Have A Plan. Then Understand That Nothing Ever Goes As Planned.

Saying Goodbye To My Children

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I tried so very hard to prepare myself for the day that my son left for college in August, 2016. When my oldest child, my sweet, kind and very independent daughter, left for college two years earlier, I wasn’t really prepared for the upcoming emotional roller coaster that I would experience. Joy, that my loving and very grounded husband and I had raised such an amazing daughter who was capable of amazing things, and the pain of not having her in my life on a daily basis.
My own childhood was so different from what our family of three children is like today. I did not have the opportunity to go to college but instead just left home as soon as I could; no one really noticed that I was gone, and if they did, I suspect the primary emotion was relief. But now, my husband and I feel lucky and very proud that we are in a position to send our children to college; however I had no idea how painful it would be to see my children leave the only home that they, and even myself, have ever known as a safe place, a comfort zone, filled with love and an abundance of self confidence and reassurance that the world could be anything they ever dreamed it could be. So when my daughter left it was a very confusing time for me. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t reconcile the emotions that were so strong and deeply painful even as I knew that it was exactly what she was supposed to do and exactly what we prepared her to do. I simply didn’t know that I needed to prepare myself as well. Though she didn’t go very far away and we saw her often, it just wasn’t the same and I began a spiral deeper into the long time depression that had plagued me since my youth. The years with my children were the happiest years of my life. They were also at that time the hardest years of my life, with working full-time and raising three remarkable children in such a way that they would be prepared, unlike I was, to make good choices and live their lives knowing that they always had a place to call home.
So arming myself with the newly discovered realization of how I would feel when my son was ready to leave, I did my best to rise to the occasion and make sure that it was not about me, but all about him. I happen to be very close to this son of mine, my only son, and we have an emotional connection that I have not quite (yet) experienced with my two daughters who of course I love completely and unconditionally. But my son, wow, all I could think about was the idea that he would never know how much I love him because he will never be the mother of a son and there is just something very different and very intense about the relationship between a mother and her son. It feels like they’ll never come back and things will never be the same whereas with my daughters it feels like they will be back to look to me for advice and guidance in preparation for becoming a mother someday themselves.
The night before my son left for college we were scheduled to go out for dinner in celebration of his amazing accomplishments. I was dressed carefully, looking my best and happiest self but inside I felt like I was dying. Ultimately I was unable to attend the dinner party because the depression took a a type of grip on me that I have ever felt and I just couldn’t go. I just couldn’t say goodbye and I told him that I wouldn’t be able to go with him the next day to move him into college. And he understood because he understood……. it was just something special between us that he got in a way that no one ever had. The next morning, after saying my goodbyes the night before, I was going to sleep in and just stay home while my husband took my son away. But just before he left he woke me and gave me flowers and hugged me with every ounce of strength that he possessed. He knew, this amazing 18-year-old young man, he just knew. To this day I weep for him and the memories that I have of the privilege of being with him every day for 18 years. He’s doing great things in college and he’s going to be a great man in every way, much like his father. Recently, out of the blue, during a phone conversation with my son, he told me that he realized that I was the absolute best possible mom for him that he could ever have had. Any other mom would not have been the right mom for him even though they were certainly great moms. He wanted me to know that I was the only mom for him, that I was the only mom that made him into the man that he has become and without me he would not be who he is, so comfortable in his skin, so confident in his world.
Meanwhile my youngest child, a daughter, is leaving for college this fall, and I am steeling myself for the type of loss that I now know can only be experienced by a mother. Our third child that I and their dad, raised to be confident and independent and able to live without us. I was never a helicopter mom; I never hovered over my children or monitored their every move and every choice and experience that they encountered. I just raised them with unconditional love and availability, and a massive infusion of self-confidence and the realization that they were ready to face the world.
It still hurts, oh, how it hurts! Life will never be the same, these past 25 years filled with so much love, so many amazing experiences and a plethora of teaching moments for all of us. I see a lovely future with my husband and I’ve been looking forward to it for what seems like forever. But it will never be the same and I’m working hard to be okay with that. That hideous cliche: “It all goes so fast. Enjoy it white it lasts!” It’s more than just a cliche my friends. Sometimes, in the chaos of raising a family, it can even be insulting, but in the end, it’s a warning worth heeding. Prepare yourself as best you can, for there is nothing more difficult to face than letting your children go. And doing it gracefully? That teaching moment I’ve yet to learn.

 

The Scattered, Shattered Pieces Of Her Soul-A Poem

The little one,

Came into this world,

Bestowed with the purest of soul.

He looked at Her and said,

No.

I don’t think so.

I must go.

But first,

He reached for Her,

And greedily,

Stingily,

Took a piece of Her soul.

Not to cherish,

No.

But so that He would remain whole.

Then She looked at Her,

With Her ragged-edged soul,

And said,

I will keep you,

I will make you once again whole.

She tried,

But She lied.

And She looked at her,

And said,

No.

I don’t think so.

You must go.

But first,

She greedily,

Stingily,

Stole a piece of Her soul.

Not to cherish.

No.

But so that She would remain whole.

She sent her to the next one.

Who said,

Oh, I don’t know…..

I guess so.

But no,

I don’t think so.

And He let Her go.

But not before

He greedily,

Stingily,

Stole a piece of Her soul,

Not to cherish,

No.

But so that He could remain whole.

She roamed,

Bereft of soul.

She looked,

She longed,

And She found One.

One who was overflowing with soul.

And He said,

Come, be with me.

I will share.

I will make you whole.

And He did.

And He and She created a new soul.

The purest soul.

And then another,

And another.

And They were all whole.

Until the young, pure souls said,

We must go.

And They greedily,

Stingily,

Stole,

All the stitched together,

Raggedy shreds of Her soul.

Not to cherish,

No.

But so that They all could remain whole.

And She,

Having once again,

No soul,

Lost all of Her wholeness,

And was empty.

An endless hole.

Of nothing.

As if She’d never been here at all.

 

Random Thoughts: My Six Word Stories-Volume Seven (Featuring My Darkest Moments Edition)

Let me go. I tried. Failed.

Allow me peace in my way.

I’ve paid my dues. It’s over.

I want no pity. Just acceptance.

Tears have depleted my body, soul.

 I remain proud of my legacy.

Alana, Heath, Gwyneth: They are exquisite.

They deserve everything I never had.

 I’m ready to stop the pain.

I surrender trying to be loved.

My final effort: to love myself.

I have nothing left to give.

Accepting abandonment of me ends now.

I will finally accept melancholic mediocrity.

I’m tired, exhausted. Only peace, please.

Slow my brain, ease my pain.

I gave away my entire self.

I didn’t know. I was unprepared.

I failed myself. I couldn’t surmount.

I waited too long. I broke.

I’m ashamed of all my efforts.

i’m giving up gracefully. Let me.

Random Thoughts: My Six- Word Stories-Volume Six (Featuring Difficult Questions Edition)

Does anybody actually truly “get” you?

When do you stop knowing everything?

What makes you better than me?

Are you bullying because you’re bullied?

Why can’t creationism and evolution coexist?

President Trump: how did this happen?

Lack of feeling: comfortable or pain? 

 Hell on Earth worse than Hell? 

How to turn off brain chatter?

I need you. Where are you?

Do you know me at all?

All black and white? No gray? 

Complex or carefree: which is preferable?

Does unconditional love exist in humans?

Who really knows anything for sure?

Is the truth always unequivocally true?

What is worse than children dying?

What eats away at your soul? 

Why do we count on hope?

What is it really all about?

Is our lives the Big Picture?

And then finally, why? Just why?

My Sweetest Christmas

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Hey sweet family. I realized after a lot of warm fuzzy thoughts about our wonderful holiday time together that the most meaningful experience for me personally was how generous you kids were to each other. You picked thoughtful, kind, fun gifts for each other and you played silly made up games and puzzles with graceful rivalry and all of that was extraordinarily special.

I realized how much we truly love each other as a family and that all of our years together have meant more than you three just growing up from infancy to adulthood. Each of you is such a unique, gifted, loving person in your own right and you should be really proud of yourselves for being just really good and decent people.

I couldn’t be more proud and even though I can’t and wouldn’t try to take credit, the fact is you are my greatest legacy and obviously the primary reason God put me on this Earth. I love all of you so much, and I thank God for Daddy, for being my life partner in bringing you all into this world. Nothing will ever come between us, our special family, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

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Who Can Answer Any Of My Questions?

The darkness has plagued me for so long and these questions are constantly bouncing around in my damaged brain. I thought it was time to put pen to paper and try to sort them out. Primarily speaking, they are and will remain rhetorical.

Who knows the depth of my suffering?

Who truly understands their part and responsibility in it?

Who can accurately describe what their mistakes did to my psyche?

Who has been there for me from the beginning?

Who has comprehended my losses throughout my life and taken any ownership?

Who can differentiate between the inherited mental illness vs. the things that happened to me that exacerbated the detrimental effects?

Who intellectually knows that if I’d not experienced so much trauma in my youth that the clinical depression could have been much better managed, perhaps even eradicated?

Who chooses to blame others to assuage their own guilt?

Who understands that these traumas will never go away?

Who realizes that their behavior today only makes things worse?

Who realizes that saying you love me is insulting?

Who accepts that I’m never going to be good enough for you?

Who knows that I did my best and it was all for nothing?

Who believes me when I say I have tried everything to help myself?

Why do you get to be happy and content while I suffer?

Why was I born?

Who thinks my husband and children treat me as a worthy wife and mother?

Who thinks there is any chance for me?

Who has convinced themself that I am my own worst enemy?

Who is my “Person”?

Who is just plain sick and tired of my self-pity? Besides myself?

Who thinks they know what’s best for me if I would just listen and take their advice?

Who would choose to live like this?

Who would choose to live with me like this?

When will you stop judging me?

When, exactly, did you give up on me?

Who wishes I would just go away unless I conform to your standards of who you think I should be?

Who knows the definition of compassion? Who practices it in its purest way?

Who has ever made me a priority?

Who has ever genuinely tried to help me? Who even knows how?

Why did I spend my whole life and untold amounts of time and money simultaneously trying to be the best daughter, sister, niece, wife, mother, employee, volunteer, friend, while also trying to heal myself through every avenue available to me?

Why did I fail?

Who thinks they know any of the answers? I know I do.

Who cares?

A Letter To All Who……..

I need to tell you what I’ve been feeling in recent weeks: All day yesterday, hunkered down after 10 inches of snow blanketed my town, I felt really true to myself for a change. I relaxed, read an entire book, ate what I wanted, enjoyed the peaceful company of my daughter and my dog hanging out, and just felt good about myself. When I’m trying to do everything “right” and constantly taking the high road while I’m being beaten down by my family and my ex-friends (and it feels like no one stands up for me or stands by me or chooses me), it doesn’t seem to matter or make any difference to anyone how hard I try to do the “acceptable” thing. I’m tired of trying and I feel like no one is trying as hard as I am because they believe they are not at fault for anything and take no ownership. It’s just so easy to blame me for everything. I’m just going to stop working so hard to please everyone else and just be myself instead-be comfortable in my own skin instead of beating myself up for never being good enough.

When I was good enough for everyone else I wasn’t being good to myself and that’s how I got to this desolate place and then everyone failed me and judged me and gave up on me. I did my job superbly in my career and my marriage and raising our children and running our household and being a good and loyal friend and family member, but that’s all been completed now and in my loss and pain I’m not comforted or treated compassionately but rather I’ve fallen from grace in everyone’s eyes because I’m no longer relevant or needed and when that caused me pain and deterioration all of you gave up on me and deserted me. I’m just ready to give up on this exhausting facade; it’s too much and I’m not ever going to be good enough again.

I believe everything is fine with my youngest daughter still living at home until she leaves for college next August. I hope she doesn’t end up disappointed with me and judging me like everyone else but I’m not giving up on her. I’ve never given up on any of my children. They have always been my top priority and they know it. I believe I still have some value to my youngest daughter and her choices while she’s still under our care but once she leaves, I just want to go away and never come back. I want to start a completely new life. I know you’ll never understand that but the woman you think you know or thought you knew just doesn’t exist anymore-too much damage has happened, too much pain.

Sadly I don’t feel confident that any of you are ever going to be able to move forward with me as I am today so I have to move on without you because I can’t keep up this pretense that I’m ever going to be who you want and need and expect me to be and therefore you will not be able to love me like you once did.  No fault of yours but I wish you had it in you to accept me and love me like you used to. It’s my opinion that you don’t possess the emotional capacity to broaden your horizons beyond your original life plan and I just don’t fit into it anymore. Any love we had for each other is based on the past, (if it ever existed at all), not the future and I’ll never be fully convinced that you loved me like you claimed to or that you can accept me as I am.

My life has been full of pain and it’s not going away.  It’s only exacerbated by the constant loss that I feel and will continue to experience for the rest of my life. I’ve really tried so hard to save my family but I need to save myself and be who I am and live in that comfort zone alone instead of walking on eggshells and feeling judged and betrayed.  Losing the respect of so many of you including my children is just more than I’m willing to live out my days with.

I hope it’s not too late for you all to remember me when you truly loved and respected me instead of seeing me as an ultimate failure and passing judgement on me. I need to be with people who are flawed like I am, not seemingly perfect people like you. (And how ironic that a lot of my influence played a big role into making some of you better people than I am myself.) Many of you have disappointed me by letting your disdain overshadow your appreciation and gratefulness simply because I’ve gone through some overwhelmingly difficult years for very valid reasons, but no one could be bothered to give some deep thought as to why that was happening; it was just convenient and easier and frankly cowardly to blame it on my “condition”. Shame on you for putting me through this and making it worse instead of genuinely trying to help me. Disrespecting me, judging me, blaming me, and believing all the answers lie in medication or hospitalization or clinical trials has been one big cop-out and your influence on others has been very damaging. Stop defining me in that way. Stop it now, once and for all. It’s clouding your vision and disallowing you to see me in so many other real ways and accepting what good I have to offer. I won’t tolerate it any longer. If you simply cannot do that then please untether me and let me go. Please.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and process it and I know some of you will be dismissive and just roll your eyes at what you firmly believe is my distorted attitude but maybe you should dig a little deeper into yourself and search for your ownership in all of this. I’m a lot stronger than you may remember, since I’ve been kicked while I’m down and I’ve experienced a lot of clarity over these past months and as hard as I try, and want to hope for our future, it just keeps fading away as I become more self-aware, especially with intense and frequent therapy. I genuinely miss the wonderful, fulfilling and happy years we had and wish I could magically have all that positivity back. I gave so much to make a happy life for all of us and it all made me very content and full of confidence.  Having to deal with watching all that end and not matter anymore is so incredibly sad for me. My whole life has been a roller coaster of self-confidence built on my own personal success with no help or support from anyone, followed by disappointment in eventually not being good enough for anyone to keep me around once I’ve outlived my usefulness, and I generally see it coming before anyone else does so I fall into self-sabotage, making it easier for others to push me out of their lives, blaming me for everything. I just have to look forward and make my own way, alone as always, and I will succeed because I always do.