I wonder if there are any who might read this who have either lost a child through death, had them taken away, or-as in my case-had to give them up for whatever reason…
And then had that child seek them out or discover them once they were of the age where they could.
Such happened to me…
But this story has no happy ending.
But to understand why I named this blog as I did, one would first have to understand a tiny bit about me. I will endeavor to do an encapsulation rather than an extended telling, but some things will not be able to be reduced to a series of mere sentences to cover the pain, sense of rejection, feeling of worthlessness, and the-with the passage of time-ever increasing need and hunger for love and acceptance that resulted in one of the most painful decisions that any parent could ever face…
The decision to give up their child for the child’s own safety.
Point blank, my mother, I think, resented me from the time I was born. She hated my father so much that she even attempted suicide, with me in her arms.
She stood on the window ledge of the fourteenth floor apartment she and my father were living in when I was about one and was just about to step off of that ledge when the lady who lived next door, and who had been cleaning her windows, spotted my mom and managed to talk her back inside.
The reason my mother hated my father so much? Simple…he was such a bad alcoholic that he would drink shaving lotion just for the buzz…
She told me in later years, one of the few times we really talked, that he would bring men home and force her to sleep with them for money for his alcohol.
Shortly after the attempted suicide, she tried to leave him and he beat her so badly she was in the hospital for two weeks. The neighbor took care of me, for she was afraid to leave me with my father.
When my mother got home, she told me that she had filed charges on him and he had gone to prison for abuse. She had already moved to where he could not find us by the time he was released.
She heard through friends that the day he was released, he was going down the court house steps, cursing at the top of his voice, and the judge who had originally sentenced him was just behind him, with his wife and young daughter, evidently headed for lunch.
The friend had told my mother that my father had turned and dropped his pants and shaken his private parts at the judge and his family and threatened them, saying that the judge was going to pay and that my father was going to have “fun” with his wife and daughter.
Needless to say, my father never made it to the street level, for there were five cops right behind the judge. They rushed up and grabbed my father before he could get his pants back up. They hauled him to jail and the judge had my father back in front of him the following morning on charges of threat of physical violence, threat of rape, and threat of indecency with a minor.
Last I heard, my father was still in jail when he died.
From as far back as I can remember, my mother barely interacted with me at all, only out of necessity. The only time she paid me much attention was when I would “act out”…which, with the passing of years, I began to do more and more frequently, though not in destructive ways, merely ways guaranteed to get attention.
It was bad enough when there was just myself, but when my sister was born, I learned the true meaning of being “cast aside”, for my mother absolutely doted on the new baby, often leaving me to cry when my sister would demand her attention. She spent more and more time with my sister, cuddling her, kissing on her, rocking her, all of the things my mother had denied me she lavished on my sister…
And on my brother and the sister that came later.
And with each new child, I was pushed further and further to the fringes of my mother’s attention and affection. About the only time she showed me any kindness was when she was with other people or on the holidays.
I learned the meanings of jealousy and hatred and envy very early in life.
I also learned to turn to worlds within my mind and heart for the comfort, validation, acceptance and affection that was denied me in the world of reality.
As I grew older and went to school, that feeling of being left out, unwanted, continued, for I never truly fit. I had always been highly emotional, prone to rapid mood swings, but back then I was merely considered to be “troubled” and not much was said about it.
Perhaps if they had had the knowledge then that they have now about emotional illnesses I might have been able to have gotten help at an earlier age.
But that high and often extreme emotional reaction to people and situations around me was to be my downfall when I turned twenty five, for it was to act as a catalyst for a decision that I would never wish on any parent…having to give up their child because they did not trust themselves not to harm it.
When I was fourteen, I, along with my two sisters and my brother, were taken away from home and placed with foster families, myself and my two sisters going to one family and my brother going to another.
Two weeks to the day later I was kicked out, the reason they gave being that I was “violent and unmanageable”.
And all I had done was get verbally angry with the foster parents when they had done nothing about two of the other foster kids that had chosen me for a scapegoat from the very day that I entered the foster home.
One of the kids, a boy, had put pond weed in my freshly washed hair when we had gone swimming the day before I was kicked out. I had stormed up to the house and verbally blown up…
In front of the people who had gotten my brother, for they had brought him by to visit us without warning the foster family that had myself and my two sisters that they were coming.
I was awakened the next morning, given one slice of bread with a tiny bit of jelly, and then told to sit in the front parlor, that the case worker was on her way and would be taking me to some place where I could be “helped”.
That place was a mental institution where I spent the next two years and two months before being sent back to live with my mother.
While I was there, I was raped twice, nearly choked to death, one of the other patients tried to set my bed on fire, and I had half of the staff always throwing me in lockup on the slightest pretext.
And it was while I was there that something happened that scared me to death, for I very nearly tore a fellow patient’s throat out with my teeth after she called my mother some filthy names.
I had been heavily medicated and do not recall much beyond the girl saying those things, standing up…and the next thing I remember is four men grabbing my arms and legs and holding them backwards as they carried me down the hall to the lockup, where they proceeded to literally throw me in so hard I skinned my chin.
And that is where I spent the next week, with the other patients coming and mocking me and laughing through the tiny glass window and even some of the staff doing the same.
It was not a happy time, and it brought home the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, I was so bad that I deserved the treatment I had received all of my life. Perhaps my mother had been right in her treatment of me, perhaps I wasn’t worth loving.
I was returned to my mother’s custody just shy of my seventeenth birthday. I tried to go back to school, but had panic attacks so bad I nearly blacked out in class one day. So they told my mother that since I was so close to being eighteen, not to try to send me back to school.
When I first returned home, my mother treated me, for the first time in my life, as if I mattered, as if she really cared about me…
For all of about the first six to eight months…then she began to act just as she had when I was younger. It got so bad that I was having nightmares nearly every night. That was when I got to where I could not sleep much.
I took a part time job rolling papers just so I could get away from the house for a little while, and later took an additional part time job working as a janitor’s assistant, all so I did not have to be in the same house with a woman who apparently hated me.
I developed an interest in calligraphy and began to teach myself to form the elegant letters. I got very good at it and found that working with it was the one time that I could go to a place where I didn’t hurt so badly inside…
And oddly enough, it was one of the few things my mother ever showed even a trace of pride in my ability to do.
We moved a lot during the time between when I turned eighteen and when I turned twenty five. When I was about twenty three, I moved away from home… and for the very first time in my life was completely on my own…
And scared to death, for there had always been someone to make the decisions, to make the choices in my life, to have the control.
In short, I was totally and completely adrift in a world that had never understood me, more alone than I had ever been in my life.
And that fact was what caused me to make one of the stupidest decisions I had ever made…I got married to the first guy who showed an interest in me, for when I had been at home, I had never dated…I went to work and then home, period.
So when my daughter’s father began to show an interest in me, I grabbed at him like a drowning man grabbing at a life preserver.
Three months after we were married I learned I was pregnant.
When I was six months along, he came home and informed me that he had been sleeping with another woman since about a week into out marriage and she was three months pregnant with his child.
He told me I had three choices…either let the woman move in with us and he would continue to sleep with her while I could sleep on a cold tile floor with nothing but a thin sheet between me and the tiles…I could go live with my mother…or I could go live on the streets.
The first and third options were out of the question, so I had him take me to my mother’s.
I did not realize that my mother had a new “flavor of the month” live in boyfriend…
One who did not take long after my going to stay with her to start finding every excuse he could to touch on me or to make sly little innuendo’s every chance he got.
And I knew better than to try to tell her…her reactions when one of her boyfriends raped me, sodomized me and forced me to go down on him when I was eight had burned that lesson permanently and indelibly into my mind. There would be no help or comfort from her.
So I endured it until the day that I went into labor. My mother and her boyfriend took me to the hospital, along with my grandmother, who also lived with us, then my mother and her boyfriend went and sat in the waiting room, leaving my grandmother to sit with me.
My mother couldn’t even stand being near me when I was giving birth to her grandchild, yet she had rushed to the hospital and sat with my sister during her entire labor, go figure.
They had to give my grandmother a nitroglycerine when her heart nearly stopped when the monitor they had attached to me flat-lined after a contraction that had my body bowed so hard I was resting on the back of my head and my heels.
When I hit the mattress, the machine started shrieking, she started gasping for air, started to stand to come to me and fell to the floor.
Thank God the nurse’s station was right across from my room, one of the nurses just happened to look into the room just as the machine went off and my grandmother fell.
They got my grandmother up and got her heart started again while they were working on me and they had barely gotten us both going when they put me on a gurney and headed for delivery.
One of them had the foresight to bring the crash cart, and it was a good thing they did for the contraction that hit just as they were wheeling me through the delivery room doors stopped my heart again. They were trying to get my heart started again even as they were putting me on the delivery table.
I came to just in time for a contraction that felt as if it was tearing my insides out and the doctor shouting not to push…directions that I disobeyed, for push I did and seconds later heard my daughter’s cries for the first time.
For three days I remained in the hospital, and then I was allowed to go home.
Two days after returning home, my mother shows up around one in the morning, along with her boyfriend, both totally naked, and she informed me that the only way I would be allowed to stay was if I allowed him to “teach” me how to “keep a man satisfied” since I had obviously failed, based on the fact that my husband had gone “wandering” not two weeks after our marriage.
She threatened to take my daughter and kick me out in the street with nothing but the clothes on my back, no money, no job skills, nowhere to go, unless I complied.
And for two weeks I did…to my shame at my weakness…until the night I pulled the double barrel shotgun loaded with deer slug from beneath the bed, for the room had been my grandmother’s till I came to stay with them…and tried to commit suicide.
My finger wouldn’t reach the trigger with the barrel in my mouth.
Frustrated, depressed, disgusted with myself for being so weak as to have complied with my mother’s demands, I called my sister and told her if she did not come get me, they would find two dead bodies the following morning, either mine and my daughter’s or my whoring mother and her slimeball boyfriend’s.
An hour later my sister and her husband were there, they helped me pack and took me and my daughter to stay with them.
I was with them until my daughter was nearly four months old, and then something happened that shook me to my very core…
I nearly threw my child on the floor in a fit of rage, despair, depression and exhaustion.
The night I came close to throwing my four month old child, who was teething, onto the floor as a result of not enough rest, being a new parent at the age of twenty five, having both my husband-who had thrown me out so he could move his lover in-and my mother and her boyfriend, all hassling me about giving them custody, was one of the darkest times in my entire life.
I had just spent four days and three nights trying to find ways to stop my child from their endless screaming cries, walking them, rubbing their back, taking cloths off, putting clothes on, everything, but the child simply would not shut up.
The last thing I remember before coming to and finding myself holding my child above my head, about to dash it to the floor, was walking in a circle, rubbing its back, and crying…and feeling the sense of helplessness and the growing rage at the fact that I seemed to be able to do nothing right.
When I once more became aware of reality, and realized what I had nearly done, I carried my child, stiff legged, inch by inch, fighting for control, and lay it on the couch. I then went into the kitchen where my sister, who had let me stay with her after the incident with my mother, was making dinner.
My sister and her husband were caretakers for a huge hunting and fishing area that was members only, and when I walked into the kitchen that night, her back was to me, but she must have sensed something, for she turned and looked at me and started to say something.
I only remember telling her I was going for a walk, I had to get away for a while. She later told me that the look on my face that night had frightened her, but not why.
I walked for nearly two hours over trails that had seen no human foot prints save those of the occasional weekend hunter or fisherman. During that time I forced myself to think about some very brutal facts, the main one of which was…
I had been able to stop…this time…but what about the future, when I might be sick or tired or frustrated about something, and the child once more got on my last nerve? The conclusions that I came to that night were not happy ones with regards to my level of control.
And I made a decision, a decision I would not wish any parent to have to make, and which I told my sister upon returning to the house.
I told her I wanted to give my child up for adoption, rather than risk harming it. When she asked me why and what did I mean by “harming it”, I told her what had nearly happened.
I gave my child up that night for her sake…
On the 28th of this month it will be one year to the day since she gave ME up…permanently. In short, she disowned me.
She has played me like a toy, gathering me close when it suited her and casting me off, ignoring me, when it did not, since she found me and learned my identity when she was seventeen.
She promised me on my birthday in March that she would start keeping in touch…
She lied, as she has always lied. She did not contact me until the night of May 28, 2011, nearly three months after my birthday in March, when she promised to start staying in touch more.
The night she messaged in I was working on my newest book. The words on the messenger shattered my heart into a thousand pieces. She told me that I was a selfish, hard hearted bitch, and that I if I ever tried to contact her or see her, she would file a restraining order against me. She told me that as far as she was concerned, I was dead. She blocked me from facebook and blocked emails from me as well.
I read what she had said, and then typed “wtf?!”, but she signed out the minute my words hit the screen. I have not heard from her since. I do not know how long I sat, staring at those words. My next clear memory is standing with a knife against my wrist. The pain from the cut evidently jerked me back from wherever I had gone to. To this day, I do not know what I did wrong. It could not have been something I had said, for the last time I had seen her had been on my birthday, and we had parted on good terms. I do not miss her head games, nor the pain I knew each time she would lie about coming to see me.