Questions? Answers… WTF?

Hi All,

Tonight as I sit in the office of our home, I have to be honest and tell you all that I don’t feel like asking questions. Nor do I feel like answering them. I’ve been trying to come up with a different theme for tonight’s writing, and it seems no matter how hard I try, I end up back here. At questions. WTF? Why…?

Here’s one of the reasons for the questions…

Monday coming is the birthday of our beloved grandson, the one we’re “forbidden” to love freely. Ya know what I say to that? I simply say, try and stop us from loving him. You may think you can make us stop, but you’re wrong. We will NEVER not love him, no matter what you do or try to do. NEVER. He will know someday that the person who was and is responsible for the brokenness in his heart is NOT because his MiMi and Poppy didn’t love him. We love him so much. We stay away because we know that were we to push the boundaries set by someone else, we would probably be arrested for fabricated reasons. We were nothing more than dirt under her shoes. Dirt… We love him. It’s that simple and beyond complicated at the same time. In what world is it okay to deny your own child the love of grandparents that loved him? Love him still? Raised him for almost 5 years? I believe a lot of what we’re going through is because our daughter believed we loved our grandson more than we ever loved her. She was wrong. Very, very wrong. If we could tell her that we love him so much because of her, we would. We also know that she would’ve twisted those words to make it so we were to blame for ALL of her issues, so we remain silent. We suffer. We cry. We rage. And we move forward, without the physical presence of our grandson. We carry him in our hearts and know that he has to know that we are not to blame for the hurt he must carry. He’s going to be 13, a milestone birthday w/o the grandparents that have been there for him his whole life. We were accused of loving him “too” much. WTF does that even mean???

Another question that came up this past week…

Do you pray for her? Do you speak life over her? Do you want her back in your lives? Hmmmm… How to answer this without being bitter…? Yes, we prayed for her, and we still do. I know that I strayed far from my faith over the past 12 years, hell, I ran away from it!!! I know that I am forgiven and because of that forgiveness, I am able to answer these questions. I pray for our lost daughter and her family. I pray that she would’ve known the peace that only a sane mind can bring. I prayed that she would’ve known that her Daddy and I loved her beyond any earthly love, but that we are only human and we made mistakes. She always viewed herself as a mistake, we never did. We wanted her, created her body, and loved her for as long as she would let us. We loved her with the kind of love only parents know, though she thought we never did.¬†We loved her even when she was unlovable, and love her still. I hurt every time I think about my husband saying he doesn’t have 2 children anymore, he only has one. My husband is a strong, silent man, so I’m the only one that sees his agony over the loss of our firstborn. It adds weight to my shoulders that I swear are ready to cave in on themselves. Then I think “oh hell no!” I will never cave. I WILL see my grandson and his stepsister again and I will be the MiMi/Oma they knew me to be!!!

Would we have her back in our lives? At this point in our lives, the answer would be a firm NO. No. We do not invite the possibility of being torn asunder again. Not ever. Then we sit back and really think about what our lives would look like if she were to come back… and we know that unless she were to come back and acknowledge ALL of the pain, all of the chaos, all of the lies in person, we would say no again. I have stated many times that we’ve made mistakes, we acknowledge those mistakes, but we are not the evil beings she has accused us of being. So unless she were to admit to us, but more importantly to herself, that we ARE NOT evil, what would be the point of trying to reconcile? We were and are willing to be open and reveal the feelings that lie within. What we are not willing to do? Sacrifice ourselves. NOT EVER AGAIN. If this seems harsh to those of you reading this; Know that unless you know what it feels like to be thrown out with the garbage, maligned and accused of terrible things by the child born from your seed and womb, you will never understand the strength it takes to protect your heart after such a course of action is taken against you.

Did we speak life over her? Not in the way people think we should have. No. We prayed for peace of mind, plain and simple. We didn’t know what else to do, as we refused to be fake and unauthentic in this journey cast upon us by someone else. We have had many, many ups and downs in our 37 years of married life, and to let the accusations, falsehoods and narcissistic behaviors of someone else destroy us at this point in our lives would be of great folly. Heck, we don’t need any help in destroying this marriage, we excel at doing that to ourselves. Outside influences are NOT welcomed anymore. Not now, not ever again. We have survived everything any married couple could face, and we have come out on the side of being happy, in love and stronger than ever. We know exactly what we’re supposed to do now, and our strength is found in each other, it’s found in the love of our younger daughter, it’s found in the eyes of our grandchildren and it’s found in the determination to not let anything or anyone get between us ever again.

Questions arise every day after you lose someone you have spent your whole life loving ceases to exist in your life. You change. You hurt. It’s almost impossible to recover from being thrown away by your own child, but I am living proof that you can move on and find joy in your life again. I question myself at least 100 times a day and think “Am I doing the right thing?” “How do I keep going?” What is my beloved grandson going through without me?” I have days where these questions and so many more remain unanswered, but I keep pushing myself to move on. There is such beauty hidden in the blinding pain, you just have to get through the valley to see the vistas in front of you. I miss my daughter, I crave the presence of my grandson, I want to hug my step-granddaughter, and I will. The question remains… When??? I can’t answer that, not yet anyway, but someday will come…

Be kind to yourself and others, and know that if you are reading this and wearing shoes that are similar to mine, you ARE NOT alone. Reach out to me, or friends. Maybe a pastor or a therapist can help you find comfort in your darkness? I have sought the counsel of both and still do. I have friends that I can ugly cry with. I have some family members that I trust implicitly and grieve with. We are not created to be alone, humans are communal by nature and that community is out there waiting for you. And me…

Until next time…


My Father Lives On In Me…

Good Evening!

I miss my Daddy. He died in April 2000 and I have spent these last 19+ years thinking of him daily and missing him with an ache that never seems to go away. Time has NOT been the healer people say it is when it comes to grief, at least not in relation to my Dad’s passing. What has been a blessing? He died not seeing the destruction of my family because his granddaughter ended up deciding that hating her parents was the way to solve her problems. I know had he lived, he never would have understood how she could end up being so callous. And cruel. Not only to us, but to her son, her husband and the extended families that loved her. I am grateful that he didn’t have to witness my heartbreak, or my daughter’s. He would have been so saddened by the lack of compassion shown and by the ongoing strife all of this unnecessary separation has caused.

My Daddy was an alcoholic while I was growing up and though he did finally achieve sobriety, I know he struggled until the day he died with the demons that lived in the shadows. I experience those same type demons, though not because of an addiction I suffer from. The demons that chase me don’t even belong to me, but for whatever reason, they don’t seem to leave me alone. I catch glimpses of the demons that linger in the faces of people I encounter daily. I may see an older man that reminds me of my dad. I may catch a glimpse of a woman with the same color hair as my daughter or hear a song that brings all the pain and anguish I’ve felt these past 14 months to the surface. My Daddy was a strong man. Kind. Disciplined. Fair. I want to be like him, but I miss the mark when thoughts of the loss we endure spill over the rim of the cup that runneth over. When will the demons that belong to someone else stop chasing me? I wonder this from time to time and then I think of the example set by my Dad. Demons like these have no place in anyone’s life, so he’d tell me to keep slapping them back to hell if he were here! Slap them back 10,000 times a day if you have to! I am, Daddy. I am… Or at least I’m trying.

My Daddy loved the water and loved the solace and healing that being on the ocean can bring. I do, too. I love that when I am on the shoreline, I feel closest to him. I’ve written letters to him and put them in a bottle, just to toss them into the Atlantic and feel like maybe, just maybe, he knows I miss him. I wonder sometimes if our daughter doesn’t miss her Daddy. He loved her so much. So did I. We miss our little girl, and we would love nothing more than to know she’s found peace. Daddy’s want the best for their little girls, it’s just that simple. My husband is a good man. Solid. Loyal. And he’s fiercely protective of those he loves, so to be accused of failure like he has been is a knife through the heart. My husband is very much like my Daddy was, and I see the heart of the man I loved beating within the chest of his son-in-love. My husband and my Daddy loved each other and as Daddy’s little girls know, having your Daddy love your choice of a husband is rare.

Do you ever think about how hard it has to be to watch your little girl hurt so much and know there is nothing you can do to ease her pain? Or think about how confusing it is to be accused of something that never happened, and that the event that never happened is the reason you lost your child? My Daddy would be saddened by all that’s happened, but I think he’d be pissed off, too. He would question how something so tragic could happen and why there is no resolution, nor steps towards resolution. He’d not take sides, but I know for a fact he would referee if he were alive. My Daddy would want peace for his granddaughter’s mind, healing for my heart, and to see a family working towards togetherness. I would have to tell him we all failed him, and I would hate to have to do that. I would if he were alive, I believe in being accountable for anything I’ve done, or haven’t done, and I know I have let him down in some ways. I can freely admit that, and I can freely admit that someday I may have to own up to what I haven’t done to help put my family back together.

My Daddy was a WWII vet, a Korea vet, a volunteer fire fighter, a drinker, a trouble maker and a fantastic father when he wasn’t drunk. As the youngest of four, I don’t have as many tough memories as my oldest sibling does, but I have some. Those memories don’t need space in the closets of my heart, I only have room for the love these days. the same is true about losing my daughter. My heart aches over such loss, but the demons that would have me believing that I don’t deserve happiness after such loss have no space in my heart either. I stand tall in the knowledge that I AM a good Mom, though I am just a Mom. I made mistakes, we all do, although my mistakes weren’t nearly as heinous as have been stated. I’m a fantastic MiMi, and keeping my grandchildren from me, from us, is cruel and abusive to both the children and the grandparents. I’m going to be forever grateful that my girls knew their Pa for the man he was before he died. I would have never forbid him from seeing them. Not ever.

My Dad’s spirit lives on in me and I am proud to be his daughter. I know what it means to forgive and start over because of him and I hope that he’s proud of me. I know he would want to see my family put back together, but I also know he would agree that that possibility is a slim to negative zero chance. He would hug me when I cry, he would hold his granddaughter’s hand if she reached out for his, and he would find a way to make things better. That’s what Daddy’s do, they kiss the boo boos and gently cleanse the wounds that threaten us. I miss you, Daddy, but I know you’re doing okay. I bet you’re playing solitaire and hanging out with the old dudes of the family on the streets of gold. If possible, please know that you are missed, you are thought of daily and that you are loved beyond measure. Thank you for teaching me how to take the high road, even when I walk along the edges and can’t see the forest for the trees…

Photo by Barb Enos
Revere Beach
My Dad’s beach…

Am I One Mistake Away?

Hey Everyone,

How many times in our lives do we wonder this? Am I one mistake away from losing my home? Am I one mistake away from my spouse leaving me? Am I one mistake away from losing my job? Am I one mistake away from losing everything I think matters? Am I? Am I? Am I? We can literally drive ourselves crazy trying to think of all the things that “might” happen, and lose our focus on the things that matter most. I’m done with that way of living, and I am free to experience the joy that everyday living brings. My life is by no means perfect, and if there were any way to measure the perfectness of anyone’s life, mine would not be the measurement tool sought for the measuring. I have learned that I much prefer function over form and I love that I can appreciate the “less than” approach to life. Is that a mistake? Not in my book.

When my husband and I decided to sell our home in Western North Carolina and move back to Charleston, SC, we didn’t take the time to wonder if we were one mistake away from anything. Including guilt. Guilt that we were leaving a brokenhearted young man behind us after being rejected by his mother. Guilty feelings being what they are are probably not mistakes, but the reasons for them were. We have the right to make our decisions based on our desires for a more peaceful life and we took a chance that we might find something more than peace. We did. We are finding a new beginning and forging a life for the two of us that doesn’t include scorn, hatred and rejection. We have felt all of those things these past 20 months and know they will continue to show up unannounced from time to time, but they are not welcome. We would be making a mistake to allow the past to invade our life. We are ever mindful that we are one mistake away from inviting the past to take us down again, and are standing strong against the storms of pain and turmoil.

Am I one mistake away from being hurt again? Yes, I am. Am I afraid? No, I’m not! I know in the deepest parts of my heart that the more I seek peace, love and light, the more these things will be revealed to me. I am always just one mistake away from saying the wrong thing to someone, or driving in the wrong direction, or overspending. One. Mistake. One mistake can alter someone’s heart so much that they become unrecognizable and bitter, and I am not going to be that person. I have tried to be a good person, I believe in personal accountability and I believe in forgiveness as I have stated many times over. I don’t think extending forgiveness means I give someone the right to continue to hurt me, to me it’s so much more than that. If I forgive someone and let them hurt me over and over, that’s on me, not them. I refuse to close my heart to loving people, I have just learned to be more cautious. Is being cautious a mistake? Not always. Being cautious can save your life and your heart from being destroyed, but it can also make you afraid to put yourself out there. Am I one mistake away from being taken for granted? Yes, I am. Am I going to work hard at not letting that happen? Yes, I am.

Am I one mistake away from encountering another tragic life event? Yes, I am. We all are. That’s part of the beauty of being human, and due to that very fact you would think most of us that have been hurt by life would curl up and seek to hide, wouldn’t you? I used to, but don’t think that anymore. I say bring on the chance of hurt if it means I keep living with an open heart and am willing to push back against the pain. The fear of hurt is no longer the driving factor on my journey, the driving factor is the conquering of that hurt! NO ONE gets through life without hurt and pain, but we can turn that very hurt and pain into something beautiful. Something that helps someone starting a journey of their own. This blog was started for just such a reason. I was (and am) hurting. Badly. I’ve had to put a voice to my pain to begin to make sense of it and to find the path that I am currently on. It would have been a mistake for me to not start writing this blog, and I am so grateful that I took a chance on myself and faced my fear. Am I one mistake away from losing readers? Sure I am, but I’m not afraid. I know my voice is but one in a vast sea of others, and that’s okay. I am living my life knowing I am one mistake away from many things, but I am also living in the knowledge that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do.

Can you even begin to imagine how boring our lives would be without mistakes? Without the lessons that we’ve learned and shared with others because of those mistakes? I miss my daughter, I miss my grandchildren, I miss my son-in-love, but it’s not because of a self made mistake that I feel this way. It would be a mistake to close my heart off to them, I refuse to. I may be setting myself up for more pain in the future, but I am not afraid of that possibility. It would be a mistake to not forgive myself for the terrible and dark thoughts I have had due to the loss of our daughter. I’ve thought a lot about what I would do if I had the chance to see her again and I can honestly say that I would take a chance on almost anything but the continued destruction of my heart. I accept the loss, as I wrote in my last post, and I have to move forward. Is it a mistake to move on without her? No. She had made it all so clear over a year ago that I wasn’t a part of her life any longer, nothing has changed. I am the mother of one now, and I am loved.

In closing, I encourage anyone reading this to go out and live! Live your life without fear of making the mistakes that would hurt you emotionally, spiritually and mentally. Live with some caution and take good care of yourself!!! I am looking forward to living life to its’ fullest, even with the chance that I am going to make mistakes. It’s the beautiful lessons learned from those mistakes that make it all worth while…

Photo by Barb Enos
View from Mount Washington
Pittsburgh, PA

Not Why? How…?

Hey all,

Damn! It’s hot here in the Lowcountry of SC!!! It’s sticky with humidity, the skies are heavy with moisture and the sky is a beautiful Carolina blue. I’m sitting on my patio, thinking about the place I’m at in life at this very moment, and I find my thoughts have turned the corner from “why?” to “how?”

How do parents survive the loss of a child? Not why. How does a loving mother come to accept actions she had no control over? Not why. How do people move forward after a decision they would have never made has been forced upon them? Not why. How. Here’s a glimpse into some of my how..

I didn’t ever, not one single time, believe that I would be the mom that would have to go on without her child. Not once. I loved both of my girls with that mama bear love… You know, screw with MY kid? Awww, hell no! I don’t think so! I never thought my kid would screw with me… Not like this. Our younger daughter is still in our lives and I will never be able to put into words what that means to me. To me and my husband. She knows, and that’s what counts. As for the older one, I had never once entertained any type of thought that she would cut us out and leave us out in the cold…(figuratively speaking of course!) I thought like any other mom and/or dad that we would be the loving, doting grandparents of whatever grandchildren we would be blessed with. We would be the parents that would open our door on Christmas morning to those shining and eager faces of our grand-babies , with their parents smiling over them and the hugs… Oh, the hugs!!! I don’t ask why anymore. Why not? I ask how. How do I move forward? How do I make sense of all the pain? How do I smile? How do I love?

Here’s how… I accept that which I cannot change. It took more than a year to find the place where I CAN accept, and still it’s not easy. I accept it never will be. Easy doesn’t teach us anything. I accept that I have to move forward without her, that life pushes us along even when we don’t want to go for the ride. I accept that I am broken, but beautiful. I accept that I forgive. Not only myself, but the child that left us as well. This is how I go on. I dig down deep inside my broken spirit and crave the light that hides from time to time. When that light shines brightly, I KNOW that there is a future filled with joy and wholenesss and love. I turn my face towards the light and let it soak in to my heart and soul. I am no longer asking why… I am SAYING how!!!

How does anyone make sense of that which is nonsensical? We don’t! Once we can accept that, once we can admit we have absolutely no power over that which has come to define us, we break free of the chains that hold us prisoner to someone else’s actions. I didn’t ask to be cast aside. My husband didn’t ask to be thrown away. We DID NOT choose this alienation for our beloved grandchildren. Someone else did. It’s really that simple. After more than a year, we are no longer seeking any type of resolution. We ACCEPT there isn’t any. How? Not why… How happens so slowly you may not even realize it until you are deliberately looking back over your shoulder for the first time in a long time and finally SEE it! IT becomes a defining moment in your life, and everyone’s IT is different. There’s the how… Not the why. I am free from the asking why and am actively seeking the how!

One of my biggest hows can be directly connected to music. One of my FB friends put a song on my page this week that gave me a whole new, and very welcomed perspective on my life. If you have time go to YouTube and search for “Song of Survival” by Nicole Nordeman. Listen. Listen again. Listen a third time… The words were and are a healing balm to my bruised and battered spirit. Listen to “Build a Better Boat” by Kenny Chesney. Listen to “I Can’t Unlove You” by Kenny Rogers. Listen to “Surrounded” by Michael W. Smith. Listen to “Broken and Beautiful” by Kelly Clarkson. Listen to whatever type of music speaks to YOU! That Michael W. Smith song? It states THIS IS HOW!!! Not why!!! HOW!!! I cannot live without music and never want to, it’s the bandage for the bleeding soul that lives inside of me.

I’m in a good place right now and am very, very appreciative of this fact. I know my world can come crashing down with just an unkind word, a non intended slight, or because of any other small, insignificant reason. I know this! I also know that I am not afraid. I’m not inviting pain, but I absolutely refuse to run from it!!! This is HOW I move forward, it’s not why! The why? I deserve to live in the light just like any other creature on this planet. I deserve it… So do you, dear reader. So do you!

Until next time….

I have to…

Hi All,

It’s 12:45 pm here in SC, and I’m so glad I have time in the day time hours to write. Normally I squeeze my writing in after dark, but today has been a good day already, my hubs and I have been to breakfast, been to the Navy Exchange, drove to find the church we are going to attend for the first time tomorrow and came home with little else to do other than what we want to do. I have to… Sounds like a familiar phrase for all of us in our daily lives, but today it means something other than the connotation it portrays in the course of a busy day.

I have to… remember. I have to remember that I am not what I have been accused of being. I am a woman that hurts exponentially because I have been accused by someone I loved more than my own life of inflicting grave harm upon her. I was and am still a good mom, I am not the monster that I have been made out to be. I have to… forgive. I have to forgive these accusations and stand fast in the knowledge that I did make mistakes, I will make more mistakes, and that I can forgive myself first and foremost. I forgive my lost daughter as well, though she may never know this fact. I forgive her for throwing her Dad and I away, I forgive her for making me her scapegoat, I forgive her for hurting me, and I try to remember to forgive her for all the losses we have suffered because of her decisions. I have to.

I have to… seek joy. A life without joy is not a life. There is no joy in losing someone you love, but there can be joy in learning to navigate life after loss. I have to… smile. I have to remember that I am the one in control of my reactions and that I need to have things to smile about. Smiling increases your face value!!! I know, I know, it’s an old saying, but it’s true. Smiling increases your joy and makes your life worth living. I smile when I see my grandchildren, I smile when I think of our lost daughter as a child, I smile when I hug my husband. I have to smile when I think of all the people that love me and stand beside me. These people encourage me to keep seeking joy. They encourage me to face the immense pain of losing my child and to remember what it felt like to hold her hand when she was waiting on the school bus to pick her up for her first day of school. They encourage me to cry when I need to and to laugh when… I have to.

I have to… love. I love with a broken heart these days, but I picture my heart like a shattered piece of glass. The sun shines on the shards and the glass sparkles and gleams. This is the way I love, with sparkle and gleam. I am not afraid to love, I am just cautious now of whom I give my love to. When someone rips your heart out for their pleasure and then stomps it into the dirt, you become guarded. I have to… be guarded. Being guarded doesn’t mean you can’t love, not by a long shot. To me it means you just don’t reveal your heart and its’ vulnerabilities to everyone. I have to… be patient. By being patient I can discern as to where to give my heart over to another, and love. I have to.

I have to… be thankful. I am beyond thankful that I had my daughter for almost 35 years before she left us and I cherish the memories we made during that time. She was a beautiful baby, a darling little girl, a challenging teenager and a woman in her own right. I love the concerts we attended together, I loved watching her dance recitals, I loved tucking her in at night. I loved her. I am thankful that I was chosen to be HER mom and that her Dad and I were gifted beyond measure to watch her grow. I have to… allow myself to grieve. Being thankful doesn’t take away the grief, but in our family we say “some is better than none” and I will be thankful for the almost 35 years that she was a part of our hearts and lives. I grieve the loss of the beautiful person she was, and I am thankful that I knew her before she became so tortured by the events that she believes led to the destruction of our beloved family. I have to.

I have to… be strong. I know that strong people break, but I am in a good place right now and work at staying there. Being strong to me doesn’t mean I’m cruel, a bully or do harsh things to others. To me it means working at staying kind, it means helping others when they need help and it means saying no when I have to. Strength in women is still an anomaly to many, but I am strong and I surround myself with other women that are strong as well. My best friends are some of the strongest women I know and they are women I admire and respect. Being strong gets me through the dark, undiscovered minefields of grief and without that strength I have no idea where I would be in this journey called life. Being strong is hard, but I have to be… I am not now nor have I ever been one to curl up in the corners of my life and hide. Not ever. And the older I get the more I realize just how important having inner strength is. As a mom who has lost 50% of her children and 50% of her grandchildren, I have to fight some days to be strong, but I manage to do it. I have to.

I have to… finish here for now. I’m going to go enjoy the rest of the day with my husband and continue to seek joy, smile, be thankful and be strong!!! Until next time…

Be kind to yourself!!!

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.


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