Facing my own demons

adoption, adoption loss, life,

A new Angel in Heaven…

This is a story of a man. A truly great man, who without a doubt spent his whole life doing exactly what he should have been doing. A man who loved God and his family always. Who’s faith and love never wavered. Imagine never having any reason for regrets because you have done the absolute best thing you could do with your life without fail… This is a story of such a man.

On May 24, 1926, a child was born in the country home of Lonnie and Ida. A boy. He was their first child. Being a farmer, I can imagine that Lonnie was quite proud that his first child was a son…Having a son was very important during this time. But even so, Lonnie and Ida could not have been aware of how special this son was. They could have not known what kind of man this son would grow to be. Nor could they have known how many lives would be touched and made better by this child that must have been so tiny on that day.

They named their first child.. Their first son, Dencal Ray Cave. Ida grew to call him “Ray boy” and continued calling him that for all of her life. I can still hear her calling him, “Ray boy, will you come fix my thermostat, it’s too hot in this house..” As she called on him many times a day as she grew older and “Ray Boy” was always happily ready to drop what ever he may have been doing to go and turn his mother’s heat up or down…Open a window… Cook her a meal.. No task was too small or large for him as long as he was able to help his mother. But this was many many years after that day in 1926. Many years after he had spent his life time of dedication to not only his mother, but his whole family.

Now I don’t know what happened in his life before the age of 12, as I only know what I have been told about his younger days. I do know he went to school for only a few short years…And that the importance of school was very low on the list of things his parents found important for him. I can imagine, that he probably spent much of his very young childhood helping his mother with simple chores around the house and garden; until his body grew strong enough for the tougher chores his father needed him for. Attending school during the winter months as most children of that time did, when the farm work was lessened by the cold.

At the age of 12, “Ray Boy” became a man. He was quite proud that he had gotten his brand new social security number which I’m sure made him feel that he counted as a man in this country that he loved so much, these United States! But what made him a man was that it was then he got a job outside the family farm and started adding money’s to the family funds. He never even had any thoughts that he shouldn’t have to give his money to his parents… “It was his duty to help his parents in what ever way he could” is the only way he could think, being already the person that he would be for his life.

At age 18 when he was drafted, his father would have gladly protested the draft, as he was the only son.. But Ray could not allow this…Even though it was his terrible fear that he may indeed be forced to take another man’s life… He felt that it was his duty to answer the call his country had made to him. And off to war he went. While over seas, he had most of his pay sent home to his parents so they would have money to raise his youngest sister… Even then, he was still doing the best he could to help his family. It wasn’t an obligation to him, it was just what he did. That was just who he was. He couldn’t have done anything any differently.

Somehow, he did manage to get through the war without ever shooting or hurting anyone. He was quite proud of that. His love for God made his beliefs very strong that he had no right to take the life of another. He did his duty and what ever he was told to do.. Without ever shooting anyone. His life was often in great pearl however, as he was a front line solder. He and the others in his troupe had several very close calls. Some of these being so “close” that it can only be believed that God had made sure to keep him safe. And he praised God over and over again throughout the rest of his years.

After he had come home from the war, beaten and bruised he did not allow this horrible life experience to dampen his Love for God and family.

He soon married.. From this marriage he gained four children. And he worked hard and long hours to provide for his new family. He did what he thought was best for his family… He could not do anything else…Even still, some people in his life might not always see the good intentions, while they could only see the lonely nights and days without him there. If doing what he felt was what he was supposed to be doing helped his family .. It did not always help him. Living on God’s chosen path is not always a pleasant walk. But Ray did stay on that path… Through the good times and the bad…He was not perfect.. As no man is… He did stumble.. But always he managed to pick himself up before the fall was complete and continue on his path.

When his marriage ended.. Ray found himself a single father to his youngest two daughters. (His other two children were already grown.) A soon to be teenager and a six year old who were now totally his responsibility. Knowing that his girls would need supervision while he was working and also probably thinking they needed a woman in their lives… Ray moved back to his parents home, after being on his own for so many years. This must have been a hard choice for him to make, but he did what he felt he had to do for the sake of his daughters.

After a few years, when he felt he had the resources, he took his daughters and moved to a new state; to a new life. This move eventually led him to meet a woman who he fell in love with. The woman was indeed his second love, but she was his soul mate. After their marriage, as the years went by, it was easy to see they were soul mates. His daughter’s grew up and left home.. He continued to be the man he had always been. All anyone, family, friend or neighbor had to do was call out to him and he was there for them in whatever they needed.

When his youngest daughter came to him, broken hearted and soul bruised.. He took her into his arms and gave her comfort. Taking care of her again as he had when she was a child, until she could heal enough to care for herself again. He did this out of the free unconditional love he had. Never did he remind her that she had chosen the path that had led her to her own destruction even against his advise….He never said anything about anything that his daughter had done.. He simply loved her as he loved everyone. Free without a price.

When his wife became ill, he spent his days as her care taker. Even while by this time his age was advanced and his body was beginning to tire.. He never rested until his wife was resting. He took care of her until there was nothing he could no longer do for her, except love her and that never faltered. Even after she was gone.. His love for her remained strong and he would have it no other way.. Even though it caused him much pain.

Finally, he agreed to move in with his youngest daughter. He was lonely and he felt that she needed him. He was right! She did need him to be close to her. She was finally old enough to realize how important a man her father had always been to her and now she needed to be with him.

As he aged, he slowed… But he didn’t stop being the man he had always been. Many times in those two years after moving in with his daughter he answered calls for help from friends and family. All the while, hiding his own pain.. A pain that even his daughter didn’t understand for a long time because he would not allow her to see.

On May 24, 1926 a baby boy was born to a world who needed him greatly. On January 11, 2007 Heaven gained a new and wonderful Angel and the world lost a wonderful man.

I am that youngest daughter. On January 11 I lost my Dad. The only man who ever gave me totally free and unconditional love without ever asking for anything in return. How will I ever go on with life without him in it?

February 5, 2007 Posted by | life, loss | 6 Comments

How long is this journey?

When I started this blog, I began a journey. A journey of self discovery. I did it with a purpose. I knew what I was doing and I knew it needed to be done. I had closed off my anger, and pain many years ago….Locked away in a closet and threw away the key were all the bad feelings that I couldn’t deal with any more.

I had allowed myself to live with the pain and anger for two years, when it all happened. When I lost my children, I lost my family, I lost myself. Those first two years were the hardest years of my life.. I was sure they were the hardest years of anyone’s life. I begged God on a daily basis to let me die and end the torment. If I was alone at all, for any time, I was curled into the fetal position, sobbing and pleading with God to stop the pain. For two years this went on…behind closed doors… I couldn’t let anyone see it but it was always there. Over and over, I kept remembering something my step mother had said many times during my life;

 “God will never put more on you than you can handle.”

But it was of no comfort, because I was not handling this pain at all. I knew I couldn’t keep it up… I felt …. Forgotten. God had forgotten me… The pain just got worse and worse and God had forgot to turn it off and soon I would implode because it was indeed more than “I” could handle! At some point I decided that I must have been so evil that I was sentenced to hell. I was sure that my life was the “hell” that everyone warned about. So this was how it was. You didn’t die to go to hell… You lived.

And I laid in secret, in my fetal position and begged God to forgive my evilness and release me from this hell. Everyday, every night, for two years, I begged, I cried, I screamed for escape from my own hell.

Then one day, I just accepted it. I “knew” that there was no release for me. I could find no way out. This was all I had, my hell.. It was all I would ever have again. I stopped begging for relief from the pain. I accepted that I was evil and I had to pay for it… Forever.

A strange thing happened when I accepted the pain. Somehow, when I stopped fighting for relief, I was able to shut out the pain. I shut out the pain that was always there in my chest. I didn’t dwell on it, because I accepted as part of my normal life…Some how, this made it possible to forget the pain… The anger… I simply shoved it into that “closet” and closed the door. And I lived again. I can’t say that it was like freedom from the pain, because it was if the pain had never existed. I had completely eradicated it… Or so I thought…

What I didn’t know, all those years, was that when I locked away the “hurt” I had to lock away the memories…and a part of myself. The only way I could forget the bad parts, was to forget the good parts as well. I couldn’t lock away the pain of loosing my children, if I didn’t lock away the memories of being a mother.

Becoming a mother shaped who I was…loosing my children was tearing away part of myself… Forgetting the pain of that was loosing myself. I had to start over. I had to rebuild who I was… I became a different person. In truth, I never liked this new person I had become… But I had to do it to survive.

When I began to remember… I found that closet door and found a tiny crack and tried to peak into it. What I discovered was that I had not locked away all my pain in that closet after all. I had locked myself into the closet and everything else was out side….The person I was… Life… And yes all the pain that goes with it is just outside that closet door. And so my journey began.

The first time I had a “revelation” I thought wow, look at me, I’m out in the real world again! I felt elated that I had beaten down the denial so easily. I had found myself again and I was so proud. Then I bumped into a wall. Bam! What was that?! A wall? How could there be a wall out here? Sure enough though, I bared the bruises from that wall.

Finally, I realize the truth. I have begun the journey, but only just.. I haven’t stepped out of that closet yet… I haven’t even found the door knob yet… I managed to build a window and let some light in.. But it is still to easy to shut the curtains on the light, when I feel the pain…The pain is so bad. It is just as bad as I remember. It’s too much some times and I can’t take it, I can’t relive this…But I have to. I know that. And so I peak past the curtains, even open them a bit again… Until the pain is too much and I close them again.

How long is this journey? How long will it take to tear down the curtains… When will I find the lock? Can I turn that door knob? With each new discovery, I hope I gain strength, strength enough to make it out all the way.

I can’t go back… I know that… But I have to learn to go forward. I can’t go forward until I am completely able to face my past…How long is this Journey?

October 18, 2006 Posted by | future, life, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

“You need to make it ok for them”

Because I can not control my dark days…. here is another post that is not the one I have promise…..

“You need to make it ok for them.”

The words of that so called well meaning social worker will forever reverberate in my head, slashing away at any sanity that I might have thought I had left.

This post by MSP: http://peacefullyseeking.blogspot.com/2006/09/warning-could-be-triggering-to-some.html

Reminded me of the day I said goodbye to my precious daughters forever. These so called “handing over ceremonies” remind me of that day that the social worker at CPS “allowed” me to say goodbye to my girls. Before I was allowed to see my children, I was told what I should or should not say to them. “You need to make it ok for them.” … Just as this agency seem to script what the mother should do or say at the “handing over ceremony”, I was given a verbal script to follow. So that it would “make it ok” for my kids to be saying goodbye to their mother and going to a stranger and suddenly calling her mother. What could one do or say to make such an unnatural thing, “OK”? Just as what could the mother of that new born baby do or say to make it ok for her to hand her baby to some other woman and call herself…. Arrr “Birthmother”??

How could telling a five and a three year old that I couldn’t take good care of them any more and that I wanted them to be happy, so I am giving them to someone who could take care of them, do anything to make this OK?! How could saying something that horrible not cause my children pain and guilt?! Children almost always feel guilt when there is a divorce of the parents… How could me saying such horrid things about them leaving me and going to live with strangers not make them think that they had been bad, so bad that mommy couldn’t care for them any more. But this is indeed what the social worker wanted me to say. Repeating the sentence several times so that I would remember the words… How could I say that horrid lie to my children? What more damage would that statement caused on top of the damage that was already being done to them!

Just as the “handing over ceremony” is suggested being done in a controlled environment, such as the adoption agency. My goodbye was carefully planned and controlled at all times by the CPS workers. When I was left alone, in that sparsely furnished room…I broke free from their control… But only for a moment. I told my children that I loved them and wanted to keep them more than anything else in life. I told them the truth, that I wasn’t given a choice, that I had to let them go. I told them how wonderful they were and that no matter what I wanted only their happiness, but I was not in control of this now. I told them that someday they would be able to look for me and I would never be far. And that I would always be waiting for them. I told them they were good girls and none of this was ever their fault… When did “It” happen?! I don’t know… I was talking as fast as I could, I was holding my children as close as I could and telling them of my love as much as I could before “they” came back.

Suddenly, the door burst open, as if the swat team themselves had come to break down the door! So many men and women in suits came bursting into the room! Some time during the fast and ferrous speech of love that I was giving my daughters, these suit people physically tore my children from my arms as they had already emotionally had done weeks before. My daughters’ screams mixed together with the screams of another, who I was surprised to learn was me.

Just like the controlled environment that is suggested for the “handing over ceremony”; they had their controls ready and quickly removed the threat that I might make my children understand that it was them, the horrid government agency that was supposed to protect them, the same government agency that I had went to for help in protecting my girls, that were tearing their lives apart. I had broken their rule, thou shall not let the CPS look bad, even if thou has to take the blame, thou must not let the CPS look bad. And they punished me by stripping me of my final goodbye to my children. What emotional scars did they give those two girls when they literally ripped them, kicking and screaming from my arms? …

Just as I am sure the adoption agencies employees would put a quick end to any good byes the mother may have if she showed signs of changing her mind.

And the video tape or pictures they suggest?! What is that?! Because they know, they even say it. That the mother will not remember some things! What they don’t say is why she won’t remember some things. Because she is so emotionally traumatized that her brain is not capable of holding all her memories. that her HUMAN brain could not handle that much pain, so it will repress some memories, and may even dump some memories forever.

That year for me has many holes in my memories. I see that year of my life in a serious of images, as if there were photos on the screen of my brain, flashing one after the other in no perticular order and none of them fit together. Some of these images even seem foreign to me, as if I had retrieved someone else’s photos at the shop.

I remember some things all too clearly. I remember the day I said goodbye to my girls as clear as if it were yesterday. I remember what it felt like to hold them to me and smell their sweet hair and kiss their soft face… I remember the pain, I can still feel the pain in my chest as I watched my girls being carried away…. I don’t remember ever leaving that room…… Do I want pictures or video of that day to remind me? OHHHHHH God No! I couldn’t stand to see it in real world, when I can see it so clearly in my head.

Do I want some of my lost memories back… I think yes… In point, that last day of seeing my girls, I was then, unknown to me yet, pregnant with their brother…. I do remember finally figuring out I was pregnant, I do remember being sick the whole time, I do remember working right on up until the day I went into labor… I can’t see it though. I can’t feel my son moving inside my womb in my memories. I can’t see myself with large belly wobbling around. I can’t remember the special details of that pregnancy as I can remember the pregnancies of my daughters. I want to! I want to be able to pull those memories out of what ever lock box they are in. I want to remember my son’s first kick. I want to remember how it felt to have him wiggling inside my womb.

And you know, I would really like to leave that horrid room that was my torcher chamber. I wish I could leave the room that I said goodbye to my girls in…….

September 7, 2006 Posted by | Adoption, life | 6 Comments

I “keep on going”

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So, I’ve been a funk for several days now. Not that this is any big news… I get this way… We all do….But this time I seek to know what has caused this particular “funk”. Sometimes I know, sometimes I don’t. This time, I didn’t… Until I started letting my mind have it’s own way. And I realized it is getting worse, the close it gets to August. My oldest daughter’s birth month. I fear that this year it will be very hard.

I know why. It is because I’ve put all this “adoption/ adoption loss stuff” for most in my mind of late. I may not write in my blog on a regular basis, but I do make it a part of my regular daily schedule to read other first mother’s/ adoptive mother’s and adopted adults blogs. So this year, I spend each day searching these sites, one because many of them I feel a kinship to and I want to see how they are doing and two, I look for insight from their experiences into my own psyche .

 Shaping this daily routine has had it’s benefits to me. I don’t feel so alone any more. I now understand my feelings better, after seeing them through other people’s eyes. But it also leaves me more open to the “triggers” in my life. Such as birth months. For many years, the birth months have been only pain full for a week or so surrounding the actual birthday and of course the worst day being the birthday of each of my children. Oh yes, when it was fresh, in the years of the beginning, it was painful even a month before, when someone would say “oh, wow, it’s almost August… School will be starting soon.” I would cringe and think, I have no children to send to school now… I have a daughter who will be…(what ever age my oldest would be on that year) but I can’t send her or her sister and brother to school any more, ever!

As the years past, however, and as I forced myself to “go on with life” by pushing the pain down, the amount of time before and after each birthday that was hard for me became smaller. Sometimes I would get depressed a week or so before a birthday without even knowing why until the actual birthday and then it was always like slamming my body into a brick wall at car fast speeds, without the car to shield my body of course.

But not this year. This year it feels like it did in the beginning. Or maybe it is like a wound that has formed a thin scab and I’ve ripped the scab off. Causing the wound to once again bleed. (ok, that’s a really disgusting visual but it is what it is.) I think that is how it must be for mother’s who have lost their children to adoption. In the beginning, the grief is just like anyone else that has lost loved ones… But eventually you have to come to terms that the wound your heart has will never truly heal. It may scab over from time to time, making it slightly less painful, like an itch that  you can’t scratch, but then some trigger comes along and rips that scab right off and you have this huge wound in your heart again.

So here I am, with this giant wound in my heart, in my very soul. It is opening up again, getting bigger by the day and I’m wondering how I will manage to “keep on going” this time. And also, I’m wondering, why should I? Why can’t I just lay down and sleep. It seems the only time I feel ok right now is when I am sleeping. Why can’t I just sleep until it goes away?

 Why do I always have to be “the responsible one”? I have to continue to go to work, so we’ll have money to eat with..Even though, I just want to stay home and cry. I have to spend time with my dad, so he won’t feel lonely… Even though I just want to be alone! I have to keep up with the house and the house hold bills, so my husband doesn’t have to worry about that and will be free to do his own job and have his free time to himself… Even though I really could care less if the house falls down or gets taken away…. Why do I keep going? If I stopped doing it all, wouldn’t someone say “oh, I better take care of this.” ? Or at least wouldn’t they start to notice that something was different if I didn’t get out of bed in the morning? Because they sure don’t notice anything now… Not like this.

Of course, I do wear a thin facade to hide my depression. But the key word here is THIN. My disguise is so thin that anyone should be able to see the tears clearly behind it. But they don’t.And when I go home at night and cry into your pillow, no one knows.

 It’s not that there aren’t signs behind that fake smile I put forth to the public. There are many many signs of how sad I am, but no one sees them, why? Because they don’t want to! Because people in general are selfish! They don’t want to know about the pain that other’s close to them are feeling because it might bring them down.

 Or maybe because they won’t know what to say. Maybe they are under the FALSE impression that if they know about someone close to them who is in pain, that they will need to have a way to fix it. And maybe because they can’t fix it, they don’t want to know cause then they themselves would feel inadequate.

Well, sometimes you can’t fix it! Sometimes all you can do is say I wish I could help take your pain. Sometimes all you can do is be there. Why can’t people see this?! Why?! Why can’t at the very least, My husband, say “honey, is anything wrong? Do you need to talk?”

But he doesn’t. He doesn’t see any more than anyone else that sees me on a daily basis. I can’t bring myself to go to him and say “I need to talk” because to many times I’ve done this and he’s always tried to find a “solution” where there is none. I don’t want someone to make me well again… I just want someone to say “I know you are in pain and I care.” But no one does.. So I just, “keep on going” for there is nothing else I can do.

Briefly I considered taking a break from the blogs. But I can’t do that now. It may be a daily reminder of my loss, but it is also a daily reminder that I am not truly alone in the world. These other women, who I feel a deep friendship for, even though there is little communication between myself and them help me daily, when no one else in my life is willing to. So with their support, directly or indirectly, I’ll keep on going.

July 29, 2006 Posted by | life | 3 Comments

And so for another year, I write….

A Post dedicated to my Sister… ((((K))))

So my sister’s visit as come and went. Each year, I’m so thankful, that she makes it so. She comes for one week. One, tiny all to fast week. Ahhh, it is such sweet sadness.

Each year, I get so excited at her up coming arrival that for weeks before I am a mess. I worry over everything, wanting everything to be just perfect for her while she is here. Plan so many events for her and I that I know will never take place. I am so delighted to have this stressful time in my life. My emotions are so confusing when it comes to my sister, K, my best friend.

I look to her for advise about life, and yet, I feel so good when I am able to help her with life’s little problems. She is my older sister and I look up to her, and yet I am thrilled to know that she needs me as much as I need her… And when she visits for that one week each year… Boy is that a confusing time. My hustle and bustle to prepare for her visits wear on me body and soul and it feels… Wonderful! Then she arrives.. And it’s like everything is all right. All of life’s problems slip away into dark shadows, not to be recognized for that wonderful week. Life is so perfect for that one week….(I know this may seem daunting to K. Knowing this is what she does.. Wondering how she could live up to such.) But really she doesn’t have to do anything! She is who she is and that is enough. Enough to have all my worries fall away for one sweet week of reprise.

And yet… Each day of her visits are bitter/sweet. As each day I realize that it is one day closer to the end. The week passes in a blink of an eye, and yet… While she is here.. It feels as if she has always been here. Always been apart of my household and that the week has been forever… And then she is gone… So soon.. And it is like I’m missing a part of myself again. This year was hard to comprehend her departure because I had to work. Never again… Next year will be planned much better. I need to be able to see her off. I said good bye to her the night before, when I had to go to bed and the next morning when I left for work but it didn’t seem real.

So much so that when I got home from work and she was not here, I felt surprised and confused. And lonely… Everything that had been put on hold for a week came rushing back the moment I stepped into my K free house. My Life problems, my depression, my emotions that make me hide in the corner, had been there, waiting in the shadows and when I walked into my house… No K there to smile at me and welcome me home.. Out of the shadows all these emotions jumped and stabbed my heart! I actually was knocked back a step by the force of it. My first thought was to run to K… But of course… She’s no longer here… When was it that she wasn’t here before? Was that just a week ago that she wasn’t here? It seemed like she had always been here and now suddenly without warning she was gone… Oh yes, working on the day she leaves is bad bad. I need that tearful goodbye at the airport… I need it to make it real so that when the house is empty of her presence it isn’t such a shock.

And then this morning, in my email is a letter from K. My mornings have been for years started with a letter from K and now here is my morning letter. And suddenly everything is as it should be again. And again, this is so bitter/sweet. As I shall miss not being able to hug her for real for yet another year… I will again have my morning letters and that is so wonderful. How confused am I?

July 24, 2006 Posted by | life | 2 Comments

Victim or Survivor….

I have met many wonderful women in my search for peace. Many who you will find links to their blogs on this site; and many more that I have not yet linked to. (Only because I am lazy.)

And my wonderful new group that I share emails with everyday. Such a wonderful group of women who know the pain of loosing their child through adoption. These women choose to share their friendship with others and help others in pain and every day life.

Some of these women still do not know how they have helped me personally by telling their stories. I lurk on their blogs daily. Searching for ones who have updated with anticipation. Reading each word they write over and over again with amazing connection. I know these feelings of which they write. I see their pain, I feel their pain as it is so much like my own. And with each new day, each new blog entry, I find myself feeling… Not alone. I’m not alone any more! And that feels good.

It was with one of these women that I had an email communication with that led me to the path of Victim vs survivor. In hopes of bringing some peace into my life, she suggested that I stop looking at myself as a victim and realize that I am a survivor instead. Her letter was like a giant light bulb in my head. I was looking at myself as a victim. I had so much anger inside me that sometimes it felt as if the anger was all of me. I sometimes feel that if not for the anger and self pity, I would melt away into nothingness. The real question, the one I asked my friend was, how do I stop the anger and self pity from eating me alive? How do I transition from Victim to Survivor.

Her answer? Her answer was amazing to me. More amazing was that I could not see this answer on my own. I guess sometimes you truly can’t see the forest, for the trees.

What she said to me was this:

“For a start you stop giving it a negative label. Have some compassion for yourself; call it grief or loss. Call it psychic disturbance…. If you met another woman who had lost her children and was upset about it, would you tell her not to have her feelings?”

The answer is Of course Not! The pain that I feel, the pain that all my first mother friends feel, we can not turn off! We have to be allowed to feel this pain! We have to acknowledge it and be allowed to know that it is real. We can’t hide it any longer! We’ve hid this pain in the closets of our hearts for too long. Letting it eat away at our Souls, so that no one would see. NO MORE!

Hiding our pain only makes us more the Victim! It only makes the pain keep growing until it will eventually consume us. We have to bring it out of the closet and face it! Acknowledge it as real and learn to reach out to others for help in standing, when standing alone is too hard!

So what is the road to healing for us? My friend answered this question also: She said to being healed,

 “I believe it’s not something that can ever be resolved or healed, there is no true healing and no true closure from this kind of loss. I don’t look for that anymore, I don’t believe it exists and that helps me.”

This statement seems devastating when you look at it alone, but in truth, it can be very freeing. When you spend all your energy trying to stop the pain, when there is no real way of stopping it, you can end up in much more pain. Each day you ask when will I stop hurting so bad! You allow yourself to feel guilty for the pain itself and that heaps itself onto the pain. Each night finds you screaming in silence and darkness. But there is something freeing when you allow yourself to embrace the ache in your heart.

The emptiness is a part of you. You know that it is a part of your heart that makes you who you are now. And soon, even though you still have this aching in your heart, yes your very soul, you allow yourself to live also. By giving yourself permission to cry, you find that you also have room to live. You find ways to live with the loss that does not compromising your heart.

“You learn to share your story with others. Write your story, channel your pain in other activities. Reach out to others who also feel this pain. Ask questions, the seek out the answers! You are a survivor.

Each day when you get out of bed, you are a survivor! Living life, everyday makes you a survivor! Each time you reach out to someone else in pain and embrace them, You are a survivor!”

So for all my dear, dear friends that have experience and are still experience the terrible heart break of loosing your child. To all of you, who wake each morning knowing your child will wake to hug someone else as their parents and not you. I chalenge you today to embrace your loss! Give yourself permission to feel the loss. It is real! Stop hiding in the shadows! Search and seek out others who also know this grief! Share your story and allow other’s to share their story with you! Find ways to chanel your grief in constructive ways. Reach out with helping hand to others in ways that suit your special abitities! It may be crafts, or writing or volenteering to help people who need a helping hand.

This is not some magic cure! There is not a tent revival Minister that can slap you on the forehead, “You’re Healed!” But slowly, over time, when you give yourself permission to survive, you will begin to see that you are a survivor! You always have been!

(And for me, excepting my own challenge, I want you all to know, that I am here for you. Anytime you need someone to listen, just write to me. My heart is open to you. I don’t have answers to many questions, but I do have heart. I can be your friend. I can be here for you to express your grief. When we reach out to each other, we will find that it is also helping ourselves. Sometimes, all we can do is just listen. And that’s ok. Cause sometimes that’s all someone needs is for someone to listen. I am here for that! If you find that you need someone to listen to you, I will be here for you.)

July 13, 2006 Posted by | Adoption, life | 1 Comment

Who are all these People?

standing-in-the-rain.jpgWho are are all these people I see;

Standing in the rain.

See there, the one who smiles;

Every so softly…

Something in her eyes…

There is one who tries so hard;

To comfort those in pain.

Gentle voice, soft words

Hugs to be given freely.

Standing there, is one,

Who is crying out in terror.

The fear that can not be hid.

Then the laughter,

From the one in front.

Do what it takes;

My friend, to hear laughter,

From those around you.

And over there, see the red?

The one who’s anger,

Screams for attention.

One hiding from the world,

No one to see..

Who are all these people, I see?

Standing in the crowd.

Loving, and hating?

Pain and happiness,

All in this one crowd.

Screams of terror,

Smiles of comfort

Who will show themselves today?

All these people, I do not know.

Looking at me;

From the mirror.

June 30, 2006 Posted by | life, today | Leave a comment

A Time to die, and die again…..

This will be the hardest post for me yet. It's all been leading to this…

If I can get through this…. Maybe just maybe …. I don't know… I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by writing all this down, any more. I first thought that it would help me heal… I'm not sure that healing is possible any more. Then, as I posted each time, I thought, maybe someone else will stumble on this and be helped by it…. Do I really think that I can help anyone? And a new thought has crept it's way into my brain. What if, somehow, someday, one of my daughters were to stumble on to this site… I have no idea what they were told about me…. Even though I have reunited once with R years ago. I didn't know that it was "reunion" then. I never heard of that term before. I just knew that I got to see my daughter. I got to talk to her. I got to hug her and tell her I loved her and then it was all gone. Maybe she was too young at the time? Maybe she was told things… I wanted to tell her my story then, but I didn't know how to tell her. She didn't ask me anything. I always thought I should wait for her to ask… But this is another subject, for another post… Now I am stalling. I know this… I am not sure why I need to write all of this, nor why I am doing it so publicly. I just know that I need to do this and so…..

For reasons that will reveal themselves later.. Time line is kind of important. So I have been diligently counting on my fingers, adding and subtracting each event in relation to the age of Little R or L. The time line is only accountable to me by the relationship to their ages. Somehow, I thought the time was much longer that everything had happened. I always thought in my mind that everything happened over a long period of time, but in following the time line so carefully, I've discovered that it all happened rather quickly. In some ways, it seems that all of this happened last year or last month. In other ways it seemed it happened a life time ago, in someone else's life. But the time from when I took my two little girls and ran away from their abusive father to the time I lost my girls seems to have been years. But it wasn't. I am surprised, it didn't take long at all for my life to be totally destroyed.

So, Little R was still four years old, L was almost two when they came home to live with me again. We hadn't been separated very long at all. And I had called them every day and visited them on my days off. But it seemed as though we had been apart for a life time. Not just to me, to them also. They clinged to me and would not let me out of their site. Following me to the bathroom, where they stood in the doorway watching me intently so I wouldn't slip out the tiny 4 inch window. The three of us shared a bedroom and I had to lay in bed with them until they were both sound asleep. But I didn't mind… I had suffered separation anxiety just as they had. (I had taken a leave of absence from work so that I could stay off work as long as I needed.)

Soon after R and L had come home, T's mother told us that the apartment next door to her was open for rent. (She lived in one side of a duplex) This seemed like a great hand of fate for us. We moved into that apartment so that when I did get ready to go back to work, T's mother could baby sit the girls. This move also seemed to help the girls. I would sit on the porch with T's mom and the girls would play close to me. Each day they were able to get a tiny bit further away from me as long as I didn't get up from my seat. (Of course, Little R's movements dictated what L would do. She followed her big sister's cue.) As Little R became a little braver, so did L. Very soon, the girls were playing in the yard while I stayed on the porch.

As the girls became braver, T and I became closer. Eventually, the girls were ok with me sitting in a chair close to their bed until they fell asleep and I moved into T's bed with him. I know that seems out of place, but I really don't remember when I became romantically involved with T. It is something that happened and I'm not sure when or how it came to be.

As time passed and the girls, at least little R, became more confident, I slowly began preparing them for my return to work. At first, I went into the house while T's mom stayed outside with the girls while they played. Then I would go to the store, assuring them I'd be back quickly and they'd be safe with Mrs. H. It was a gradual process that seemed to take a lot longer than it really did. But eventually, I was able to return to work for a few hours a day. I was still only working a very few hours a day when Hell came to my life. Oh sure, I thought I had already been through hell and that I was making a come back… But I was wrong… Oh so wrong…

It was summer time.  It was hot, I remember that so clearly. The day was dry and oh so hot. (by my time line calculations it must have been June.) I was sitting on the porch watching Little R teach her baby sister how to build a doll house out of dirt and sticks. Toys were scattered all over the yard, but they were playing with dirt and sticks and their favorite baby dolls of course. Little R with her imagination had decided the dolls needed a pool and had instructed L on how to dig it out. I was laughing at them both because R was trying to teach L to dig in only one spot to make the "pool" deep enough, but L would babble something in baby talk and then proceed to fill the freshly dug hole with the loose dirt that R had taken out. Amazingly enough, Little R was being Oh so patient with her little sister. "no no, tishie, this way" She would say and show her again and again. I don't know what L was saying but her hand movements and expressions seem to be saying, "Oh, yeah, I get it now" And then she'd throw more dirt in the hole. ( I have often remembered that time, recalling it over and over so that I will never forget it. My girls playing together….)

That's when a car pulled up in front of the house. I immediately stood up and was off the porch and in front of the girls. I had an immediate sense of dread. For one thing, this was a really nice car. It was so out of place in this neighborhood. But there was something else, that I couldn't put my finger on. I just knew that my stomach was churning with a deep fear and protectiveness for my girls.

Two women got out of that car. I remember the car was dark. Black? Maybe it was a dark blue, but it was dark. Another darkness to my life. The two women identified themselves as CPS social workers. For a second, only a second, I thought they were finally going to help me get Little R into some sort of council. But they started rapid firing questions at me. I didn't know what was going on. They asked me how often I left the girls alone with T. "Never." which I had not. Not because I didn't trust him, but because I didn't want to leave Little R alone with any man after what she had been through. I didn't think it would be good for her at that time. "Who, then, baby sat while I was working" I pointed to Mrs. H, T's mom and said "she does, but I'm never gone more than three or four hours at a time." 

"Why didn't I have Ruby in therapy?" was their next line of questions. And I told them that I was trying to get her some help but they were not helping me… And there were more questions, most of them made no sense at all. Then they took Little R into the house and talked to her alone. Then one of the women made a phone call and they stood around staring at us all while we waited for what I didn't know. T was at work when all this started. But he arrived home, just as a police car pulled up in front of our house. They asked him if he was T.H. And he said yes and they proceeded to search him and put cuffs on him and put him in the police car. Without even saying why!

Then in front of me, in the house, they took Little R and L and the police and the social women proceeded to take off all the girls clothing. I was hysterical by this time, trying to get them to leave my babies alone. The girls were terrified. They were in tears begging for me to make them stop. The amazing thing was, that while both the girls were… Dirty, from playing in the dirt, there was a bruise or a scratch on them. They didn't even have the normal scratches or bumps that children get from normal child's play. Nothing!

After the girls were dressed again, one of the social workers took them to another room and the other social worker told me that there had been a report that T was abusing the girls. I told them they were crazy. That I never let him be by himself with my girls and I would know if he ever tried to hurt them, which he hadn't. That seemed to be a confession to them. They told me to talk to the girls and make it ok for them to go with them. To make it easier on them because they were going to take them temporarily while the investigation was ongoing and I needed to make the girls not afraid.

I hugged my girls and told them I loved them so much  and never forget I loved them and I would be with them again soon. Then they took my babies and drove away with them. Then they arrested me! The charge? Failure to report Child abuse! I was in jail for three days! Three days before they allowed me to call my Dad. He bonded me out on the same day I called him.

I went home, to my empty apartment. The truth is, I would have went to my dad's that time, but he lived in another county and the judge wouldn't give me permission to stay with Dad before my case came up. It didn't really mater to me, though. I just went home and went to bed and didn't get up… I was so sick, with depression and fear… I don't remember how long I stayed in bed. I didn't eat… Except when Mrs. H would bring over something and force me to eat a few bites or feed me water, which I would have to run to the bathroom and throw up most of the time. How long did that go on? I can't remember. I know eventually rent time came and I had no money so I moved in with Mrs. H, T's mother. He was still in jail, on child abuse charges, waiting for a court date because we had no money to get him out.

I did go back to working, full time now, there was no reason for me not to work full time. I walked several miles to the jail downtown once a week to visit T. And I waited. There was nothing else I could do. "They" had all the power, as far as I could see and I had no resources. Time stopped. I did what I had to do. I worked, I helped Mrs. H with the housework. I ate food when she forced me too. I was sick all the time. And so tired. I wanted nothing more than to just lay down and die. But I was so sure that "they" would see what a terrible mistake they had made and return my girls to me any day now. So I waited.

________________________________________________

I called "my social worker" constantly. Badgering her about "the investigation" and when I could have my girls back. Or at least when I could see them. Couldn't I even see my babies?! The answers were always pretty much the same. It would not be good for the girls to visit me at this time, it would only confuse them when we had to be separated again. The "investigation" was on going and they had no information to give me at this time. I heard that statement so many times it was burned into my brain like a cattle brand.

The other thing that they said over and over, was there was a high possibility that I would never again get my girls back and they could be stuck in foster care for their entire child hood. They were preparing  me so to speak. I know that now. Then I was just terrified. I had seen the movies with the poor kids that were thrown from one bad foster care home to another. Or the kids that lived in Children's homes under horrible conditions. Not my girls! All I could do was pray that God would keep my girls out of that horrible life.

Maybe a month went by, maybe less and I guess they decided I was ready. The social work came to my house one day and said she needed to "talk" to me. This all seems so fussy now. The memory has a dream like quality to it. I can't remember the whole conversation but the jest of it was, this woman said that Little R had told them about the "abuse" and I would never be allowed to have my girls back again. They would, of course, seek the court to severe my parental rights, but the court system was so over clogged and full that this might take years. Meanwhile my girls would have to live in a children's home or foster care if it could be found for them. And they were getting older and by the time the courts caught up to them, they'd be too old to be able to find an adoptable home for them. They would probably have to be separated, and no one wants that.. And they'd live in group homes or foster homes until they turned 18. Never being able to have a stable home life again… The one sentence I remember the woman saying verbatim, was… "If you are selfish, you will cause them to have that life, but you can be sure, no mater what you will never get your girls back."

I remember the pain. OH the pain. My chest really hurt. I felt sure my heart would stop beating. The pain was physical. I also got sick and had to run to the bathroom at one point to throw up.

Sign relinquish papers, giving up my rights to parent my girls and they would find them a home together where they would be loved and taken care of. That's what was told to me that day. I asked about their father, would his rights be terminated? They couldn't possibly ever let him see them after what he did. No No, his rights had already been terminated by the courts. It didn't occur to me to ask how that was done so quickly when she had just said the courts were backed up by years. When I couldn't talk any more because I was crying too hard, when I couldn't catch my breath and my chest hurt so bad that I was doubled over, the woman put her hand on my shoulder, I think her touch burned my skin, and told me to think about it. And she left. She could have stabbed me in the heart and walked away smiling, it would have been the same.

____________________________________________

Mrs. H was dead set against my signing the papers. Not because she thought I should or could fight for my children. She agreed with the social worker in that once the government gets involved, you pretty much can't fight them. She didn't want me to sign the papers until T went to court, because she figured they would use that as an admission of guilt.

So I went to visit T on that Sunday. I told him everything that had happened. I told him my fears. He pretty much said the same thing as his mother about the girls. I couldn't fight them. They were the government, they would lie, cheat and do what ever it took to win and I would loose. I also told T what the lady had said about Little R's age. She was almost five years old, almost too old to be adoptable. I didn't want her to be shuffled from one place to another, each place being worse than before…. T told me to sign the papers. He didn't care if they used it against him. He didn't want me to have to worry about Little R that way.

And thus the decision was made…. I decided to give my children a chance to have a good life. I decided to make a deal with the devil and give him my very heart, in exchange, my daughters would have a "good" life. It was over that day… The days that followed were just paperwork of sorts. They meant nothing… The day my heart died was on the day I decided. I didn't know then that I still had a little more to live for. I didn't know then that I still had more to loose. I didn't know that there could be more pain…. But there was…..more pain to come…..

June 26, 2006 Posted by | Adoption, life, my angels, past | 3 Comments

The woman in the picture window…..

(When someone new learns that my husband, B, is my second husband, most people hold to the "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy. Being divorced and remarried is not that uncommon today. But occasionally, I will run across someone who just thinks they have to know more. "So why did you and your first husband divorce?" They ask. I respond, "because I was married to Satan."

That gives them the general idea of what might have happened and gets them to drop the subject. One thing  curious people don't want to hear about is someone else's pain.)

As I write these accounts of my own past, I find myself wondering who this person was. I remember all these things happening to me. I remember the choices I made. I know that was me, but it doesn't feel like it was me. It's as if I was looking at this young woman's life through a picture window and watching it all happen. Watching it all unfold. Of course, I, the now me, knows how it will turn out. I know what that young woman will do next and what will happen because of the choices she will make. I stand outside that window watching and screaming at her to do it differently. Why? Why does she keep doing the same things every time I see these events? Why couldn't she see what was going to happen?! I can look back on it all now and see clearly how the choices I made were my downfall. But I don't remember why I made those choices. I don't remember for instance, what was going through my head when I had my Dad bring my girls to me, instead of going to Dad's house to live there.

At first.. Remember, I thought it wasn't safe for me to be there. But when J was arrested and held without bond… At that time I had no real tie (romantically) to T. Except that I thought he was my savior. My rescuer from the dark. My job… Was pathetic at best. And the apartment we lived in was …. Geez… It was small and falling down. It was cheep. So why did I choose to not go live with my Dad and at least have a safe haven for me and my girls until I could figure out what to do with my life. I don't have a clue! As I said, I feel disconnected from the person I was then. I don't understand her at all. I don't understand the choices that she kept making over and over that always turned out to be wrong! And yet, she kept doing it over and over until she lost everything! EVERYTHING!

The choice that I am speaking of is to slowly cut myself off from the people who could have helped me. My family. I know, I had good reason to perhaps be mistrusting of some of my family, with my past. But I should have been able to see past that. I should have seen how my family would have helped me if I had just let them. If not my Dad, then my sister … Someone… Anyone… Would have been better than … The strangers that I chose to put my faith and my life into their hands…

But I can't change that woman's mind. I stand here looking into the window of her soul and I can't make her see what she did wrong. I can only watch it unfold… Knowing how it will turn out… Knowing that she had not suffered the worst yet, but surely will because I know how it ends.. I know the loss that I suffered for her choices! I can't change it, and I have nothing left to save by learning from those mistakes. Everything was lost. I now can see the mistakes. I can now say I learned from them, but to what avail? What good does knowledge do when there is nothing left to save?

June 25, 2006 Posted by | if only, life, past | 1 Comment

looking into my past pt 5c: Still looking for that perfect life

Continued…

When I got married, I broke the silence between my dad and myself and called him. I wanted him to give me away and he did. This brought him and R back into my life, if only by phone most of the time. In fact, now that I was an adult, married woman, I found I got along well with R and called her almost on a daily basis.

In the very beginning of my marriage to J, I defined our roles. I was the one who chose to let J be… traditional head of the household husband and I would be…"just the wife". I wouldn't make a move in life without asking J, first if it was ok. He, being older and some what "traditional" anyway, took the role I gave him very well. Most things I asked him about he "let" me do as they were tiny things that really didn't matter in the skeem of things. But when the manager at work again approached me about my posible promotion, J sat his foot down. He didn't think his wife should make more money than he did. Yes, he really said that. This was the first time I argued with J on anything. I really wanted this promotion. I let being his wife define me, but my work was the one place where I felt I was my own person. I wanted to move forward with that. J was shocked that I didn't just say "yes, dear" and became very angry. We had our first fight and it was a screaming match that lasted hours. and ended with J making me call work and tell them that I quit. I was crushed. but I did it, because in the end, I thought, "He's my husband, I have to do as he says" I also had the fear that he would kick me out of his life if I didn't do as he wanted.

As it turned out, I would have not been a good canidate for management at that time. Because I was pregnant. Because I had never been very regular, I didn't suspect anything until I was already 3 months along. I started having morning sickness even before I realized what was going on. I thought I had the flu at first. Then suddenly one day I was cleaning out the bathroom cabnets and thought… hmmm haven't used any of this stuff in a while. It struck me like a slap on the forehead. Oh wow! How cool! I was going to have a baby. I was so excited. So was J. He was all puffed up like a peacock proud that he had got me pregnant.

Other than the morning sickness, which lasted well into my 6th month. I felt great during this pregnancy. I felt more alive and more human than I had ever. It didn't matter to me that J was walking around acting like he had created this miracle all by himself. I knew that now I was special. I was a mother, I had someone who I could lavish all my love on and I knew the baby would not reject me. I finally felt like I was really someone. I barely allowed J to share in any thing to do with my pregnancy. Sometimes he would come up and put his hand on my belly and try to feel the baby kick, but I never invited him to.

We argued constantly. We only had his pay to live on and while it was enough for the two of us, it wasn't enough for the baby. I knew that paying the hospital bill alone would be next to imposible but I refused to go to county. I pushed him to find a better paying job, or get a second job. I found that I wanted more time to myself, to spend with my unborn baby anyway. I pushed him to get another job for the money, but more than that, I wanted him out of the house more.

I began to realize that I didn't love J. I never had loved him, but I had fool myself into thinking that I had. But now, I had a hard time even pretending to him that I loved him. Of course, it didn't matter. I was married and I wasn't going to leave him, even if there wasn't a baby involved. I wasn't going to fail at marriage like I failed at every other relationship in my life. That was that. And of course, there was  a baby. I couldn't think of leaving my husband when I had a baby who would need a father.

Our daughter, R. A. was born in August of 1983, one month before J's and my first anniversary. We named her after my step mother and J's mother. She was so beautiful and perfect! I had a terrible time with her delivery. In fact in the end they did an emergency C-section because my labor wasn't progressing and Little R's heart rate went into distress. But none of that mattered after she was born. She was healthy and oh so perfect!  And I was absolutely the happiest I had ever been in my life. I loved this tiny little girl more than anyone I had ever loved in my life.  I would have done anything for her; I would have died for her! I had never known such a wonderous love before.

J, however, seemed to become angry. He was loosing control over me. What he said or did didn't matter to me any more. My life was my child. The bond between myself and little R only proved to grow in strenghth as she grew older. I no longer needed J to make decisions for me. And this was something that J could not abide. Our arguements became more intense and more often. We would have screaming matches about the tiniest of things. The things that we said to each other were horrible. Until one day, J called me a slut. Out of no where, he just said it. He was right in my face, so close that I could feel his hot breath when he said that word and I lost it. I screamed and slapped him. I've never forgotten that I was the first one to turn the fights physical. It haunted me for years. I had done this, I had made J hit me, it was all my fault.

And hit me he did. He hit me so hard that I was knocked to the floor. There on the floor I crumbled into a ball and cried and J left the house, for hours.

When he came home, he appoligized so profusely. He begged me to forgive him and promised he'd never lay a hand on me again. He cried. Of course I forgave him, I had been the first one to hit him after all. We made all the wonderful promises. We'd talk more, we'd not scream at each other, or call names and never, never would we hit each other again.  …. Bla Bla Bla all the right words.

The new found pact to be closer lasted a week. One week! Then we were off again. I can't remember what started that first fight a week later. It was probably something really stupid. But it was just as bad as it had always been, and worse. Because when it was at it's worst, J shoved me to the floor and sat on me. He told me he was tired of my disrespect and he would have some respect from me if it killed me. Suddenly, I believed him.

After that J became more violent very quickly. He would never hit me in the face, where the bruises might show. But he would twist my arms, hit my chest so hard that it knocked the breath out of me and grab me by my hair and slam my head against the floor or furniture. Always, always after wards he would buy me gifts and appoligize with tears and make promises never to do it again.

At some point, I knew that the promises meant nothing. But I wouldn't give up on this marriage. He never did anything in front of Little R. So I thought she was uneffected by it all and she needed a daddy. So that's how I lived. I would stay with J as long as he never hurt Little R in any way. Meanwhile, I was loosing myself again. I began to really try to keep J happy, no matter what that meant. But it was an imposible task. There was always something that I did, or didn't do that angered him.

Much to my amazement, when Little R was about 2 and a half I found myself pregnant again. I was amazed because J and I rarely had sex any more. I avoided him as much as I could as the bed room had become another place that he proved his dominance over me. Of course, I was never allowed to say no to him when he wanted sex. If I did, he'd just hold me down and do it anyway. In fact he seemed to enjoy it all the more that way. So our second child was not conceived in love, or even lust, but in anger and pain.

But none of that mattered when I first started to feel the little flutter feeling of the baby. All the feelings that I had when I was pregnant with little R came back. I was happy again. Another life, coming into this world through me. And I felt wonderful. As with the first pregnancy, I felt healthier during my second pregnancy than I did any other time.

Meanwhile, J had lost his job and we moved in with my Dad and R of all things. The "Never" had come to an end. My dad got a job for J at his work and we didn't fight while we lived with them. So I was happy. Little R was happy. And the baby inside me seemed exstremely happy. I was sure that this baby was also a girl. And I was right.

Latisha Rae was born in November of 1986. Another perfect and beautiful baby girl. Little R was such a great big sister. She was never jeoulos of her baby sister. She wanted to be with L always. She wanted to help take care of her. She was like a tiny little mother. I loved them both so much I felt I would just die of happiness. I was sure that I now had the perfect life. Nothing could possibly go wrong. ….. Until, of course, it did….

Ok, another stopping point here. MY mirror of the past is revealing so much now. I am almost finished with this reflection of my past and I can feel the pressure as I get closer to what changed me forever. I may finish this today, or I may have to take a couple of days off before I can face the next part.

June 23, 2006 Posted by | life, past | Leave a comment