“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other’s warm.” Author Unknown

 

This was written after a particularly painful conversation with the person I knew as my mother. The conversation was in regards to her choice to keep my grand child from me. for reasons unknown and one’s she couldn’t seem to clarify.

To the person who raised me and the person I knew as my mother.

I’m so sorry mom, I can’t do it anymore.

All of these years I weathered your storm. I tried to be the calm in an otherwise chaotic existence of moving, changing schools, absentee parents.

You moved us two states away from my father and other family who loved us. I could’ve had a more involved father, relationships with my brother,  aunts/uncles/cousins/friends..but you took it all away when you moved us two states away. You called me selfish during our conversation, and I’m the selfish one? I guess it makes sense…I wasn’t allowed to have my grandma so naturally, neither can poor Divinity. You took away my grandmother(s) by moving and now you’re taking hers away by refusing to let us see her. History repeats itself. We thought we could trust you, it’s the only reason we agreed to offer a positive review with CPS. It’s most disappointing.

Over the years, I tried to keep the peace. I tried my hardest to speak with you with respect rather than scorn as your other daughter does…”shut up, mom!” Or, “Noooo that’s not how it was mom!” (Similar to listening a petulant teen address their mother). When I asked you about it, you once you said the way she treats you is ok because she’s “got a lot on her plate.” Odd, I do not get similar excuses despite not speaking to you in such a manner–but still, I tried to stay kind…figuring in my heart you prefer her over me as you two faced an unspeakable past together in fighting her cancer..this was my reasoning when I felt left out of your little clique of two..unless she has somehow aided in the estrangement, I do not blame my sister/your other daughter but how odd it was when you attempted to help yourself feel better by saying I preferred one daughter over my other. Pot…kettle…but above all-LIES. I adore all of my children and have worked tirelessly to be everything to them that you ARE NOT and WERE NOT to me.

I’ve walked on egg shells all of these years for fear of saying the wrong thing and offending you. Being around you is exhausting. One just never knows what you’ll take offense to. Time after time when you made accusations (some when I was a mere child) I weathered your refusal to believe me or trust me. I’ve weathered your lies about me behind my back (that I have some gambling issue or the one where you claimed I liked to have children and not take care of them or was that one your other daughter went around saying? The list goes on, who knows what you’ve told others, your words of DIScouragement is the bottom line. I weathered your jellyfish like personality time and again. It was phone call STING, conversation STING. Family event-STING…until eventually in December  2016 during our last conversation where you told me I was selfish for hoping to see our grandchild…after NOT seeing her for 10 months…after that very final conversation, I had a hypertensive crisis and had to be taken to hospital…and all you could do was whine that we hadn’t yet said “thank you” for the Christmas gifts for the children. Enough.

In your way you tried–you gave me money and helped me in that regard sometimes (you even took out a small loan for me for which I hope to still pay you back for as I had gotten laid off while we were making the payments and you had to finish paying it) and I will always be quite thankful because I understood this is/was your way of expressing love..to you, love is MONEY and perhaps control… but what I really needed from you over that, was your humanity, acceptance, compassion, love, warmth..your presence! You chose to work a shift that left it to where I rarely saw you. You came home after I went to bed, went to work before I got home from school. When your situation with Tracy didn’t work out because of issues your other daughter was causing within our family and his eventual cheating, you moved us to essentially our own apartment, we rarely saw you because you were either working or at his apartment. From the time I was about 13 on, I was on my own..and don’t try to deny it, I have a lot of witnesses. You later admitted you were on 1st shift once but didn’t like it so you chose to go back to 2nd shift. Wow. Still…I weathered. Alone–but I weathered.

Those years of my life after about age 13 when I rarely saw you because you were with your boyfriend, yeah-I weathered that too. Every few days I’d see you, you’d give some money and off again you were. I should’ve moved back down with dad when I had the chance but by then it was too late. The feet were planted.

I know you came from pain yourself. I’ve always been so very proud of you for that. Surviving as you did is truly admirable, but I guess the truth is, none of us can come from painful things completely unscathed.

With you, I’ve always been in the shadows…I tried my best to keep you happy…listen to your criticisms and judgments..I even weathered your attempts to circumvent my place in my eldest daughters life as she battled addiction. This was the hardest of all because I am her mother, not you. Had she NOT been influenced by your negative views of ME, she would’ve trusted me more and we could’ve helped her. So much was lost. The adults in her life should’ve been  on the same sheet of music, the other relatives should rally behind the parents in support and unity. All we got was hate, discontent, judgment and finger pointing.

Remember that time you cussed me out on the phone and blamed me for all of it? You called me a “fuckface,” remember that? Did you stop and think for one moment that had you been supportive and loving that maybe-just maybe we could’ve prevented the 7 yrs of hell that was to come? Unlike your desire to blame me, I do not blame you. I just feel there were things we all did that were counterproductive.

The years she was gone, there were times when you knew where she was and kept it from me, you continuously usurped my position by taking over (Hannah’s teeth for example) and I was horrified when Hannah first ran away…and all you could do was sit there in your judgmental chair. No love, no support, no advice. The one who suffered most was Hannah.

Now as you keep my grandchild from me, I must say goodbye. I love you. I want good things for you, but that really is the final straw to these 42 years of toxicity. I allowed you to see your grandchildren whenever you asked…despite your involvement in an abusive situation with a boyfriend. I knew I could trust you to put the children first and they’d be ok. In our home, there is NOTHING like that going in-in fact, there isn’t anything going on that would excuse what you’ve chosen to do. We have a nice home, a happy home. I feel sorry that I’ve been such a disappointment for you and that you find yourself so full of hate and disgust for me, even still why use our grandchild to get even? What has she done wrong in all of this?
You once called me a “fuckface” as I faced the pain of a runaway child. In our final conversation, you repeatedly said “fuck you” over and over. You said I was selfish for hoping to see my granddaughter after NOT seeing her for 10 months…To me, this is NOT love. This is NOT the relationship of a mother and her daughter.

How sad it must be to feel that way about one’s own child…but I wouldn’t know. I adore all of mine. I would adore them if they were colombian drug Lords. Love is love…but I don’t think you know what that is which is what makes this that much more painful and sad.
I will pray for our granddaughter. That her life is full of love, joy, security, good health..that she will not live as I did, never feeling good enough. I wish we could be there in her life, how sad for her that she will be disallowed her grandma and grandpa, uncles and aunties. We’ll always be here though, loving her and praying.

I am choosing the light..I am choosing the positive. I am choosing the joy. My health now depends on it.

I have set myself on fire for you long enough. I forgive you, I wish you well…but I must say goodbye.

“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.” I sure wish I knew who said that. What a powerful statement, right? Well, I’ve been wanting to get something off my chest for awhile. Yes, I know this is facebook and NOT a diary but humor me! I know it’s dirty laundry…but I want to put it behind me and facing it is how I want to do that. I’ve been through a lot…7 years not knowing where my baby was or if she was ok…and now I am to endure not seeing my granddaughter. It hurts.
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“Are you gonna miss me, Danpaw?”

“Are you gonna miss me, Danpaw?” That’s what our 4 yr old asked of my father the other day as he hastily packed his bags.

He’d come to us as such a surprise in May 2015. We didn’t realize he was on his way up here until the day prior. It was all quite the whirlwind and nobody was ready. A lot of things sort of came to a head at once including my daughters return home to us. But last Monday, Brian urged me to get online to purchase Dad’s train ticket and as I did so, Dad began to pack.

I didn’t know Dad that well, truth be told. My parents divorced when I was 7 years old with my Mom moving us up from California to Washington State. My Dad sees this as me “choosing” mom and up here over him by the way. Anyway, the times I got with him were a few weeks every summer and the occasional Christmas. It just wasn’t enough time to really know anyone and once I hit those teen years I quit going all together, sadly. Stupid teenage years!

I saw him maybe 3 times since, the last time being about 14 years ago. Did he ever come up here to see me you may ask? No. He didn’t. He’ll tell you he did and that I refused to see him but that is an outright lie or he otherwise remembers it wrong. He had called and said he was up here (yes, I was surprised because I had no idea he was coming), I offered to pick him up and his response was, “I don’t want to interfere…” You see, he was really up here for gun shows and his friend, Cory. At any rate, it was the only time to my knowledge that he’d been up here and he ended up leaving without seeing me or his granddaughters who were then 1 and 3 yrs of age.

Through the years, we’d kept in touch by phone or letter best we could. He’d gone through a lot, I’d gone through a lot. The past few years were the roughest because for him, he was staying at my grandmothers now delapitated home. It was once a cute little home but as the years went on and Dad’s depression took over, it had little to no upkeep. There wasn’t anything I could do to get him out of there and by this time, a woman named Shirley was involved. I suspected he had beginning stages of dementia or alzheimers but never could get a straight answer out of him for sure.

I blame myself for not having better patience with him. He’s 73 for pete’s sake. But I just couldn’t muster the patience. We had a lot of good times these past 9 months but also some disagreements. He truly felt it was ok to make remarks to me that were hurtful in nature or to criticize me while glorifying Brian. He was extremely disrespectful to me in front of my children and I see this to be quite detrimental. I would defend myself and he couldn’t stand it. Also, our grandbaby was finally born and I think her coming home scared him. He wouldn’t even go see her at the hospital…his own great-granddaughter! The time he was here were tough at times, at times. He wouldn’t see a doctor for the obvious hernia’s he had or swollen legs. He really wouldn’t listen to us about anything but you know, we did enjoy that time for other reasons and my children got to know their grandfather.  We laughed a lot together. We both enjoyed similar interests. Taking him to Goodwill was fun for me because it gave us that time with just “us” that I felt like we needed after so much time apart…but I guess I really ceased to matter to him years ago when he taught himself to live without me or when my grandmother passed away May of 1995.

He left on the train last Thursday morning with promise after promise of his return. The truth was, he had no plans to return. He sent me a text that he was back with Shirley at her place and “had to try” because she needed help. It’s sad. She kicked him out in the first place (according to him) and he spoke of her horribly while here…and yet this was his choice. Things went downhill from there. I think he was upset that I caught him in his lie. At this point, I have no plans to speak with him further as this is someone who I’d rather remember from my childhood…that man was sweet, kind hearted, hilarious and my daddy. I will miss that man until the day I die. The man who came up here…that was merely a dim reflection or perhaps I hadn’t had the chance to see him from that adult standpoint. His selfishness is one for the records…but I’d just rather remember how he was when I was a kid. I love you Daddy…I hope you’ll miss me, too. I’m sure going to miss you. I promise to get to LaGrange and Jamestown someday. Thank you for being my daddy.

Goodbye.

Recipe for how to love an addict

Recently my daughter moved home. She has struggled with addiction for several years and for several years I have struggled with feeling the loss along with how to help her, as her mother.

This is a position I never thought I’d be in. The day I gave birth to that beautiful child I never envisioned this for us. As I held her precious body in my arms and surveyed her adorable footsies, never did I think or foresee the danger and treacherous roads ahead.

I don’t want to go into too much of the history just yet because I want to write the recipe as I remember it and before I forget any integral portion. I am getting absorbed into the joy of having her home, spending time with her and seeing her well so I must do this now. These things may not work for every situation, but darn it-isn’t it worth a try?

Recipe for how to love an addict

1. Accept defeat! That’s right. Drugs are Satan at his absolute best and through illegal substances he infiltrates your dear ones and grips them with a death grip that no words can describe. Nobody knows they’re an addict until they’ve already been gripped- so dispel that anger towards them right now, it won’t do you or them ANY. GOOD. WHATSOEVER! You are defeated at the moment..not forever. Work through those feelings and move on to the next step. They’ve been “taken” and you can not help them unless they want you to!

2. Get educated. Learn everything you can about drug addiction. Research scientific studies, not personal opinions. Accept the truths-it helps one to put to rest any personal offense they may have been taking. Join support groups, consider therapy with an experienced counselor-interview several, find one that you can connect with.

3. “Leave a light on.” Obviously you may not be able to have them live with you for various safety reasons, however you can offer them help in other ways. Let them know your light is always on, that you’re thinking of them always and love them. Offering a ziploc of necessities isn’t a bad idea, either-especially if they’re homeless. I use to leave regular messages on my daughters facebook and they were loving messages only-nothing preachy or judgmental and ya know, it really helped me feel good. Also, before she came home I was getting ready to volunteer my time with a local teen mothers organization dedicated to helping youths to get off the street and gain independence. Of course now, my energy must go to her directly.

4. Regardless of your faith (or lack thereof) there is ALWAYS hope. Accept that. It’s great to be realistic, but hope is good to and as long as they’re still breathing, you’ve got a chance! For me, I believe the Lord is my savior and through Him I can truly do anything. I chose to put my troubles in His very capable grip because I have faith that He had a plan and look where we are!? Spending time with the Lord and praying about it was what truly helped me survive. Some may call it “meditating” but either way, settling down to collect one’s thoughts is key.

5. Remember the happy times. It gets easy to get caught up in where things went wrong or why…try to think about the happy times you shared with that person because it truly does help and as the saying goes, “don’t cry that it’s over smile that it happened.”

6. Remove negative people from your circle. I once had a “friend” who claimed I should’ve just locked my daughter away in her room. Well, at the time I was a single mama holding a job to support my babies and keep a roof over their heads! It’s just not logical nor is it legal. Keeping someone locked in their room is called, “false imprisonment” and is against the law. This person also indicated I must have not tried everything to help my daughter and this is categorically false. I used all the resources that were available to me to help her including filing a youth petition with the local juvenile courts to request a judge’s  help in gaining some sanity to our situation of running away, skipping school, etc. It didn’t help because the judge lacked follow through with threats and there wasn’t any place to house such troubled youth. In the end, our options were just few but I did what I could.

Having a lock down for youth in trouble where they can attend school, have visitors, etc may have helped but with limited funding this wasn’t an option (this state has NO lock down facilities unless the youth has committed crimes) and again, if someone isn’t ready for help this could make things worse anyway..the positive to it of course is at least they aren’t on the streets.

I called the police multiple times. I offered and attended counseling sessions. I had her placed in two rehab facilities, she ran from one and another out of state lock down facility she did complete (it was just over a month long, not enough time in my opinion) but ran pretty much as soon as she returned home-again, if they aren’t ready for help, you can’t force it but I had to try. The list goes on, but I did try.

I had to remove this friend, very toxic. She claimed she’d locked her own brother up for months and supposedly he’s no clean and things are wonderful…well, that’s great but what she did was ILLEGAL and won’t necessarily work for everyone. I was horrified with her treatment of her brother. Surround yourself with positive people.

7. Remember the other loved ones in your life. Try not to let the situation swallow you. If you have other children and loved ones, don’t forget that they still need you. I had family that chose to judge this aspect. I don’t think they wanted to understand what all I had going on.

8. What!? They’ve asked for help? Ok-it’s go time! They got to a point where they’re ready for help. This portion is where it’s really imperative. Accept the person for where they’re at in life. No matter what they say has happened, maintain a loving and non-judgmental face and tone. They need your love, not your judgments.

9. Bring them home. Help them locate suitable care. This could mean out patient treatments or in patient but let them decide. You can gently voice your thoughts, but remember this is THEIR care and being in control is important for a lot of people so the choices need to be theirs. At this point, trying is the key-not whether or not it will work. It may work, it may not but we already fail if we won’t try.

10. Help them get to all of their care appointments, court hearings, etcnewchapter. Enjoy the time with them that you’re getting, it’s a gift. Help them sign up for whatever aid will help them. Give them adjustment time-remember, life hasn’t exactly been “normal” for them.

11. Allow them time to bond with their other loved ones. They’ve all missed them too and forming these ties truly aids in their healing process. Keep things as calm and loving as you can.

12. Creature comforts. Don’t be afraid to allow them the OTHER things that fill the void left by no longer using. I didn’t mind buying my daughter her ciggies because I figured it was understandable that coming off one addiction, there would still be this and it did increase again but I saw that for the moment it was helping her and I went with it. There are also various foods/clothes/shoes that may help, let them guide you.

13. Take pictures! Enjoy this the best you can. I know you’re worrying and I know what you’re worrying about-try to set that aside and enjoy this. You (and they) deserve this. Go places, experience things, show them stuff–cooking, budgeting, driving, personal rights, shopping for food/clothes and how to save money, etc…

14. “Open door policy.” They can come and go as they please. It has to always be THEIR choice to be there with you. I’ve been blessed in that my daughter has mainly stayed with us. This has created MUCH less worry for myself but also it’s time she’s had to reflect, feel safe, be with her siblings, rest, etc.

15. The time. It may be awhile and that’s ok. It took awhile to get to this point, it’ll take awhile to get back. Like going a mile out of your way to find a crosswalk even though where you want to be is just across the street…eight lanes of traffic, but still…lol, you get the picture. You go that mile to find a crosswalk but you’ll have to do the mile to get back to where you want to be.

16. If the unthinkable happens-they regress and start using again. DO NOT PANIC. Sometimes this is part of the process.

More to come as I think of them….from my heart, this helped us. I’m sure it’s a mixture of where she’s at and where I’m at that has made it successful so far, but I have to share it for others because you just never know who it may help.

Birthdays

So today was my son David’s 14th birthday…I got to see him first thing this morning. It was awesome. He was still tired and smiled groggily as I told him ‘happy birthday and how much I loved him and gave him a hug. I always feel blessed-always, but in that moment 14 years of happy memories came flooding back as though they all happened at once.

He was born 14 years ago and weighed 9 lbs, 4 oz. The first thing the attending obstetrician exclaimed was, “aww..look, we have a linebacker!” I held him in my arms protectively, admiring that red sheen that seemed to glisten like gold on top of his precious noggin. He’s just such a joy and I am happy to report that I learned long ago that when you have your babies, be thankful for each moment. Pull it to you in your heart with passion and greed because those moments become but precious memories in your heart as the years slip by. David’s been an awesome son. He played t-ball as a little guy and is always so friendly and out going. I am so thankful for that part to my kids. They are friendly with others and overall, loving. I adore that.

Today was also my first granddaughters birthday, she turned 5. I was able to attend her birth and it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Quite surreal to be on that side to things, I hated that feeling of helplessness but things went fine. At birth, Divinity resembled a true baby doll. She was adorable with a little bit of hair and a dimple. I held her in my arms and so many things swirled through my mind it was tough to anchor down the moment. She is a beautiful and sweet little girl…I truly wish I could see her more. If I had it my way, she’d be here as much as my kids went and visited their grandmother in their early years but sadly, family issues seem to be keeping us apart. I don’t want to go into it in this post, because today truly is a happy, happy day. I called and left a message and I also texted. I miss you, Divi-B and I love you so very much.

Today marks the anniversary of the day the Lord blessed us with these two precious kids…thank you, Lord.divibtwolilbrothersboysballoonsbabygirlballoons