She thanked her profusely for never following through with her suicidal thoughts. She couldn’t bring herself to ask if there were actual attempts. She just let her brain assume so, but prayed there weren’t and won’t be anymore. Fear…
These two are so freakishly alike it’s a beautiful harmonious connection. They’ve shared those thoughts as if these were good bonding moments. Really what it says is, “I know better than anyone, and understand your heavy heart, the devastating pain and deepest hurts you’re feeling”. Her mama couldn’t possibly know how she felt exactly, but the agony resonated. The feelings of complete despair and just a desire for the pain to stop. Yeah, that she gets. Confusion…
Mama sits with her, she’s learning to listen, really hear her child’s anguish, obstacles, fears and all the past that floods her head and it all pours out. Sometimes her words are accompanied with anger and outbursts still, almost always with tears and probably for a long while still with confusion of what to do next. “Take it slow, but definitely at your pace”, she encourages her. Processing…
Let her just vomit her words so the poison is extracted. “It’s ok”, she tells her, “I can hold it for you sweetie, I can take it”. Mama knows her frustration isn’t about her necessarily. She can be her sounding board, but not her punching bag or doormat. She’s learned that part of detachment pretty well. It’s not without difficulty when it’s your own child. Unconditional…
Ever since she was 12 her favorite expression was, “I got this mom”. And you know, she always has. Mama smiles intently at her, “I know baby, but it’s ok not to have it all figured out right here right now. Give time time and let things come to you naturally when you can. Forcing solutions can be frustrating as hell, as can sitting still, I know”. Wisdom…
Their talks are more frequent now and her mama is grateful for the relief she sees in her child’s face more often, now and then, here and there. This is only the beginning of all the transitions ahead, yet the only thing that ever matters to her mama is her children’s happiness, contentment and feeling loved, all of them. Closeness…
She gave birth to her and her brothers, she has them all on borrowed time and she knows this too well. Time is fleeting and life is precious. How quickly it can disappear, how fragile it actually is. Guilt consumes her some days. The “if only’s” play out in her head and she cries. Sadness overwhelms her at times and she makes time to call her child just to say I love you. She can’t seem to hug her tight enough when she sees her. Never again will she ever feel her mama’s absence, nor will her brothers. Available…
She thinks they still need her as they always have, but really it’s mama who’s needing them more. Present…
He was two, his vocabulary off the charts. A beautiful little child, expressive with a smile that sparked her mama’s heart, yet in the same breath, an unexplainable sadness about him. The frustrations were more frequent and the ability to comfort and soothe him were becoming increasingly difficult. At times he was inconsolable.
He was the middle child with a brother on either side. While the games they played were rough and tumble, he never much enjoyed them. As he grew, so did his sensitivity level. Mama became increasingly concerned. She began to wonder if her sweet little one needed therapy, for a toddler, a preschooler and eventually an adolescent? She was tormented and torn by his unexplainable agony, but this paled in comparison to what her child was dealing with, severe emotional pain, trauma, inner turmoil and self abuse with increasing suicidal tendencies.
She blamed the father of their three children. After all, he was the more broken one, the one who drank too much and often didn’t come home. Of course this child felt the tension and abandonment repeatedly. She missed the clues, they were so blatant, but only in retrospect.
Guilt washed over her, protect her babies from suffering was her obsession. Her focus had become tunneled, her energy consumed by what he was and was not doing for her, for them. Divorce became inevitable and so it came.
These three were the center of mama’s universe. Her sole purpose for being and now, she was all they had. With two tweens and a teen, they embarked with a fresh start, but it was becoming increasingly more challenging.
They were finding their footing, though mama was very strict, she was highly encouraging and supportive of their individuality. This same child seemed more devastated with every passing year, constantly testing her patience, he was heightened by his emotions, defiant yet fragile, sensitive and loving, with such rage and anger. He had become hell bent on breaking out and fighting for independence. Life was hard at times, but they were a team, the four of them. They always found their way, together.
Mama taught them about choices, they were theirs to make, but to know, the consequences also belonged to them, regardless, so try to choose wisely.
Her then 16 year old came home one day, his girlfriend beside him to announce they were having a baby. Six weeks after they graduated high school, a beautiful baby girl blessed all our lives, drawing them even closer as a family. This precious little girl was the joy that his mama thought was beginning to ground him, bring him a new purpose and a reason for living a wonderful life. Though it made a new set of challenges and difficulties, he took his role as a daddy very seriously and still does.
By age 27, this amazing person found a new sense of courage. A brave stand that would allow him the freedom to get very real and honest with himself after a lifetime of denying his true identity. The words he braced mama for, the ones that took four hours that night to find the courage to speak, four hours and nearly 27 years. With tears of relief streaming down his eyes, he blurted them out, “Mom, I’m a woman.”
And her mama sat there just listening to the words as they washed over her. A smile emerged from her lips, while a single tear rolled down her cheek and a sigh of relief escaped her breath. In that moment, “I love you sweetie” was all her child needed to hear as she herself melted for the acceptance from the woman who raised her…
He didn’t open her door when she stood beside it, but only for a moment did she wait. She climbed in her seat there beside him, she seemed content and I thought of you… (Opening my door as I skillfully slid into my space next to you while you pulled out my seatbelt so graciously handing it to me)
They arrived at the restaurant, again she exited the truck, meeting him around the back where they made small talk heading to their destination and I thought of you… (I remained still, grinning as you walked over to my side once more, opening my door, offering your hand, I emerged as we made our way)
She stood outside the door looking at the sign, he said, “Allow me” as he grabbed the handle to the door, she stepped inside and I thought of you… (My hand never touched a door as long as I was with you)
They were seated, the menus presented and the question, “can I start you off with a drink” and I thought of you… (One menu was all that was required, my drink was chosen along with my meal, handled with care)
He picked up the check not a word was exchanged except when she offered to pay her share. He reached for his wallet thanking her, then stating he’d have to give up his man card while handing it off to the server without hesitation and I thought of you… (One of our first dates I noticed the price and you thanked me for being thoughtful then assured me it would be alright, the cost wasn’t an issue. I relaxed, feeling special)
She thanked him for treating her to a pleasant evening and wondered what to do next so they left out the door and she casually laced her hand through the bend in his arm and I thought of you… (Next to you I felt taken care of, protected and safe, looked after and thought, I felt loved)
There was the truck, the one they open their own doors for, the one they return home in, to the house they reside and I thought of you… (Again you pull open the door, buckle me in, my hand on your knee as it slides up your thigh, a peck on the cheek, with a twinkle in my eye. I thank you for a lovely evening, for treating me like your queen, I can hardly wait to get home to show you all the love in my heart)
He flips on the TV and she checks her phone. Divided by some walls, back to their own separate interests and distractions, it’s like the spark and the magic were left somewhere far behind and I thought of you… (We barely made inside with our hearts beating deeply, your hands all up in my hair, the door closes quickly as clothes fall to the floor)
She makes her way to the chilly room where she lays her head. At some point he will take his place beside her all cozied up in their bed. She’s fast asleep and he’s quiet while he slips between the sheets and I thought you… (We walk together down the darkened hallway to find that safe, familiar place, the warmth of your body comforts me while mine stirs up all your deepest desires)
They closed the door to the wonderful night without another word, he turned off the light, she rolled over, her back turned to him, now he lies there staring at the ceiling asking himself where have you been and I thought of you… (Engulfed in your arms I feel your hot breath, it smells like tequila, I smile to myself being pulled in closer, I don’t want to breathe if it means loosening your grip, I exhale, we are immersed, becoming just one, please don’t let me wake. I know you feel loved and I do too) and I thought of only you…
Did you know the child you birthed, may not be whom you thought they were? Can you understand they may be struggling with something more powerful, cunning and baffling than their own imagination? Do you accept what they perceive and actually know to be their truth, yet they’ve suppressed it for so long?
If you are further confused by what is seemingly bizarre and unexplainable behavior from a loved one, especially your own flesh and blood, the offspring you thought you knew, and you find yourself in constant concern, wonder and worry, you’re not alone, but they may feel as if they are.
Has you child come to you with a secret so deep they can’t muster up the words to speak so they stammer and stumble as they try to explain. You look at them perplexed, coaxing them to just say the words, assuring them it’s ok because you love them so much. You take notice the fear consuming them and yet you persuade them to trust you, hoping they feel safe. At last they just vomit the thing they wanted to share because in doing so they know, or at least can imagine, the relief they’ll feel once they open their busting heart.
Finally they blurt it out, the suppression they’ve been hiding behind, the one they could feel, but never knew why. They’ve felt crazy, like their own skin holding them together doesn’t really belong to them. They’re so uncomfortable they wish they could peel it away just to reveal what’s deep down within. Suddenly its out there and you can’t un-know the things you’ve been told and somehow you manage to take a gulp of air and exhale. You have little emotion, no true reaction yet as your heart begins to sing and you smile feeling their relief.
Terrified to tell you, but so desperate to get it out, they wait for you to say something, anything and the only thought to share is how much you love them. What else would a doting parent do? Reject this child or embrace them as you’ve always done? The choice is obviously the latter and so you choose that card and take the gamble. This child of yours is a sure bet so you feel pretty good about this decision.
For the past too many years to count, this child has been tormented inside, but by what? You pray for them and pour love into their souls. You cry over them, fret, worry and obsess over their very well being and still, until this blessed day would come, you continue to lose sleep and suffer for their pain.
They stray and stay away until they come back, wounded and confused, but you love them through it all. Because of you they can venture out to test the water and find their crooked way, but still you love them unconditionally because in a sense, they’re still yours. They face fear and they run, we watch and we wait, but somehow we find our way back to the other to touch home plate and feel that safety net wrap us up until we part another day.
Rest assured this path is their journey. They are never alone as we stand on the sidelines, cheering them along. They’ll find their way in the darkness and the light. Despite all the trials they will triumph in the night. Sleep well and take comfort they will be alright.
A loving, devoted mama bear. I share because I care.
She hides behind her smile, her insides riddled with anxiety, her breath shortens while her chest is tight and yet you can’t fathom how deep her troubles run. She disguises it well from the outside world while she fights to get up and face another day.
This friend of yours shares a story with you, one where you aren’t sure if she’s referring to herself or something she’s read, but suddenly you realize, it is in fact her horrific experience. As you continue to politely listen, the shock and disbelief well up. The pain grows in her heart, the agony dims the light in her eyes and as you watch, her body physically changes. She speaks more words, you become uncomfortable and though you don’t mean to, you interrupt her flow with your concerned opinion. Suddenly she turns the faucet off, chokes back her tears and shuts back down. She is experiencing a trigger from a deep gaping wound. Voiceless again, she shoves that secret back down to where it lives.
You didn’t mean to create this reaction. How could you know that this friend standing in front of you has such inner turmoil erupting inside of her? She took a chance on you, trusting you to just hear her cries and take her seriously without judgement or condemnation. So often when she has a moment of bravery and courage to reach out, she does so with the hope of being heard, believed and understood. She hesitates, even retracts some of the information and begins trivializing it once more.
She didn’t “know better”. She struggles with confusion and retraces her steps over the years of abuse. How could she be so trusting, so naive, as she beats herself up now too, feeling so dumb. Over time, she disappeared, even to herself. The coercion and insidiousness of what had become her life, though a little more behind her, the pain engulfs her and she desperately fights to overcome. Her friends observe from their perspective., “She’s a survivor. She’s resilient. She’s strong”. You think you see her solutions and without meaning to, the accusations fly; “if she would just abc, xyz”. “This again?” “Are you still talking about HIM/that?!” These are the worst things you can say to her. All of your well intended thoughts would cause her to retreat back to her darkness where she resides with those secrets that whittle her away.
Never dismiss her need to keep talking. There’s more that keeps emerging with every passing day as she fights for the freedom of her soul. This isn’t one of those things she can keep ignoring and hope it dissipates on its own. No, the poison has to come out with the fear from her oppression. One day you will notice the light returning to her spirit and you’ll know she is healing. Meanwhile, hear her, hug her, just be there.
They have all loved her through the battles they can see, but can you with the ones invisible to you? Is it unconditional or based on her doing what makes you more at ease? She keeps wrestling with the lies she’s been told and the battles still to overcome, wondering if there’s truth to any of it. She is telling you in her own way of her broken spirit, her beaten body, her shame, her wounds, her hurt and her survival. What she doesn’t realize is, she’s truly revealing that she is a conqueror, but she has no idea, not yet. She is still coming out of the affects of his gas lighting leaving her to think maybe she is crazy, but she’s not.
There are days she believes what you dear friend tell her with your uplifting words, but when she needs to run the thread down to the core of its root, listen compassionately, respond with love, offer the gift of your presence and allow her the dignity to process and time she needs to get to the other side. The only way for her to get through it, is to go through it, one hour, one day at a time.
When she comes to you, her heart in her hands, be the light in her darkness and a dose of love because she is running on empty. In doing this, you have given her a gift she will cherish and it reminds her she has another fight left in her…