Saturday, 10 August 2019

I was..

Once, I was so hopeful about being a Mom. I was going to make a difference in kids lives. I was going to make sure they had all the things I did not.

I was going to pay attention. I was going to give them fun rooms with great colours and fun themes. I was going to make sure that they always knew I was here and that they were loved and wanted. I was not going miss it if one of them was mistreating another. I was not going to play favourites. I was going to make sure that they had stimulating toys and books. I was not going to let them watch cable or play video games till their eyes glazed over. I was going to teach them good manners and to be respectful.

I was going to do all the things my parents never did for me and then some. I was going to be a great Mom.

And I am. I was.

But it wasn't enough. It was never enough.

One of my children still hurt his siblings in so many ways and then broke us when he denied that it ever happened. The cycle of sexual abuse continued in my home even though I was so careful because I did not want my children to live my life. I wanted it to be different for them.

It wasn't.

But now it is. I am hearing them. I am believing them. I am supporting them. I will not pretend that this did not happen and that we are the perfect happy adoptive family success story.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Quiet time

Kate has been at camp for the last 8 days and I have taken advantage of this quiet to rest and take care of me. There have been lots of iced coffee's, little meal prep and a lovely pedicure this morning. I will go pick her up today and I am hoping that she had an arming time and is willing to go back again in a few weeks.

With all the attempts at self care things fell apart for me on Wednesday when the detective involved in Kevin's case dropped off our subpoena's for his upcoming trial. I didn't think that would be as hard as it was to receive those pieces of paper. They are currently sitting out on the table and every time I see them my heart starts hurting all over again.

It is becoming increasingly hard to push the upcoming trial from. my thoughts. It is still 2 full months away but lots of things regarding it will need to happen between now and then and I am not sure how I am going to get through them.

I am anxious just writing about it.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Still here.

Its Tuesday of the second week of Kate's summer vacation and I am tired. She hasn't been sleeping well because she keeps dreaming about people killing her. How did I get to place in my life where my 13 year old is dreaming about people ( including Kevin) killing her.

My home was supposed to be a safe place for my kids. A place where kids who did not have safety and security could find it and grow into strong resilient humans whose adverse childhood experiences did not define who they were and instead it was a place of trauma and pain.

It makes me so sad.

I wish this was not our reality and I do not see a way through this to the other side. I feel as though there is never going to be another side but instead just a life full of brokenness because I did not see the signs or listen to the warnings.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Pinpricks of light.

It has been just over three weeks since I went on meds to help manage both my chronic pain and my depression. I am not amazing fantastic but I am feeling the tiniest bit less like the world is going to end at any moment. The fact that my pain has gone from awful to moderate has helped a lot as well.

I feel like someone has poked some tiny holes in the darkness so that some light can seep in. It is slow and small but it is there. I have been listening to Laura Daigle album Look Up Child on repeat lately and so much of it speaks to hope and to knowing that you are not alone even though you feel as though you are.

I know that I have people who love me and who want me in their lives. Friends who chose to be in relationship with me because they like my company and enjoy being with me but when I am depressed all of those people fade into the woodwork I  ( because I disconnect )  and their absence then becomes part of the struggle when I feel so very alone. Parenting my kids created a lot of social isolation for me and now that the boys are not in my home I am struggling to find social situations where I feel like I can be myself without having to rehash our story 16 times or lie to people about where my boys have gone because the truth is more then they can handle.

The few local connections that have stuck through this with us have their own lives and families to manage and will be there if I ask them to be but I am not so good at articulating my needs and when I am depressed the last thing I want to do is be with people. I want to hide in my room and binge watch tv or pretend that I am independently wealthy by wandering through the mall spending money we don't have imagining that my life is some how different.

I am trying to make some solid plans with others that will get me out of my house and being social with people who get it and will not ask a million questions. Kate is in theatre camp this week and is going away for 9 days on a canoe trip later this month and although she and I are both looking forward to the change in our routine I am sort of wondering what I am going to do with myself for that long!

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Alone

I am feeling very alone today. It's Kevin's birthday and I am really missing him and am mourning the lack of celebrating him today. We have been apart on his birthday and moved the the celebration around but this is the first time there has ever been a court order that prevents us from being together.

Both Jack and I reached out to him on social media without discussing the fact that our hearts are hurting today. Jack publicly and me privately in a dm. I can see that he read it and I have no idea how he feels because hasn't responded but I had to acknowledge that I was thinking about him today. It took me awhile to figure out what to say. To keep it neutral and yet let him know that he was in my heart and on my mind.

It's also Kate's last day of school and she is having lots of big feelings about that. She is also talking about and expressing how much easier life is at home without Randall here. She feels sort of guilty for thinking and saying it but she is right and I let her know that last night when she brought it up. There are no big end of year things for grade 7 so her year is just kind of fizzling out without too much fanfare and then theatre camp starts on Tuesday for two weeks.

All around me on social media kids are finishing high school and families are posting pictures of all their kids accomplishments. I feel like it would be to create and post a photo essay called "My Reality". I could post photos of restraining orders, court documents, social workers and therapy sessions because as the school year ends that is the only thing that I have to share. Randall should be graduating but is no where near finished and Kevin dropped out in 2017.

Watching everyone else be functional in the world makes me feel very alone. I know that in many cases that is just the good part for their fake lives but I don't even have a fake life to pretend with. There is really nothing good happening.


Friday, 21 June 2019

Meh

The days just all run together into a stretch of meh -that's a technical term. I started meds last week to treat my fibromyalgia and my depression, neither my pain nor my sadness has decreased in the slightest. I know that these things take time to build up and that thing changes over night but I wish that it did.

We were away over the weekend with family to celebrate a birthday and it was a fun weekend and I managed to pull it together but it used up a whole week of spoons ( if that makes no sense to you you can read about the spoon theory here) and so once we got back on Monday I just wanted to spend the whole week sleeping. That wasn't really. an option so I have just moved through the motions of appearing functional and being presentable to the world. I can fake it well, I have been doing it for years but all I really want to do is get in my bed and alternate between sleeping and binge watching TV on my iPad until life seems a little less awful.

Instead this week I spent an entire day at the mental health hospital for a an assessment for Raymond, bought groceries, walked the dog and gone to therapy for me and for Kate and Raymond. Its almost the weekend and that will come with at least one lazy morning but there is so much to do around here both inside and out that my desire to do nothing won't really be an option.

so yep - meh is the word of the week. Maybe it will be different soon.

Monday, 10 June 2019

It's time to ask for help

It's Monday morning.

Who likes Mondays? When my boys where little I loved them because it meant school and although that came with its own set of challenges it was a welcome break after a weekend of being together all the time.

I long for those days when things were hard but predictable. I had a handle on their behaviour and rocked parenting them most days. That feels like a life time ago.

Now do I not only have no control over what is happening in our lives I am also stuck in a loop of depression and despair that I can't seem to break no matter how hard I try.

It has been happening for a long time, the constant sad and negative self talk has been slipping into my days. The tape that plays in my head that tells me I'm worthless, a bad parent, not good enough no longer seems to have a stop button. There is a pause and I might get through a few hours or even a day but before long the pause pops up and it plays again and again.

The constant tape playing coupled with a day last week that quite frankly scared the crap out of me has me waiting at this exact moment for a doctor's appointment so that I can get some anti-depressants because it's time. I can't continue to have days where I think that actually running away from my life or driving my car into something solid at fast speeds is some how an appropriate solution to getting through this.

Last week the tape in my head went from its regular set of statements to one that was suggesting various extreme things none of which were a reasonable plan. I felt so much like just disappearing from the earth would solve all my problems and as I sat silently sobbing feet away from my husband who was watching TV I was scared that the ideas in my head would become my reality.

I went to therapy last week and was honest about how hard it is to function everyday right now and within an hour of leaving I had called the doctor. Not because anyone told me I had to but because I felt like that was the best course of action given the current status of my life.

I have been here before, I have walked this road and 20 years ago when I was clinically depressed and actively suicidal the meds I was on helped and took the extreme edge off of dealing with full time  university, full time work and dealing with my own trauma story which had been largely repressed until I was 21.

I was thinking about that in the car yesterday, I remembered and started to manage my own trauma in the fall of 1998 and in the fall of 2018 my kids disclosed the trauma that they had been surviving in our home for much of their childhoods. 20 years is a long time and so much has changed in my life since then. I had no idea this is what my life would look like then, this was not my plan.

This was the road I planned to be on and yet here I am and so I must find a way to continue to walk because their really are not any other options.



Monday, 3 June 2019

I thought it would be Little Women...

When I dreamed about parenting I thought my life would be like Little Women - yes there would be hard times and life might not be easy but as a family we work together and grow through the hard parts together. There would be fond memories of our lives as the children grew and eventually had families of their own. We would sing and crack jokes and they would move into the world knowing that they were loved and wanted by parents who chose to create a family from a group of people who they came to love with their whole hearts.

I did not get Little Women but instead got Flowers in the Attic because we had a child who systematically divided our family and created such pain and trauma for all of us that we will always all be affected by the choices that he made. He pushed down his pain and trauma and then recreated what had happened to him time and time again as he hurt others because it seemed to be the only response that he could make sense of and so he clung to it. There were secrets and lies for so many years and when they finally came to light our world was shattered into so many pieces that there was just no way to gather them all up again.

Now we are beginning to share the secrets with each other as we all try to heal, to pick up as many of the pieces as we can knowing that we will never be the same as we once were. We speak of our trauma and share our pain with everyone but him because the system is trying to keep us safe by keeping him away from us but that only makes things worse. When we can't be in relationship with one another we can't heal and move forward, we can't speak of the pain that his actions have caused and trauma that he created. We can't work towards him making amends and being accountable for the choices that he made and how they have affected so many lives.

We are trapped and so is he as we all await a court to hear our stories and to pass judgement on young man who really is just a product of the brokenness of a system that was meant to protect him. As we wait I will hope and pray that he gets help to process his trauma because if that had happened we would not all be living the life we currently are.

He will always be my child.




Thursday, 30 May 2019

She was strong and taught me to be.

In one of my favourite photos of myself I am about 4 and standing in my Nana's garden among the flowers most of which are taller then I was. I am smiling and happy because when I was with my Nana I was the centre of the universe and she treated with me with so much value and respect as a person.

She was 5 feet tall and rode a three wheeled bicycle to the grocery store with me riding in the basket. She made her own clothes and sewed for her family and friends. She grew her own food and made root beer in her cellar. She was perhaps the strongest woman I will ever know and she walked her path with integrity and compassion.

She came to this place as my Nana down a path that many people have only ever read about in books.   She was born in the early 1900's to immigrant parents who were farming in the middle of nowhere on the prairies because they knew that life would be better than the one they had in Eastern Europe. She was one of 10 kids and although there was often not enough of anything they always had something to share with a visitor whether they knew them or not. She was raised to serve and to care for her the people in her family and in her community.

At about 16 she began teaching school and in the coming years she left the farm to be a nun. It was the expectation of her parents and since she was always one to listen to her parents off she went. She stayed for a number of years but as the time came to make her final vows she declared that she was not going to be able to make that commitment and she left the religious order. Her family was devastated and would not speak to her for some time. She was far away from them in large city and the nuns gave her a job as a teacher in a school that they ran. She taught as a layperson along side her former sisters and spoke fondly of those years as she moved into being an independent young woman.

Eventually she met a man and fell in love. She got pregnant and they got married. They had a son and two years later they had another son (my dad). At some point soon after they married my Nana discovered that her new husband was addicted to alcohol and gambling and when things did not go well at the club he would come home and hit her. She put up with his abusive behaviour for as long as she could but after about 10 years which included a move to the west coast so he could escape his bad debts she finally realized that he was not likely to change.

She kicked him out of their home and told him he could only his sons when we was sober. It was the the 1950's and she faced so much criticism for her choice to protect the physical safety of herself and her sons. It was hard but she made it work, she sewed for people and washed clothes. She encouraged her boys and threw herself into her church community and sang in their award winning choir. She held her head up high and walked forward showing the world that she had made the right choice.

This strong vibrant woman was the one I would come to know as a child, fiercely protective of all of us she would do whatever was needed to keep us all happy and healthy. There is a story about my Dad being responsible for the laundry and his solution being to take to his Mom's house so she could do it for him. Which of course she continued to do until my Mom found out! She would cook me whatever I asked for and sewed for me including making elaborate outfits for my dolls when I was there either after school on the weekend. Her home was my favourite place to be.

When I was about 8 my Uncle died. My Nana was devastated, she loved him with every fibre of her being even though he was a drug addict and much like his father had become quite abusive towards her. I vividly remember her profound grief as she tried to lift him out of the coffin at his funeral. I could not then, at 8, understand that her grief was so wrapped in the choices and decisions she had made and wishing that she had done things differently. All I saw was her tears and profound sadness at the loss of her son even though I did not understand why she was upset that this man who was often quite scary to me, had died.

But now as I miss Kevin and wish that we could have made different choices with and for him I understand her grief. I understand that as strong and courageous as she was she still thought that she could have changed things if she had just loved more, done more, changed her decisions. The reality is there was nothing she could have done to change the way that my Uncle lived or died.

This week I am trying to give myself the grace that I gave to her as a teen and young adult when she would talk about her regrets at the way things had turned out with her husband and with her sons. I remember talking about the cycle of addiction and how she could not of changed the choices that those men made and that she was brave and strong to leave her husband when she did. How she was a  good courageous person who had made a difference in the lives of so many people with her actions and her love.

My Nana taught me everything I know about compassion, commitment and forgiveness because no matter how badly she had been hurt she still never spoke badly of any of the men who hurt her and instead hoped that with time they would heal and come back into relationship with her. There is a part of my heart that holds out that same hope for Kevin and hopes that next time I see him will not be because his choices meant the end of his life.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Hurting

As I continue to struggle with how to move forward in this insane reality that is now my life I am often struck by how insane my new version of normal is. Yesterday without even thinking about it I told a director at DCFS that I was afraid of Kevin and of what he might do to Randall if given the opportunity. I also informed her of the many times that Kevin physically assaulted me and that the reason the restraining order is in place is because it keeps us all safe. When I actually think about the feelings and emotions that go with those very true and matter of fact statements I get pretty sad because I wish my whole heart that this was not our reality.

That being said, this person we spoke to yesterday was the first one to actually acknowledge that this is a terrible situation and that Jack and I must be devastated and how this has all turned out. Yep. It was a pleasant shift to hear someone actually look at he big picture and then to have a conversation about the impact it is having on all of us and how our desire to build a family has actually destroyed all of our lives along with so many others who have been affected by what has happened.

I also found out from her that Kevin is not living in our small town and instead in the nearby city which is also where Randall is but I doubt that they travelling in the same circles so I am pretty sure that Kevin is safe where he is. As I explained to her my concerns and the reality of the assaults by Kevin her whole demeanour and attitude shift from defensive to compassionate. We are not the enemy and we care deeply for our children and ultimately want them all to get the help the need and not punishment from punitive system that disregards the fact that hurting people hurt other people.

At the end of the day I have zero control over anything with either of my boys but I will shout at the top of my lungs to make sure that someone hears that the choices they made in my home began when they were abused in foster care. Children who were removed because of neglect and then were physically and sexually abused in a home that was supposed to be safer than the one they had left.

It breaks my heart that all three of kids were hurt in homes where they were supposed to be safe.