My Kids Are My Strength
A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. ~ Christopher Reeve
I always shake my head in wonder when we are brought to the very people who help us make it through whatever we are going through, and who are shining examples of living life in spite of all challenges.
These last two months have been extremely difficult and have really given me a chance to test my inner strength. It has most certainly not been for the faint of heart…. and while traveling through this part of the journey I have found:
a) There are a few others who are going through very similar unjust experiences all over this country, which I didn’t think was possible especially for mothers. And yes some father’s have gone through similar experiences.
b) One truly finds out what they are made of and who the people that really care about you are.
I have been through both kinds of loss….the death of my first daughter and more recently my 7 yr. old autistic daughter taken away from me by her other family. Until just one month ago we had never been apart except for going to school etc…..I took care of her 24/7 – I did everything with her…..from working to grocery shopping to playing, traveling to all her appointments etc.
Any one suffering from the loss of a child is being forced on a journey that they don’t want to be on. How one travels it, is what will make or break you. And yes – you will have thousands of critics along the way because unless they have been through it – they will not understand and they will judge you for every action you take.! People as well meaning as they can be, have said some pretty insensitive things and yet others have stopped and either posted or given me gentle encouragement or just listened as I have expressed my thoughts & feelings. I have also been put into a unique position where I am also working with a few other mothers that are going through similar experiences and so working together we are making it one step at a time to not only make a difference but change how things are done.
Along this type of difficult journey you can choose to retain resentment & bitterness, you can numb your feelings away or you can feel all your feelings, and choose to live life in such a manner that it is well lived. And the ones that I have been working with who choose the later are the real heroes to me and role models to me of what my choice has been.
Writing does help a bit – I wrote several letters to my 1st daughter the first couple of years after she passed – but then the need for survival kicked in & I stopped. Today, I am not sure which is worse – my first daughter and knowing she will not ever come back…..or talking to my 7 yr. old every night and only seeing her 1.5 days a week the rest of the time just not being with her – either way I feel like a part of me is always missing. I think with my 2nd child right now it feels like an open wound that just starts to heal & then gets re-opened every time I have to send her back. One does eventually learn how to deal with the pain I suppose.
And while divorce and separations are never easy, in my situation having never been married the custody arrangements that are drawn out, never resolved fairly and the children used as weapons to make the other parent suffer because of resentments and bitterness from previous relationships can be heart wrenching.
But I think based upon my experience and conversations I have had with others, that it seems to be hardest for those moms who have spent the entire lives of their children as stay-at- home moms or single moms as for them it really is like losing one’s job but with a whole lot more attached. The bond we have with our children starts before they are even brought into this world and when it is severed or lost, that loss of responsibility can leave one feeling useless, very unprepared and quite uncertain as to where to head next.
So how does one set themselves up to be successful in these types of situations?
Do the little things and do the things you can do:
When I talk to my little one every night for the few brief minutes I get ~ I read her a story – something we have also done together since she was 6 months old….and for those few brief moments my life seems to be ‘normal’ again.
I also write little notes on post-it-notes to her a week or two weeks ahead of time and leave them with the teacher so she can get them each morning.
The other day someone said to me how well I was doing holding up under all the circumstances…..my reply was that they didn’t see me behind closed doors where I fall apart.
I have also chosen to find proactive positive things to do such as always making sure I am exercising every day….sometimes it is running around the lake, other days it is just walking sometimes feeling like I am only just crawling….other days it is just going to a martial arts class. Finding others to talk with and help out where needed. Finding jobs and opportunities where I can use my natural mothering abilities. And working really hard on my business and finding those who can help me bring it to the next level.
I am also setting myself up for success by planning ahead such as when I do have my 7 yr. old – I take her to places I know I will BE during the coming week when she isn’t with me anymore…..and in those places we share fun things, do fun activities and laugh and create really good memories and then when she is not with me; when I am in those places I have good memories to pull me through…..
“Sometimes in life our journeys are so painful that we mark them as a way to work through them, to remind us of where we have been, & how something so painful can be turned into something beautiful.” ~ LJ
I recently got a new tattoo created from one of my designs I recently finished – ‘BE Steady’ – it is an anchor in water with a ribbon winding around that eventually will have my daughters names on it. I originally created the design because someone sent me a quote that said – ‘Children are the anchors of a mother’s life.’ ~ Sophocles.
Last night in researching the meaning behind the anchor(I can feel another post coming on about mothers and anchors.) I found it interesting to find that aside from the obvious work that anchors do…anchors while being the oldest traditional tattoo also are symbols of: “it is also reliable, stable, safe and unchanging. It keeps ships and people grounded and constant…..a symbol of steadfastness, determination, strength, loyalty, and devotion. The surrounding currents and changing winds cannot move the anchor. In relationships, anchors indicate that the significant other has a constant and positive presence in their loved one’s life. It can also symbolizes a person who refuses to stray and wants to remain faithful, loyal and monogamous.”
A perfect symbol to all that represents what I value and am as a person, a mother and citizen of my country.
How do you set yourself up for success during difficult and challenging times?
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