Thursday, 10 January 2019

I don't even know where to begin.

* I started this post last week - then the carpet was ripped out from underneath me yet again and I fell to ground... I am working on getting back on my feet so I am finishing this post before I start another for which the title would actually be more relevant. I was going to include it here but there is just no way to do that.*

We just came back from a week away in the southern sun. Eat, sleep, knit, swim - repeat for 7 days. It was lovely. We took Kate and Randall and while Kate was mostly fantastic and enjoyable to be around Randall was so hard to be near. He was unhappy, sullen and resentful for much of the week. We let him do his own thing as much as possible because I did just not want to deal with the behaviour. I am pretty sure he drank himself into a pain free oblivion most days all with all the other hurting people at the all-inclusive resort we were at. We knew it was happening, we commented but short of holding his hand for 7 days we were really unable to stop it.

We have watched him struggle with alcohol already and he isn't even legal age yet. He leans towards alcohol and drugs because they numb his pain and although I get that, it breaks my heart to realize that  he will likely struggle with the issues for the rest of his life. He doesn't seem to understand the destruction they can cause even though he knows that his parents drug use is what brought him into the foster care system to begin with.

We talk and we talk, we provide examples from his life, we share news stories and yet we can not seem to get him to understand why his choices are an issue. It is so hard to stand back and watch the train fall off the tracks and to be completely help less to stop it.

Kate was better, there were some rocky moments for sure but she is 12 and that sort of explains everything in and of itself. She did not really make friends while we were there. There were other kids but she seemed unsure of herself so we just hung out together. We played cards and banangrams together while we drank mint the in the lobby. It was a good week for her I think.

I know that this is likely that last vacation we will take as a family and so I tried to hang on to it, to make it good even though it was really hard at times.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Glimmers of Goodness.

It's Christmas Eve and at this time of year I always get sick. I do to much and get run down and then end up in bed for days. You would think I would learn that this is not a good plan and change my choices... nope, not yet, was sick in bed all last week with a nasty stomach bug. Luckily I was the only one to get it.

While I was laid up for a week I spent a lot of time binge watching TV and thinking about the past year of my life. 2018 has mostly sucked in so many ways but there are little glimmers of goodness that stand our amid all of the really, really hard parts.

The fact that Kate and Randall spoke up about what happened in our home, that they broke the silence and we are dealing with all that is now happening is a good thing. It means that they can now heal and move forward rather than living with all the secrets hanging over their heads. It has been hard, impossibly hard to navigate but it was going to have to come out eventually and we are moving forward.

The dog, we got a puppy in March of this year and she brings me joy and love on a daily basis. I was never that person who doted on their dogs and took them everywhere and in fact I was rather judge of those people. I am no longer judging because I have become that person. The dog is so genuinely pleased to see me each and every time I come home and it is so nice to be loved so unconditionally by her.

My therapist, oh my gosh I am so grateful to the universe for connecting us last year before things got as impossibly hard. She has had my back at every turn this past year and most especially this fall as my world fell apart around me. She is always there calmly supporting me while we rebuild our lives and  figure out how we are going to move forward.

Medications, oh the regulation that they help to create for my kids is so good. I hope that one day Kate will manage on her own but until she gains that a ability I will be grateful for those pills. Randall will likely always need medication and it is amazing that we have access to all the things that he needs to help make him stable.

Friends, I have some amazing friends who have reached out and held me up as things got so very hard. I do not know where I would be if it were not for them.

I am hoping that 2019 brings new things and some calm to our lives. We are starting it off with a trip to the south because a week on the beach in the sun is always a good start to a new year.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Season of...

It is the season of sharing and of celebration. It is the season of hope and the coming of new things. It is also the season of BUSY!

We have a lot going on just like every family does in December and this year I am just finding it so hard. At every event, at every family tradition, at the end of a party when it is time to go home I miss Kevin.

I wonder about him, about what he is doing and how he is managing. I worry that he is not making good choices and that no one is looking out for him. I worry that the birth family he is choosing to live with is not taking the allegations against him seriously and is leaving him in situations where other kids are going to get hurt. I worry that he is not getting the help he so desperately needs.

He was my boy for so long, I thought he come so far and that he was going to get through this rough patch of young adulthood and that we would be here waiting for him when he was ready to come back. I thought that one day we would all be able to be together again.

That is not ever going to happen now.

Kate doesn't even like talking about him let alone seeing him and Randall has been scratching his face out of photos. Randall also has stopped referring to him as his brother and now only uses his name when he talks about him and acknowledges doing it on purpose.

I get it, I understand it and I am never ever going to force them to be with him but I am so torn and so frustrated because I promised him again and again I would never leave him and yet here we are. I did not close the door, he did. But, it is very closed. He has changed his last name on FB, he has blocked me from any contact via any social media and he has not said a word to any of us since the allegations came to light at the end of August.

I believe the allegations, I believe Randall and Kate and I wish with all my heart that Kevin could admit to them so that we could all begin to heal in whatever form that would take. The problem is that he is not going to do that and instead we are all going to be forever fractured because he is not ready to be accountable for the choices he made.

They were horrible, awful choices and I am not forgetting that but he is still my child and I do still love him and miss him everyday.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Self Sabatoge

Randall is working hard at failing and is beyond frustrated with the fact that we are trying to make him be successful and perhaps even thrive at life.

He falls into the pattern of listening to his own negative self talk and then when I try to get him to engage and produce the work I know he is capable of we get into a power struggle and argue which ends with at least one of us storming off after saying things we regret. The storming off is usually me because I am just so very frustrated. We have the same conversations day after day and we fall into the same pattern of him shifting the conversations to attacking me rather then accepting that he needs to make a change if he wants things to turn out differently.

He lives in a fantasy world where his lack of commitment and follow through doesn't apply and he thinks that even though he has done the bare minimum at school for the last 4 years and barely passed that he should now be accepted to a college program that he dreams about with zero understanding of the fact that it will not happen because of the choices he has made. He lacks the cause and effect thinking he needs to be a successful young adult but no one seems to see that except his Dad and I.
We keep trying to get people to hear us and to understand that he needs a lot of support to manage the most basic of tasks and yet no one can or will hear us because he presents as so together.

It is such a frustrating experience to try to help be successful when he fights so hard to be a failure.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

A moment...

Kate had therapy today and taking her has become such a struggle for me because every time I have to take her I am brought back to the fact that I did not keep her safe. Today while I sat there waiting for her the radio was playing Christmas Carols and that just about put me over the edge because hearing songs about families being together for the holiday season made me really sad.

I tried so hard, I was so careful and yet she was still hurt by a boy who I told her was going to love her and keep her safe too because that is what big brothers do. It has come out that he hurt time and time again and that

But her big brother did not keep her safe, instead he hurt her and she tried to tell us that and none of us believed her because she kept changing her story. I know that I believe her now and that we are getting her help but if I could roll back the clock and change this for her I so would. Her story before she came to me was one that tragic and I thought that we would be her safe place, a place that taught her that she could trust others not to hurt her and instead she just got hurt again and again.

I feel the same about Randall but it is some how a different process in my brain and I am not sure why. It could be because it did not happen to him for as long. It could be because his relationship with Kevin was already pretty complicated and this is another layer of that. To be honest I am not sure exactly why but I am sure with time it will make more sense in my head.

Guilt, shame and sadness are the dominating emotions of my life and I wonder if we will ever all be happy again and how we will ever get on with our new version of normal.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

A Story called Shame

I have been listening to The Moth Podcast to fill my long days of trying to keep myself busy so I do not have to much time to think which is helpful until it's not.

I have hit that spot where busy is not helpful because my grief is to overwhelming and once I wade through the grief I find myself deeply entrenched in shame.

And then my shame keeps me silent for long stretches because to speak of my life is to speak of the fact that even though I tried so very hard to keep my children safe I did not. They were being hurt by their brother who was also very clearly hurt and my home was not a safe a place for them.

But I can't tell this story, I can't call into The Moth and leave it on their story line. I can't tell them that even though I had video cameras and door alarms my eldest child sexually assaulted his little sister while they walked the dog together or played in the yard while I was int  the house making lunch. He violently assaulted his brother while they were sharing a room on the second floor while the rest of us slept downstairs. When I had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night and I woke him at 15 years old and asked him to get his siblings off to school if I wasn't back and instead of going back to sleep he waited till I left and then woke his brother to sexually assault him again.

There are so many stories. I know I am not to blame and yet the shame takes over and I retreat inside myself. I hide from my friends because I can not bear for them to know that this happened in my home. That I , the Mom who was on top of it all missed this. That at the end of the day I was not a good enough Mom for my kids and now as we wade through all the trauma and grief I am not a good Mom because I am constantly triggered by their stories for they are so very similar to my own. I too was not safe in my home growing up, I to was sexually assaulted by a sibling and although I thought I had done the work I needed to around that time in my life when this happened it all came crashing back and no matter what I do, not matter how hard I try I can not shut down the movie playing in my head of my own assaults and the fact no one listened or kept me safe either.

We are so broken and I am not sure we are ever going to heal. I am not sure we are all going to make it through this. Randall and Kate were both suspended last week and then this week Randall was removed from school for the rest of the semester. He can go back in February if he gets all 4 of his classes done online between now and then. Which means he is home with me, all day, everyday for the next 10 weeks.

I am barely holding my shit together most days and now I have add teaching and arguing about school work to the long list of things I do not want to do each day. I will put that right under get out of bed and pretend that we are fine.

Shame, she is nasty voice that creeps in and makes you wonder why you even bother trying.

Friday, 9 November 2018

What can I do?

How can I help you?
What can I do?
Do you need anything?

These are the questions my friends and family ask me each and every time I tell someone new about our lives or fill someone in on the chaos that happened this week or last week or today. There does not seem to be any end to the horribleness of all of this and Kate and Randall constantly share new things with us.

I know they mean well, I know they want to help but there is really nothing that can be done. I am completely overwhelmed by my emotions most days and the day to day things like getting groceries and making dinner get me moving everyday. They keep me from curling up in a ball spending my day crying as I stroke the dog and feel sorry for myself. There is definitely a place for that and I know that but I need it not to be my everyday.

I know I am depressed, I feel the ebb and flow of the overwhelming sadness gnaw at me most days and if I do not get out of my house I am afraid it will take over as it once did before.

When I was in university I struggled with serious depression that was brought on by my recollection of my own sexual abuse as child. It was a very dark time in my life and although I had a great therapist and doctor who saw me weekly for years I went through cycles of being seriously suicidal.
Getting back to that place terrifies me and yet I have not called my doctor to ask for meds this time because I am not the girl I was then. I have moments of thinking that would help and then I have a good day and think to myself that I do not need them.

I will be fine is my mantra on the hard days. 

Except when I am not fine and I am afraid that if I go back on anti-depressants it will be forever. I also do not want to deal with telling doctor after doctor why I am on them because they will ask. I see far to many medical processionals for it not to come up again and again.

Like so many things in my life right now there is no easy answer and navigating these new waters of my life will get easier with time.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

There is no instruction book...

There is no instruction book for managing your emotions when you are trying to figure out how your family is going to function when one of your children is not allowed to have contact with any of you by court order. For now it is easier but with time it will be harder.

Kevin is unwilling to admit that he has done anything wrong and I am reasonably certain that this is going to go to trial. The thought of that terrifies me for myself and for Kate and Randall.

How did we get here. All I wanted to do was parent kids who needed a family and instead of being a safe place for them it has been a further nightmare. They are safe now but they were not for so long and as careful as I was I wasn't careful enough.

I don't think I will ever forgive myself for that.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Just thoughts

Time seems like an illusive thing right now, the days are all running together as I move from one crisis to another with barely a moment to recover from the last one. It is exhausting and some days I don't have the energy to organize a meal let alone find time to sit down and formulate coherent thoughts into a blog post. Writing is useful for me as it helps me to process but at the same time there are days when I do not want to process because that would mean actually acknowledging the profound grief I am feeling and my complete powerlessness in the outcomes of the situation for my kids.

I miss having an intact family and being able to hug my oldest kid even if he is not living in my home. I have not seen or even spoken to him since the disclosures of his siblings and although there are good reasons for that it is still a struggle. I want to talk to him, to ask him to acknowledge that the choices he made are horrible and that he also needs help. Kevin has refused to acknowledge that he needs to work through his early childhood in order to be a functional adult. He refuses to admit that he too has been hurt by people who were supposed to protect him and instead just pretends that he is fine and that the problems are not his but instead ours.

It is all so freaking hard and there is just no easy way out. We must go through and at the end when there is some healing we will never be the same as we were before and that makes me so very sad.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

In an age of #metoo...

Given the current climate in North America regarding sexual assault I am often shocked at how many people do not believe survivors. Kate and Randall are constantly not believed and it astonishes me every single time it happens. How on earth would a child make this up and why would anyone put themselves out there like this if it wasn't the truth. There is just no way that a child would tear their family apart from the inside with these sorts of allegations unless they had happened.

I so wish I could stand on a rooftop and shout out that survivors are the not the ones who should be put on trial and yet that is exactly what happens. Again and again survivors have to prove that it was not consensual, that they were assaulted and that they are telling the truth.

When is it going to change? When are we going to begin to believe the stories that women, children and men tell about how they were assaulted without trying to blame them? When will we not longer need the tag #metoo?

When will we be believed?