Yesterday I found a box of photos in our laundry room that hadn’t been opened since we moved into this current home. For 362 days, this box sat on a shelf and contained within its cardboard walls were pictures of the little girl that once loved us. The little girl that was a big sister and loved her little sister. Where did she go? Why did she go? I was tempted to throw some of the photos in the burn barrel, but then realized that the memories invoked by these pictures were actually good. We did have good years with our oldest daughter, and those memories haven’t been tarnished by the hatred and cruelty we have experienced because of her. I am not throwing those away, or burning them, they are a part of a life that was, and I want to remember that.
When does the heartbreak end? As far as I can tell, it doesn’t, but it does dull. It also comes back with a vengeance when you least expect it. Today was such a day for me. I talked with a trusted friend that has much more knowledge of mental illness and she tried to help me understand that our daughter left us long before she actually did. Mental Illness doesn’t care about how much you love someone, or how much damage it does to the individual battling it, it ravages and steals and kills all kinds of connections. I used to believe that somwhere within our daughter’s heart and spirit there had to be something left that would make her seek to heal her wounds and forgive, but that’s not a possibility now. I have to accept this. I just have to.
How is it possible that one person could control so much without a single person giving up control? I believe the demons she fought within her mind are what caused the irreparable damage that our family now lives with. Broken relationships, secrets, lies and abuse are the leftovers of a life that seems damn near impossible to live, let alone understand. My husband and I have had to learn how to be erased grandparents because the child we gave birth to believed that using love as weapon was okay. #loveisnotaweapon is very much my motto these days, and I am very guarded now as to who I share my heart with. I have to be.
What does all this mean? Our lives are different after being thrown out like garbage by our child, but we are not garbage. I’m sure she believes that we are toxic, that we abused her as she had said, and she’s wrong. I find much comfort in knowing that the burden of proof of actions allegedly committed by me lie with the accuser. I also remember that you “can’t reason with the unreasonable.” These simple truths sustain me on my darker days, and thankfully those darker days are few and far between now. I experience sadness daily because of the losses of our daughter, son-in-love and grandkids, but sadness doesn’t define me. If it did, that would be giving away my power and I fight every day to seek joyful moments and smiles. She lost more than she gained, and while the same is true for us, we know that better days still lie ahead.
It’s getting late here in the SC Lowcountry and these old bones are tired. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to write and share my heart, it’s comforting to know that my pain can and has made a difference to others. None of us are alone, and there are still people out here willing to help. Remember that…
It’s been a really long time since I’ve written, I’ve been working 6 days a week for the last few weeks and when I get home, I’ve been doing the dinner dance. You know that dance, right? The one where you get home at 7pm, try and figure out what to cook, if you’re going to cook and then hanging out with my husband until I crawl into bed just to get up and do it all over again. I need to plan our meals, and am fully aware of the benefits of such behavior, so I really have no excuse as to why I don’t. It’s been too long since I have done a lot of things and the time spent worrying about what I haven’t done is gone, so I look forward and resolve to try harder.
I’ve had a couple of setbacks in dealing with the loss of our daughter since I last wrote, one of those setbacks came yesterday morning when I heard the song she danced with her Daddy to at her last wedding. In the very beginning of the estrangement I couldn’t listen to it at all without falling apart, but as time when on and we accepted the permanence of the loss, I got to a place where it became just another song again. Yesterday it just made me melancholy that in just 3 years time, our daughter would think so little of us that she would throw us away. My heart hurt for my beloved husband yesterday, and though it hurts for him everyday in the face of such loss, yesterday the loss was just at the surface. I’m not okay with myself when I get like I was yesterday because it makes me feel like our daughter has too much control over the lives of her parents. She doesn’t deserve to be given any credit for anything but trying to destroy the very people that created her out of love, she didn’t try to control herself, so we work hard at not giving away any control over our lives to the grief and anguish she has caused so many people, not just her parents.
It’s been too long since I’ve let my heart just hurt and on Monday of this past week, I had a meltdown at work. Thankfully I have a fantastic boss who understands that when a person you loved so much decides to check out of being a part of your life, you lose yourself in the grief sometimes. You also lose yourself in the anger, the rage and the utter disbelief of it all. I struggle with the woman I become when I fall, and again, it all seems to stem from trying to NOT give away any of myself to the loss over which I had no control. I still find it incredibly hard to understand how one person in a world with 7 billion people can affect so many lives in such a negative way. One person? Our daughter hurt so many when she left us, and she hurt herself, though were she still a part of our lives she would never admit it. She would point the finger of blame at me, at my husband, at her sister. Her poisonous tongue would say things that are as ludacris as they sounded when they came out of her mouth. I’ve learned through the grief that I have the power to hurt or heal with my words, and while I don’t always say or do the the right thing, I firmly believe in taking the high road now more than ever. I am a good person, and I almost lost my goodness because of the actions of another. I lost so much, so now I fight to hold onto the goodness I have left.
It’s been too long since I have focused on the healing that writing this blog, and my book, brings me. I have been denying myself the time to sit and focus on myself, and without self love, life starts to become more and more of a struggle. Yes, I struggle with the loss and the volume of the noise that my own head can produce when I think about the why of it all. Why did she make false claims about us? Why didn’t she ever try to talk to us about the things she believed to be true? Why did she think she was less than? Why did she? Why did she…? Enough already!!! I am not controlled by her thoughts, but by my own, and I have to slam the door on the negativity that creeps in like a thief in the night. Just like setting the alarm on the house, I need to set the one in my brain to alert me to the invasion of negativity that comes out of nowhere. I have to allow myself the grace to accept that I am powerless over this loss. I am powerless to change the mind of anyone else. I am powerless in many ways when it comes to this loss. I am not powerless when it comes to changing the direction of my thoughts. I am not powerless in my desire to move forward and seek joy. I am not powerless in my ability to love through the pain. As pat as it sounds, time really is the only thing that helps in dealing with losing someone you loved so much. Time. It speeds by and it crawls. It gives us hope and takes it away. It never stops marching on, so sometimes you have to let it go and rest. Time spent wallowing in grief is not time wasted, it’s time soent healing, even if you can’t see or feel it.
It’s been too long since I’ve said to myself that I am confident, that I matter and that I am worthy of good things. I have a good life, it’s just different than the life I thought I would be a part of before losing our child. Loss changes you and when you finally reach the place where you no longer recognize yourself, it’s time to reevaluate and possibly head in a different direction. I’ve always had a more positive outlook on life, I’ve always believed that kindness matters and I’ve always believed in the power of selflessness. I lost a lot of these things as time went on after losing our daughter, and there are times I don’t like who I am becoming. I have fought back against being bitter, only to lose. I’ve fought back against the rage, only to have the rage consume me at times. I am now much more aware of how words can kill the strongest of spirits, and my spirit is not okay with this. I am better in many ways than I have ever been, but I find I am different. I’ve lost the desire to trust, to reconnect, to love with abandon. I’m working on these things every day, and while my circle of friends is smaller than ever, the circle that remains is stronger than any grief or evil deed. If I were to perish tomorrow, I would be leaving behind a life that needs more time to become whole again. And I will be whole again, I am more determined than ever to keep seeking good. Keep seeking joy. Keep seeking kindness.
In closing it is my hope that if you are hurting over something in your own life, you know that you are not alone. We need each other to lean on in a world that seems to promote discontent these days. Find a support group, go for a walk on the beach, hike in the woods, pray and/or do what brings you peace. If that peace only lasts a few minutes, embrace it. The struggle never ends, but the periods of peace become longer and longer until the day WILL arrive where you find a smile that lasted all day in your heart. Losing a loved one is not easy, it shatters even the strongest of hearts, but we can put the pieces back together as much as possible and learn to appreciate the jagged edges left behind in a new way. Be well, dear ones, I won’t wait so long to write again.
I’ve spent the last few weeks focusing on my job out in the world and have come to realize just how much blame people put on the younger generations for the woes of not only their own lives but the demise of our country and its’ values. It’s us, the boomers, that should be taking a good long look in the mirror. When is enough enough? Really people? Do you have to build that bigger house, drive the BMW or have a fat assed bank account to “be” somebody? I’m kind of sick of being labeled myself, so I’ve spent some time figuring out just what matters most to me. You want to know what I’ve discovered? Read on…
I’ve discovered that I love the quiet life that my husband and I sought out after the loss of our daughter. I love the simplicity of a small and older home. I love the absence of social media in my everyday life. I love the crickets and cicadas and insects that make a symphony in the heat of a hot summer night. I love stripping away all the noise and chaos and clatter to find the peace underneath it all. I love the idea of spending physical time with those I love. Life isn’t supposed to be lived behind the keyboard in the corner of a home office, so I’ve left that home office alone for a few weeks. I have made a conscious effort to be more engaged with face to face relations and it pays off in ways that having 500 plus friends on Facebook could ever do. I don’t know 500 people, and I have spent several weeks this summer thinning out my Facebook. I’ve decided that if there is no interaction between me and whomever, I just unfriend them. Does this mean I care less about them? Not at all! It means I care more about myself and taking away the wondering why factor is good for my mental health.
We are the ones that shake our heads as our younger generations put their private matters out there for the world to see, but do we set the example for them to not do that? Even the president throws temper tantrums online and the world at large encourages him to keep on doing so. WTF people? Here’s an office that has lost all its respect for the people it’s supposed to serve and we revel in that type of behavior? What happened to loving your neighbor? What happened to talking things out instead of blasting someone on social media for the whole world to see? Where has personal responsibility gone? I’m not a fan of most social media platforms, and as I grow older, I find that to be truer every day. I watch young couples fight via Instagram, FB, text, and Snapchat, but then ignore one another in person. Who taught them that this is okay? Or maybe the issue is we didn’t teach them anything… Is this possible? Did we hand them a screen while we were in the grocery store and teach them that looking down at it is acceptable? Did we, as adults, teach them that NOT engaging face to face is the “right” way? Do we continue to send messages of ignoring and neglecting them via screen time? I feel like the demise of so many relationships is not “their” fault, it’s ours. Of course, we could not have known that technology would become a substitute for parenting, but now that we do, are we doing anything to improve and change things?
We are the ones that can and should make the changes in society that we want to see. You know the phrase “be the change?” That’s where I am currently living. As I have been for over two years now. I am more aware of the need for change than I have ever been, and I am trying to make a change within myself. I am not suggesting that social media is to blame for all of the woes we experience, not by a long shot, but I do believe that it can exacerbate things. It’s easier to hide in front of a screen that it is to meet face to face. Why not make a small change in yourself that has the potential to lead to bigger and better things? Why not teach a 20 something that putting personal affairs on the internet can potentially harm them in ways that we didn’t understand back when we were 20 something? Why not be real and authentic in person instead of fake and phony sitting in a Starbucks somewhere? I know that by blogging this I am actually using the platforms that have become a crutch for some, but for me, in this arena, it’s a vessel to change. Self-change. Blogging helps me express myself and gives me things to think about, and I am very deliberate in what I share.
We are the ones that have lived to see the world keep evolving technologically, though some of those changes have hurt us rather than helped us. We are no longer a socially engaged nation in the aspect of being humans, we hide and lie and accept things that my own parents would have been appalled by. I’ve said before how grateful I am that my own Dad passed away before his granddaughter threw away her parents and kept their grandson from them. Her actions would have broken his heart for me, and I would never want my dad to hurt so. I would love to hug him and feel his strength again, but I just couldn’t bear his hurting any more than I could my own. My hurt now has become my strength, it’s crushing effect on my life has made me more determined than ever to give of myself and my heart to those that are experiencing the pain and anguish of losing a child to estrangement, to silence, to suicide. Loss is brutal, and in situations like mine, you have two choices. Fight back, or run. I’ve done both. Though the running stopped months ago, the fighting back never will. I just fight back FOR others, not against them. As a mom who has lost her first child, I am forever broken. As a woman who refuses to let that loss be the defining moment of her life, I say NO. Events can and will define who we were, are and will become, and it hurts like I imagine hell would, but I am still alive. I still look forward to my life. She didn’t take away my joy, though she sure did try. It’s not hers to take, but it is mine to give away and share with others.
We are the ones that should be helping to shape the youth of today for their future tomorrow. Step up, in person, and make a difference. In your neighborhood, city, town, and state. Speak up and out for the future that seems to be fading. Is this really who we are as people? Are we full of hatred for those who are less fortunate? Are we better than someone who has darker skin? Are we “right” and “they’re” wrong? Leaving a legacy of hatred and impatience and bigotry is a sure path to the demise of this nation that was once a haven for those seeking refuge. Now we are the ones that need refuge. We can be a loving and strong society again but have to work at it before it’s too late. No matter what you believe politically, you’re a person. I’m a person. Politics is are NOT who we are, it’s a choice we make. Kindness, love, and compassion exist in each of us to some degree, focus on those traits and give of yourself to help others. Leave the screens at home, shut the phones off, take a walk, go outside and play, do something that is attached to that electronic leash, and love your neighbor.
I don’t know when I’ll write again, and I don’t know when or if I’ll reopen my FB page, but I do know that I am enjoying the absence of it in my everyday life for now. Just as blogging has a place in my life, my life and living it with purpose has a place as well. Be well, friends!!!
Have you ever thought about what you miss when you have concert tickets that you misplace and they’ve expired before you find them? That feeling of disappointment? That feeling of utter disbelief? You think to yourself “how could I have lost these?” I had seats front and center to see my favorite artist and I blew it! This is the train of thought I have been riding on today, and I have to get this out of me. I used to love to go to concerts with my oldest daughter and we saw some fabulous shows over 20 or so years before her dad and I became the expired concert tickets that she threw away. I’ve kept ticket stubs and programs and pictures of a life that no longer exists and the memories of good times with her are held on to by choice. I try very hard to let go of the anger and disbelief of the loss we’ve experienced since being ripped up and tossed to the wind without care; I fail. There are still days when I think of a Kid Rock concert, seeing Garth Brooks, Papa Roach or whomever, and I scream my pain out in the car…
Life is not a concert, or a play, or a production for anyone to make light of, nor is it an invitation to sit in the front row and clap your hands when something happens to someone that causes pain. I am not a performer, nor is my husband. We are two people that created two lives together out of love and we are broken. Better to be broken together than to be acting for the sake of acting. We have been broken, crushed and rebuilt. Through strength, determination and sheer will we have picked up as many shredded pieces of torn concert tickets and taped them back together as best we can to try and live. What our oldest child stole from us 15 months ago was never real in the first place, but we didn’t know it until now. Our daughter never loved us, and we know that to be true now. Why did it take us losing her to realize that we never mattered to her? I can’t answer that except to say that we loved her so much that we denied seeing what was right in front of us. We. Loved. Her.
Going to a concert is not like real life, but it is a place where you can lose yourself for a little bit of time and pretend that your life is better in a darkened arena than it ever is, or could be, at home. I think back to all the times I would get tickets for us and maybe whatever guy she was dating to go escape real life for a few hours. How I fooled myself into thinking she wanted to be with me, she just wanted to use me. The last Kid Rock concert we attended together was a disaster for me, and I will never forget the feelings of angst I experienced the day after when I left her behind and drove the 225 miles back home without her because she refused to get out of bed. I knew then that the “bonding” I thought we shared was bullshit, it wasn’t bonding at all. She actually bought those tickets and we had so much fun at the show. I hold on to that now, and leave the dark memories behind me. I don’t listen to KR any more, I prefer a different drummer so to speak.
I still love going to concerts, though I have less desire to attend a rock concert or a LOUD concert. I also choose to attend with a more appreciative partner. Not like I have much of a choice on that though. When you accept that you are nothing more than fluff, dirt or invisible to someone, I believe we have a tendency to do one of two things. We either become fluff, dirt or invisible, or we become someone who stands up and digs down deep to recover their self-worth. I have spent the better part of the past 15 months trying to dig down deep to be able to stand on my own again and be as whole as possible. I will never be whole as a mother again, how can I be when 50% of my heart stopped beating last year? I can, however, stand up and let the other 50% of my heart keep beating to a different kind of music. My younger daughter brings music and joy all her own to my life and I am ever grateful. Through all the loss, all the tears, all the self-recrimination, here stands a woman that holds new and up to date concert tickets for events yet to come. I don’t tell her near enough how much she means to me, but I think she knows. She too has suffered so much in losing her sister, and I am proud of how determined she is to make a happy, safe and fun life for her own children.
I feel like the music of life can at times be like a crazy Grateful Dead concert. Or quiet and stately like seeing Jim Brickman. When you see Jim Brickman, you leave his concerts feeling blessed, relaxed and appreciative of what music can do for your spirit. When we first lost our daughter, I could barely stand to hear Elton John’s “This Is Your Song.” My husband danced with our daughter to this song at her 3rd wedding and it was beautiful to watch him hold our creation in his arms. Now I can seek the song out and not cry. I can listen to The Zac Brown Band’s song “Colder Weather” and not ball my eyes out. I can seek the memory of a New Year’s Eve concert with ZBB in Atlanta a few years ago and let the joy of that night (what a friggin’ long drive home!) sustain me through my dark moments…
I miss the blonde-headed, blue-eyed girl that we so wanted to have with all of my heart. I am saddened by the tremendous sense of loss and injustice I feel. I am at times beyond frustrated that my beloved husband stares off into nothingness with the sheen of unshed tears in his eyes. I feel anger rise like bile when I think how easy it had to have been for her to just throw us away like those expired concert tickets she found in a drawer somewhere. I am forever and irrevocably changed by what has happened to us, but not so much that I want to hide anymore. I want to tell my story and let other parents know that they too can survive the loss of their own flesh and blood, they just have to walk through the pain. The anger. The disbelief. The confusion. It may seem like just noise in the first few months following the loss, but I promise you will hear a beautiful melody, a simple harmony, a verse that opens the door to a heart that is different, but healing. I have learned much about myself over these past months, and the lesson most valued to me? I matter. To myself, to my husband, our daughter, our grandchildren, my friends. The list goes on.
Does the music sound the same after such loss as we have experienced? No. Think about the significance music has played in your life… What does your soundtrack sound like? Mine is full of variation. From the Bee Gees in my youth to Jim Brickman in my later life, and all that’s in between, I keep turning up the volume and listening to the words. I seek comfort through music and when I hit rock bottom in my grief, I listen for the positive messages I can find by listening to Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and many others. Our youngest daughter has introduced me to Andy Grammar, I love him! What about Bruno Mars, Charlie Puth, Lady Gaga? Find your inspiration to heal through any means you can, and let the music lift you up. I have tickets that will get us in to see Jim Brickman in December, and I am looking forward to enjoying myself. My husband will be seeing him for the first time, and I am excited to share my love of JB music with him in a live setting…
I know this has been a lengthy post, I’m in a writing mood tonight and I want to share hope with those of you that need to know it does exist. When an adult child decides that we aren’t good enough for them anymore, that is on them, not on us as parents. We lost our only daughter completely last year, and we can accept that now. We have found peace even though we don’t understand. We seek joy even when it seems impossible to find. We listen to the music of our lives and pray for others experiencing senseless loss. I pray that you all know that you are not alone, not ever, and there is someone somewhere that believes in you. You deserve to heal, you deserve to be happy, and you deserve a life filled with concerts that make you want to dance with abandon and freedom!!!
It’s been a few days and I feel like it’s been a lifetime in some ways since I’ve written. I can’t even begin to tell you how the events over the weekend have affected me and how sad I am that people don’t seem to care about each other anymore. It’s so easy to solve your problems through violence, or so it seems. I can’t begin to fathom how many thousands of people are gripped by the senseless grief they are now experiencing because some young, angry men decided killing their family members and friends was the way to make a point. It’s beyond political now, but as always, it seems to be an us against them mentality. Hatred is now accepted and promoted by the very people that are “supposed” to be leading us all into a “better” future. It kills my heart to think that I am now considering getting a concealed weapons license… If you knew me on a personal level, you would find this a shocking revelation. I am a broken mom, a broken wife, a broken MiMi, and now I am a broken member of the most broken country on the Earth.
I simply can’t figure out how being cruel has become so acceptable. What happened to taking care of one another? Why hurt one another when love is so much more rewarding? Sure, loving people comes at a great expense to your heart, but is violence better? Is cruelty? How can we all sit back and watch people destroy one another and not speak out, or speak up? What happened to my family at the hands of our oldest daughter is cruelty wrapped up in a package of misdirected hatred and lack of compassion. It’s that simple. I simply can’t understand how a human being, never mind the relation that used to exist could be so blatantly calculated and cruel to her parents. I’ve said before that we weren’t perfect, I will never claim to have been so, but I was a good mom and my husband loved his daughter. We’ve lost so much and time can’t change the facts. I simply can’t figure out what happened to her, and now we will never know. That she could have done something so very cruel was never a thought to be considered, and now, it’s a thought that can become all-consuming if I let it. Not going to let it… not anymore.
I simply can’t imagine why I think that anything I have to write matters, but it does. It matters to me and I want to let other hurting parents know that while their lives will never be the same after losing a child, they can move forward. And they can find joy. Whether that loss is due to suicide, estrangement, death or abandonment, there is life after loss and that life can be joy-filled. Life is like the circle of insanity in some ways, but more beautiful if you’re actively seeking the beauty that lies in every day. We took the fact that we were loving parents and grandparents for granted and those facts were stripped from us in the cruelest of ways almost 15 months ago. In the place of those facts, new facts have taken root and we are nurturing their tender growth. We appreciate the quiet of our lives, we fiercely love our grandchildren, and that goes for all 4 of them. Love is not a weapon and we refuse to use it as such. Let the others that don’t know that love needs to be cared for think they have the most powerful weapon of all at their disposal. I know better. Love exists in my heart still, nothing can take that away from me. I simply can’t imagine why anyone would want to. Loving someone shouldn’t be a game played with evil motives, that’s not fair. But the people who use love as a weapon don’t care about fairness. Or goodness. They only care about being “right” and “winning.” If loving makes me a loser, I’ll be the biggest loser you’ll ever want to meet.
I simply can’t understand why people don’t encourage each other any more. Why do we use things and feelings against one another? The world is a scary enough place as it is to not have a safe place to fall each night. Stop hurting one another and help one another. LET someone help you, even when you don’t “need” their help. Leave your pride in the trash can and be humble. But, in your humbleness, don’t let people mistake your actions as a weakness. It takes a great deal more strength to be humble, to admit failings and to ask for help than it does to deliberately hurt someone that loved or loves you still. I loved my daughter so much, and now that she is gone, she will never know that we are happy and moving on from the deliberateness of her inflicted pain. We tried to be encouraging without enabling her. We tried to give her the strength to stand on her own. We tried to teach her that love matters more than anything else. We failed. She believed that hurting us was the best way to let us know how insignificant we had become to her, and that hurt has healed some, but the bruised and bloody spirits that lie within us are ever-present. We will never give up on trying to make sense out of the most non-sensical situation we have ever faced, but we know deep within that we will never be able to figure out why she hurt us so very much.
I simply can’t figure out why the words personal accountability mean so little these days. I’ll use the platform of my blog to state that I believe wholeheartedly in those two words, more so now than ever. I am never going to willingly hurt someone I love, but if I do hurt them, I will take personal responsibility and be personally accountable for my actions. Or lack of action. Love takes so much from us but gives back tenfold. A hundred fold. Love gives back so much more than we could ever quantify, I simply can’t understand why people use it as a weapon. You have an ex-husband and wife? Did you have children together? DON’T use them as weapons. I don’t have an ex-husband, but I almost did, and I cherish the man I choose to stay married to. We created two beautiful girls together, and though we have lost one, we are ever grateful for the time we had with her. Much of that time was tumultuous, but looking back I realize that we would do it over if it meant we could have her back. Would we do things differently? In some ways, yes. In some, no. We would have waited to marry, but I would still have married him. I would still have my children as a younger mom, I loved growing up and learning with them. The point is, I am personally accountable for my choices, and I will continue to be. Blaming someone else is easier, but it’s not right. I simply can’t understand deliberately choosing to do harm, wreak havoc and create chaos. There are times I’d love to scream STFU at the world, but I’ll scream in silence and love loudly.
I simply can’t imagine that I have to stop for tonight, but tomorrow is an early day at work for me and I have to sleep. Be well, my friends, and know that I simply can’t imagine doing this without you…
I don’t even know if there is anyone reading my blog, oh wait… I haven’t felt like writing! So, of course, no one is reading. I’ve had a rough couple of weeks emotionally and have been licking my wounds in private, and am just now feeling compelled to write again. I write to get things out of me, to encourage others, and to heal. There just hasn’t been as much healing as I’ve needed, and I’ve learned that putting my needs first is the only way I can share. And heal. If I were being paid to write maybe I would have more motivation, but I like the idea that I’m not being “forced” by monetary circumstances. It’s not a job to write at all, and I want to keep the pureness of what I do as unencumbering as possible.
I haven’t felt like being raw as of late and I have been. I’ve been exposed to things that I find extremely disturbing and have slammed on the brakes to get some personal perspective. I’ve been ghosted, I’ve been played and I’ve been pretty much taken for a fool. What’s sad is that I am anything but and I have no one to blame but myself. I’ve learned that trust is pretty much just a word in the dictionary now, not something that you can place in others. I have trust in people in my family, but not all. I trust my boss, and as far as being a happily employed member of her business, I am. I trust my closest friends and they know this. I trust my dog. The older I get the less I trust. It’s that simple. I don’t feel like even trying to open myself up to new people because I feel like I can’t trust anymore.
I haven’t felt like grieving, but I have been. I have suffered a grievous loss in the past few days and my heart is so sore. I’m sick of losing. Of grief. Of being angry and sad and trying to be patient and letting time takes its’ time to heal me. Again. Ugh… I’ve heard my whole life that God never gives us more than we can handle, and while I finally believe this again, I don’t really feel like living it out in my daily life. I just want to crawl into my bed some days and hide from the world. I don’t, but I want to. I know we all feel this way from time to time, it’s how we push through and keep seeking joy that makes the difference. I haven’t felt like actively seeking joy this past couple of weeks, and a so grateful that it has sought me instead. Life without joy isn’t life at all. Kind of the way I feel about love without trust. It just doesn’t measure up.
I haven’t felt like being responsible and adulting lately, but I have been. That loss I mentioned previously? It’s thrown me for a loop and I feel off-balance right now. I also have some familial issues that have come to light and I don’t feel like dealing with them anymore. I know I have to, and I will, I just don’t want to. I think what I’m going through with these particular issues may be the reason I don’t “feel” like doing anything because that little voice on my shoulder is asking why? Why bother? Why get involved? Why won’t people listen? Why are people so cruel? I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture…
I haven’t felt like this in a very long time. Kind of drifting through life with no firm direction. As I continue to journey through and with my grief, I realize more and more that I don’t have to feel like anything to have something good come from the darkened rooms of my heart. I just have to: listen, wait and be open to the waves of pain. Why? On the other side of loss, pain, darkness, and feeling alone are joy, clarity, and definition. I like a well defined, well-ordered life, and sometimes I think I just have to get out of my own way. When I go silent as I have these last two weeks, you can be assured that I am listening for the guidance that pushes me along to the next steps of my journey. I’ve learned that though I have lost a child, I am still a mother. Though I have lost my way, I am still grounded, and while I have lost trust in most, I still have trust in some. I don’t feel like putting myself out there, but I will. You never know when the right person might say the right thing to get you out of your own head. Headspace is sorely overrated…
In closing, know that I appreciate each and every person that reads my blog. I write it because I DO feel like it. And I write it for all of you…
Today was a day of most unexpected joy. In the most unexpected way, my husband said I love you to me without saying the words themselves. It would be considered a small and almost insignificant thing to most, but after 37 years of marriage, the loss of a child and the separation we experienced almost two years ago, I have come to recognize the small gestures I would have let slip by in the past as the most precious of gifts. I was amazed today by the words of affirmation he spoke to me and if I were able to convey through words how I felt at that precise moment, I would. My husband is a man of few words, and today when his heart was wide open for the world to see, I caught a glimpse of just how loved I am by him. If I could grant wishes to the world at large, I would give everyone the feeling I have enjoyed today. I know my husband loves me, I love him, but to have him recognize giftings in me that I don’t recognize in myself? It’s left me almost speechless. Almost…
What makes a perfect marriage? Nothing. Nothing is perfect, but you can seek excellence in your marriage. You can plant the seeds of love and tend to them with care so they grow into a long and happy life. Who am I to even think I can speak about marriage? I am the wife of a man that has struggled his whole life to make me feel loved. I am the product of a broken home. I am a mother who has experienced untenable losses these past 14 months. My husband has also experienced the same losses, though his feelings in relation to the losses seem to be much more manageable than mine are. My husband is a man’s man, and he’s a man of few words, so the words spoken today in the presence of a small group of people were not only surprising, they were appreciated and valued and taken to heart. We are not created to do life alone, and I believe that we love who we love, and I am blessed to love this man. I am ever grateful that we made the effort to rebuild and reconnect, and even more grateful that after almost 4 decades of marriage, that we are living our happily ever after.
Does living that happily ever after mean we don’t have issues? I wish!!! Issues are inherent in a long term relationship, any long term relationship, and inherent when human beings interact. When two people have lived together as long as we have, there are bound to be issues, but the issues hopefully become smaller and less significant over time. Not always how things go, but some days are all blue skies, sunshine, and perfect temperature. Today was such a day for me. I plan to relish this feeling of complete love for as long as I can. We don’t have any kind of magic wand to wave over our lives to make them better, we work hard at it. We hold the hands of each other, we speak positivity to one another and we love each other through the pains, trials and tribulations life throws at us.
Don’t give up on love if you’re struggling to understand the ins and outs of it all. No one will ever understand it all. We learn over time to accept that people will hurt us, that people will abandon us and that people will let us down. Our husbands and wives being particularly prone to do so. Not because they want to, or need to, but because they make mistakes. WE ALL DO! Say you’re sorry. Hug your husband tighter tonight than last night. kiss your wife’s forehead while she sleeps. Write a love note and tape it to your spouse’s steering wheel so they see it on their way to wherever they’re going. Plant the seeds of tenderness, watch them grow. Plant new seeds for each season of life that you’ll go through, watch them grow. Remember that you are together with your mate because you WANTED to be. Hopefully remembering that helps you see the light in the dark times. I could have never made it through these past months without this man beside me, holding my hand. I can only hope that he knows how much he means to me and that no matter what has happened in the past, we are meant to be. He’s my person…
Life’s moments happen in the most unexpected ways, whether they be good, bad, happy or sad moments. The unexpectedness of such moments is a gift to be treasured. Tuck them away in your heart and mind. Take those unexpected moments out of safekeeping when the dark times come. And they will come. If you have a vault of precious unexpected moments to look back on, you’ll be able to move forward. The loss of our child has left us irrevocably broken, the unexpected moments of joy and peace are helping us heal. And helping us move forward. I look back over these past months and realize that the life we had is gone. The one we are building now is different, much different. We are determined to be happy, to seek joy and to grace each other’s life with unexpected moments of joy. And love. Love one another, it’s a gift worth giving.
In closing, I want to say thank you to my husband for all you have done for me. Everything. I appreciate you, I love you and I am honored to be yours.
I consider myself a reasonable person, slower to anger than I have ever been and still positive. Most of the time. This past week I discovered that someone was trolling me on my personal Facebook page to try and get information on someone I care deeply for and had been using information attained in my blog to tug on my heartstrings. I am a very compassionate person, but I will admit that I don’t share that compassion as freely as I used to. Losing our oldest daughter in the way we did taught me that no matter how much you love someone, no matter how much you care or want to help, not all people can be trusted. My circle of community became smaller this past week, and I’m perfectly okay with that. I’ve learned over these past 14 months just how fragile the human heart is, and I’m not giving anyone the chance to hurt me again like this person did. Period. I put my heart on full display every time I write my blog, and like everyone else, I have other sides to me that I keep private. Why do people think it’s okay to insert themselves in my world by using my own pain against me? I almost came to the conclusion that writing my blog wasn’t worth it, but to me it is. This blog helps me get my pain out, I hope it encourages others, and I need the outlet.
I consider myself a decent human being and I am saddened by the way I have had to become so self-protective. I lost so much faith in the kindness of others because of the actions of one person and I struggle daily, still, to understand why people think being cruel is okay. It’s not okay. Cruelty speaks volumes about the person(s) doing the cruel things, and people who think being cruel is okay are not welcome in my life. I know that people have misunderstandings, arguments, etc… but to deliberately hurt someone just because you can? Why? Isn’t the world a dark enough place already?
I consider myself a kind person and kindness matters. As do manners. Whatever happened to manners? Did the technological boom make it so manners are obsolete? It’s so easy to text someone something hateful and play it off as the resulting hurt is someone else’s fault. That Tweet about your neighbor that cuts them down? Really? Grow up!!! The fact that people think that they can hurt someone else and never be responsible for the hurt is beyond my scope of comprehension. I think of our lost daughter every day. Every. Single. Day. And not a day goes by where I don’t think why. Why did you do this? Why do you think I am such a terrible mom? Why do you think it was okay to try and destroy the bonds of grandparent/grandchild love? Was your life any better w/o us? How’s that working out for you? And then I think about the fact that I still believe in forgiveness and kindness and I lay the negative thoughts back down and move forward. I may only move forward using baby steps sometimes, but I move forward. I carry my baggage of kindness and forgiveness with me, though there are days I forget to open my suitcase and let it out. Be kind. Practice kindness. Reap what you’d like to sow. I promise you, kindness and forgiveness will carry you so much further than hatred, deceit, and self-centeredness. It’s like anything else, practice, practice, practice…
I consider myself open to new experiences, though I am more cautious about opening up as I get older. The person who trolled me and got discovered? She’s supposed to be a mature adult, though I don’t see that now. And for her I am sorry. I’m grateful that someone I love deeply figured out what was happening as I was blinded by my desire to encourage her in her made-up life, and now I’m hurting and somewhat angry at myself for allowing myself to be so gullible. Shit. If she thought just being herself wasn’t good enough, she was wrong. I am grateful that she gave me the push I needed to make changes in my life, and if I could I would thank her for the reality check she gave me. I honestly just wish this never happened, because everyone needs at least one person on their side, and she lost me. I lost her. Then again, how do you lose something you never really had?
I consider myself a peaceful person and I have practiced great restraint these past 14 months and plan to continue to do so. When someone hurts me, I’ll tell myself that I forgive them. I’ll be kind in my silence, but my silence should never be mistaken for weakness. Not ever. I am anything but weak, I just don’t believe in an eye for an eye so to speak. The world would eventually go blind if that were the way to resolve personal trials, and that’s not acceptable. Just because I don’t scream and yell and stomp my feet doesn’t mean I don’t hurt. I believe in learning from the hurt, I believe in forgiveness and I believe that I matter, so responding in kind to a cruel person? Not gonna happen… It took losing my firstborn to break me and for me to come back as a different, but a much stronger woman. Peacefulness takes strength, strength grows from adversity and adversity WILL happen. Most likely when you least expect it. Don’t run from it! Embrace it. Learn something from it. Make peace in spite of it.
I consider myself beyond blessed. I still have a daughter that loves me, 4 beautiful grandchildren that I love more than my life, a husband that is my safe place, my friend and my lover. I have a home that I love, even in its smallness. I have a few friends, and three of the very best friends’ anyone could ever wish for. I have a job I enjoy, fur babies that know when I need a little extra attention and am walking forward in what has become one of the most meaningful personal journeys I have ever been on. I am not afraid. Be well my friends, until next time…
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…
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…