Tag Archives: abandonment

The Pain of Separation


When Adam and I first separated, I heard over and over again, “Kids are resilient.  They’ll get over this.  It’s really not a big deal.”  This is a “truth” that doesn’t feel fully true to me.  One day in the beginning months of the separation, I wrote this letter to Adam.  This is the raw pain of separation.  The parts most of us hide when we are suffering.  The parts that are uncomfortable to share.  This was the truth of what I was witnessing within myself and within my children.
*Please note that although the separation was mutual, the mutuality of it did not negate the pain and suffering, the anger and blame, and the heavy darkness that accompanied it.

Dear, Adam,

Mornings are the hardest.  I wake up before I should, always with a deep emptiness that something so vital is gone and missing.  Every morning I’m hit with the reality that I have to suffer again.  Each night I realize I survived another day and I have the love of my boys surrounding me.  But mornings are different.  Mornings are the moments when I dream of drowning.  When I will my eyes not to open.  And beg my heart to stop its bleeding.  Mornings are filled with anger, resentment, hopelessness, tears, and the deepest of heartaches.  Mornings are when I wake up to the realization that part of me has died and continues to die.  Mornings are pain.  This morning I woke up at 430 and dove in to my new best friend, Journal, after a bit of meditation and I just felt that I needed to share this moment.

As much as I desire to shut off my mind, the deep pit of my stomach that is tied in a million little knots, seems to believe that it has a mind of its own.  And I feel as though I have no control over my body.  13 pounds lighter because I literally cannot swallow without gagging.  This pain is all consuming.  Leaving me sleepless, starving and walking through life as though my soul no longer exists.  The only time I’m alive is when my boys are with me.  And I’m with them.  When I am with them, we are what’s left of a family.  We are here reassembling our shattered world.  Together we are violently sweeping the pieces of our hearts back in to a less fractured mess.  We are each other’s healers.  
IMG_2047Last night I cradled our youngest who has suffered at the hands of adults too many times in his life.  Who is feeling this abandonment as deep as his soul.  After speaking with you the second time, he was a limp puddle of wailing tears (recall the sounds of the boys when we buried Shadow and you will know the depth of pain that filled this house [no longer home] curled up in the lap of his mom.  I sat there soothing him with empty words because words cannot bring his daddy back.  Words cannot keep his mom from leaving him in a few days.  Words and hugs cannot make this better.  And he knows that.  He knows that he is in pain and that he doesn’t like the choice that is once again being made for him.  It is NOT the best choice for his life and there is no convincing him of that.  I sat there truly wishing that I could take it all away.  That I could carry his sadness for him but the only power I have is to share it with him.  To hold him in his despair.  To keep telling him that he is safe and he is loved.  I felt helpless and his pain was so visceral and haunting.  
Followed by that I sat with one boy who is completely avoiding and covering his feelings, as the only way he’s ever dealt with any heartache.  The only way to bridge the gap with him is to mostly focus on surface things and really spend time trying to dig just a little deeper.  When you dig a little deeper you realize he’s scared to death.  I slept with him in my bed last night and he thrashed all night with nightmares.  Yelling, punching, and screaming.  His brain processes his pain at night.  His subconscious cannot hide.  I finally pulled him toward me and he latched on as though his entire world was falling away from him.  
Another boy who drew on the feelings board that he would like the two of us to tell a few more people that he’s gay.  AIMG_2045 few people in his class.  When I tell him that his teacher already knows he starts wailing too.  And he wants to become angry with me as though I had something to do with all of this.  He wants to hit me and then I hug him and he too melts in to my body begging for me to heal him.  I pull him close to my breasts because that’s all I know to do.  And I can feel the pain radiating between the two of us.  Like hot coals burning through our chests.  We are so broken.  And we want answers.  He falls asleep beside me and I break because I know that you cannot comfort him the way that I can because your bond is not the same.  It’s different with him.  He has always favored me.  And I become scornful that I would be required to be away from him at all.  That I will be walking away from him in his darkest hours.  How can this be okay?!?
IMG_2048Finally, I sit with the oldest who is doing just what us oldests do.  He’s trying to keep his shit together and pretend it doesn’t hurt but then when you ask him to draw out what he’s feeling it’s so clear that he’s lost and in just as much pain as the next person.  He’s holding on to the wish that mom and dad are actually on a timeout and this is temporary and I can’t answer that for him because nothing makes sense to me.  And I see him pulling away because to be here is too painful, too confusing, too disappointing.  He, too, has been left behind before and this place feels scary. His parents are letting him down and trying to cover the pain with happiness and lies that this is all okay.  He knows that these are lies.  He no longer trusts but he holds on to the hope that they are going to figure it out and his life will return to normal.  Until then he seeks and seeks ways to make it better.  And every day, many times a day, he asks me when I’m leaving again.  And I have to answer as though leaving is a choice I’m making and the truth is I am as voiceless as he.  
Here we are, this partial family, sitting at the dinner table talking about when daddy will be here for dinner.   And the boys want to make it something super special.  They talk about dressing up and serving dinner.  They vote on a baked potato bar.  They are excited that all 6 of us will be together.  And I understand why they want this.  Because I, too, find myself fighting back this need to impress.  To make myself worthy of their daddy’s love.  I, too, find myself wanting the house to be perfect, the dinner to be perfect, me to be smashing and in my best form.  I, too, want to believe that this family can be restored and deserves nothing short of restoration.  And so I sit there listening to all their wants and letting them take control of Thursday night because I don’t have it in me to do anything but watch them dream.  It doesn’t matter what I say or how much I laugh and smile with them….they carry a level of fear.  They carry a level of burden.  They, too, blame themselves and don’t know how to express this.  They don’t know what to do with their pain.  They don’t know who they can trust to tell.  They don’t know who they can trust.  Period.  Their lives have been disrupted and that’s that.  I know this because I have been them.  And I see in them what I know to be true in me.  
So for now, I keep telling them all the beautiful things about their daddy. I swallow my pain in their awake hours but I also share with them that I’m sad too.  I do all I know to do to help them transition.  I play.  I listen.  I nurse the pain.  I hug.  I soothe. But on Tuesday morning I will have to hug them goodbye again and I will have to walk away from their lives and I will break all over again.  They will break all over again.  I will walk away still believing this is not right.  This is not okay.  This is shit!  I feel that this is an injustice to a really beautiful family.  We were a beautiful family, Adam, and so I cannot understand this moment in which we find ourselves.  
Love and Peace,



Pain in a Rant


This is a rant.  Why?  Because I need a good rant.  And since it is a rant that means it is unedited and possibly incoherent but it is a true testimony of my current mental state.  A state of mind that is in need of change.  I guarantee this won’t be my best work but it’s one in which helps me move forward.  Something I desperately want to do.

In the past 12 months my family has suffered at the hands of people we know and people we don’t.  Judgements have been cast, relationships lost, relationships challenged, there have been false accusations, the loss of our income, the loss of our hometown, the loss of our home, a robbery when we were already down financially, more money stolen, a back injury and surgery, backstabbing by family, and quite frankly I am just so tired.  So tired of people.  So tired of hypocrites.  So tired of holier-than-thous.  So tired of unwarranted judgements.  So tired of existing in a society where the suffering are only offered more suffering.  Tired of a society that believes they are entitled to pass quick and harsh judgements.  Tired of a society where people have lost all empathy.  Where money is king.  Where lying is the standard.  Where people have lost the ability to see their fellow mankind.  Yep, I’m beatdown, broken and tired.

It all hurts.  Deeply.  It hurts to know how many people have judged a family they know nothing about.  It hurts to know that people read a headline made by the media to sell and sensationalize and they make damning judgements that cost a man and his family so much.  Nobody bothers to question the context, to look at the whole picture, to judge based on 34 years of life vs the two minutes they’ve seen.  No, this society likes to judge.  Likes to go to war.  Loves the idea of revenge.  Fuck empathy.  Retaliation and humiliation is where it’s at.

Deep pain.  A pain that many cannot understand.  The pain felt when family members backstab, undermine, and threaten all in the name of  “ethics”.  The pain that is felt when people you have loved for more than 20 years and helped through many difficult trials in their lives don’t even make an effort to help your family when it at its lowest point.  A stab in the gut.  But cleansing at the same time.  It was important for me to start weeding out people and when I wasn’t strong enough to do it, circumstances have done it for me.

It was hard to lose our hometown but now I can’t even imagine moving back.  It’s no longer home.  Home is a place where one is accepted and loved and relationships are genuine.  I feel that here in Portland.  And am so thankful to this community of people that I am getting to know and learning to trust.  It was hard to lose my home.  It was hard to know that people (more than one) would rob us when we were already financially struggling.  It was hard to hear the depths people would stoop to in the name of money.  It is hard to see how quickly people have forgotten how much we gave them in terms of financial and emotional support when we were in a position to do so.  That’s all but forgotten.  Our minds make up stories that benefit us, don’t they?  It’s sad what people are willing to take from someone who is down so they can get further up.  But again isn’t that what our society teaches us?  Do whatever it takes (lie, cheat, seduce, manipulate) in order to be “successful”?  That success, no matter how strategically corrupt will gain you admiration and praise.  Who cares about the underdog.

And so it is that this year has been a lesson in pain, trust, humility, and looking inward.  I’ve had to suck up my pride when the approval for food stamps arrived last week.  Something I’ve never considered would be a necessity for my family.  I’ve had to swallow my shame when the pediatrician spoke down to me for not having my two special needs boys in all the therapies they need, for paying for expensive dental care, and for not adding Vit D, flouride, and multivitamins to our daily regimen.  Those things are very expensive on top of our $1600/month Cobra bill that I’m trying not to lapse on.  Society, family, friends…they’ll judge me for this too.  But that’s okay.  Because I know that we are doing the absolute best that we can do.  And I’m pretty damn proud of the way we have carried ourselves this past year. I don’t need their approval.

I’m finally coming to terms with the pain and with the acceptance that this is where life has us right now.  It doesn’t change the fact that we are good people.  We are people trying our hardest to stay afloat.  To be honest.  To remain upbeat.  To choose our friends wisely.  To give our boys the healthiest and most secure circumstances possible.  We are people who care about others.  We are now even more empathetic and can understand what a struggle life can be for many people.  I’m in a position where I feel that I cannot judge anybody or their circumstances.  My heart grieves for others who are put up for public execution.  A mere display of entertainment for the masses of thoughtless mockers.  It happens every day and I grieve for those people.  I grieve for our society.  I can only hope that I will go forward treating others the way I wish I were treated.  I will not make flighty judgements.  I will not persecute.  I will not make room in my life for people (even family) who do not have my best interest at heart.  I will continue to be the kind of friend I’ve always been because those are the kind of friends I deserve.  I will allow myself time.  Time to heal.  Time to adjust.  Time to pick up the pieces.  I will not lose my spirit. Because there are parts of me…my being…that are only mine to own.  And with that, it’s time I start working to make myself whole again.  That I start trusting and seeing the good in those who are here with me right now.  This moment.

The first step for me is to step away from the drama.  I do not have to be an active participant.  The second step is that I’ve started EMDR therapy.  A first for me.  And so far I’m enjoying the results.  It was healing for me to know that the events of the past year are indeed trauma and my feelings of PTSD are in fact genuine and real.  My defenses are in full force and I want to become vulnerable and trusting again.  Not jaded and living in fear.

And so my journey continues but I’m going to decide the route it takes.  I’m taking back control.  Putting myself back in charge and ridding myself of any peace robbers.  There’s just not enough time in this short life for living any other life than the one I’m meant to live.

Journey on.