was a hard month for me. Since you follow my blog I can only imagine what you thought. “I wonder where she went.” I wondered where I went. I went deep. Deep inside myself, and I stayed there. I was forsaken and trapped within the confines of my own mind. I was temporarily paralyzed and in shock. Before I tell you about what rocked my belief system let me clue you into a little back story.
I had lost a baby ten years ago and now enjoy parenting my teenager. He takes so much of my time as I learn to ebb and flow his hormonal waves. I, like my friend, Liz has come a long way from the loss of my daughter shortly before the loss of her daughter. Together Liz and I are different. Together we ran in different circles and had different lives, but the one thing we had the same was our teenagers had lost a little sister and Liz and I were bonded together with an invisible tie.
“Don’t try to match up one misery against another…, we’re all in the same web, waiting for the spider to get home.”
– Lalita Tademy, Cane River,
Although we never hung out from the time we met at the St. Petersburg support group I am certain that we would do anything for each other knowing what we had been through. Then one day scrolling through Facebook I read that Liz had just lost her teenage daughter. With little detail to go on, I became deeply concerned. I thought that, like so many teens, her daughter had taken her life. While waiting for more information I became completely devastated. I was deeply saddened for Liz, but suddenly more worried for myself. Selfish thoughts, I know but life isn’t always polite.
You see, I never wanted just one child when I was younger (because somehow even then) I knew life was precious. Here’s where it gets messy. I fundamentally believed if we had lost one child that gave us a rite of passage, and in no way would that mean we could lose another one. I thought we had paid our dues early. We were done! Whatever Heaven or Hell we were in we were good to go and now we could move on with our lives enjoying the surviving children we have. I just understood in my own creative way to deal with loss, that losing one child would grant Liz and I and whomever else, the guarantee that we could enjoy our other children forever. I imagined our children would bury us, not we bury our child. At least, not again. Tears ensued and grief overcame me, for Liz, and for the loss of my false sense of security. I was so naïve to think that loss couldn’t strike more than once per household. After this cruel awakening, I became angry. Unexpectedly our paid membership was denied and we were no longer in a special secret society of loss with VIP benefits.
Thanks to my background, it doesn’t take much to light my quick temper, but this made me really angry, profoundly so. It’s in times like these when I withdraw and turn inward to reflect on what this meant for me and how it would prompt me to action. I have never been one to sit and sulk for long before I decide to do something about. This, usually, drives some people crazy. I like to take action when I see a problem. When others are focused on rattling around and caressing the problem day after day, I like to take cover, lick my wounds and move on.
So, where have I been this past two months? Well, I have been crawling out of my pit of despair to make some serious changes in my life. Being familiar with grief I was able to recover a little quicker than last time. I started with slowing way down. I had to rethink and recreate the kind of person I want to become and invest in the legacy I want to leave my son.
I stopped handling everyone’s laundry, literally and figuratively. I taught the people in my house how to do for themselves so that I can take care of myself. I have a creative side and I want to express it so I started painting. In the time that it would take for me to do several loads of laundry I now paint and do my own personal laundry once a week. Here are some of the results.
Figuratively I no longer IM people about their woes they posted on FB.
Not my circus not my monkeys.
That has afforded me more time for me.
I began listening to great music, reading more parenting on teens and stopped tuning out as my son talked to me about video games I didn’t understand. I started spending more money, on him and time together. I too started to play video games. We have more chats now and I encourage, poke, prod, and plead with him until he puts down his electronics to spend time conversing with me too. For intellectual information on the benefits of playing games…check out this video.
Great video https://youtu.be/lfBpsV1Hwqs
Great music https://youtu.be/1ZCxmdBbAHk
Good books https://www.amazon.com/Have-hugged-your-teenager-today/dp/0800750985
When I lost Olivia an elderly neighbor once told me “Well now that you have just one, don’t spoil him.” I am sure she meant well, but what the hell does she know? She certainly doesn’t know what I know, that having kids and keeping them around is not as easy as everyone makes it sound. It may look like that when you see a mother having her second or third kid by a different man, but I say that is just dumb luck. She may be fortunate to have more kids than me, but does she really know what precise miracles they are?
Spoil my son, Hell Yes, I spoil him. I gave him a mom that is clean and sober, that stood up against his father time and time again. I give him a financially responsible person that had to go without phone and garbage service so that his basic needs were met. I give that boy an educated woman of teen hormones, teen music, and electronic lingo. I give that boy a stepfather that is gentle and loving and of good hard working moral character. I give that precious boy a grandmother that bought a house three blocks over so he could have the benefit of an extended family. I give that boy rides to my ex-mother in laws, where we sit and talk for hours. I spoil him, yes indeed, I give so much of myself to ensure that no matter how long he has on this earth, he will know that he is expected to do his part to being the best person he can be and have gratitude in the process. I tuck him every night and read aloud even though he is a teen, and I leave his room making sure he was giggling and laughing from the silliness we share at the end of the day. I spoil him, I love him, and you would do the same old lady if you went through the loss that I have experienced. And you know what, I may never see Liz, but for Facebook, but I know she will do the exact same thing for her remaining daughter because that’s just the kind of Bad Asses we are. Right Liz?
-Hence that is where I have been… getting out my head and enjoying whatever time that we have left together. I’m busy embracing life so I have fewer regrets and lead a happier life. This stark reminder that children are treasurable doesn’t mean I have to suffer indefinitely. It means I can work with the things that I can control and ensure a happy life staying present in the moment. So if by chance you meet me somewhere, know that I’m going to say hi, or comment on how nice you look, and be hugging on my teen baby because there are just some things I want to say and do to make this world a better place before I leave.