Friday, June 10, 2011


Walking down the beach a couple of days ago, Mark and I came upon the remnants of this giant tree which, after spending countless years being battered and tossed around in the immeasurable grasps of the ocean,  was carried back to the shore in yet another form.  Recognizable as to what it once was, but transformed in remarkable ways, this tree, now driftwood, must have spent years, even decades, rumbling around in the tumbling waves being shaped and transformed and smoothed and sharpened into what it is now.  As we approached this giant relic upon the beach, I was enthralled by its stoic presence.  I imagined it as it must have been, a graceful, strong tree rooted deeply in the ground someplace, green leaves swaying with the wind, branches turned up toward the sun, thriving for year upon year.  And then, I marveled at what it now is.  A solid piece of driftwood with trunk and branches and roots, stuck solidly in the sand on this beach in San Clemente.
We are like this, shaped by love and pain, longing and letting go, hope and regret.  We are often swept along in the emotions of life trying our hardest to stand firmly rooted in our deepest beliefs, knowing what is right and what is wrong, what is just and what is not.  And yet, we change, we transform, and eventually, we even release, allowing the tides of life to pull us along while remaining some of who we once were, but constantly being reshaped, and smoothed and sharpened into who we now are.
Today we go back to court to so that the judge can rule on the monetary issues pertaining to the case I was forced to bring forth for visitation with my young nieces.  It has been over three years since my beloved brother died, two years since we filed our first motion for visitation and two weeks since we were told by the judge that although he would do things differently if it were up to him, the court could not find the mother of the children "unfit" and for that reason, and that reason alone, the state could not step in and force visitation on a parent who did not want to allow it. 14th amendment rights and all that...  When everything is said and done, I will write more about the decision and my thoughts about The Grandparent's Law(which includes siblings of the deceased), but for now I will only say that with the case that our attorney presented, there was absolutely NO way we could have won this thing.  We were led down a path in which only one result could have occurred according to the judge so now we must just tie up some loose ends and proceed with the next step in this process.

Over the course of the past three years since my brother's death, life became much more complicated than it should have been.  I found out a whole lot about who my family is(my husband, our four daughters, my father and his wife) and who would be willing to tangle the very tender strings of my heart into tight little knots, not caring whether or not they choked the very life out of me in the process causing me to end up in the same place that my beloved brother is.  And. I. Mean. That. Sincerely.  I discovered that there are people whom I considered "family" because my mother and my brother brought them into my life, individuals whom I cared for, defended against one another, entertained in my home, gave specific honors to at my children's Bat-Mitzvahs.  I let them in and I allowed them to be a part of my children's lives.  But, we cannot look back.  And once again, we have been reshaped by the experiences of life.

And as I begin to untangle the roots of my heart, I will keep this giant tree in mind.  I will remain steadfast in my beliefs and I will stand behind my decisions.  Life isn't only about remaining rooted deeply in one place.  It is about accepting the changes, transforming through the pain.  And sometimes, it is about untangling the mess that life can wrap around our souls.

*If you could say a silent prayer or send some positive energy our way as we head into court this afternoon, I would greatly appreciate it.  The thought of having to pay her attorney a dime, would prove that there is NO justice in family court and we have already lost too much.


Mark said...

Prayers and positive thoughts coming your way....Now! Use up whatever you need.
Your Friend, m.

Kathleen Botsford said...

Sending you love and prayers. Wish I could be there to hug you. Very much love, Kathy

Maria-Thérèse ~ said...

Best of luck xx

and oh, that tree - what a beautiful mess!

Renee said...

Praying and feeling blessed by your words that nourish my soul during your time of anguish and pain. As always, coming here revives me...Pray all goes well for you in court.

Patty Ann said...

Prayers and good thoughts coming your way. I have never understood people who would deny their children a loving family. I think there will come a day when they regret that. Just make notes, write letters to save, and remember that someday those children will grow up and then you will be able to find them and show them that they were always loved.

Miss A said...

I'm sorry for the continual loss of your brother. I'd barely breathe without my baby sister. The thought is unbearable. And to lose your nieces on top of that. I just hope that the people that you considered family and who've deceived you are there for them.
I've told you before, but they're not lost, let your love grow for them, as I'm sure it grows for your brother despite his absence. And know that you are surrounded with love, friends and support. Here as well. Take care and heal.

Mumsy and Company said...

Sweet Debra I am late getting to this message but you are always in my prayers. I hope everything turned out okay today and this will all work out in a way best for all concerned when the process is finished. My heart goes out to you sweet friend. Hugs

Angella Lister said...

I left a comment before, but it disappeared into the ether, so I'm trying again. Mostly I want to say I am holding you in my prayers, this is such a painful thing, this loss, but as you say, life forges us. They will come back to you. I believe that. I hope the court date went as you wished. So muchlove to you, dearest Debra. Hugs too.

Sharon said...

I'm thinking of you, Debbie. Take one day at a time.

LauraX said...

sweetie I'm sorry I'm just catching up and read this now...but you know you are always in my heart and prayers. Your photos and writing is so exquisite, expressing the twisted roots of your heart so perfectly.

sending much love to you this Shabbat evening.

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