Sometimes You Need To Take A Step Back

image
[I wrote this a year ago about an Angel I met in a children’s cancer ward. Or maybe just a very wise little girl. But I prefer to think of her as an Angel. Its a Free Write, but it’s true.]

 

I woke up this morning as I always do — in pain so harsh it makes it hard to breathe. I have three herniated discs in my lower spine. Fibromyalgia. My knees have been locking up on me and I’ve had a pinched nerve that has rendered my left arm almost useless for over five weeks.
My son is in my bed, which happens more often than not. ACS (Children’s Services in NYC) has given him PTSD and the nightmares are bad enough that he comes into my room in the middle of the night.
My middle cat, Nikita, is having a bloody discharge, sometimes cloudy yellow, that is leaving stains everywhere. Worse, I can’t afford a vet. I tried all of the free vet services, and none were able to help. I’m going to have to throw out what little self-esteem and pride I have and try GoFundMe.
My favorite game, Titan Empires, has had an update. I’ve got two accounts and had just started one for my son. This new update resulted in the game crashing during three attacks yesterday. Today, it crashed during a war attack for my main character, leaving me with 0% on an easy 100% win. My son’s account took the Titanite (required to upgrade Titans, who help with your attacks) for an upgrade three times but didn’t do the upgrade.
We’d missed lunch with my grandmother, who is my best friend and always has been, along with being a mom and a grandmother, on Monday due to my son throwing up and having an upset stomach. The lunch was to be a one-week – early Happy 88th Birthday with my aunt and uncle who don’t yet live full-time in NYC and we’re leaving the next day. Tuesday we’d gone to the New York Aquarium, and today, Wednesday, my son had his stomach ache back.
We had a home visit and we’ll have another Friday morning, despite everyone agreeing that being crippled and asking for help was not child abuse or neglect. The damage to my son, my family, and to me has already been done. Lesson learned: never ask Children’s Services for help because you’re physically unable to clean. They did nothing for years despite overwhelming proof that my son was being abused by his father and father’s girlfriends. Why would they help a non-abusive, non-neglectful parent?
As I went to the bathroom for a cigarette, I thought back to when I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was 20, but my birth date had been written wrong and I was sent to the children’s cancer ward.
I sat on an uncomfortable chair and tried not to look around. The parents with that hollow look, watching their child die and not being able to do anything about it. The thing about losing a child is that it goes against Nature. Parents are supposed to die first and while it’s sad, it’s the Natural Order of things.
Then She sat next to me. It bothers me that I can’t remember Her name, but I will always remember Her.
“Hi,” She said, this little girl attached to a metal pole with wheels. The pole held bags of liquid which were attached to tubes leading to needles in her veins.
I nodded a hello, gripping my latest test results in my sweaty hands.
“You’re new,” She observed.
“That obvious?”
She coughed a little laugh. She was barely four feet tall, and probably didn’t weigh more than 50 pounds. Her hair was gone, but She wasn’t wearing a scarf around Her head.
“I know everyone here. You’re too young to be a parent, you don’t have that Family Member Look, so you must be a patient.” She went on to tell me that She was eight and the couple nervously watching us were Her parents. Her brother was somewhere, wandering the hospital hallways.
Her parents came over. “Sweetie, don’t you think you should get back in bed?” Her mom asked.
“Come on, I’ll carry you,” Her father offered. They looked like they hadn’t slept in years.
She bargained for five minutes with me. They returned to their seats, never taking their eyes off of Her. Or me.
“No offense, but you do look tired,” I said quietly.
She gave a small smile. “I’m exhausted all the time. But you look like you could use a friend.”
The next few minutes flew by. She told me how She was so tired, that She’d been in and out of hospitals since two years of age. She said She held on for Her parents, who wouldn’t be able to handle Her being gone. How Her brother loved and hated Her: loved Her when She was healthy; hated Her for being sick, taking all of their parents attention, then hated himself. She spoke like someone years older than eight. Every Doctor or Nurse who walked by received a greeting by name. But as She spoke She seemed to lose substance until a nurse came over and said She needed to go back to Her room.
“Chemo,” She said, rolling her eyes. “I wish they’d stop.”
“Now, honey, you don’t mean that,” said the nurse, helping Her up and taking hold of the metal pole.
“You’ll be okay,” were Her parting words.
I had to turn in my seat to watch Her walk back to Her room. She was insisting on walking by Herself.
The sun was bright thru the hospital windows and while it might have been a trick of the light, to this day I swear She had a beautiful pair of white feathered Angel wings on Her back.
I blinked, and She was gone.
I was called in soon after, the age mistake corrected, and I was sent to the adult cancer ward.
Two days later I went back to the children’s ward. Her parents weren’t there. I asked some of the Doctors and Nurses if I could visit Her and received confused looks. Nobody had been there with that name recently. Thinking I’d gotten Her name wrong, I described Her. Unfortunately, that description fit most of the children there.
I left, hearing Her say, “You’ll be okay.”
And I was.
A few years of cancer treatments and numerous hospital visits and I got a clean bill of health. My eyebrows will never grow in properly, my hair is very thin, and I have a desperate fear of feeling my bones after having lost so much weight. I also proved the doctors wrong by giving birth to my son — I had been told I would never have children.
So, I may have left the Nair on my tender areas a bit too long, and I may be in constant physical pain, and my son may be scarred for life by Children’s Services, and my cat may be sick. But I’ll get the money for the vet. I’ll put my son back together. My tender area will heal up. And maybe Titans will fix the bugs or maybe I’ll find a new game.
We’ll see my grandmother for her 88th Birthday this Monday. And we’ll get thru the home visit and hopefully won’t have to have someone court ordered to stay in our house every day (again).
Either way, as an Angel once told me, “You’ll be okay.”
I will. I’ll be okay.

Continue reading “Sometimes You Need To Take A Step Back”

Advertisements

It’s Been A While, Eh?: Journal Wed/Thurs 2/3 March 2016

Wednesday (with some Thursday edits):
My plan with these “journal entries” was two-fold:
— keep with the Free Write element, making the train of thought a bit more personal, as in some other wonderful blogs that I will no doubt share (I’m waiting for permission on an especially good one and still hoping to ask a writer at The Write Practice a few questions)
— get rid of the numerous drafts that are taking up room by incorporating them into the journal posts.

Continue reading “It’s Been A While, Eh?: Journal Wed/Thurs 2/3 March 2016”

Wallowing In Self-Pity & Getting “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer

It’s been almost five years since my son’s dad put me in a choke-hold and slammed my spine on his knee. At first, after numerous tests (CT-scans, MRI’s, X-rays, etc), it was only two herniated and one bulging disc with massive nerve damage. Apparently, my son’s dad had hit that magical “Sweet Spot” which resulted in nerve damage in both my upper and lower body. At last count, I have three herniated discs in the lower (lumbar) spine, with bulging discs on either side (“Like bookends,” I told my pain dr.). The nerve damage causes muscle spasms which can sometimes pull a muscle; the herniatef, and bulging, discs cause, well, a lot of fucking pain.
Continue reading “Wallowing In Self-Pity & Getting “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer”

Open Letter of WHY To My Ex-Beloved

I remember when I came up with that nickname, “Beloved”. It was from a book by Robin Hobb. The Fool, who had been in many of her books, sometimes as a male, sometimes female, had been captured and was being slowly tortured in a frozen wasteland. He had no hope if being saved. As his skin was being slowly stripped away from his back, he was delerious with pain, and he began mumbling, “Beloved, My Beloved, ” or something like that. And even tho we’d just found each other after a decade, I knew that if I was in the same situation, I’d be calling out your name. Beloved. My Beloved. Because it has always been you.
Continue reading “Open Letter of WHY To My Ex-Beloved”

My story: Rock solid | bpHope – bp Magazine Community

My story: Rock solid | bpHope – bp Magazine Community.

 

I think knowledge is the key.

My son’s father dated a bipolar girl. My introduction to her was a text saying,  “when I see your son, I’m going to hurt him”. My son was three years old. I showed it to his dad, but dad claimed he didn’t know the number it was from. That weekend, bipolar girl shoved my son into a closet door. At ten, my son still has a scar on his forehead.

It soon escalated to the girlfriend stalking me, texting repeatedly  (I had three phones at one point since I was court ordered to give my son’s dad my phone number.) I received almost 400 emails in a 24 hour period  from bipolar  girl — after she had shut off my son’s dad’s phone while he had my son.

I now think that, with help, and without my son’s dad egging on her moods, things might have been different.

But they weren’t.

I was harassed, my son beaten and scarred, and the courts and children’s services  did nothing.

This Is What It’s Like (Updated)

image

He showed up early for his weekend with your son.
You’d told him to call from the train. That way you could have your son dressed. That way, he wouldn’t see the crying, the begging, the pleading of your son not to have to go with his dad.
You know what is happening there. You see the bruises on your son. You take photos before and after.
You have your own bruises, now healed, and missing teeth, and carvings. But the court insists on the visitation, so you lie, you lie so well to convince your son, to convince yourself, that it’s not so bad and when he gets older, he’ll see, his dad will realize how wrong he was and he’ll be so sorry. So very sorry for what he’s done.

This is what it’s like to have your son abused by his father.

Hell, his father has bragged about beating your son; how he lets his girlfriends beat on your son.
His dad doesn’t even want custody. When you asked what he would o if you gave him full custody, he shrugged and said, “I don’t know. Give him to my mom?”
You ask why he’s dragging you thru court, wasting tax payer dollars, and he laughs. He tells you that he’s hurting your son as revenge because you didn’t love him enough. And your son gets the worst of it.
You tell Childrens Services, your lawyer, the court. But two liars are more believable than one telling the truth. They say you are jealous; that you are upset about the “break up”. Explaining that you ended it, and never loved him in the first place falls on deaf ears. And now he’s here early.

This is what it’s like to be scared of your son’s father.

You stand in the doorway and urge your son to hurry. Your son is 6, and is crying he doesn’t want to go. In the hallway, his father hears and, maybe, for the first time…
You hear, from behind you, “Fuck this,” and then an arm around your throat pulling you down, down, it’s all so slow, and then the *crack* as your lower spine hits his knee and there’s this blast of pain your spine is on fire and then everything goes black.

This is what it’s like to be crippled by your son’s dad, in front of your son.

When you come to, you are lying in the public hallway of your building with your son standing at your head as if he is blocking you, protecting you, and he is screaming, “I hate you! I hate you, dad! I never want to see you again!” And his dad is standing there, silent, holding up his phone to record the entire thing.
You know you have to get up but your whole body is Pain and there is a terrifying numbness below your waist but you need to get up you have to protect your son so you roll onto your stomach and fight your body and force yourself to stand and you pull your child into the apartment and you call the police.
The police come and cuff both you and your son’s father and they bring you downstairs and your baby, your only child is clinging to you, shaking and crying and they crowd all of you into the same small elevator and your body is trying to collapse under you but you must stand, you have to stay up for your son.
Downstairs they let you sit on a stoop, with your son, while they watch the video. The sound is muffled, but you hear the crack, the snap that was your spine.
As they put him in the police car, he tells you, “Your lucky I’m so nice or else I’d have them arrest you, too.” Three police officers laugh. They laugh so hard, two have to lean on the hood of the car. They remove your cuffs, and your son begins crying anew when he sees the marks they’ve left and you comfort him, and you watch your arms hold your son, and rub his back, but there’s this strange mix of pain and numbness.

This is what it’s like to lie to your son.

You now have your son for the weekend, so you refuse the ambulance that is scaring your son, everything is scaring him and you want to tell him that you can’t hold him up, you can barely hold yourself up, but you are his Mother and you hold him even as you are barely holding on yourself.
You tell your son you’re fine, that it was nothing, that the sound he heard was something, anything, but not your spine. You suggest a “Lazy Weekend” in bed so that your son won’t notice that you can barely walk, that you have to lean on furniture, hold onto the walls. But he sees, and he knows.
You get tests done: CT scans, MRI’s, electric pulses that check for nerve damage.
You are told you now have three herniated and two bulging discs in your lower spine. The pain will be a constant companion to your recently diagnosed Fibromyalgia.
You bring the medical and police records to court. But there is no restraining order issued. No end to the visitation. Instead, the court decides your son should be picked up by his father st school giving him an extra three hours.
Your son regresses, again.

This is what it’s like when the court treats all cases the same.

This is what it’s like for many single parents.
If you have been or currently are in an abusive relationship, get help. My biggest fear growing up was being in a homeless shelter. But I did it. So can you. Remember: the people in a Domestic Violence shelter are there to help you; if I’d listened to them, and cut off contact with my son’s dad back then, I wouldn’t be permanently crippled and, most importantly, my son would never have been so horribly abused.
If you’re in NYC, contact Safe Horizon.. Nationally, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

image

If you’re on http://www.dkstevens327.WordPress.com, check out http://www.writersgroup1.WordPress.com. And vice versa.
Blessed Be.

Photography 101: The Daily Post

[This was supposed to post last night…]
I’ve decided to participate in the Photography 101 course offered by The Daily Post.
Today: Home. What picture signifies home?
Well, my son is my home. Wherever he is, if I’m there, I’m home.
My grandmother, too is home. But she doesn’t live with us, and I don’t post pictures of my son on the internet.
So I’ve actually come up with two pictures.
One takes the cliché of, “Home is where the heart is” and makes it my own: my son is very good with Lego’s. And he once made me:

image
Lego heart my son made because, he said, "You are my heart, Mommy."

Since my high school writing teacher was very anti- cliché, I’ve decided my Official Photo will be of the inside of my locked box: my medications. I’m not big on taking medications, but between fibromyalgia,three herniated discs (done by my son’s dad, in front of my son… And while taking video. Very talented guy.), and the resulting muscle spasms and nerve damage, I wouldn’t be able to function and take care of my son. As it is, I’m on half the medication I was originally put on. Here it is:
image

If you’re on http://www.dkstevens327.WordPress.com, check out http://www.writersgroup1.WordPress.com. And vice versa.
Blessed Be.

Dating Site Advice from a Newbie

(5 minute free write)

My introduction to internet dating sites came from my “baby daddy”, as he wishes to be called.
He had asked me to live with him — and his younger sister at his mom’s — and I came ” home” one day to find him looking at prospects. When I asked if he’d mentioned that he was living with someone, he said he was doing it “for us”.
No, not for a threesome.
This site had been advertising a questionnaire that could, supposedly, find your soulmate in 29 questions. He’d filled it out, and wanted me to do the same to see if we’d be matched up.
“There’s just one problem, ” I said. “In the age category. I would say I want to date some my age or older — and you’re two and a half years younger.”
And, no, I did not believe his story, but as I was already looking to escape him, I wasn’t all that upset…

However, after yet another friend became engaged to someone she met thru an online dating service, I decided to try it. As an experiment. Sort of.

After a few weeks, I’ve come up with some Do’s and Don’t’s. Well, mostly Don’t’s.
(Note: I was only allowed to choose male OR female, not both. I chose male because I can be with a male and not get emotionally involved. With females, it’s rare for me not to have some sort of emotional feelings. Yes, it confuses most people, not just you.)

Here we go:

* When going on a dating site, do NOT give yourself a name like, “SmoothLover”, ” HotNSexy”, or, “Your#1Man”. On the other hand, I was not impressed by, “MamasBoy” (tho I do like Mama’s boys), and “GreenPiss” (I swear this one is real!).

* When posting photos, there are quite a few things that won’t work. Posting all group photos but not saying which one you are; including your mom or dad or your kids; including an ex or strippers (Sorry, they were, “dancers at a show in Atlantic City”, responded the guy in question when I asked.); and only posting sayings and pictures of cartoon characters.

* Before you respond, you should read ALL of what the other person wrote. For example, I wrote that I wasn’t getting the upgrade, so clicking that you want to “meet me” will get you nothing, but a message will be more likely to get a response. (The ratio of “meet” to a message is about 2:1.)

What does work? With me, nothing, so far.

Next: I switch over to the lesbian dating site and get my heart broken.

Bad Dad — ARRESTED (again)! pt 1

(This is from 3 June, 2011)

It took BD (Bad Dad, my son N’s biological father) putting me in a choke hold and slamming me to the ground but my son is finally included in the total stay-away restraining order.

BD is spending the weekend in jail. He claims I’m “lucky [he’s] so nice” or I’d be arrested, too.

Yes, he’s so nice he’s been abusing my son and me for years. He’s broken every promise he’s ever made. Every time he’s offered to help us he has screwed us at the worst possible moment.

As for being in a relationship, every time he asks me to be in a “real, serious” relationship, he cheats on me soon after.

Well, now I won’t have to deal with that. The most pathetic part? I didn’t know he had a temper for the two years we were friends, and for almost a year after we started dating / living together.

And that’s the BD I like to remember. The one who likes the same reading material I do; who enjoys much of the same tv shows & movies. The BD with the same stupid sense of humour.

And then I think of his temper.

And the fact that I can’t swallow without it hurting, and I want to cry. Because BD will not do anything about his temper. Like most schizos, he thinks it’s everyone else, not him.

I really hope that 5 weeks without his dad will do my son good. I truly believe it will. And with all of the therapists, social workers, etc, who will be seeing him between now and our next court date, hopefully this judge will not be bringing his personal grudges into the courtroom.