Joy. Such a Small Word…

Hello again!

I’m really not very good at keeping this blog up on an every other day basis like I had planned, but I have to remind myself that I write for my healing first, and healing isn’t something that can’t be scheduled.

As I journey through a new life imposed upon me by the actions of someone else, I have come to learn just how important joy is. I’ve also learned how hard it is to find, and how looking for it is pointless if you don’t ask for help. I seek joy as often as I possibly can, and lately I’ve been lucky in finding it. I find it while watching my almost 2 year old grandson run towards his Poppa with the most awesome smile on his face. I see it when my 4 year old granddaughter colors me a picture and is so proud of herself. I feel joy when I look back on the events that have changed my life so much and have come out on the side of love. I refuse to lose myself in the chaos of confusion and intend to love, and live, joy filled.

Finding joy isn’t easy in a world that promotes hatred, division and hurt, but it is possible. Look for small things. Things like the birdsong of early morning, the feel of the sun on your face, the touch of a human hand. Reach out to a neighbor in need, smile at a harried mom in the grocery store, pay something forward. No one but you is responsible to fill your heart with joy, but others certainly can add to it. You decide what you’ll accept and not accept in life, even when someone else thinks they have all the control. It has taken a great deal of hard work after the loss of my daughter to be joy filled, but with each passing day, I’m learning to let her actions speak for her, not me.

I think joy is and will always be like the tides that wash up on the Carolina shore; an ebb and flow of time, energy and consistency. Joy is never far away from any of us, no matter how or why we hurt. Joy is like your invisible best friend from childhood, no one can see yours but you, until you decide to let it shine! Life is a messy, beautiful ride, and joy can be your chauffeur if you should decide to let it!!

I pray for anyone and everyone suffering with pain, shame, guilt and confusion to know joy. To know that joy is as close as their own fleash, and to know that people care more than you know. Remember always to be kind and know that even the most simple act of kindness brings unfounded joy to a broken heart.

G’night!

Stop Using the Children…

Hi all,

Ya know what really bugs me? What bugs me is the fact that grown adults use their children as weapons against those whom they have decided are not worthy. Denying children loving grandparents is cruel and scientifically proven to be a form of child abuse. And to think that those very same parents think they’re protecting their kids? What a laugh. These childish parents are doing more harm than good and will never admit it to themselves. Or to their children.

What long term purpose does alienating your child’s grandparents serve? Not only does it hurt your child, but it hurts the one doing the alienating as well. Even though most alienator’s would never admit it, they hurt because of their own actions. I know this because I never had the relationship with my own mom that my children had with me, but I never completely walked away. I regret not being more comapssionate towards my mom, but I am grateful for what she taught me. I look back now and see so much pain, and would love to have the chance to say I am sorry to her. And I would. I know my child would have never put her pride aside to even try to begin mending things, and now it’s too late.

How do you think the children that are being denied the unconditional love of their grandparents will grow up? Think long and hard… Will they be trusting of others? Probably not. Will they value the way they were left out of the grandparent’s lives? Probably not. What happens to them if one of their alienated grandparents dies suddenly and they miss out on ever reconnecting with the love they missed out on because their own parent decided that his/her grandparents weren’t good enough? I imagine that if this were to happen in my own family, our beloved, alienated granchildren would be told that they were better off without us. So sad. So very, very sad. All we ever wanted to do was love our family, all of it. Now we are imprisoned by the control issues of someone that didn’t care.

If the tone of this post sounds angry, it is. I am not angry very often anymore, but I find the closer my beloved grandson’s birthday gets (he’ll be 13) the more the feelings of anger and bitterness try to take up residence in my broken heart. I frankly have no room for them anymore, and writing helps release them. Life is too short to let such negativity get a hold of my heart and I am strong enough to defeat it. I love my grandchildren with all that I am and no matter what has happened, no one can take that from me. Not ever.

So, I hope someday the adult children that think it’s okay to rip out the hearts of their own kids, and their parents stop using love as weapon. Love is to be nurtured. Sure, we ALL make mistakes, and we all need love, but we don’t need for people to be so cruel and unforgiving…

As the Journey Continues…

Hi Everyone,

I realized today that I am seeking certain things because of the journey I’m on and I’d like to share those things you.

Yes, it’s true that I’m a survivor of a great deal of pain and loss, as all of us are but I want to be so much more than that. I want to thrive!!! Thriving is achievable in spite of whatever you’ve been through, are going through or will go through. How you get there is part of the journey your life takes you on and my journey is picking up its pace. I’m embracing the pain I have to face to get to the thriving I crave, and I’m learning to ask for help when I need it.

Asking for help is not an indication of weakness on my part, I see it as strength. I’ve worked really hard at letting go of my pride, and that was one of the first things that tried to rear its ugly head when our daughter left us. How dare she make a decision that altered the course of not only my life, but the lives of many? How? Pride and indignation were my companions in the beginning but I dropped them off at the side of the road when I stopped asking why. I’ll never know why she did what she did, and I’m okay with that. I know what she said and the lies she made up, but I also know she had no proof of anything she accused us of. Nor is there any. I prayed for her to find peace, and I still pray, but now I pray for peace for myself and my husband. When someone makes the decision to erase you, they are actually erasing themselves. We are still standing and facing the fact that our daughter is gone, what else can we do?

To thrive takes a positive attitude, and no matter how bad things are, or get, you can dig down deep into the core of your spirit and find somethinng to be thankful for. I am thankful for my husband, for our younger daughter, for our 4 grandchildren. I am thankful for the rain that has finally come to the deep south and I am very thankful for every morning that I wake. The weight of loss is lessening as time goes on, and I find that to be very positive.

Thriving also involves work. Hard work at that. I have to work at banishing thoughts of what our daughter did. I work hard at recognizing that the constant worry about her has lessened because she decided to take herself away from us. I work hard at thinking through things now instead of instantaneously reacting. I couldn’t control what she did to us then, I can control how I react now. Learning to rein yourself in and think first is a huge step in healing. And in thriving.

Thriving is so much more than working, it’s learning, it’s accepting and it’s letting go. It’s being able to accept that you are powerless over just about damn near everything in your life and that what you do has great affect on others. Thriving is accepting what is, though to me it doesn’t mean you don’t question what is from time to time. Believe in yourself, love carefully and embrace the future with the confidence you possessed in your youth. Don’t let the people who have hurt you determine your course, they’re most likely to crash and burn…

Stopping the noise…

Hey All,

I know it’s been a bit since I’ve written, but there have been some things going on inside of me that have required some very personal attention and time away from outside stimuli. I’ve backed off of social media groups I belong to, left my damn cell phone at home when going out and I’m seeking out ways to navigate the journey I’m currently on. I’ll explain as best as I can, so sit back, grab a drink and see if this journey is something you’d be willing to take if you were in my place.

I’ve focused this blog on the agony and pain that the estrangement and alienation forced on us by our oldest daughter. That pain is ever present in my every day life, that will remain ever so, but ya know what? I realized in the silence I sought that I was placing too much energy and focus on the pain and anguish, thus giving too much of my energy to someone that doesn’t even care any more. Screw that! I am walking through the pain every day with my head held high and learning to accept my powerlessness in the grand scheme of things. I am powerless when it comes to contact with my beloved grandchildren, but I am NOT powerless in my love for them. She can put up all kinds of roadblocks and send bullshit letters from some attorney that probably doesn’t even know her name is attached to said mailing, but she CANNOT make me unlove the children. She can make it impossible for me to be a part of their lives, for now, but she CANNOT make me forget them. It always seems to come down to a competitive type vernacular when I write how I feel about this mess, but it’s not a competition. And, if it is, I’ll concede to her “winning” this battle, but winning is hollow when your opponent doesn’t fight back, don’t you think? I’m focusing my fight within, and I am going to pick the battles ahead very carefully.

Eight months ago I reached out to a trusted person and sought guidance at what I now realize was the beginning of this current trek I am engaged in. Eight months… It took me 8 months to take the first step. It may not seem like all that long, but looking back it seems like an eternity in the context of things as they stand presently. I sat with this person for 90 minutes a week ago and poured my heart out. I let go of all the dirty, nasty secrets, I put a voice to the voices that my grandchildren are not allowed to have and I cried. A lot. Ugly crying. After waiting 8 months to take the first step into my journey I figured it was to my benefit to let go of it all and trust in whatever advice would be rendered. My heart was broken anew when I left this person’s office, but I gained so much more insight and clarity, the breaking was necessary. And is necessary. Nothing worth having comes easy, hence the labor that we mothers suffer when bringing a new life to this world. Labor. Just the word itself makes you think of hard work and exhausting effort. Women are not the only ones that know what labor means, not by a long shot, and I would dare any one to say otherwise. I have seen my own husband after a 10 hour night of freight handling, worn out, dirty and beyond exhausted, portraying the meaning of the word labor in front of my very eyes. In much the same way, this journey is going to be full of exhausting and heartbreaking labor. Labor I am fully willing to take on and learn from.

Stopping the noise has been a blessing to me and something I would fully recommend to anyone who has a mind that can’t seem to sort out what it all means. I had to take a bit of time away and re-examine why I started this blog. I had to find my own inner voice in the cacophony of all the noise and I had to choose to listen to me. To my heart. To the spirit that is moving within me. I have walked without any type of spiritual compass for many years now, and felt like I had been doing a good job of navigating the twists and turns of my life until the day I was thrown out with the garbage. On that day the compass I had been using was not only broken, but smashed and ground into the earth. There was absolutely nothing left of any type of compass during the early days of estrangement. It was nothing but a free fall into an endless and dark abyss. The days of free falling came to end 8 months ago when I started to hear the noise in the far off distance. The noise started with me asking for time to talk when I was ready. The abyss did have a bottom, and I’ve spent these past 8 months climbing up from that bottom. Clawing my way out with bloodied fingers from clinging to whatever fissure I could hold on to. Crawling my way out on bruised and bloodied knees from constantly falling backward and getting back up to try again. The further up the walls of the abyss I made it, the louder the noise. After the meeting I had a week ago, the noise had reached levels that I couldn’t stand anymore and I just had to shut it off.

We are all vulnerable to the noise that life in the 21st century brings and we are all more than capable of shutting it off. I still hear the noise to a degree, but it’s an invited noise, not at a decibel level that is unsafe or would drive even the most enthusiastic rock music fan crazy. I listen to softer music these days mostly because of my age, but also because I know that music has a direct affect on me. Loud and banging = clean the house. Soft and soothing = a peaceful mind. I always listen to Kenny Rogers on my Echo dot while writing, whether it’s my blog or book, and I always listen to the Backstreet Boys in the morning. It’s noise I choose when I want it, but the noise of the past 8 months was both an invited and uninvited guest. I have learned and continue to learn how to turn down the volume on the uninvited guest and have a whole new outlook on this estrangement and alienation. It goes without saying that I know I will have many more dark days in my future, days that I’ll be staring down into that abyss again, days that I would not wish even on the daughter that threw me away. I now know I can turn down the noise, or change the station and I can reset my playlist to my liking.

I’m going to end here for tonight and hope that anyone reading this will find some tiny nugget of help in these words I’ve typed tonight. I feel strong right now, and I feel empowered for the future. This journey is just beginning and I am quite curious to see where it takes me. I’m grateful that I am not writing this blog for money, I would have lost my job because of my self imposed silence! Until next time…

Let the journey begin…
Photo by Barb Enos
Hendersonville,NC

What’s in a dream?

Hey all,

I guess these past two weeks have been dominated by my dreams, but at least last night’s dreams were much more welcome. I dreamed of my Daddy who died in April of 2000. He was vibrant, healthy and happy in the landscapes of this dream. I love dreaming of those I’ve lost as long as the dreams are happy. After the dreams of last week, this one was great. The downside to dreaming about him is that I have to wake up, and it’s usually many, many months before I dream of him again. I miss him so much, but am grateful he’s gone and not witness to the demise of my family. He would’ve hated seeing all of us, including his oldest granddaughter in so much pain. He loved her so much.

I wonder if our daughter ever dreams of us and if she ever misses us. My guess is no, but I’ll never know. She has made it clear that she wishes us gone, and we have no desire to try and reconnect. It sounds harsh, but when someone you’ve loved so much spreads lies and spews hatred towards you, you have to come to the realization that no matter what you try to do or say, your words and actions become fuel for their fires of discontent and you just have to stop trying. I know that estranged parents and alienated grandparents never go a single hour of life without thought of those they’ve been cut off from. It’s like the soundtrack from your favorite movie that you can’t get out of your head. You repeat it over and over and over, never growing tired of the music. I am tired of the endless ache of missing my grandson and granddaughter. I am tired of seeing how much my husband hurts but says he doesn’t. I am tired of feeling so many emotions in the course of every day. I need rest… I crave rest… I fear rest will never come, though.

I have been feeling angry about the estrangement these past few days and especially yesterday. Something happened in the family that the oldest should’ve been included in, and because she has decided we all don’t matter, it appears events don’t matter either. All I could think was that she should be here with us and she’s not. As time goes on I understand that longing never dies, but it does ease. I wish that easing were here already, I really abhor becoming angry. The anger only affects me, and when that happens I just get angrier and angrier. I’m better today, just a bit melancholy. The melancholy is always present, it ties directly to this MiMi’s heart missing her grands, not the daughter. I’ve come to accept the loss, what else can I do?

How do you mend such brokenness and find the hidden beauty in the pieces that remain of your broken heart? It’s not easy, and the fight to remain positive is exhausting. I believe that staying busy helps to keep the bulk of the feelings at bay, but when the waves of emotion crash unexpectedly, give yourself some grace. When you lay your head down to sleep, try thinking of that which brings joy. I know it sounds simple, but it’s far from simple. As wounded as we are from the estrangement, we find thinking positively, especially in the quiet hours of our lives is almost impossible. I wish with all my heart I could erase the pain of those I love and rebuild our lives, but I can’t. I can offer to hold a hand, give a hug and try to encourage. It’s all I have. I pray for dreams that I don’t remember, I just don’t want to wake up hurting any more than I already do. I don’t want that for anyone.

I’ll end for now as I’m beat from working in the 100+ degree heat that has gripped the southeast this week. May your dreams be sweet and filled with love…

Under an old railroad bridge
Brevard, NC
Photo by Barb Enos

Remember the fallen, always…

Hello All,

On this most somber of holidays, I hope those of us experiencing the death of relationships with our estranged children can take a moment and reflect on something other than ourselves. We have so much to be thankful for as Americans because of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for our freedoms. Even when there are so many of us that feel those very freedoms threatened by the powers that be, we need to remember that nothing is more permanent than death. We have rights to protest, assemble, sit-in, strike and many other manners of freedom that many around the world just don’t have. For these freedoms and so much more, I am eternally thankful.

Both my husband and I come from military families and we are honored to have served as well. Serving is such a wonderful word, and something I believe in with all that I am. I hope we can all stop and think about what service to our country means and find it within ourselves to say thank you. Service is the reason I am able to live where I do, live as I please and live a life that I pray brings honor to the memory of those that have fallen. My husband’s uncle died at Iwo Jima and is buried in Hawaii. His dad served in the Army for 22 years. My dad was a Navy man. We both have brothers that have served. Please remember…

A life of military service is hard, but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. We have a lifetime of service behind us and are proud to have raised our children within the military community. We had a good life while we were in, though hard and quite painful at times too. I missed the military community very much when we moved from Charleston, SC to Asheville, NC, though I didn’t miss the actual service. Community is everything to a military family, that’s what keeps us going during months of deployment, random phone calls to get ready to leave everyone and everything you love behind within a day and community cares. Caring for the safety and well-being of our country isn’t easy, but it is worth it all.

Today I spent a lot of time thinking about how the freedoms granted us by those gone before us also play a part in what has become our life after losing our oldest daughter. We came home to Charleston 4½ months after we lost her and being closer to our military background has helped ease some of the pain of loss. We have resources that we didn’t have in western North Carolina. We have reconnected with our roots and we enjoy seeing the community support our young military members everywhere we go. It’s all part of the lifestyle of the military. Nothing hurts more than losing a child, and today made me think of how many children we have lost since the birth of this country. It makes my pain seem insignificant today. I still have a daughter that loves me, grandchildren to play with and my husband to love me. Many people have lost all of that and so much more… Remember them. Honor them and thank a veteran next time you see one.

I’ll be back on to write more about estrangement and alienation later on this week, but I wanted to share my heart before going to sleep. I tried to go to bed earlier, but thinking about all the fallen made it impossible to sleep without honoring them through my writing. Good night to you all and thank you to all who have paid the ultimate price. We honor you all this Memorial Day…

In remembrance of the fallen…
Shared image from Facebook

Shredded a little bit…

Hey All,

It’s funny to me that my heart feels like the bag of shredded mail and paper I have beside me right now. I shred all the mail with any address information that comes into our house and I recycle all the shredded paper, along with envelopes, magazines and junk. Junk… estrangement and alienation are just that. No one should be comfortable with shredding another person’s heart, and it says a lot about someone that cares so little for others. I’m not a piece of paper that someone can put in a household shredder and forget about. I am a person that loves deeply, hurts beyond belief and deserves answers. Answers to the questions I have stopped asking because I know those answers will never come. Hell, if they ever do, the answers will more than likely be lies, and I’m sick of the lies as well as the silence, so maybe it’s best if I just keep moving forward and stop looking for answers.

Earlier tonight I watered our lawn as we are gripped by excessive heat right now and the watering triggered the thought that if something is worth having, it’s worth taking care of. I hate spending the extra money on our water bill, but until the county declares a ban on watering because of drought, I will continue to water the lawn. I need to take care of it. Just like I needed to take care of the daughter that threw me and her dad away. We cared for her, we watered her and we watched her grow. We were so happy to be blessed with a little girl for our first child and we never imagined that we would be accused of terrible and heinous things when she grew tired of us. We nurtured her like we try and nurture our lawn, but it was all a waste of time. Just like I believe the grass will not survive the next five days of extreme temperatures, we didn’t survive the extremes of parenthood, though we sure did try. We miss our daughter, but we have to stop watering that which refuses to continue to grow.

As parents who have been alienated, we have had to learn a whole new way of caring for not only ourselves, but for the grandchildren caught in the crossfire. Here is where the idea of caring for something worth having takes its’ toll. We are like millions of other grandparents around the world. We love our grandchildren more than we ever thought we could love anyone, and when that love is denied, it’s just so mean to the kids. The children have no voice in any of this mess and it’s beyond impossible to figure out how someone who is supposed to love them thinks that it’s okay to deny them love. What has happened to the family structure here in America and around the world? Why is it so acceptable to claim your parents were abusive and neglectful just so you can walk away without looking back? Where is the forgiveness? Where is the proof of such actions? Where is the caring about someone other than yourself? Taking care of something and someone isn’t easy, but if they or it are worth having don’t you find a way? Don’t you find a way to water that grass through the dry periods in hopes that it will survive? I know for me that I will never give up on nurturing the love for my grandchildren, it’s just not like me to turn off that hose.

As the summer bears down on us here in the southeast, we have to be aware of how fragile we become once we are exposed to the damaging effects of the sun. It’s the same once you become a victim of alienation and estrangement. You get burned. It’s that simple. Once you’ve been burned, you either take protective measures against further damage, or you don’t. When I’m out in the sun, I stay as hydrated as possible. I wear sunscreen. I seek shade. Now that I’ve been burned by estrangement, I guard my heart from further abuse. I write this blog as a way to process the pain and anguish that I live with every day. I stand fast in the knowledge that I know I wasn’t a perfect mom, but I sure as hell tried to be the best mom I could be. When you’re told by your adult child that you were never good enough, whether by word or actions, or both, you die inside. It’s like the sun destroying my lawn, it happens a little more every day. Though I still feel like I die a little every day, I also feel stronger and more positive for the future. That damn sun won’t win every summer, not even every week, though while the heat is so intense it seems hopeless to think anything could grow.

I can honestly tell you that my husband and I have grown through this estrangement and we are like the roots of the thirsty trees seeking water at this current moment. We have learned to be patient and wait on the rain, but in the interim we take care of ourselves as best we can. We love each other, we love our children and grandchildren and we love our family and friends. Love is the nutrient needed to keep us going, even without that love being received or returned by the child that tossed us aside. Without love life is not worth the effort, so like those tree roots seeking water, our hearts will seek love. Love can burn your heart as the sun burns our grass, but I’ll suffer heart burn any day knowing that it does eventually ease.

Growth is hard. Being shredded is hard. Being thrown away is not necessary. Remember, if something is worth having, take care of it. Take care of yourself through the droughts your heart will experience because of estrangement and alienation. If you are anything like me, you didn’t ask to be shredded, burned or forgotten, so remember that you matter. I matter. The people we love deserve the best of us, and even if the best you have to give is a little water to those who love you, a little water can go a long way. Stay cool, be calm and look ahead, the heatwave will end and things will be greener again.

Happiness matters!!
Photo by Barb Enos