2008 has been quite a year for me. I never imagined that I would lose both my mother and my husband in the same year. But as painful, terrifying, and debilitating as it is, I know I will make it. The truth of the matter is that we can live without lost loved ones even when our carnal flesh feels we can’t.
If that wasn’t the case I would have died my first death when my grandmother died in 1994.
And again when my uncle died in 2001.
And again when my great-aunt died in 2002.
And again when my aunt died in 2004.
And I would have died twice this year alone.
I was very close to each one of them.
Yet I’m still here. I have had many comatose moments in the pit of despair since he’s been gone. I am crawling out of it at a snail’s pace. At my lowest points I feel that I can’t go on. However, I know these thoughts are strictly from the devil. He wants me to believe that I can’t exist without him which spawns depression and suicidal thoughts. But the devil is a liar.
No matter what you are going through, and I can guarantee that you will go through something in the year to come, just remember you can make it! I hope to grow and learn from my trials . What else is there to do? Eventually I hope to use my testimony to help other widows and stepmoms through this difficult time. And as long as I am alive, I have a chance to do this. I have lived through a lot of strife in my short time. You can, too!
I hope everyone has a blessed year in 2009!
Reading Stacy’s lastest post inspired me to review the year. Here is a list of the best and worst things that happened in my life during the year of our Lord, 2008:
1. Our family vacation in the Wisconsin Dells
2. Getting Jazmine
3. My class being featured on the news
4. Full Moon
5. Becoming stronger in my faith
6. I remained healthy
7. I made it through the year financially solvent
8. Turning 30
9. Weekend getaways with my husband
10. Nicholas playing football and winning 2nd place City Champs.
1. My mother dying
2. My husband dying
3. Losing Ethan and Evan
4. Dealing with Eliza’s family
5. Dealing with Eliza’s accusations, paranoia, and flucuating moods
6. My cousin’s breast cancer diagnosis
7. My friend’s breast cancer returning
8. Jazmine’s hair getting chopped off
9. The massive, stressful changes at work
10. My wedding ring being stolen at work
Gaylord Focker, will you be my son-in-law?
I’m pretty sure that most of you have seen the movie “Meet the Parents” starring Robert Deniro. Of course it takes him the majority of the movie to accept that his daughter loves Gaylord Focker.
Such is usually the case with step and biomoms. Sometimes it takes moms a while to acknowledge the fact that stepmoms actually love their children and mean them no harm.
And that ‘s okay. Give the moms space to accept reality in their own timing.
Stepmoms, for what it’s worth, you should make every effort to interact civilly with your stepchild(ren)’s mother. If possible as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW that some people are utterly unreasonable, don’t want to get along, and are mentally unstable to boot. But that has nothing to do with you and who you are! You are a stepmom with values and principles and a good heart. Use every opportunity you can to be the bigger person. In the end, the small things just don’t matter. If it is not a life or death situation you will be better off letting it go. Working together works–trite but true.
Take it from one who knows, it feels so good to do the right thing even when you feel that the other person doesn’t deserve it. I struggled a lot with this thought when it came to dealing with Eliza. I was most successful when I remembered that we didn’t deserve to have Jesus die for us, yet he did without hesitation. Therefore take what a person “deserves” out of the equation.
I had “proposed” to Eliza in the early stages of our burgeoning correspondence. I even shared articles with her from the CoMama’s so she wouldn’t think I was crazy for even dreaming of such a partnership. I wanted to let her know that I was not trying to take her place. I also wanted her to know that I wished to work with her for the sake of our boys. I can’t say that she accepted because I feel that if she had, the boys would be with me now.
Even though I was rejected, I have no regrets for wanting what I felt was best for the boys. It’s a small consolation in the face of all that has happened, yet it’s one less burden that I currently have to bear.
My husband was fascinated with our blog. And because he was a funny guy, he had to poke fun at me for blogging. He even gave me a nickname, “Mary J. Blog.” Everytime something happened in our life whether big or small he would inquire tongue-in-cheek , “Are you going to blog about it?!”
Sometimes he would do something goofy on purpose and ask me to write about it. Or he would make a series of silly faces and beg me to take pictures of him to upload. He got a good laugh out of teasing me about my hobby.
He always wanted to know if I blogged about him. So I showed him a few of the posts which made him beam with pride. He was my number one fan and really loved everything I did.
Sometimes he’d say he was going to start a blog of his own if he felt that I was spending to much time on the computer. I thought it was rather cute that he was jealous! I told him that Rhonda and I would love to have him as a guest writer, a thought which caused us both to erupt with laughter!
I don’t think most mental health professionals support compartmentalizing emotions. However, as a way to get through the day, I pull out my “griefcase.” I am constantly in and out of it to examine and understand the following contents:
- My husband: Memories of love, laughter, and life…why so soon?
- Nicholas: I refuse to let him get caught in the mayhem as he has suffered a major loss as well. I’m trying to shift my focus onto him and tend to his needs more.
- Jazmine: She misses him but is finally to the point where I think she understands that he is in “the sky.” It just breaks my heart that she has to live without his gentle spirit. He was definitely a father figure to her.
- Ethan: I hope he believes (I have a feeling that they and their mom for that matter were told something contrary) that it was not my choice for them to leave. I pray he feels our love and uses it to help him endure
- Evan: My baby…I miss him…I truly hope that his time in treatment wasn’t in vain. I want him to know how much he is loved by us. I hope Evan knows how much we were looking forward to him coming home!!! I’m so sorry that he didn’t get to make it!!!
- Eliza: I have many hurt feelings about her. Call me naive but I thought I was making a breakthrough with her. How she was so willing to throw her own kids under the bus to punish me totally befuddles and saddens me. I feel like I have no closure because I was carelessly discarded when my husband died. Maybe I should try the letter writing thing where I get my feelings out and then don’t actually mail it.
- Her brother and sister: Oh my goodness, evil is alive and well! People never cease to amaze me! And they keep wanting to interact with me for some strange reason. Her brother called on Christmas Eve. Her sister called twice the day after Christmas. Neither the twisted sister or the demented brother will leave a message. I’m sure you can guess what the brother wants. Now the sister, who knows? Unfortunately, I am not stable enough at this point to converse nicely with these lovely people so I continue to ignore any attempts at communication. I just can’t tolerate any tomfoolery or malarkey.
- Me: It’s probably more of me stored in the griefcase than anything else. Am I still a stepmom I wonder frequently? What do I do with myself? I don’t want a new life–I liked the one I had. I’m still a wife it’s just that my husband is dead. Needless to say, I’m one mixed-up Ms.
- Our house: Of course everything is just as he left it, especially in the garage. The Mountain Dew that he was drinking is still in his cup holder. I don’t want to touch anything and I can’t bear to part with his stuff. I could try selling the house but I almost feel like I would be leaving him behind.
Coach should add the “griefcase” to their line-up–they would sell well!
Recently my husband and I started a tradition of buying plants in memory of lost loved ones. They live indoors and out. My Aunt Mary is a lovely red tulip that comes up every spring, the same season that she died. His grandmother and my mother are both bamboo plants.
Sometimes we used the flower arrangments from the service. While I don’t have the greenest thumb, I always did my best to nurture and grow our “botanical” relatives. That care included talking to them!
My husband was tall, strong, and protected me from many things–much like a tree so that’s what he will be. I have a few months to come up with just the right kind.
Our house is much quieter with the absence of the boys and my husband. Silence can be so very loud. However, I attempt to use this time to listen to and be with God.
I have already prepared dinner–Brazilian Shrimp Stew (delicious!). After eating we will each take showers, drink homemade hot chocolate with freshly whipped cream, and play a game of Scrabble.
Then it’s early to bed for the little ones. I am excited for Jazmine because this is her first interactive Christmas. I promised her mom lots of photos! Nicholas I know will be up at the crack of dawn to open presents.
While the kids are sleeping I’ll stay awake enjoying the solitude and the memories of days past.
…and know that I am God! I just read this verse and felt so joyous that I had to share it! Halleluiah, God is good! He is with me! He knows what I am going through and I have faith that he will not forsake me. Thank you Father!
I was just sending a friend an email when I suddenly noticed how much I use the words “so” and “really” in my less formal writing! I use “so” to help express a variety of feelings. I love my husband “sooooooooooooooooooo” much! When I add the extra “o’s” then it’s serious business! I so have to buy that coat–it was soooo cute!
Really helps me emphasis the message I am trying to convey. I am really very tired today. Really really helps me get my point across. What words do you overuse?
Call me crazy, but I thought that Eliza would want the boys to stay with me for many reasons, namely because:
- They were in a stable environment
- They have been through a lot
- It is their home
- She knew that I would continue escorting them to visit her
- I love them and have their best interests at heart
- I have treated her kindly and with respect
- I encouraged the kids to continue their relationship with her
So when they were taken from me, needless to say, I was very hurt and devastated. I felt betrayed in a sense. Every letter that she wrote in praise/support/encouragement of me must have been false. She was only hugging me to find the best spot to stab me in the back.
She didn’t even have the courtesy to send her sympathies.
Why would she want them with her unstable siblings? She and her sister do not have a good relationship and are quite jealous of one another. In fact, at one visit she confided in me that she actually hates her sister. Not to mention, her sister barely cares for her own two children. I don’t see how she would be able to take them to visit Eliza on a regular basis considering that she lives many states away.
And her brother–forget about it! The kids would be better off being raised by a pack of wolves than him. That would be like appointing my brother, Jazmine’s father, to raise Nicholas if something happened to me! This is too scary to even imagine. Though my brother is my kin, I know emphatically that he would not be the best candidate to raise my son. I’d much rather him be with a nonrelative than a relative with a lack of morals, human decency, and common sense.
Here’s why I think she would want her family to have them:
- She feels that they owe her as both were indirectly involved in her crime
- They are “family”
- I’m not “family” and she could care less about Nicholas
- Her sister will probably accept her collect calls
- She doesn’t have to deal with me i.e. via mail or in person, in other words, she won’t have to pretend to like me
- She is still nursing a grudge
- She never wanted them to have a relationship with me in the first place and does not want them to love me
- She doesn’t like to share
- She wants her family to keep any “benefits” (social security) in the family
- She is willing to sacrifice their wellbeing/happiness in order to punish me
- She doesn’t care about my feelings
- It’s hard to villify the person caring for your kids
- I am a reminder that her first marriage did not work
- She detested my husband
- She detests me
It seems that things have worked in her favor. Eliza would have to know that my heart is broken into a million little pieces which I’m sure the very thought fills her with joy. She does not have to fight for custody of the boys after she is released. Nor does she have to pay the court-ordered child support that has been accumulating since her incarceration. Finally she will have the kids all to herself!
I know I have to let it go because it is out of my control–something easier said than done. I’m really having a hard time with everything. However, I had the feeling last night that I should pray for them, Eliza and her siblings. You are supposed to pray for the people who persecute you.
And I will continue to pray that God will protect Ethan and Evan from any harm.