Saturday 31 October 2020

I woke up this morning and the world felt heavy. It took me awhile to figure out why but then my stomach dropped and I realized that one year ago today I sat in a courtroom and testified against my oldest son.

The why’s of why we were there are not something that is relevant because this is about me and what happened as a result. 

I had not seen him in over a year, he sat there and glared at me. He was probably angry and devastated that I was doing this. That I was telling the truth and making it so that his lies lost their power. I told the truth, the truth that I knew and was devastated to know. The truth that I wish I did not know. And as I sat there and spoke about this young man who I still refer to as my son in spite of his horrific choices my brain took me to a place I did not want to go. 

I occasionally speak openly about my own trauma and about the fact that my childhood was pretty horrific on a lot of levels but on that day it became apparent to me that things I knew about were only the tip of the iceberg and there was so much more. 

Brains are interesting places were sometimes the darkest moments of ones life are hidden away until there is time and space to be able to process them. As the pieces began to come back I fought to stay in that room, to stay in a courtroom speaking about a 10 year history of parenting a child whom I love. 

But as I spoke the fog around my own story began to clear. 

One of the hardest days of my entire life quickly became harder as I realised that I was recovering memories that until that day had been locked away in a place I did not know about. 

That day broke open a whole other part of me that I did not even know existed. 

And now, a year later,  I am still alive. Sometimes I am surprised at my resilience because there have been many days when I did not think that I would survive this because this on top of everything else just felt as though it would break me. Some days it still does feel like that. 

I have left my partner and am starting again after a 15 year marriage. I have one kid living with me but I am sharing custody of my dogs because I am too nice a person to just take them from him and leave him all alone. I have another kid who lives nearby and son with whom I have no contact. I speak of him though and I miss him. I miss that boy who spent hours catching frogs, who loved to dress up and write stories about creatures he created and their adventures. I miss the teenager who so just wanted to be accepted for who he was even though he had so many broken parts and he was sure he was not worthy of love. 

I am finding my way. I am moving on. I am growing even though there are days when the grief overwhelms me. I have lost so much but I am hopeful some days that this new beginning will bring good things. 

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Head down, still here, wish it were different

So I am still here, trapped in my house with Jack who is usually on a different planet and Kate who is struggling with the current state of affairs in all the ways that 14 year old should be.

I have wanted to come write, to put pieces of this time of isolation down so that I would remember it later when I looked back but I needed to get the last of this semester finished and that took all the stamina I had. Coming here and writing was just one more thing that felt like it was going to take energy that is definitely in short supply.

In the midst of it all of the current chaos that is the state of the entire world I am still trying to manage the fact that the world is often not a safe place for children and right now that is really hard. I wish that was not the case, I wish we lived in a world where kids were valued and loved in all the ways that they should be rather than hurt.

In this time of isolation I am seeing once again how broken my family of origin is. Others are sharing how they are zooming and face timing with family. I have spoken to my parents once since this all started and texted with my older sister about once a week. That's it. There are no virtual family gatherings over meals or chats with Kate as they connect virtually because they can't be together because the truth is we would not really talk to each other in normal times so why would we talking now.

That makes me sad. I wish that it were different.

Today I am going to read and garden and do nothing just because I can. The next semester starts in 3 weeks so I have to get in all the lazy I can before then!

Sunday 22 March 2020


Last night Kate came to me as I sit and watched TV on my iPad. She sat down and stroked the puppy for a few moments and then said " If you could go back in time would you still of adopted all three of us?"

I tried not to gasp.

I tried not to let the tears start and say no I would not.

Instead I explained that I could not go back and change what had happened and so that was an impossible question for me to answer because I would loved her and would be sad if she was not in my life.

But if I was not here I would not of been hurt by my brothers.

Her life would be so different.

The weight of that statement takes my breath away as I type it. The guilt and shame that I so often feel for choosing to adopt again, for searching for a child who we could call ours when we already had two is something I will forever wonder about.  But those thoughts only happen in my head.

Instead, I talked with her for close to an hour about what had happened. About what I thought about our broken world and I how I felt about her brothers who had both been offered and accepted plea deals. About how Kevin might hurt other people about how what he had done to Randall was horrific.

I talked about how my eyes did not see what happened. About how professionals in our lives made so many mistakes. About how I did not know then what I know now and how much I wish that this was not the path that we were on.

I apologized for not keeping her safe. Again and again she was hurt and I did not know.

She told us but we did not listen. I believed my son and did not believe the small girl, who I had only just gotten to know. When she said she was lying and that she had made it up we moved on and I thought I was so careful. I trusted Kevin. I never should have trusted Kevin.

She was not lying, not at 6 and not at 12.

And today the weight of that conversation from last night is heavy. In the midst of all of this chaos in the world as COVID creates so many problems I have a child who wishes we were not her family because then her life would have been so much better.

That makes me sad for me and for her because most days I feel like the only thing keeping me here is her. The thought that leaving would mean that she was alone and that would not be something she would ever recover from.

Monday 16 March 2020

When the structure is crumbling...

So I went away last week, it was a much needed break from reality but it was far from easy to be away. While I was away Jack and Kate fought, again and again. I would deal with them both getting in touch with me and  ranting about what the other one was doing. My friends supported me though and it was so nice to hear that I was not crazy in being frustrated with Jack's behaviour.

Towards the end of my time away the COVID-19 crisis ramped up and I was eager to get home. I slipped in before anyone actually told me that I needed to self-isolate at home for 14 days but I am pretty much doing it anyway because I do not want to be the person who makes another human sick. I have a high risk partner, a high risk kid who is far away and all alone and I have my own long list of issues that make me a pretty high risk patient as well.

Today all of that feels overwhelming. The state of the world feels like more than I can manage.

I was already struggling in so many ways before this started and now my past trauma struggles and depression have ramped themselves into high gear as I try to navigate all of the many balls I have in the air on my own trapped in a house with  stressed Kate and a clueless Jack.

It's hard.

I really hated my life before and now I hate it even more. The one thing I look forward to all year ( going away with my friends) has now created a situation where my struggle around being isolated and trying to manage alone is forced to continue in the most extreme ways.

I wish there were some options for making things less hard and yet I know that is not going to happen. My trauma triggers aren't going to listen to the crisis that is occurring and stop happening. I am not going to all of a sudden  be able to be touched without being scared. My intense hyper-vigilance is not going to magically resolve itself because I am overwhelmed by the pandemic. The intense depression that today, is so overwhelming isn't magically going to remove itself. Jack isn't going to figure out how to support me as I struggle with just existing let alone when when I am triggered and scared.

I so long for this chapter of my life to be over.

Monday 2 March 2020

dread or something like it.

I am going away this week to gather with a group of women I have been getting together with every year since 2010. I woke up this morning with an intense sense of dread deep within my body because I am worried about what might happen with Randall while I am gone.

We managed his hearing last week and then found out that they found a semi-independent apartment for him that is over 80 minutes away from us. 80 minutes on a good day with no weather or traffic issues for a kid who is unstable and often suicidal. I am astonished at the lack of planning or listening on the part of the agency. They have known since October that this was going to happen and they now act like it is a surprise that they need to figure out housing for him. He moves there on Wednesday, the day before I leave and I day that is already full of appointments and so I can not even take him there and help him settle in.

It is so frustrating. How can one kid fall through so many cracks so many times.

It breaks my heart that he is so unstable and that no one can seem to get their crap together and provide him with the support that he desperately needs.

But I am still going away. I need this break. I need to see these women. I need to decompress from these last few months because they have been so very hard.

I look back at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 and I am surprised I am still here. I am surprised that I got through that and can tell the story because there were so many days when I thought was just not going to be the case.

A trip, another hearing, some papers for school, one step at a time and hopefully with time the dread will decrease and some version of normal will emerge.

Saturday 22 February 2020

My heart hurts

Literally. My heart hurts this morning.

My reaction to the articles about Jean Vanier sexually assaulting multiple woman has consumed my morning as I have tried to calm myself in the reality that yet another man thought that somehow he was more important than the women he ignored as he assaulted them.

My body pain increased as I read more and the spot above my heart that often hurts actually began to ache as did my head as I began to develop a migraine.

Why is it that so many humans feel that their humanity is somehow more important than someone else's? Why do they feel that they have the right to take something that is not theirs to take? Why do men in positions of power use that power to silence women when they assault them? Why are they assaulting them at all?

Why on earth are they pretending that somehow this is their God given right - I mean seriously, how on earth can anyone believe that a loving God would encourage men to assault women.

My heart is broken, my faith is shaken, my belief systems continue to crumble around me as I see more and more brokenness in the world.

Thursday 20 February 2020

Therapy thoughts

I went to therapy today. I feel like I should get a gold star for that most weeks.

I'm glad that when my life was less chaotic and insane than it is right now ( yes there was a time)  I found a therapist who got adoption, attachment and trauma. Luckily for me she is sticking it out through this super insane portion of my life where I frequently feel as though life is never ever going to get to better. She is hopeful, I am not so hopeful but every now and then I have a good day and think this time will eventually pass and things will get better. Today is not that day.

So while we were talking about all the damn trauma in my childhood she made a comment about my parents that got me thinking about why I have made so many of the choices I have made as an adult. So many things in my childhood were chaotic and crazy and as an adult I searched out stability and relationships that were safe with little risk because I was terrified of losing anyone that I cared about.

I just wanted to have people who loved me.

The thing is, my parents did a really shitty job. That isn't news to me but what I hadn't ever really thought about was how if they had just changed some of the smallest things the outcomes for me might have been so different...

That hadn't really ever occurred to me before. I hadn't ever really though about the trajectory of how things went and what might could have been different.

Not that I can go back and change it.

But as I struggle with trauma that I now need to work through, I can't help but wonder what would have been if things had been different. If I lived in a world where they talked about the elephant in the room instead of ignoring it and hoping it would go away. I have always said that my parents did the best they could with a crappy situation  because addictions, trauma, and PTSD were all part of their lives. But, the thing is, they could have done better. They could have stepped up and changed things and when I challenged them as a young adult, they could have apologized. They could have been there for me as a kid instead of leaving me all the time so that they could go off to wherever with little regard for what that meant for me or who was supposed to be taking care of me.

But they didn't.

And here I am, an adult working through things I didn't remember happening until now. I don't have the safe loving family I longed for, instead I have a partner who can't see or hear my pain and kids who are so broken that loving them with my whole heart was not enough for them to heal.

But that is not the end of my story. I am not the person I was two years ago but I am still here.

I am changing the endings. I am talking and apologizing and seeing what I did not see before. Not because I was not paying attention but because Kevin was so manipulative that he would have found a way to hurt them regardless of what I did.

I tried so hard for my kids.

I wish someone had done that for me.

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Thoughts from today

Today has been a long day.

I often find taking Kate to therapy to be overwhelming simply because it is a constant reminder to me about what has happened in my home and to my family. Add to that the discovery that I have more school work to finish this week than I realized and Jack continuing to be clueless about just how much I dislike my world at the moment and the day felt like it took forever to be over and even now it is still not done.

I have tried on more than one occasion to talk to Jack about our world right now, about my trauma memories and my depression and he just cannot hear me. That makes me sad and frustrated because I need him to hear it, I need things to change in our home and if they don't I am not sure how much longer I can keep up this game of charades that I feel like I am playing everyday.

Next week Randall has his sentencing hearing and I am not sure if Jack even plans on coming. Randall will not care if he is there but I will. I expect that he should support our boy especially since we asked him to plead so that we would not have to manage a second trial and this really is the best thing for all of us at this point.

Kevin's case will not wrap up until next month and his sentencing will be more complex for so many reasons and honestly, I can't even really think about that right now because when I do I get all panicky and start to worry way more than is reasonable since it is still 5 weeks away.

And then what happens?

What happens for our family?
What happens for the boys?
What happens for me, because even once all the court pieces are finished this is always going to be a part of my story, of our family and a piece of my life that I really would rather forget.

Will the sad always be this overwhelming?
Will there be a time when depression is just an occasional emotion rather than a constant state of being?
Is my marriage over?

There are more questions than answers.

Monday 17 February 2020

For me and for you

I’m just going to leave this here because I will likely need to hear it again in about an hour.

Thursday 13 February 2020


I wish with my whole being that my story, my version of life did not mean that this is true. But, it is and most days these are things that make me feel the most vulnerable as well.