Thursday, January 20, 2011
The January after my grandma passed, my mother had knee-replacement surgery. She behaved much like a spoiled child and gave me weeks of aggravation. Let's just say that when she threw her food tray across the room because the doctor decided it was time to cut off her morphine supply, I decided that it was time for me to spend less time sitting with her in the hospital. Good decision...
And then, three years ago on February 17, 2008, my younger brother died. I won't delve into the details about that here as I have written about them many other times on this blog, but his death raised the bar to an entirely new level.
The sun is shining brightly today. It is warm, about eighty degrees and I can hear a bird calling in the distance. I have allowed myself to spend some time in the darkness, thinking, exploring, contemplating and just being. It is now time for me to climb back into the light, step by step, moment by moment, breath by breath. This is a choice that I am making, this climb, this transformation. We all hope to transform ourselves but most of us also fight change. I am giving up that fight.
Do you have a word for 2011?
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I am thinking back about a year ago. I am thinking about where I was almost exactly a year ago to this day, and where I have been over the course of the past three hundred eighty some odd days which have carried me to where I am now. I have been wrapped inside of the thoughts both consciously and inadvertently, sometimes surprising myself with sobering contemplation and at other times, stopping to whisk back to a thought that seemed to whisper in and out without notice. Cogitating and ruminating...And missing the heck out of those two wonderful children.
A year ago, on January 4, 2010, our attorney went before the Court to obtain a trial date for which we would plead our case as paternal aunt and uncle of my two young nieces to attain visitation. I wrestled with this idea for the better part of two years but when my brother's wife, my sister-in-law, told me that she was going to keep my nieces from me and my family without any semblance of sanity, my thoughts became action. It was necessary and loving and fiercely loyal on my part. It was cruel and calculated and filled with hate for my SIL to keep the girls from us and us from them. The lack of reasons we were given, strongly enforced the importance of doing everything within our power to remain positive, caring figures in these children's lives. We couldn't, nor wouldn't, give up on them. They had already lost far too much. And so, at the start of 2010, our fight to stay in our nieces lives began.
In April of 2010, we went to the courthouse fully expecting to go through a trial. Sadly, my SIL's attorney barraged us with irrelevant and unnecessary requests for personal information(that of which we always provided), canceled court dates, and did everything he could in order to postpone the date, time and time again. My SIL was VERY insistent that she did not want a court order. Her attorney made us an offer while we were sitting in the courthouse cafeteria while awaiting our trial time, and after some back and forth, we came to an "agreement"(for lack of a better word) that was neither binding nor court ordered. We reluctantly settled because we were told that we could go back to plan A if at any time, things were not going well. Things did not go well. Tomorrow(1/11/11), our attorney will stand before the Court once again, requesting a date for trial. Another year gone by, only five visits with the children in 2010, and more stress and money to be expended. But here is the thing. Whereas last year, I was feeling wrung out by this whole situation, I now find myself approaching what is to come, with a new found resilience and strength that wasn't as apparent before. My center is calmer, I am clear about what I must do, and this is not the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last prayer on my heart at bedtime. Like the pains of childbirth, I can cognitively remember the deep-seated physical anxiety that I felt at this time last year, but, like the pains of labor, the memory is no longer causing any physical discomfort. I know what it feels like, I know that it was worth the effort, and hopefully, like labor, my efforts will be well worth the expenditure of pain.
I have come to a place in time at which I can consciously evaluate the growth and transformation which has taken place over the course of a year. And instead of constantly bombarding myself with self-depreciating scare tactics and unnecessary angst, I feel change in the way that I am responding to something that is greatly disconcerting. I feel as if I have come a long way in accepting what is, even if "what is" is extremely unsettling. I am not expecting to go through this trial without experiencing some anxiety or difficulty or pain. But I am pleased with the knowing that I will be able to handle those feelings in a different way. A clearer way. A way that will not put as much undue stress and strain on my mind and on my body.
*Post-Script-The Court assigned a date for something called a "Mandatory Settlement Conference" which is over seven weeks away. If we do not come to a settlement on that date, then a date for trial will be assigned at that time(another six-eight weeks past that date). I am allowing myself to "feel" this for the next several hours and then no more. No more.