Random Thoughts From My Unhealed Mind

It’s been a quiet month. Writing has been a frustration. The only thing I have managed to jot down are the random thoughts that fly through my brain at the most inopportune times. Some are dark, some depressed or angry, and some are just desperate. What follows are things I never expected to share with anyone. But, then I realized, it’s possible that these thoughts are exactly what I needed to share. Because, maybe you have thoughts like this too.

I never have enough time to work through the pain. I stay stuck in the confusion of once being so loved, and now never being enough.

I can’t get you out of my head today. What you told me. What happened to you. I don’t know how to deal with it. I want to love you. I want to hate you for not telling me. I want…..something

My days are long. Or maybe my nights are just short. Either way, I work a lot, and sleep very little.

I hate that when I look at you I still see the man I loved. It would be so much gentler on my heart if I could see you for who you have become.

There is more than one kind of death. There is physical death. It is devastating, and sometimes sudden, and almost always tragic. But then there is death of love, death of belief, death of hope. Death is haunting no matter what capacity it is in.

God is an asshole, dependent on people’s pain. And you are his spitting image.

I used to love you. That feels so far away now. My heart is more robotic, and my head is more direct. But the facts are still the same. I used to love you.

He asked me why I’m so mean to myself. I told him “Because that is how you’ve taught me to be.”

Some days my heart just breaks under the weight of all the pain. You would think there would be nothing left to break, but there is.

Somebody love me. I feel unlovable. He taught me I was, and you can’t un-teach the broken, can you? Don’t they have to be put back together, and made whole again to be taught how to love? And, my shattered heart was broken into so many pieces that it turned to dust, and blew away in the storm that is my life.

I have to go back for the lost pieces of myself.

Losing ones shit accomplishes nothing. But, I feel better now.

All at once she remembered how to turn her emotions off, and become the bitch he had made her out to be.

My life is so different now, and I can’t seem to get it to stay still long enough to get a grip.

My mind is a mesh of thoughts that always want to implode.

When Mother’s Day Is Hard, I See You

Mother’s Day sucks. I know I can’t be the only one to feel this way. I’ve know many other people who feel the same. It’s painful and crushing, and can be so hard to get through.

I struggled to get pregnant. It was several years of thinking that it would never happen, and feeling that pain when Mother’s Day came around, and I wasn’t a mother. It was staying in my seat when they asked the mothers to stand up in church. It was going home, and crying instead of out to eat. It was gifts never gotten, and it was flowers never received.

After I did have my daughter it was several more years of trying to get pregnant again. When I finally did, I miscarried. After that I never got pregnant again. We tried. We tracked. We used fertility drugs. We prayed. We ate better, walked more, rested more. It never happened.

Then three years ago my doctor said that it was time to stop, and do a hysterectomy. He thought I had cancer. So I did it. I sealed my fate of ever carrying a baby again. Sadly it also played a part in pushing my marriage over the edge.

My ex husband hated Mother’s Day too. His mom died when he was 16. He hated going through the day without his Mom to see, and love on. I understood that. So he rarely celebrated Mother’s Day, and I didn’t protest.

This year will be my first Mother’s Day since my (step) son died. The last several years he has always asked me to come see him on Mother’s Day. I realized earlier today that this year he won’t be asking me. That this year there is only a crash site to go to. That I can’t talk to him, hug him, tell him that I love him.

I’ve been dreading this weekend for a while now. My daughter wants to go to church, and I will probably take her. But, I already know that the acknowledgement of Mothers is going to be hard for me. I know that not getting the text asking me to come see him will be hard for me.

I don’t really know how to deal with that. But, my daughter is looking forward to the day, so I will try to be happy for her. I adore her, and am so grateful to have her. But, having her in my life doesn’t stop the pain of not having my other children.

I wish I could write out a list of things you can do when Mother’s Day is hard. But really I have found that the only thing you can do is hibernate, and wait for it to be over.

So here is what I want to say. I see you, and I know you, and you will make it.

Dear one who doesn’t have their mom, I see you.

Dear one who no longer has their child/children, I know you.

Dear one who is in so much pain on this day, you will make it.

I see you.

I know you.

You will make it through.

Much love to you this weekend dear one.

Loss Didn’t Make Me Strong: I’m Just A Determined Mother

I’m learning that I will never feel the same. I can never go back. I have lost so much, and no matter how much I have to live for, I will still never feel the same.

I’m more broken than I’ve ever been. But everyone says I’m so strong. I didn’t really get a choice. You don’t when you still have kids left to care for. You either abandon them, or step up no matter how hard it is. That’s the thing most people don’t realize. You don’t always become strong. Sometimes, you just don’t have a choice. You can fake it, you can push through, you can deal with it, but what you cannot always do is choose to be strong. Sometimes, it’s just what has to be done.

My girl still needs me, and will for a long time. So when my husband left, I couldn’t give up. When my home, and life, and work changed because of that, I couldn’t give up. When my body tried to fail me, I couldn’t give up. And when my son died, I still couldn’t give up.

In those moments, I didn’t have a choice. Sometimes, I think that it would be nice to get in bed, and stay there for days, feeling sad. Sometimes, I think it would be nice to have something to numb the emotional pain. Sometimes, I think it would be nice to pick up, and leave my life, and everything that reminds me of what I have lost.

But, I keep going for her. My little girl that doesn’t sleep, and takes things way to literally, and loves to create messes, and talk about Paris, and fashion, and dolls. I keep going because she deserves better than the life she has been dealt, and the only way she is going to have that is if I keep going.

Sometimes, as a parent, you put yourself aside, and you do everything you can to change things for your kids. I have had three children. Two are gone. I will do whatever it takes to give my one remaining baby a chance at the life she wants.

It’s not strength. It’s not being amazing, or powerful, or any of those empty words. I am crushed, and broken, and shattered. I am grieving, and hurting, and angry. But, I am a mother. It is just pure determination to give her more than this. Just because we have lived a life with so much loss does not mean that I will let her whole life be defined by that. That is who I am. No, not everyone responds this way. That’s okay too. I can admit that I occasionally get jealous of the people who can just fall apart.

But, I am determined to give my girl more than that. It’s not strength, it’s just pure determination that she will have more than brokenness in her life.

Movies At Midnight: Lessons For Lily

We don’t sleep much around here. My daughter has never slept well. The night she was born I started walking the floor. Between the hours of 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. she cried, and cried, and cried, and wouldn’t sleep. Every. Single. Night. We would take shifts. I would walk her, and sing in the evening until her dad got home at 10 and took over. We have been lucky on the nights she sleeps through. As if getting to sleep wasn’t bad enough, she also can’t stay asleep. Several sleep studies, medications, and every wives tale you could think of, and still it’s a difficult thing for her.

I understand. I am fairly nocturnal, although not as much as I used to be. I would stay up until early morning hours to read, write, clean, or work. These days I try to be a little more careful with my body. But it was no surprise that my girl turned out just like me. Every night we take our pills, fill our water, and then she goes to bed, and I work a few hours more. She is usually still up a few hours, but thankfully has gotten better at staying in her bed and winding down.

Tonight she couldn’t get herself to turn off. I always send her back to bed and firmly tell her to try again. I don’t know why this night was different. I don’t know why I needed her to have some good memories of not sleeping. I just kept thinking that if she looks back on her childhood, and all the times she got up, and I just got irritated would be sad.

Why couldn’t I make a few good memories for her too? Why when she looks back does all she have to see is me being firm? There really was no reason whatsoever. If I was firm, and sent her back to bed then she would always remember that. But, I wanted her to be able to someday tell the story about how I gave her a little fun.

So I stopped working. We gathered up all the pillows in the house. We crawled into bed, and put on a movie, and snuggled up. I’m telling you, she was asleep in less than an hour. That’s a pretty good amount of time for us. She calmed down, and closed her eyes, and sleep wasn’t far behind.

She was thrilled when I told her what we were doing. She was so happy that I put her before working. She was happy when I let her watch a movie at midnight, and she is now peacefully asleep.

The memories we make with our kids are often worth more than we know. As adults we get busy, we work a lot, we balance all the balls, and we do so much out of obligation. We often forget to stop, and actually see the tiny humans we are surrounded by. They are learning from us. Their worth, and safety, and perspective are all tied up in what we portray to them in their younger years. If we put everything else before them, we teach them that they aren’t worth as much as work, or obligations. If we push them without any time to be a kid at play or resting, we teach them an unbalanced life that could lead to many health problems. So much of what we do teaches them how to do life. Are we teaching them in a way that we will be okay with later in life?

I wanted to teach my girl tonight that she is worth more to me than work. That she can come to me when things aren’t going the way they should. That sleep, and rest are important, and perhaps not always easy to come by. I wanted to teach her that sometimes it’s okay to have fun, and do something that makes you happy no matter what time it is.

I wanted her to have the memory of movies at midnight.

The Pain No One Talks About

Today would have been our 15 year anniversary, if we had stayed married.

Our divorce was final 10 months ago. I didn’t want to divorce. I still loved my husband. I thought we would always be together. I was shattered. Almost a year later it still crushes me.

When you get divorced there is this expectation that you are happy to be “free”, or at least that you wanted it. I didn’t. When you get divorced people expect you to move on in a few months. I didn’t. When you get divorced people expect you to put up walls, and stop talking to your ex, and look at building a new future with someone else. I didn’t.

I don’t know that divorce is as cookie cutter as many people make it sound, but I also know that I don’t fit the stereotypical idea of a divorced woman. I have several friends that got divorced around the same time I did. They have all reacted in fairly the same way. I have reacted in the opposite. They have gotten new friends, new clothes, new men, new attitudes about men, and a new lease on life. I didn’t.

I’m okay with responding differently. I am still strong. I am still smart. I am still a hard worker. I am still capable, and resourceful, and creative. I didn’t discover a whole new me, I found the old me. I still have a lot of hangups that need work, and I don’t need to pile on new stuff that might get in the way. I just need to make it through days like this.

Today, on what should have been our anniversary, I have teared up at least a dozen times. I thought about the day we got married. I thought about our song. I thought the night we got together, and many other moments that we had in out years together. I was sad, and angry, and it hurt so much I could feel it physically. I thought about ignoring him all day. I thought about so many things that made up our marriage, and divorce. It was a hard day.

There is nothing that can make this day better. I had to go through it. I couldn’t numb the day away. I couldn’t act like it was just another Wednesday. I had to feel it, so I can move on. The moving on is hard too. But, it starts with letting myself go through the hurtful, hard things to get there.

Maybe you aren’t divorced. Maybe you have something else today that is hard, and painful, and that you really didn’t want to happen. Go through it. Feel it. It won’t kill you, it only feels like it should, then little by little you can let it go. It’s the only way. You can’t reach the other side without letting go. You can’t carry everything with you, it will weigh you down, and you will get stuck. I know, because I still try to get out of the mess without letting go. It doesn’t work. It won’t work unless you let your self feel it so you can put it down. It won’t all happen in one day, or week, or month even.

But, hopefully, some day soon, it won’t hurt as much either.

Remembering My Son

How many times can the heart break, and still work? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it’s my mission to find out though. It’s been six months since my son died. There was a festival to honor him, and raise money for a cause he cared about. It was so hard to be there. To see his friends, and not him. There was nothing I could say that seemed to make sense. I mostly sat there trying not to cry, or be angry.

My daughter misses her brother so much. She made him a card to take out to the crash site. She got his football number painted on her face. I have it tattooed on my arm. We bought tshirts at the festival, and came home and watched Batman. He loved Batman. We try to do things to keep him with us. My daughter is afraid she will forget him. For me, he is always on my mind.

A few days ago I was in one of the stores that he shopped in a lot. I browsed, and picked up a few things. At the register there are a lot of different colognes, and perfumes. I was starting at one, and the girl asked if I wanted any. I simply said “No, my son wore that.” She responded with “ I know. He wore the Black. I remember you shopping here for his funeral.” It was sweet of her, and it sad. I teared up, and tried to hide it. I walked out feeling like I was overrun by emotions, and could lose it at any minute.

That is kind of the life you live when your child is dead. You walk this line of being in control, and losing your mind. I can be calm, and think before I speak, and have restraint. But then one thing will happen. One thing will be said, and I’m gone. There is overwhelming emotion. Sometimes I have words, and sometimes I need to take action.

They say grief comes in waves. Some are small, and you can withstand them. Then some are big, and they knock you right over. They crash into you again, and again. It’s true. There is no clear cut plan with grief. You get hit at odd times. You cry when you don’t want to, and laugh when you probably shouldn’t. You forget, and then feel guilty, or you constantly remember, and can’t focus on anything else.

You find ways to cope. You seclude yourself when you need space. You go out, and you don’t care that you look like an extra in a zombie movie, because at least you made it out. You hold close those you trust, and let everyone else fall away. And you find ways to keep your brain from imploding.

It’s a process. One that I am no where near done with yet.

So in this moment, I’m just going to cry. Because all I want right now is to hug my son. To listen to him talk about girl trouble, while he eats all my strawberries, and to watch a movie with him. Because it’s the little things with him that I loved and miss.

Looking For Myself When I Break

Cameron Brick

Note: I wrote this almost two weeks ago, and it is still a daily struggle. But I hope through sharing it that you will relate.

I haven’t been myself in a very long time. I became who I thought he wanted me to be. The ironic thing is, when I changed he didn’t want me anymore. He wanted someone else. And in the process I lost myself.

I lost my ability to say no. I lost that part of me that didn’t take any shit. I lost the part of me that said that I am worth standing up for. I lost the idea of who I wanted me to be. I lost the edge, and the beauty of being a soul who speaks her mind, and became someone who just let things happen to her. And I became someone who didn’t like being alone with herself.

I miss him, and I miss what we had, but tonight I needed more. I have needed someone to be there and hold me, and talk to me about the bad things happening, and tell me it was all going to be okay. I lost the ability to do that for myself.

I broke tonight. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t stand the pictures he was showing off of his new kids, or that he said he was talking to his girlfriend. He said it to me. A woman should never have to hear those words from the man she thought she would spend forever with. It was harsh and cruel.

I broke tonight when the crowd was on their feet cheering, and encouraging the boys on the field, because my son wasn’t out there any more. I look for him, and I don’t see him. I know that I won’t. He died. I saw it myself, when I identified his body. But I still look and hope to see him, and then I plummet into sadness, and heartbreak.

I broke today when we had to meet with the funeral home director to collect the death certificates, and copies of donation checks, and his ashes. When we realized what had caused the accident, and we all felt responsible in some way, I broke. I listened as his biological mom talked about all the grief she is going through, and I could say “ me too” for everything she said, but because I didn’t give birth to him, so my grief wasn’t validated.

I broke when the man who I married years ago was supposed to be there and didn’t show up. Because that meant that I was there without any support or back up. I was fighting for myself, and still collecting what he needed, and I was doing it without him. More broken promises.

I broke when a friend showed up to watch the game with him, and I was left out. He was my friend too. He had become my brother. He said those words, and yet I wasn’t a part of the conversation, the friendship, the bond that they still had was cut off from me, and I broke.

I broke as I held my dead son’s cousin while we buried her baby this morning. Another baby gone. Another mother crying out for her baby to come back to her. Another heart that will never be the same.

I broke when people that I had come to love had only harsh words to say. I broke when people that once knew me best, didn’t even see that I was not okay. I broke when I thought of all the loss I have had, and wondered what would be next. In 5 months I lost my husband to divorce. I lost my son to death. And all I am left with is my daughter. I worry what will happen to her.

And I lost myself. How could I still even have anything left of myself with all the brokenness? When your heart breaks into so many pieces how is it even possible to have anything left of yourself?

I broke. I did not explode. I wanted too. I did not stop living. I’ve wanted too. I just walked away. I needed out so badly. I needed away from all of the pain. I needed my husband to love me. I needed my son to hug me. I needed to not hear the cries of a childless mother. I needed to not hear the anger of a broken bio mom. I needed to not see the pictures of him with his new family. I need out. So I ran.

I stood up, and walked out. The game was ending. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I talked to a friend. She knew I was shutting down. I said that I was going to explode or go silent. She said I need out

I work all the time. I know that isn’t totally true, but I do work hard. I have too. I am now a single mom. The only child I have left alive is high needs. I have to educate her. Take her to all of her many appointments, and help her through all of this grief. I have to work to keep her warm, and fed, and clothed. And I still try to be a fun mom, and make her life better.

But tonight I broke. So I went to the place where my son died. It is the only place we can go to feel near him. Then I reverted 20 years. I drove fast. I drove back roads. I blasted Puddle Of Mudd. I sat in my cold car with a coffee and a pack of camels. I wrote on the side of the road. And slowly, after two hours, I started to feel okay. I started to feel like me.

Am I still mad? Yes. Am I still sad? Yes. Am I still broken? Hell yes. But it helped. I took myself back to a time where I listened to Alt rock, and drove fast, and wrote in the cold with my smokes, and coffee instead of going home to dive right into work.

When I did get home I put on baggy clothes, crawled into bed, and wrote some more. I grabbed books that have nothing to do with building a business, or eating healthy, or education. I grabbed a magazine, and a novel. I grabbed the laptop and music.

I need me. I need to find me again. It probably won’t always be in a Puddle Of Mudd song. But I have to try. Because for the first time in a long time I don’t feel quite so bottled up and stuck in who I tried so hard to be I felt like me. The girl that likes loud music, and fast cars. The girl that needs space to drive, and sit, and write, and be angry.