The title of tonight’s blog is a partial quote by Marcus Aurelius, and I saw it at the end of a movie my husband was watching when I got home from work this evening. It gave me something to think about and kind of tied my thoughts together in a weird sort of way. Let me explain…
I have fought so hard these past 17 months against the loss of not only our daughter, but against the loss of our son-in-love, grandson and granddaughter. I realized this morning sitting in my car in the parking lot at my job that I was and am fighting against that over which I have no control. I am done. Done. Done giving away parts of myself in the most minute of ways to where no one else can see what it costs me to keep hurting. I am done giving away any part of my heart to anyone other than those to whom I choose to give it to. I will always love the little girl I gave birth to and mourn the woman we lost almost 35 years later, though as far giving away any more contol… Done. I have to be. It’s time to accept the things to which fate has bound me, and the loss of our daughter is one of those things.
Fate has also bound me to accepting pain. Crushing pain. I’m okay with this as I know the pain I experience has been, can be and will be able to help another parent somewhere come to grips with the cruelty of being thrown away. Or of being accused, however falsely, of terrible acts against their own child. All I can say to another hurting parent is to remember that the burden of proof lies with the child doing the throwing away. It sounds simple. In essence it is simple. In reality, it’s anything but simple. Anything but easy. It’s a tough pill to swallow. A bitter tonic to drink. No matter the metaphor used, being thrown away by a child that you created and nurtured is cruel, mean, and very often without grounding. My husband and I were not perfect parents, but we were and are damned good ones. I cannot change that which fate has bound us to, but I can rise above it all and hold my head high knowing that I tried my best to be a good and loving mommy to both my little girls.
Fate has shown me that love isn’t enough for some people, but that it is enough for me. I have wonderful friends and the most amazing family that any plain and ordinary person could hope for. My husband of almost 38 years loves me. Me. The unlovable monster that has been accused of heinous things. I am not a monster. I am not evil. I am not unkind. What am I? I am broken. I am shattered. I am loved. I love. I have friends that know the darkness that I find myself in at times, and they shine a light into that darkenss so I can find my way out. Fate would try and have me accept the things of which I have been accused, and this is where I mock fate. I know better. Sorry fate…
I accept that fate has been a powerful and exacting teacher in my life, though I struggle with such an admission. Why would fate choose such a life for any mother? Father? Sister? My place is not to question why, but to figure out how to keep moving on. I am only responsible for what I do. How I act. What I say. I’ve learned that no matter how hard I try to turn the other cheek, it takes more strength than I myself possess. I don’t try to stand alone anymore, I’m not strong enough to do so. I lean on my husband, my friends, my faith and my family. I am but one, and it takes a village…
So, in closing, remember that Marcus Aurelius was a very wise man. We have to accept that to which fate binds us. We can push back against it, we can fight it with everything inside of us and we can turn and run… It won’t matter. Fate is what it is and we learn from it or let it take from us. I have nothing left to give Fate, I accept this.
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…
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…
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…
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…
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!
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…
I took a long walk this morning and enjoyed the peace of mind being out in nature brought me. It led me to think about what exactly peace of mind means, and I think it’s different for all of us. I know for me it can be different quite often, depending on where I’m at in my life. In my mind. And what I let bring me peace of mind. Is prayer your key to peace? Is music? Is alone time? Time in nature? Whatever it is, I truly hope you recognize it for yourself and invite it in to your life as much as possible.
I spent the day today enjoying the company of some very good and very safe people. I am not a trusting soul since losing my daughter, but the people I enjoyed sharing time with today are all well acquainted with me and the situation I find myself in these days. I was able to share my pain and express myself without fear of judgement and scorn. Knowing that I was being loved on brought me such peace of mind, and for moments like these I am truly grateful. Peace of mind is a gift that is well received if you can recognize it for what it is.
I also had an appointment today with my therapist and she is by far one of the kindest, most compassionate people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. She asks the hard questions, and knows that I am not afraid to answer them. Lack of fear leads to peace of mind, and I’m attempting to live as fearlessly as possible these days, therefore I feel like I am consciously investing in my own peace of mind.
I realize I am not an expert on how to handle loss, estrangement, alienation or any other trauma that can befall us human beings. What I am is experienced in my own journey and willing to share my feelings in the hopes that someone reading finds comfort. Or that someone finds an idea to incorporate into their daily lives to find their way through the minefield of the pains of loss. Finding peace of mind when your life has been thrown into chaos because of another person’s decision(s) is key to healing and moving on.
Take some time to do some self care, you’re worth it! No matter what has happened to you, who has hurt you, or where you’re at right now, you deserve a peaceful mind. We all do…