Battle Buddy

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have a new battle buddy. Fortunately because we each have many similarities in our situations, unfortunately though because there are four more children who are now faced with an unbelievable situation. I met him about a year ago while he was doing some renovation work at the hotel where I worked. Just casual acquaintances at best. Friends enough to greet each other in public and remember each others names and talk about our kids, but not hang-out type friends.

There was always a friendly amount of flirting with him when he was at the job (which wasn’t often). He was safe to flirt with…he was married, had been with his wife for 20 years, had four children with her, I didn’t mind stroking his ego, he is one of those soft spoken guys who obviously had no clue just how much people liked him. He is a rare breed for sure; a man immersed in the lives of his children, always working to making his marriage as good as it could be, even in difficult times, and always professional.

While at church last weekend I saw him and greeted him. One of the women from the bible study group I attended came up behind me and asked, “And how do you know him?” I jokingly told her I had tried picking him up at a hotel one time until I found out he was married. “For another eight days” he mumbled. I apologized for putting my foot in my mouth and said I had no idea he was getting a divorce. Well, apparently he didn’t either until about six weeks ago. Turns out the bible study friend is his mother! lol Small world ain’t it??

At one point during the bible study discussion a few weeks ago as we talked of forgiveness and letting go and learning to be positive the mom had looked at me and said, “Hmmm, you should talk to my son.”

So then I said, “Is THIS the son I am supposed to talk with?” Sure enough…what are the odds? So he and I updated each other on our respective situations and it was easy to see the hurt and shock still in his eyes. At the end of the conversation we parted ways and I didn’t give it a second thought when his mother asked for my phone number (we are in bible study together, remember).

Later than day I told the Lunch Lady about the conversation (he and her also have two children the same age so they are in the same circles at school). His situation is heartbreaking. He realized the marriage had changed in late summer and took the initiative to get he and his wife in to counseling. On the third visit she announced to him that she wanted a divorce and that she was two months pregnant by another man with whom she’d been seeing for over a year. She then moved out of the family home, has rarely seen her children since moving out and the divorce will be final next week. Three months ago things were fine…now he is a single father with four children. Quite the blow. She gave him custody of the kids, the house, and just walked out on their life, their family.

Later on Sunday I received a text message, “Are you sleeping?” from a strange number. I asked who it was and it was him, he needed to talk and his mom had given my number…I am so naive! We talked for a while about his situation and dealing with feelings and children, and the roller coaster his brain and heart are riding. Being a few steps ahead of him as far as the emotional processing of every thing it was easy to give him honest feedback and a few insider things to be aware of with the kids and each of their developmental stages. He was receptive of the information and sounded grateful to have a battle buddy. I told him that I don’t know his wife, have never met her, and will never judge her (or him) for the choices they make. I would be a neutral party to bounce ideas off and if he needed to vent he now knew how to get a hold of me. I told him to also run it through his brain the ‘what if’ scenarios if she decides to try to reconcile. I don’t think anybody had approached that possibility with him, but I could tell he was thinking it. I said there is always hope for reconciliation until one of them is six feet under. Almost funny coming from me.

The next day his mom and I had a lunch date and we talked about my situation and how she hopes he will return to church on a more regular basis as he works through this situation. I said I can be his friend, and a sounding board and hopefully a support as far as church goes.

I have to admit, the similarities of our situations makes our conversations easy. Today after I took the boys to school we talked about when I found out I had to move out of the house and the blow that was to my heart and ego. I rarely hurt when I talk of it, but talking to him about it, it was no longer as matter of fact as I make it sound. For him to openly acknowledge the hurt and agony I felt without attempting to sugar coat, side step, or justify the situation was agonizing and comforting at the same time. We are Battle Buddies, fighting the same war in our hearts and brains. With time I am hoping that sharing our individual grief journeys will strengthen us for ourselves, our children, and our partners.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to hope that even one person would find out they are not alone in their journey. I never expected somebody to return the favor. Always the helper, never the helpee…it’s how I try to portray myself. Never allowing my weakness to be revealed anywhere other than maybe here where I can pretend nobody reads it and confident that even if they do they will be much too uncomfortable to bring it up in person…people tend to not enjoy tough talks.

Welcome to my Battle Buddy…and thank you for the gift you have given me, the gift of friendship.

Direction

I know when I started this blog, it was to replace the blog I could no longer post on. I closed down my first blog because I was sick and tired of my ex telling me how sick I was based on posts written over two years previous. They were good posts, they were awesome posts. The posts were raw and real. They documented the down hill spiral of a mental health crisis in real time. Guess what, I was sick…WAS. I wanted to share the very core of everything that I was feeling if only for one person to feel like they were not alone in this fight against an invisible monster that not only is misunderstood, but often misdiagnosed.

Turns out, replacing a blog is akin to replacing a child…it can’t be done.

My goal is still to dispel the stigma associated with mental health care. The only difference is that I am in a different place in my life and my goals are evolving as I am changing and growing.

I’ve recently (in the last six months or so) made some friends in the armed services. With Boy 2 having an affection for everything military, I am feeding his passion in a healthy way.

I have a new found understanding of those who have served. I have a deep respect for those who returned to the Untied States with their unit…yet never came home…those living with TBI, PTSD and other debilitating disorders and injuries. I have heard stories of men and women who are now addicted to pain medications because of injuries sustained.

I have become internet friends with people who, as a result their job can no longer function in the day to day world of civilian life without medications, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapy, physical therapy…appointments, appointments, meds, appointments…

These people are hailed as heroes, they never asked to be heroes. They never asked for a damn thing. They gave everything they were asked to give, they watched their friends…brothers…give their lives and would gladly have taken their place. They were just doing their job.

We’ve all heard the statistic that the United States has lost more service men and women to suicide than combat…this is unacceptable. The American public should be outraged at this.

I’m not yet sure what I, alone can do…but I’m doing it. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs for people to get their heads out of their collective ass. This shit is real people. There are men and women who served this country who are suffering damnit…if everyday ‘crazy’ people are ashamed to get mental health care, how do you expect a ‘hero’ to feel when he can’t even get out of bed? When he or she is tired of the medication roulette game we all play and just wants to give up?

I am not a certified counselor and I have no idea the horror of war, but I have seen my own share of horrors. I have stood at the cemetery to say goodbye to people who just couldn’t take it one more day…who saw no hope, no healing in sight. All I can do is hold your hand and lend my ear, and my shoulder…it’s all I have. I will share my experience, my hope…together we will find your strength…your hope. 

I’m reaching out…please, take my hand.

It’s That Time of Year

First; HAPPY VICTORIA DAY WEEKEND to all my Canadian friends and family. I love and miss you more than I can write.

We are nearing Memorial Day here in the USA and here is something I wrote a couple years ago.

I Did Not Lose a Pregnancy

I did not lose a pregnancy; I lost a child…four  of them. I lost hopes, I lost dreams, I lost innocence and watched the  innocence of my children be taken from them as they struggled to  understand what happened and why.
I lost four first steps, four first solid foods, four baptisms, four kindergarten graduations, four confirmations, four weddings…So much more than just four pregnancies. I am at peace as much as I can be with these losses as each one shaped me a little more, helped me to enjoy the children I am blessed to have a little more.

Every year we go to the cemetery to place flowers…a wonderful American tradition I have come to LOVE…every holiday the cemeteries are filled with flowers. I had never even seen anything like it where I  grew up and when I first moved here I thought, “now THERE’S a waste of  money.” Now, as I tend to the final resting place of the loved ones I  have lost, I am filled with peace, I am filled a sense of love. I look through scripture to bring me peace, and to remind me of God’s promises.
I read poems that have helped to carry me through a grief so raw and often so private. This is one of my favorites.
I thought of you and closed my eyes,
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother,
And I know I heard him say:
A mother has a baby,
This we know is true.
But, God, can you be a mother,
When your baby’s not with you?
Yes, you can he replied,
With confidence in his voice.
I give many women babies, When they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb,
But there’s no need to stay. 
  I just don’t understand this God, I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared his throat,
And then I saw a tear. 
  I wish that I could show you,
What your child is doing today,
If you could see your child smile,
With other children who say:
We go to earth and learn our lessons,
Of love and life and fear.
My mommy loved me oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a mom,
Who had so much love for me.
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My mommy set me free.
I miss my mommy oh so much,
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow’s where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear.
“Mommy don’t be sad today, 
I’m your baby and I’m here.”
So you see my dear sweet one,
Your children are Ok. Y
our babies are here in My home,
They’ll be at heavens gate for you.
So now you see what makes a mother.
It’s the feeling in your heart.
It’s the love you had so much of,
Right from the very start.
~Author Unknown
“…And then I saw a tear.” God feels my pain, he understands my pain…he lost a son once to.
“…My mommy loved me oh so much, I got to come right here…My mommy set me free…” Eventually I was able to set each of my babies free, I am satisfied that they are wrapped in the arms of Jesus who said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Do I still cry? Sometimes. Do I ask. “Why me?” Absolutely not. I am privileged to have been filled with love for each of these four babies. I am proud to be the mother to the three children I gave birth to who are healthy, I am proud to have opened my heart to my two step-kids who have blessed my life as much as the children I have birthed.

So as I make plans to go with the boys out to the cemetery next weekend to tend to the ‘garden on love’ we have created, I look forward with a smile in my heart. The lilies should be sprouting, and they will be even more beautiful this year than they were last year. Hopefully the Hosta also comes back as well.

Bittersweet

Who do you tell when there’s nothing to say?
Do you give it to God and then walk away?
Do you hide under blankets shaking with fear?
Do you cry in the night when no one is near?
The time will come to rise again
Knowing who has been a friend
Never pushing when you’re down
But sitting with you on the ground
To bring you back to your feet
And showing you change is
Bittersweet.