Hmmm. don’t know what to think about this one: http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/21/10206889-til-death-do-us-part-marriage-to-dead-girlfriend-draws-mixed-reaction
My sweet little niece Jada was born last week. She is sooooo pretty! All I could do was stare at her delicate face as she slept. Jada was also born with Down’s Syndrome.
A week before her mom went into labor the doctor informed them that there was a possibility the baby could have it and that her labor would likely be induced to prevent a stillbirth. There was also a chance of her being born with deformities. After I heard the news I immediately prayed and asked others to pray with me.
When they told me she was fine I felt relief. I had to see for myself so we went to visit her as soon as I got home from work. And she looked perfect to me. She did not have the signs of a baby with this genetic disorder–no flaps of extra skin, the flattened nose, or the almond-shaped, droopy eyes. I immediately thanked God. Jazmine was sooooo excited and was talking a mile a minute as she paraded around the hospital room telling me all the things she was going to do with “her” Jada.
A couple of days later the results came back and it was positive. My heart deflated like a balloon. What in the world would those two do with a baby with mental challenges? I already help them out a lot financially. More importantly, how would they handle it emotionally?
So I thanked God that she was at least born with life. But this diagnosis still feels so heavy. When her mom told me I didn’t know how to form my mouth to offer some comfort. What do you say in a situation like this? All I was able reply was that it was going to be okay and that they had my support.
I asked her how they were coping. She said “I’m okay with it, she’s still my baby girl.” She said my brother had accepted it as well after a few tears. At that moment I felt such utter gratitude and respect for them both. I doubt that I would have welcomed the results with an ounce of their graciousness. Jada is lucky to have parents who love her unconditionally.
Since then I have contacted the local Down’s Syndrome chapter and requested information for them, did some research for myself, and I plan on buying them a book for parents of children with this condition. There is no way I can “fix” this so I did the only thing I know how to do–help them become informed.
However, I am still struggling with this. Why them? We get so comfortable assuming that all children will be born completely healthy and that is not always the case. Now I must find the strength to pray that God may equip them both with knowledge, patience, and diligence required to raise a child with special needs.
Oh, Had I a Golden Thread (Eva Cassidy version)
Oh, had I a golden thread
And a needle so fine
I’d weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design
In it I’d weave the bravery
Of women giving birth
In it I’d weave the innocence
Of the children over all the earth
Children of all the earth
Far over the water,
I’d stretch my magic band
To every city,
To every single land
To every land
Show my brothers and my sisters
My rainbow design
Bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind
Hand and heart and mind
Oh, had I a golden thread
And a needle so fine
I’d weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design
This weekend I was feeling a little down so Saturday I decided to visit the mall and treat myself. I saw a couple of former students and chatted with them, but for the most part, I was alone with my thoughts for the next few hours.
I concluded with a bite at the food court. As I was walking toward the exit, you all would never believe who was coming straight toward me! Ethan! Ethan who is now 15 and in the 10th grade! It was a surreal moment though I don’t know why.
A couple of days prior my aunt’s husband told me that he saw the kids at the license branch with my former SIL. From that I concluded that she finally received custody and the fact that she made it a point to tell him that they now lived with HER . He also said that Evan kept asking to come over to their house. My aunt called me later and told me she believed that was his way of getting to see me since he would not be allowed to do so outright.
Also, Eliza had written me over the summer seeking my help in contacting their aunt regarding guardianship (because her sister no longer wanted the responsibility). And as small as our “big” city is, I knew I would be bound to run into them sooner or later if this did happen.
I gave Ethan a hug and a kiss and inquired about Evan. It was an awkward moment. We both wanted to say more but not in front an audience and only talked for a few minutes because his uncle (my SIL’s husband) looked uncomfortable. Though he has tried to stay neutral in the situation; I suppose he still has to defer to his wife. I could see he knew that she would not be happy about our reunion. But Ethan seemed pleased to see me. I just wish Evan would have been with him.
Last night I dreamed about the kids. Today I am still processing seeing him again after almost two years. Next Monday marks the second anniversary of his father’s death. I am still being haunted by the ugliness of it all.
I feel like my enemies have won again. My SIL has the boys and has been arguing via FB with Eliza’s sister (she is the one who took them from me) regarding their social security checks! Sadly they both only want the boys for the money they come with.
I mentioned that Eliza wrote early in the summer. Here are the 3 of the 4 letters she sent after initially asking for my help in locating my husband’s sister:
How are you? Have you heard anything from Shawn or her mom? I’m still waiting to hear something from them. I appreciate your immediate response- thank you. I have filed paperwork so I pray I receive a response from one of them soon. Be Blessed
I pray all is well with you. I’m doing well by the grace of God. Morocco I really need your help. I need for you to mail me copies of anything you have regarding Evan’s condition. I need it as soon as you can get it to me. I’ll be home in a few months and I’ve been trying to get things ready ahead of time with family counseling. I would greatly appreciate this. I know you stayed on top of things and I will forever be grateful for the care you provided our boys. They ask me if I talk to you. Maybe if you are up to it we can get together when I get home after I get things together. Well I’ll let you go, have a blessed day.
Thank you so much I really appreciate it. I will contact you soon so that we can set something up. I talk to the boys but I don’t get to see them regularly. I know they are going to be excited to see you. I think it would be good for them. God has a way of working things out doesn’t He:)? I’ll close for now but I’ll be in touch.
Be Blessed M
Of course after meeting all of her requests, including contacting his sister and sending her over 250 pieces of paperwork detailing Evan’s condition, I have not heard from her. I suppose I should have expected this from the same person who orchestrated her children’s removal from my home, sent no type of condolences after my husband’s death, and who slandered me in prison and ended up getting into a fight with Jazmine’s mom over her comments.
She also never mentioned that she had a modification hearing on October 19th in an attempt to get an early release. I only found out because I received an email from the victim notification system. I believe she wanted to use the paperwork to bolster the chances of having her sentence reduced.
I’ve done all I can do for her, so I foresee no reason for Eliza to contact me ever again. She probably never intended to allow me to see her boys. That was just the dangling carrot to manipulate me into doing what she asked. Unfortunately that shows that she still does not get it. I did those things for her because that’s just the kind of person that I am.
And I do believe she is right about one thing, God does have a way of working things out. He already knew of her ill intentions and arranged for me to run into Ethan. I do believe I’ll being seeing Evan next!
Tuesday morning, right in front of my classroom, a student went into cardiac arrest. My room is in a pretty isolated part of the building. Luckily I was in the hall when he fell. I ran to get the nurse. The nurse and school police officer performed CPR on him until the paramedics arrived. I am trained in CPR and was next in line if either of them tired.
It was a very intense, scary scene for well over 30 minutes. He had to be shocked twice as well as receive other life-saving procedures. It was deja vu in a sense. I could not stop crying as I watched the paramedics work so hard to save his 19-year-old life. The school police officer was also equally shook up having lost his own 17-year-old son a few months prior.
He was finally rescuitated and transported to the hospital. Wednesday he had open heart surgery to repair faulty valves. If necessary, they may install a pacemaker.
I wondered why I had to bear witness to this trauma. It brought back so many painful memories. This was also the day I ran into my SIL’s husband. And of course, before I went to sleep that night, I saw a commerical on television and the man’s name was the same as my husband’s.
Yesterday on the way home for school Nicholas was telling me that their principal asked them to pray for one of the 8th grader’s brother who had a heart attack at school. I didn’t go into details but I told him that I was aware of what happened because it happened right in front of me. He seemed very surprised–and actually I was, too. What a small world we live in.
Neither one of us mentioned my husband, but I’m sure he was thinking about him as I was.
But it also made me appreciate first responders even more. They are so efficient, composed, and determined to save lives. I saw this firsthand with my husband as well as with the young man. I really have a lot of respect and admiration for what they do. They are as important, if not more so, than doctors.
Our principal announced that this story will be covered by the news. However, I don’t want to be in the limelight and will make sure I am unavailable when they do come.
Some say that there is a message in everything, but I have no idea of what it could be in this case.
This is going to be hard, I have never written about my situation before now. At any rate I think I have finally come to terms with this, so here goes…
Since I have been married, Mother’s Day has always been a sad day for me. The reason being, I was not a mother. Husband and I tried to conceive to no avail. I was tested and tested again and again. Husband and I went through proceedure after proceedure. I had three surgeries and in 2007 I had the last one. The one that sealed my fate. No biological children for me.
I met with my doctor numerous times to discuss other options. For me there were no other options. I was exhausted by the poking, prodding, and not to mention the unbearable pain. Husband was very supportive. I thought I was fine. Deep down I wasn’t. Little did I know I went through a great depression. At the time my mother-in-law was dying of cancer. It was all too much on me.
My marriage suffered a little because I felt like Husband didn’t understand what I was going through. He had a child, a biological child. He couldn’t possibly understand how I felt. We tried our best to deal with everything going on. I just wanted it all to go away. At the time it was too great a loss, my unborn children and the death of my mother-in-law.
Mother’s Day in 2008 was the worst ever. I tried to put on a happy face but deep inside I was screaming for the emotional pain to stop.
My mother sent me wonderful cards telling me that I am a mother figure to the children I work with at school. I am a mother to Kierra. I am a mother to all of my Godchildren. My mother-in-law gave me the greatest gift of all…Ian and Imani. Even Husband praised me to the high heavens how grateful he was to have me as Kierra’s stepmother and now the mother of our inherited children.
Even with all the praise it was hard for me to accept. I felt like I was not a mother. I had not given birth to any of these children. Of course I love each and everyone of them but still I felt an emptiness.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner I was starting to feel this same emptiness. Why was I feeling this way? Ian and Imani have been a huge blessing in my life. They are with Husband and I fulltime. I do not have to go back and forth with another parent as to what is best for their child. So where are these feelings coming from? I don’t know…
Yesterday, while reading Tiff, Taff, and Lulu to Ian and Imani I felt at peace. I finally felt that empty feeling slipping away. We were sitting on the couch together. Ian had his head on my shoulder. Out of no where he says, “Mommy guess what? I made you something for Mother’s Day at school.” I heard Husband yell from the other room that it was supposed to be a surprise. Ian said, “I’m excited and can’t wait until Sunday.” Wow….I needed that!
Not to long after that Husband yelled from our bedroom, “Guess what? Kierra is coming over this weekend.” I of course shook my head and asked if she remembered that this was Mother’s Day weekend. He told me that she knew and Kierra asked Christine if she could come over and she said yes.
Honestly, I don’t believe that will happen. In previous years Kierra has had to sneak to call me on Mother’s Day. As Kierra got older she has asked if she could stop by for a minute to see me. Christine would say she would bring Kierra over but found every excuse not to. Kierra would call and say that they were on their way several times throughout the day, only for Christine to go visit someone else. Then it would get late and instead of dropping by Christine would go home. My feelings would get hurt and so would Kierra’s.
Right now I feel a little flustered. For once I just want a peaceful Mother’s Day. I do not want to think about babies that I am not able to have. I do not want to think about Christine and if she is going to let Kierra come over or not. I do not want to think of her at all. She dangles Kierra in my face and then snatches her away everytime. I do not want to think of any of those things.
I just want to enjoy a quiet day with Husband and the children, all three of them if possible. No drama, no worries, just once….
Fridays have taken on a whole new meaning for me. It used to be that I could hardly “wait” for the day to come. Now I can barely get through them. No longer do they represent happiness and relief from working. Fridays are sadness, loneliness, and terrible memories that surface. Every Friday I relive that horrible night. Friday is the day all the trouble began.
Saturdays, too, are classified the same as Friday. Saturday was the official day of his death.
And for some reason yesterday (Friday) just felt so much more heavier than usual on top of the forlornness that I normally feel. There were “signs” everywhere that I could not “read.”
- During my prep I made a personal call, and while on hold, I grabbed the nearest magazine (Lady’s Home Journal) to pass the time. The first article I encountered was called “To Happy Endings.” The author wrote about the many problems she had faced in 2008. No matter how many times life surprises you, you never get used to the shock. A year ago I couldn’t have pictured all that has come to pass in my world in 2008: my mother’s death, the end of my second marriage and a raft of other heartaches big and small… Midway through the article it mentioned that she had been widowed in her early thirties! I about fell off of the stool I was perched on!
- After reading her story, the article I turned to next had my husband’s name in large letters! Turns out that one of the adult dogs who played Marley in the movie Marley & Me has the same name as my husband!
- The last feature I read in the magazine was an interview with a mom. The final question asked what she wished her family had money for. She said she wanted money to restore their emergency fund as it had been depleted. She also desired money so that her family could visit her in-laws in (take a wild guess) Morocco!
- During my sixth period some of the students were talking while working on their assignment. A female student was casually sharing the fact that she spent 11 1/2 months in residental treatment. This of course caught my attention because this is the exact amount of time that Evan spent in treatement as well!
- One of my student’s brother, who attends our middle school has been acting out because their father died recently. Her brother’s name is Ethan (also in middle school)!
- I received a call from Eliza’s sister’s cell phone. I did not answer the call and no message was left.
- On Wednesday I kept my friend’s two sons while she went out on a date. They are the same ages as my stepsons. It felt really eerie having them there. Later in the evening she sent a text asking What are my boys doing? This is the way Eliza always referred to Ethan and Evan, Although this did not happen on Friday, it still triggered many memories.
I was haunted all day and night long. Even while I was “stealing time.” I felt overwhelmed and crushed by the memories and what-if’s. Later in the day I was exhausted and took a sleeping pill to stop my wandering mind. But I do wonder if it was all a coincidence or some kind of sign?
My first encounter with men and grief was at my grandmother’s funeral. My uncle, an imposing figure sheathed in dark sunglasses sat solemnly. I could hardly contain myself and screamed like a banshee periodically throughout the service. That was until my uncle slowly turned to me and said No more outbursts in a slightly menancing tone. I knew he had had his own private spell the night before as I overhead his wife telling my mother and her sisters all about it. I cried silently for the remainder of the service.
Over the years I’ve observed the males in my family and the way they handle grief. Some avoid funerals. My cousin did not attend my mother’s and when I inquired why, he shrugged and said I can’t do it–too many in this family. Other cousins missed funerals I guess for the same reason.
At the hospital when I talked to my siblings about the severity of our mother’s illness, my brother (Jazmine’s father) immediatedly asked that someone take him to the store. By the time they returned to the hospital, my mother had died. His responded to the news by walking the halls taking long swigs from a fifth of gin.
The night my husband died three of his very closest childhood friends met me at the hospital. I knew there would be tears but I was surprised by the depth of emotions emanating from them. All I could hear were loud, heaving sobs coming from the trio. One of my coworkers who attended the funeral said that she was astounded at how many of my husband’s friends were openly crying. That’s what broke me down; seeing all those young guys crying like that she said to me days later. I’ve never seen anything like it.
So why is it uncomforatble for his friends and male family members to hear me grieve? They call and check on me and stop by on occassion. But I can tell they can’t handle the tears. They don’t know what to say to me. Last night his friend Corey called but I didn’t bother to answer the phone. I don’t want to pretend that I am okay to spare anybody’s feelings. Why they would even think I am okay puzzles me. I want to scream to them all–NO, I AM NOT OKAY–SO STOP ASKING! IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE ME NOT BEING OKAY, THEN DON”T CALL TO SEE IF I AM OKAY! But I know that they mean well and I appreciate that they are even checking on me at all…
My SIL texted me last night to see how we’ve been getting along. She said she was doing okay. I replied that I was glad she was because I wasn’t and I let her know how I was REALLY doing. She seemed relieved and responded that she wasn’t doing well either, but she didn’t want to upset me. I feel more comfortable sharing my true feelings with the women that I am close with because they can handle it.
I know males are reared in a society in which they are often told that men don’t cry. This has always been silly to me because most beings with tear ducts cry. Crying is cleansing. It is a way to purge the soul of toxins such as sadness.
While I try not to cry too much in front of my son, I do let him know that it is okay to cry and that some things are worth crying for.
“…You will surely wear yourself out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.” Exodus 18:18
The unpleasant part of snow is the act of shoveling it. And with the twelve inches we received, there was a lot to clear. I didn’t realize just how much until I was knee deep in it with my lone shovel. My neighbors on both sides were out working as well. One even had a snow plow but only cleared his driveway and the space in front of their house.
Looking at the couples working together made me so blue that I started crying. It was another reminder for me that my husband was dead. I turned up my Ipod and my resolve and tried to focus on finishing the daunting task of clearing our lengthy driveway. My back and legs were starting to ache from heaving the heavy snow.
I had a ways to go when my neighbor from across the cul de sac came over, shovel in hand, and starting helping. Much of the time we worked alongside one another in silence as day turned to dusk. He encouraged me to go on in, but I couldn’t leave him to do my job alone. He had already worked a full day, shoveled his own drive, and then came to help with ours–three times the size of his. I felt:
- Gratitude for his kindness
- Sadness that my husband couldn’t shovel with me
- Blessed that God put it on his heart to do so
- Embarrassment for being a damsel in distress
I also wondered how I could pay him back? I hate the feeling of “owing” someone. Thank you just seems so…well, not enough. But then I thought about a few of the neighborly exchanges we’ve had over the years. During the fall we would always send one of the boys over to help him in the yard. I had also given his toddlers sons a barely used expensive train table. And when his teenage son often lost his key, we always welcomed him to sit at our house until someone came home.
So maybe he was just paying it forward.
I know I need to learn how to accept help and be okay with it. Could this be why God keeps putting me in predicaments where I need assistance from others in order for me to get over myself?
Still, I think I’ll make cookies for him and his family to show my appreciation…
Today I took my kids on a field trip to see Bodies…the Exhibition. They really enjoyed it and were quite intrigued by the wonderous complexity of the human body. My students (of course) were eager to see the sex organs!
I, on the otherhand, was very interested in viewing the heart gallery. But looking at the display of arteries strongly reminded me of my husband, so much in fact that I could not bear to look at the one aptly called the widow maker. I hate that terminology!
Today, it has been two months.