Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Poem to an Abusive Man

I've been doing a bit of research on abuse, domestic violence and how it usually ends. It's not pretty and it's painful and I hurt every time I read another woman's tale of horror.

Did you know that emotional abuse is as detrimental as physical abuse? And that most emotional abusers continue on to become physical abusers? I didn't. I do now. I found a site where formerly abused women, on the path to recovery from their abusers, have written poems. This one below is one that haunted me.

Thank You

You wooed me with poetry
I bit on the hook
Had I only first read
The name of the book

I would have avoided
The very first page
For pages kept turning
Revealing the rage

The ups were a great high
The ride was a bash
But I rode with my eyes closed
To avoid seeing the crash
I knew it would come soon
But I never knew when
The rage and the leaving
And the path to the end

You had to control things
Determined you would
Emotionally destroying me
Every way that you could

Belittling my life
I did nothing your way
But how gently you showed me
That I was astray

You tore me to pieces
'Til tears I did cry
And then you would rescue me
"So sorry am I"

You did what you wanted
And stayed out all night
But dare I do question
Without starting a fight

You gave me your burdens
A gift of misery
You gave me your burdens
And then blamed them on me

I didn't deserve them
For I have no blame
Another attempt
To bring me to shame

The secrets I kept
So no one would know
"He is a GREAT guy"
I put on a show

The anger, the fighting
Was worth it you see
For the highs of your love
Were blinding to me

I cried and I pleaded
In retrospect
How sad to have yearned for
More abuse and neglect

I never did get it
How sorry was me
I never did get it
Until I was free

And yes, I still love you
Despite the hatred you spew
For some weak reason
I will always love you

When you look up Sid
The light that you see
So flitting and free now
That light is me

I've also learned that on average, a woman will leave their abuser 8 times before leaving for good. EIGHT TIMES. An abuser will take the cell phone of the woman and text her family, be completely controlling in every way. An abused woman burns out everyone in her circle. Her family, her friends, her coworkers. They finally throw up their hands and say enough is enough because they see the woman return again and again to her abuser and they don't understand why. It makes no sense to the abused woman's friends and family. It's partially because the man has killed all self esteem in the woman and made her feel that no one else would ever want her. There is a cycle to this abuse. Some women stay because they are made to feel that everything is their fault and if they just try a little harder to please their abuser, he will change and truly love them and then choirs of angels will sing and their relationship will be perfect.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. They do not change. The cycle of abuse continues.

If you know of someone who needs help, give them this information.

Visit the Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233 TODAY.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our Life is a Country Song--No, Seriously

In the past ten months, our family has experienced the following:

1. Three Northwest Hospital ER visits.
2. Eighteen Children’s Hospital ER visits.
3. Three surgeries on an Achilles tendon.
4. One surgery lengthening an arm tendon and transferring two other tendons.
5. One lovely ride in a Medic One
6. A bone infection due to a root canal gone terribly wrong.
7. Two oral surgeries.
8. Four hospital stays
9. One Harborview ER visit
10. Our car’s transmission went out so we are down to one vehicle, meaning I get up at the crack of Didn’t-I-just-go-sleep, take hubby to work, come home and get two offspring up. I take one to high school, one to middle school. I go to work, go pick up my husband, pick up high schooler, pick up middle schooler, lather, rinse and repeat ad nauseam.
11. We lost our beautiful home....and
12. Our dog died.

Toss in an unwed pregnancy and our lives just became a country song---without the beer of course. Or the gun rack in the pickup truck. Mostly because we have neither the truck nor any guns to put on a rack. We’ve been pondering the gun thing lately---but with so much fun in our lives we’re afraid it would simply add to our, er, fun. And by fun, I mean tragedy and hospital visits. There are a few more things that have happened to us in the past ten months, but they are too painful and personal to share here. Just use your imaginations. I dare ya.

Because of our particular situation with one child, my husband and I have not spent any time together in….oh, let’s say a decade. All right, it might not be a decade but it’s pretty close. Sometimes we bump into each other in bed and when I say bump, I mean he tosses an arm or a leg over at me and I instantly go into a menopausal hot flash so fierce that it would take the paint off of a car, thus necessitating that I throw all blankets off, sweat profusely until the hot flash is over and then hopefully go back to sleep.

The sleep part of our lives hasn’t been great either. Last night I didn’t sleep. I knew I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. to drive hubby to work, so the harder I tried to fall asleep, the less sleepy I felt. I didn’t want to take something because then I’d be groggy as I drove. It was a win-win situation for my brain. It went whirring around like a dervish, darting from one bad experience to another, bouncing around like a ball in a pinball machine.

Did I pay the water bill? How come I’m never the one that can find Waldo. Ooooh, Hawaii sounds nice. Warm air, sand and…how can our cat snore so loudly in his face and not wake him up? I shouldn’t have sent that text but I’ve reached the end of my rope and there’s no knot to hang on to. Readers Knot---that’s the name of Lori’s book club. Wish I had a book---those poor children in Oklahoma. Those poor parents---my heart breaks for them. How are we going to get a new car….two cars. I can’t be in two places at once—or three for that matter, although there’s probably enough of me to make that happen were it possible. Those green peppers are going south—better use them in the morning for the girl’s breakfast. Need to vacuum. I wonder what’s on CNN…

On and on it goes. I’ve always had a lovely Attention Deficit Disorder side---which affects every part of my life, including my dreams. And my writing. Did I mention my writing? Yeah, that too. SQUIRREL!

Anyway, I'm going to try and write a country song from my list of Fun Things That We've Had Happen. Once I take a nap.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Shared Struggles

I'm home from church today.... I was greatly looking forward to going, for two reasons; One, my husband is speaking and two, my older sister Cheri is coming. It would have been wonderful.

However, my place is here at home, keeping my child safe and watching over her. There is no manual for us, as the parents of this very unique and troubled child. There just isn't. We do what we think is right, we pray and pray and pray for guidance. And sometimes....we wonder where the 'joy in our posterity' is to be found. Struggles overwhelm us, as we try to find that joy in small moments. Sadly, they are few and far between. Still, we try.

Last night Lance and I sat down with some very dear friends of ours. Their struggles are difficult and some of theirs are like ours, so we had much to talk about. It felt wonderful to talk with someone who understands, someone who is going through the parenting trenches with children who have special needs, and with a typical child thrown in for fun. Oh the fun! It was cathartic to talk about it with a couple who gets it. And although we can't know the pain and heartbreak equal to theirs, or theirs to ours, we laughed and tried our best not to cry as we spoke about what is happening. Ok, it might just have been me that was trying not to cry. I think I managed quite well. It's a measure of how far I've come that I can even speak about it without dissolving into a slobbering, weeping mess. Go me. Plus, I don't want to end up in the hospital again. I'm pretty sure what happened to me was a result of the extraordinary stress I've been under. The doctors said it was a very rare occurrence, but I'm unwilling to take that chance. Remaining calm and centering myself with prayer seems to help. It's not easy, but I'm doing my best

Because they have such complicated and busy lives, as do we, there was so much to catch up on. When I pulled my shirt aside, my friend saw I was hooked up to a heart monitor. She threw up her hands and said, "OOOOH, We have SOOOO much to talk about!!" And she was right. Her husband had undergone some scary surgery, my husband was just coming out of three surgeries and ten months of horror, on top of our regularly scheduled programming. .

Sharing burdens lightens them, even if it's just talking about them. So at times we have felt like this poor donkey. but because we have so many people that lift us up in prayer, so many people that share our burdens, we are able to keep our feet planted firmly on the ground and move forward with faith.

Thank know who you are.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Is Not My Idea

I'm going to be brutally honest with all of you. Well, all two of you that may have continued to read my blog. I hope that once you read this, you will continue to be my friends and/or family.


I really don't. Not anymore. Oh, there were times I loved the celebration of my being a mom, when my four offspring were younger. I remember little handprints on papers in bright colors, crafty mother's day gifts from elementary school that my babies were dying to give to me. Some couldn't wait until Sunday and I was given those gifts as they climbed down from their yellow school buses the Friday before a Mother's Day. Eyes bright with the joy of giving me something they had made themselves.

There were breakfasts in bed. One Mother's Day my two youngest girls slaved in the kitchen and brought me a plate of food that did not in fact look like something edible. Since they knew my favorite color was pink, they used some food coloring on the scrambled eggs and the french toast. There wasn't fruit in the eggs or raspberries on top--just food coloring. The mess in the kitchen was of epic proportions, as has often been the case on many a mother's day across the world. I didn't mind cleaning it up. I've cleaned up worse things.

Over the years, as some of the kids have moved from diapers to tricycles, from hula hoops to makeup and then on to what passes for adulthood, I have become a bit jaded at times about parenthood. This in no way means that I love my children any less. Anyone around me knows that I love each and every one of them. However, having said that, there is still a reality that cuts deeply into my heart. They do not love me in return.. Not in the way that I love them---and I can't expect them to. I remember every boo boo that I kissed, I remember every night I slept next to a hospital bed or health care worker or school I went to battle against for the sake of my child. My memories of holding precious newborns, nuzzling the necks of my toddlers, wanting to wake them up in the middle of the night just to play with them, are all so very fresh in my mind.

However, they do not hold the same memories that I do.

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ― Debra Ginsberg

There have been times during their teenage years that I have wanted to run away. I remember my mother telling me that she had wanted to leave once---go alone to a motel, soak in a tub and just sleep. But this was when my older sister was gravely ill for years, she had three other small children and no one in her family--extended or otherwise---was there to give her any relief. Mom didn't want to leave when we were teenagers, because we never gave her any problems. We were good kids. Mom ruled the roost with an iron fist, and there have been times I wondered if our obedience came from fear of consequences or a simple knowledge of right from wrong. I'd like to think it was the latter, but I know it was sprinkled with a bit of the former. Mom loved her grandchildren with an intensity rivaling the sun at midday. I'm grateful to her for her love and advice as I became a mom once, twice, thrice and then a fourth time. When I miscarried, she cried with me. When I faced numerous illnesses and hospitalizations with my babies, she was always there. She was a blessing in my life.

We taught our babies how to pray, to have faith and to be kind. Do unto others, the golden rule and to be compassionate. I honestly remember doing these things. I do. But you know what? It must not have stuck with them. Not with all of them, at any rate. Their daddy was in the hospital for three surgeries in the past 9 months. They didn't come to see him. I nearly died and spent five days in the hospital recently. They never came to my beside.

Now Mother's Day is on Sunday. One child texted about coming to dinner. Really? That's nice. No, it's not. I'm not making dinner. In fact I do not plan to be here. I do not want contrived moments, false protestations of a love that is clearly not there in their actions or treatment of either me or their father. Perhaps I'm being petty, you may think. Well, that's ok. It might be true.

What I know, and what I feel is this: You cannot make someone feel something that they clearly do not feel. As is often said, actions speak louder than words. What I also know is that I do not have to put myself in a place where I am continually hurt. There is too much stress in my over-crowded life to keep feeling this hurt---but I do not know how to set aside my love for them in order to make it not hurt. When I see pictures of other mom's with their children, when I hear them say their children have become their best friends, I get a little catch in my throat.

Margaret Atwood “No mother is ever, completely, a child's idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the other way around as well. But despite everything, we didn't do too badly by one another, we did as well as most.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

So perhaps I am not what their idea of what a mother should have been, and they are not my idea of what grown children should be like. I suppose we will all have to live with those emotions. Thankfully, I won't have to live with them as long.

Happy Mother's Day everyone...