic needs?
Lynne realized with great regret that she had missed some of the most important events in Autumn's life; Lynne was too busy drinking. Still, I had to do
that because Jason was never home, she mentally argued. No, if she was truly honest, she'd admit that everything was her fault, or at least it had started
with her. Lynne hadn't been big into drinking and drugs when she was pregnant with Autumn. If she was being honest, she'd have to change her statement.
Well...okay, so she had enjoyed those things in high school, but she cut back drastically when she found out she was pregnant. It wasn't really for the
baby, it was because she didn't want to care for a child with medical problems due to the drinking. Then Jason and Lynne got married. She, too, was certain
that they loved each other at that time. She really started drinking after Autumn was born. It was just so stressful to care for a baby. How could she
be expected to do it all alone? Jason was home in the evening, but what did he know about caring for her during the day. She noticed that he was gone more
often, as she continued to drink...more and more. She convinced herself that it was Jason's fault. He was the one who was gone all the time. If Jason had
been home, she wouldn't have had to drink quite so much.
"What kind of logic is that?" she questioned aloud. She was being honest right?...so she had to fact the fact that she was the one to push Jason away, first
with the drinking, and then with Mike. Still, she was able to justify her actions with him as well. She tried to tell herself that Jason didn't care for
her anymore; that was why he was gone all the time. Perhaps there was some truth to that. Maybe he didnít love her. If so, when did his feelings change? Wasnít it her fault anyway?...if that was the case.
Autumn had ended up right in the middle of that mess. Jason was the one who cared for her basic needs, and then, as she got older, he just couldnít handle it alone. He shouldnít have had to do that on his own, she thought with dismay. I should have been there for Autumn. Instead I was stuck in the bottle, and Jason was left to do everything for and with her.
Lynne didnít really understand the extent of the problem until Jason left. That wasnít his fault either. She was the one who filed for divorce. How had she gotten custody of Autumn? Oh yes, she really knew how to put on a mask. She wore it well, and she plastered it to her face whenever those court people asked her questions. She made them believe that she was a great mother. Even the people at the hospital thought she was the best mother on the planet, but they didnít really know. Lynne didnít really start to straighten up until after Jason left, but she would still drink quite often. Then she would leave and go to the bar, but she would always find Autumn waiting for her. Autumn had said something on her birthdayÖabout how they didnít have any money. Why not? She blamed Jason for that as well, but she knew it wasnít really his fault. Jason always sent his child support payments on time. He wanted to make sure Autumn got what she needed, but Lynne purchased the necessities for their child and nothing more. She wanted as much money as possible so she could drink. She didnít stop altogether until Autumnís diagnosisÖcancer. It was only then that she felt immense guilt about the way she had lived her life, about the way it affected her daughter...and her marriage. Now she realized that Autumn should have been everything to her, especially after she and Jason divorced. Even then, she should have given Autumn the support she needed, and done something productive with Jasonís money, the financial support meant for Autumn. Lynne stuffed her guilt inside, put her mask on, and pretended that everything was all right. Now Jason was back, and everything came crashing down on her. Jason had always tried so hard to be everything that Lynne could, or would, not. It was no wonder he had exploded like that, Lynne had pushed him to his limits. No wonder he had left her. Still, in that process, he had left Autumn too. It was all Lynneís fault, all her doing. How could she fix this mess? She knew she couldnít get the next sixteen years back. She couldnít try to rebuild her marriage, first because they were divorced, and second, possibly more importantly, because there was not a foundation to build upon. Jason had been just a boy as well, but he stepped into his role as father quickly, whereas Lynne reverted back to childhood. She wanted to believe that everything would be taken care of for her. When she saw how Jason cared for Autumn, she assumed she could go back to her life, to her drink. Whatever would she do now? Her family was broken, and her daughter was dying. How could she change things? Did Lynne have time, was it too late to repair any of it, or would Autumn die before she got that opportunity?
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