Thursday, March 17, 2016

Twenty-Two and almost Two

This week has been a rough one emotionally, as it is every year.  Twenty-two years ago this week, my beloved cousin, a beautiful blue-eyed, blonde-haired, joy-filled darling, wandered away on her farm and was missing for days before she was recovered from the river running through her family farm's property.

Twenty-two years have passed, and I can still see the week unfolding in slow motion like a silent film.

Once upon a time, I would have nightmares about it, trying to reach out and save her, although none of us knew at the time where she disappeared to.  I could never reach her, and she was always lost.

There's something undeniably horrific about losing a child.

Carissa was just a few months past two when she went to be with Jesus.

This year, my darling daughter turns two herself, in less than a month.

I have been trying not to dwell on the significant events of the past since my last posts, but as I mentioned in the post "Littered Dates," it seems they always strike me in some way.  Some years more powerfully than others.  This year has been harder in regard to Carissa's drowning than most, simply because of Norah.

My beautiful, bubbly, joy-filled (typically), blonde-haired, brown-eyed darling who looks much like my grandmother, and has hair that styles like a troll doll while she sleeps, just like Carissa.  My Sweet Pea, who embraces you in whole body bear hugs, just like my cousin would.

My daughter, the wanderer.  The free-spirit.  The one who loves to sing and dance.

Carissa lived to be two.  Norah is almost two.  She's almost older than Carissa was.

Now, I don't sit and fear that she's going to disappear like Carissa did, or that I'm going to lose her any day now.  That seems irrational, and it's all in God's hands.  I trust that he's going to allow me countless more days with each of my children, and I pray diligently in that regard.

But it doesn't mean that somewhere, deep inside, I compare the two, and my heart aches, deeply.  It aches for my cousin that none of us were able to watch grow up to become a woman.  It aches for my aunt, my uncle, and her sisters.  It aches for her grandparents, her aunts and uncles, and the rest of my cousins.  It aches for my children and my cousin's children who never got a chance to know her.  It aches.  And, as hard as I try, sometimes, I still place myself in each of those shoes.  I cannot imagine the heartbreaking loss of my own daughter at this age, and I watched my aunt and uncle go through that.  I saw it all unfold.  And it slays the heart to know it can happen at any time, to anyone.

Tonight, I finally embraced the fact that it has been 22 years this week since we last saw her, and since we said our final goodbyes.  I shed some tears, and I held my babies close.

Darling Carissa, you are missed.  You touched us all so deeply in your short life here on earth.  You were a precious treasure to us all, and you will be forever remembered.  Thank you for teaching me so much about love, life, and loss.  I wish you hadn't had to go, but I believe that you've lived on and fulfilled a purpose even though you're not walking beside us.  I love you.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Not Who They Say

For many months now, stories have filtered to me through various sources, regarding my own personal character.  These stories, I know are not true, and I usually shrug them off and move on with my day.

Now that things are finalized between my children's father and myself, though, I feel like I have more liberty to be frank about such things, and for those of you out there who are hearing things, or have brought things to my attention, or perhaps may run into the sources of such information, I would like to give you the truth.

I am not who they say I am.  No, the many mistruths that my former husband and his boyfriend are spewing about me.. they're just that- untrue.

A few of the main stories are as follows:

I cheated on him.

This is outlandish.  He is the only man I ever so much as passionately kissed, let alone other things.  I am 32 years old, and I have been with him alone since 2002, after meeting him in 2001.  The unfaithfulness was on his side.

He sees the kids all the time.

He may be seen with his friends' children, possibly, but for anyone to state he is with his kids at all, actually, is a lie.  He hasn't been in their presence since last July.  He willingly chooses to avoid contact with his own children...

I will not let him see his children.

This one really gets me, because I have put forth so much effort trying to locate him.  I tried every avenue, plead and means of communication to get him to call, write, email, or text them, let alone see them.  I've wanted nothing more since they were born for him to spend as much time with them as he possibly could.  So, when you hear that, I assure you, it is not true in the slightest.  Even now, I have tried to contact him to let him know that I still would like for him to be in their lives and have some sort of visitation worked out so that they would know and not forget him.

I am going to keep my kids from their extended family.

While I would have the perfect excuse to pull my children away from their family on their father's side, seeing as how cleanly he severed himself from our lives, I have never thought to do that.  That is cruel, not only to my children, but to their extended family, whom I have had in my lives for 15 years now as well.  While I may not have been making it a huge priority to travel and visit family, because most live hours away and I am the only parent providing for the children.  I haven't had the opportunity to visit my own family much in the last two years either without their assistance.  That said, if his family wishes to see the children, they know that they can visit, and I have never been a jerk about it.  The more regularly they see and interact with my kids, the better, I think.

I am crazy and/or making this all up.

I am sane. I am rational. I've been as calm as a person can be through all of the muck I have been drug through. I have proof of everything that I claimed in the divorce papers or that I have made known to anyone I have talked to personally, or written online.  I may love to write, but my life story, although it sounds a bit like a psychological thriller at times, is accurately represented.

I am sure there are more, but those are the main ones or the ones that I have been confronted with  most often.

I know, this blog post is not something I typically write.  But, now it's out there, so hopefully if and when anyone hears anything, they can just point the source to this post, and the truth is there.  Perhaps, someday, the lies about me circulating will stop.

Now, a cute photo, taken almost a year ago.  I can hardly believe how much they've grown since this last happy holiday they had with their dad.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Littered Dates

The months of March and April are littered with dates that pack so much significance. Many, I often wish I could forget.

There are some wonderful dates of course, some family birthdates, including my daughter's. But even that brings a pain to my heart to reflect on. 

That date hurts, because her father was hardly present for much of my pregnancy, and even though he was there for her birth... I realize looking back, he wasn't really present.   In fact, he was halfway across the room just moments before she was born and almost missed it.  

Then he was there, for a while, sort of, off and on, for months.

And then he wasn't.  And I spent months and months wondering, fighting, trying all I could to figure it out, get it back, move on, etc.

A year ago today, I decided it must actually be over, and I knew deep down I should look into a divorce, because he was just stringing me along and he wasn't going to do it himself.  It took me quite a few days, until I finally met with my caseworker at the transitional housing/homeless shelter we were living at and told her my decision.   That was March 18.

On March 21, he showed up right outside our housing before the kids and I had to be inside for bed.  He seemed different, and told me he wanted to try and reconcile the family.  I was blown away.   The next day, I met with him, without the kids, and he confessed his many wrongs that he had done against me and our marriage.  There were dark secrets, huge mistakes, and shocking facts.  But he told me he hit rock bottom, explained when and how and the person he met and talked to that made him realize his huge mistakes and how badly he wanted and needed his family back.  He asked for my forgiveness, and I gave it to him. I told him my terms for trying to mend things and how it was going to be difficult, intense work.  He told me he was all in.

Easter happened on April 5 last year, Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays.  We were given the opportunity to spend it at a friend's house, together.  I didn't know it at the time, but it would be the last real holiday we spent together.

Our daughter's due date came, which was the date we set for her first birthday party.  He showed, but he was incredibly late, and it took near begging to get him to actually arrive.  He left quickly, secretively, and in a hurry, and did not return like he promised he would.

Her birthday was April 15.  We met up with him for what would be the last birthday the children spent with him.  He agreed to meet us at the mall for cake and play time.  He stayed possibly an hour and then had to hurry off.

The very next day, while I was at work, I was contacted by a man I had never heard of, nor met, asking how to reach him.  I asked this guy how he knew my husband. He said he was his boyfriend of a month.  I felt the earth shatter below me, my heart crumble, and my throat close off.  I trembled, lightheaded, thinking I may pass out.  When I was given a chance, I ran to the bathroom without a word, where I fell apart, sobbing in a stall.

I confronted him.  He told me he wasn't dating this man, and that they were friends, and the guy was obviously just trying to make a mess of our marriage now that we were trying to reconcile.  I met him on April 18th, my youngest sister's birthday,where he gave me a much more detailed explanation and his plan as to how he would prove that it wasn't true and he was wholeheartedly trying to stay married and get his kids back.  He swore to me he wouldn't talk to this guy again.

I decided to try to believe him, but I was incredibly reserved because his story and plan seemed suspicious.

It's a year later, and all of these "anniversary" dates are coming up.  I try not to think of them, but somehow they're embedded inside my heart. They're like a bad tattoo scar that's trying to heal.  I know that they may always be there, but I pray that they will fade, peacefully and quickly.

My heart and mind have always operated in this fashion.  I try not to dwell on dates, but dates are important in our society and when I see them on the date that big events happen, I remember them.  I always have.  And when each year passes, the memories flash back in movie fashion, and I try to fast forward through them so I can move onto what coming up next.  But it isn't always easy.

I don't write this to air our "laundry," but rather to process it myself, and to be able to hopefully prepare my heart and my mind for the days ahead.  Often, when I get things out through my blog, it is therapeutic in that way, and I am much less likely to be blindsided by potent emotions.

I guess we will see.

Each year will be easier, I know, from experiences in the past.  I will try to enjoy Easter this year without too many flashbacks, as well as our daughter's second birthday.  They're two of the greatest dates littered amongst the many.

As I know from experience, also, God is on my side, and when my legs give out and my tears cloud my eyes, He will pick me right up and carry me through.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Do you miss that sound?

Dear Sir,

It's been a little over a week since I found out that our marriage has legally ended.  The first few days were rough for me emotionally, but I pulled through, by the grace of God and prayers of many, I have found myself filled with more smiles than tears, more joy than sorrow.

Today, our nearly two-year-old daughter wandered around the apartment, asking me "where's Jake?"
I don't know if you read a few weeks ago, but she came upon your photo.  I told her your name and that you were her daddy.  She doesn't know what a daddy is of course, so she refers to you as Jake.  Today, she was looking for you.  Her brothers didn't even notice she was asking for you. Normally, her oldest one will tell her that you are her daddy.  Today, he didn't.

I took the children to the park today.  It was the first park venture of the season, and it was much needed after them all being sick off and on for approximately a week.  I missed three full days of work, and during those days, I will admit that my thoughts fluttered to you occasionally, frustrated mostly that you cannot be bothered to share the burden of sick days so that I can earn an income to provide for them, since you absolutely refuse to take any responsibility, financially or otherwise.

It is what it is, I guess.

Anyway, we went to the park.  I now have a camera to replace the one you got rid of, and I brought it along to take a few photos.  I forgot how much I loved taking photos until I couldn't any longer, and now I have fallen in love with the process all over again.  I got some great captures of all three of my babies.

There's one in particular, of my darlin' middle child, on a swing, his mouth wide open, his eyes smiling like crazy.  I posted it online for my friends and family to see.  I wrote a caption for it, something along the lines of "I can almost hear his laughter in this photo."

My thoughts ran back to you.  So, here I am.

I have to ask...

Do you miss that sound?  That beautiful, glorious sound of a heartfelt belly laugh?  It's one of my favorite sounds.  I could listen to each of our childrens' magnificent laughter all day long, really.  You know it's one of my favorite sounds, laughter.

And you haven't heard it in nearly a year.  I cannot imagine living this life, choosing to not hear their laughter. I cannot imagine choosing not to participate in such joy, such love.

Do you miss it?   Do you even remember what it sounds like? Do you remember their voices at all? You surely haven't heard the younger two really talk like they do nowadays. Do you long for that at all?

The children are mine now, they're fully, legally, mine.  It makes me furious that you didn't so much as attempt to fight for them a little.  But there isn't much that I can do about it.  I sure did try everything I could think of.

I just want you to know that we are doing okay.  No, we are actually doing pretty good, all things considered.  Our children miss you, sort of.  They don't miss you like they used to.  One has all but forgotten you as a real person and you're only a man in a photo she knows she should like, because the boys do.  But one of those boys... well, I'm not sure he would be able to spot you in a crowd, though he looks daily, and know who you are.  I suppose that's a way to protect his heart.  The oldest one, well, he makes up stories about you, combined from his memories and what he wishes to be true. I let him.  I won't take that from him, even though it pains me to listen to it, knowing it's just fantasy.

Really though, we are doing well.  While some days are harder than others, every day, we smile, we laugh, we hug, we play, we dance, we sing, we cuddle, we create memories.  We have each other, even if we don't have you.

I hope you're well.  I pray you'll find your way.  I hope to see you again someday, knowing full well that I may not.  Only time will tell.

I may write you again.

The woman still bearing your last name