June 30, 2009

My Story



**I am printing this history as a way of new readers to know the history as briefly as possible. What follows is my story***


Third of four children, second of three dads was mine. That makes my siblings all "half" sibs, my mother a woman way before her times with multiple marriages and kids by different fathers. The last man in the arena raised me as his own; my father took off after my mother told him to or. Actually, it was after some not quite innocuous threat regarding the federal government and the almighty dollar which he owed them. Love or money baby? The answer stays etched my soul, undoubtedly a permanent part of whom I have become.

Female parent (referred to as "she" or "her" from now on), and her last husband (referred to as "him" or "he" from now on) raised me. Well, kinda. They put up with me. They smoked a lot of dope. Beat me a lot. That last sentence was just her doing. Not his. Oh, here’s another thing about her. She told me I had "shit for brains" and that I "would amount to nothing." Those are my memories of her.

Him….well, he became a frequent visitor in my bedroom. And not in any kind of tuck your daughter, fatherly way. In a discrete way, with the lights out long after everyone including myself were asleep. I’d wake up. But I would never let on the fact that I’d woken up. It was easier on my mind that way. To just lay there and pretend.

I’ve done a lot of pretending in my life. He did a lot of lying while I lived there. He violated his cardinal rule: Don’t lie. When confronted, he lied.

Got pregnant at the age of 27. My unborn baby’s father, the doctor, begged me to abort, finally telling me I was "ruining his golf game." Same with "her." She seconded the abortion idea. I told both of them to have a long walk. It took them a few months but they realized they couldn't intimidate me.

Resigned, yes that’s the word. They resigned themselves to becoming father and grandmother.

O. was born and the first three years were fabulouso!! Then, came the cancer diagnosis. Brain cancer. Numerous surgeries, therapies, daily injections, medicines, etc. But, she was fine, relatively speaking. And me? Pregnant again. This time, I was engaged. That had happened a month before O’s diagnosis.

Suddenly, the wedding plans were stalled. Focus became O.’s survival and my pregnancy. O and I vomited alongside one another. Her from the daily radiation. Me from the new life growing inside me as she was fighting for her own.

At some point in all this "she" appeared and deeply offended me for the last time. I told her adios…we were now divorced. That is when she ceased to be my mom and became "her."

My siblings chose sides and that was the end of that.

We moved in together. Me, O and my unborn baby in with father of the baby (from now on referred to as FF.) We moved out. We moved in. The three of us, O, N and I finally moved out for good two years later, but not before the physical abuse started.

I worked for many years as a successful photographer, studio manager and sales director. I was making more money than most of my college educated peers. Life was good. There were always medical things to deal with on O’s behalf, but our cup was always half full.

Docs had given O had a thirty percent chance to live to 20 with her particular cancer. I would never allow that thought much time in my mind. "Look at her!" I would say to my friends, "she looks healthier than you or I." She will live longer than either of us, I thought.

We busied ourselves with giving back to the community, volunteering of our time and energy. I was a full time mom to two, one who was medically fragile. I was also a full time employee, had relationships and dates a plenty, managed a couple of vacations across the ocean to warm tropical climates and generally lived. Our life… as close to perfect as I could imagine.

November of 2003, O began to cry out in pain. I took her to hospital where she’d been treated all along. She was admitted. She was sent home. Nothing wrong they tell us. A month later, same scenario. This time, she was sent home with anti depressants and the assurance that since they could find no medical anomalies, they were confident she must simply be depressed and "with plenty of reasons to be" they declared.

Over the next few months, I watch her physical and cognitive abilities decline. In August of 2004 I have my last discussion with the oncologist who had followed O all her life. She tells me she "can not tell me there is cancer there when there is none", and hangs up on me. I take O to Duke University. Their motto on the building reads “Where there is hope.” Man, I think, we must be in the right place!


Nonetheless, I am scared we will now learn the cancer’s back, and have to begin another war to stomp it out What I learn is much different than I imagined. There is cancer present. Different kind. Usually when cancer returns, it comes back as the type as the previous time. It simply regrows. Not O’s. New type. It is like grains of sand in the brain stem, thus it is inoperable, untreatable and incurable. Oh, and cause of new cancer? The radiation therapy I had signed on the dotted line for eight years earlier as "an insurance policy."

Most people with this diagnosis live 12 months, almost like clockwork. I pray for 12 months. 42 days later, O dies in our home, lying next to me in my bedroom. It is November of 2004. 12 months after the first time she cried out in pain, begging me take her to the hospital, quickly. I leave you to draw your own conclusions. I certainly have.

I plummet. I envision a double funeral, or a padded room. That was half my soul. I was not only O’s mother, I was her caretaker, her manager of medical issues, her advocate, her cheerleader. I had lost my job, and I could never get that one back.

N was seven at the time. His grief was perhaps less complicated at the time because he was…well, seven at the time. I imagine a part of him felt a bit of relief. Now, this girl who had taken away mommy’s attention all his life but particularly this past year was out of the picture. It would be time for him. Only things don’t always work out that way, as he would soon learn.

My grief became my most intimate of companions. It knew every last little bit of me. Unlike most everybody before that, it would never leave me. I was horizontal on the sofa for a year or so, and then finding a way to balance on my feet became precarious at best. Along the way, there were plenty of ill equipped mental health professionals both for N and myself. There were many pleas for help.

His father no father left hand prints on his bottom so evident to me that I had to take N to the emergency room which ended up with a report stating there was a “preponderance of evidence to suggest excessive force was used.”

No one really seemed to get us. We were an anomaly in the world. There was not even a word for what we were. We were not widows, widowers, orphans…we just were.

And then, finally N made it to the desert wilderness program.


I got on my knees. And something clicked. It had been three plus years since that fateful day in my bedroom and it was time to look forward again. If not for me, certainly for N. I could deal with me later…when he is an adult. I still tell myself I can “punch out” later if I choose to. Just not now. Whatever happened in the past I can not control. Not from my growing up, to losing O, to not being the mother I’d always wanted to be to N. But that was all behind us. Blinders on, face forward! I also remembered and acknowledged I had steered the vessel to this point, and we were safe. That remains a great accomplishment.

And that is the short version of what brings us to these pages of hope. The long version has been penned in story form. The first draft is written. I am into the edits. What stops me from following that dream of seeing it published thus far? Fear.

Baby steps…baby steps. Maybe one day I can come to these pages and share the ISBN with you.




52 comments:

dana wyzard said...

THIS link at the bottom will give you a wee insight into my life. My mother allowed me to be molested from age 9 to 14. Not by my dad, but by another relative.

Then your little one came along, destined to leave too soon, but with too much suffering for either of you, all due to the medical profession that offers "hope" surrounded by terror. Why are the short lives so tragic while the ones who live the longest do so while abusing and torturing?

I was once on my way out the door, full of valium to calm my shaking hands, and a 357 to end my life in the back yard. (a suggestion from my "then" husband)

I was interrupted twice at the very door I was trying to get out. Long story/short: I eventually FORCED myself to pay more attention to LIFE than MYSELF. Grief is rage turned inward; "why didn't I do this, do that"

YOU are not at fault with the little one. Your instincts were correct, but that was because of your LOVE. "LOVE".

Doctor's don't love, and most of them finished med school somewhere above the failing mark. Life sucks 99% of the time. We live for the 1%. But when that's not enough, REACH OUT.

Just be careful who you reach out to. Psychiatrists and counselors can also graduate just above the failing mark.

http://danajoywyzard.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up.html

Kori said...

Thank you form the very bottom of my soul.

April said...

I have no words.

Megan said...

Still think about you guys all the time.

FreedomFirst said...

I'm glad you both found something to live for. I'm sure your daughter would have wanted her loved ones to enjoy life; after all, it sounds like that's what she did. :)

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

I'm a writer but I don't know what to say except you HAVE to tell your story. I thought I had a story of survival and I selfpublished it in a novel form - but you are the ultimate survivor. My heart and prayers go out for you - and finish that book.

Mrs4444 said...

Your story is inspirational; you have to keep telling it. Thanks for sharing your heart.

MindyMom said...

It took me a while but I finally got around to reading your story. I am so sorry for the tremendous loss of your daughter. I can't and don't want to even imagine. Suffering that loss on top of your earlier struggles would have broken many people. Your strength and courage is commendable. I wish you the best in the rest of your journey.

Marty said...

A devastating confession - I am truly moved.

theviewfromthisplace said...

i come to you by way of Julie's blog (47 and starting over...)
i wish to do two things: one is to put my arms around and you and give me a huge hug and applaud you for being the courageous woman that you are and the other is to thank you.
I guess i can thank you.

In the last two years of my life I have learned that life is NOT fair. growing up beside a drug addicted uncle does help in learning that, but the last two years have really had a way of cementing that lesson.

very recently i decided to do what you have done and that is to look forward with the blinders on. i intend on doing just that.

thank you for showing the way...

Karissa said...

Just stopped by to say hi and leave a comment-hug. Thanks for sharing your story, one that makes me hold my son that much tighter in gratitude.

Mama Kat said...

Wow! I cannot even wrap my mind around the hurt that you've experienced. Big *hugs* and I SO encourage you to publish...

Attaining Me said...

Wow. What an amazing story. I admire you for your strength and look forward to being further touched by your words.

mysinglemomlife said...

I am moved beyond measure by your story. I cannot even imagine... Your articulation is so fantastic and I encourage you to look fear in the face and publish. Your story needs to be heard. I'm blessed beyond measure to have glimpsed you here. Thank you for sharing.

Mariah said...

Wow. You are extremely brave to share this heartwrenching story. Thank you

Amanda Hoyt said...

I'm so sorry for your pain. I am praying for you.
Hugs,
Amanda

Frugal Jen said...

Thank you for sharing, really your blog was put in my path today for a reason. Reading put things into perspective for me. Thank you for being honest and sharing from your heart. So many people are fake, I do my share but true honesty is rare.

Tiff said...

I am so incredibly sorry for the pain in your soul. I cannot even imagine what you have gone through, I am praying for you and N.

Kim said...

Thoughts, prayers and good wishes are being sent your way.

shannon said...

i just read your "story". i heard of you on mckmama's blog. i am praying for you. i am so sorry for the life of pain that you have lived thus far...and my prayer for you, right now, is that God would show Himself and make Himself very REAL in your life. that you would embrace Him in such a way...that He can move in your life. He loves you and has created you. it was not His plan, what has happened to you all of these years, but it is His plan to love you and make your life purposeful in what you have been through. that He might recieve honor and glory over your life. that He can take all the bad and bring good and purpose out of it. He can and WILL heal you...all that is broken. i can't even begin to imagine what you have been through...not even close. my God is real...and i KNOW that He longs to be your healing. i will pray for you and keep you in thought, prayer and in heart. know that you are prayed for and loved.
shannon stinson

Heather said...

It is a brave person who can share her story so authentically, especially with strangers.

I am sure that you must struggle greatly from your childhood, as any person in your situation would. It is my prayer that God will give you mentors and friends to help you along the way.

Your story is a testament to strength and hope, in the face of grief. Thank you for sharing it!! I am looking forward to reading the rest of your blog.

Jodi said...

Your life story has brought tears to my eyes this morning. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to reading your blog. Prayers and hugs to you.

jilliebean said...

Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. I know first hand how hard it is to be open and honest about stuff from your childhood, especially for the whole internet world to read, how scary that must be for you. I have nothing but respect for you to be able to do that.

I'm sorry to hear about O. I've never been through anything like that, but have two children at home and can only imagine what that would do to me.

You are a strong woman to get as far as you have. Attitude changes everything. You have every right to be so proud of yourself for the work you have done and for the bridges you have crossed!

Keep up the good work!

Amy said...

I can't related to much of your story, but I do unfortunately know the pain of losing a child. Our stories are different, our children were different, the cause of their deaths is different, but the hole is the same.

Thank you for sharing your story and your children with us.

The Rowe Family said...

AMAZING Story! You are an incredible writer. I can't wait to read more! Coming by from MckMama's blog to love on you :)! Hugs, Emily from PA

Anonymous said...

Also coming from MckMama's blog... sending you lots of hugs and prayers!! What a story! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to praying for you all with love and hope!
Megan in OK

Beth said...

You truly are an inspiration. I look forward to reading more. ((HUGS))

April said...

Also from MckMama's blog. Won, what a story. You brought tears to my eyes and chills up my spine. You are truly a remarkable lady. Thank you for sharing your story. Like my friend Frugal Jen said above, I too was led to your blog today for a reason. It's time for me to put the blinders on and MOVE FORWARD. I'm praying for you Won. And for N too. What an awesome pair you 2 must be. I'm sure O is looking down from Heaven and so proud.
Hugs and love to you!
April

Kathy said...

Brought to you by MckMama. You've got another family prayer for yours!

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

You and your son are in my prayers. Keep pushing through...God Loves you....reach out to Him.

thecheekofgod said...

Saw your latest comment on Maggie's blog and decided to stop by for a visit.

And then this . . .

I don't really know what to say, except that people like you inspire me. To get up. To live. To not let a moment slide by with my eyes closed. I'll never understand your pain, but I can follow your journey and be moved . . .

I'll be subscribing now . . .

Kelly said...

(((HUGS)))

Lady Lemon said...

Oh, that is so hard. I know you must feel very angry to those doctors that told you she was ok when you knew otherwise.

Your grief is so strong, it comes across in your words. I home you and "N" are finding some peace.

You are brave and strong.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. My daughter fought Leukemia in 2007 and we have lost so many little friends along the way. Your daughter was so beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss and all the other battles you've been through. You and N have had a long, hard road... keep on keeping on. He's a great kid.

Anonymous said...

It's MKMTK from the blogfrog community...I just finished reading your story. My heart goes out to you, what you've gone through is a mother's worst nightmare. Try to stay strong for your son so you can enjoy him while he is alive and there with you. But know that 1 day you will be with your daughter again. (((HUGS)))

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the struggles you have endured and admire you for continuing to turn the corners. You offer perspective in a world where complaints come too easy. I am sorry you were hurt by the BF unintentional slight. Stay strong and be well.
~Lisa

Mandy and Jack said...

This story just took my breath away.

Heather said...

oh my gosh won! i haven't read this part of your blog before. just the recent entries mostly. i'm so glad that i did find this section. i can tell from our time at OHIH that you are and have been very strong. but that is a complete understatement! you are a fighter and a survivor. and so much more.

i'm so sorry that life has given you one crappy deal after another. in my most recent thoughts and readings about life and faith, i have learned that it's the hard times that teach us and make us grow stronger. i do believe that, what do we learn from the easy, fun times? not much. but we sure appreciate those times. i am hopeful that for those hard times that cause us so much pain and struggle, the times that teach and grow us-that we will be rewarded in Heaven with joy that has no limits.

i also didn't realize that olivia's cancer, the one that robbed her life was caused from the radiation. the "insurance policy". i had that same insurance policy. i didn't want it, but my family and doctors just weren't on the same page. i already have problems from it just two years past, the problems that wouldn't possibly begin to show for twenty years if ever. it scares me. my radiation was to my chest where so many vital organs are. i hate that insurance policy. not as much as i hate cancer though.

love always,
heather

pulchritudinousdisorder said...

I came to your blog while stumbling across other blogs. I expected it to be a single parent blog, never did I imagine your story would so deeply touch me. I, too, have lost a child. My son passed away in May of this year, also while laying next to me. As the parent of a child who's gone before me, I know that no words can heal, no words can make you hurt any less. But at least for me, the one thing that is helpful, is knowing that my child can still touch lives and impact the world. For that reason, I decided to comment through my tears. Your daughter is beautiful and your story is courageous. Thank you for sharing it, it helps to know I'm not alone.

Unknown Mami said...

Anything I could possible write in response to the generosity and courage you have shown in sharing this unbelievably difficult journey of yours seems trite.

Please, please now that reading your words has somehow changed me. Thank you for sharing.

Traci said...

You demonstrate a strength and grace for which I have no words. God bless you and N!

Your baby steps will get you there, my friend. You are braver than you know and your truth changes the world.

I say, thank you.

Michele said...

There are no words to express what needs to be said.

Your pain, suffering, and loss goes beyond anything I could imagine.

Your strength, courage, and overall spirit are incredible.
My deepest, deepest sympathy for all that you have endured.

Shasta said...

I'm so sorry for what you've been through. Thank you for sharing!

DG said...

I am sorry for what you've suffered and had to put up with throughout your life. I do not know you but I feel like I do through the life story you bravely shared. I hope things start looking up for you and and your family.

misskallie2000 said...

I am so very sorry for your lose of O. You must keep thinking of N and do what is best for him. As you said, you can grieve when N is grown and you don't have to worry so much about him being hurt by your sorrow.
Hang in there and each day it will get better. God will take care of both U and N if you just turn your life over to him and let him guide you.
Hugs and prayers for you and N:<)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you for sharing this story with me. I'm not sure what to say.
Your childhood was a nightmare and your adult life has been tragic. I am so sorry for what O, your son and you have been through. The loss of a child is the worst pain in the world. It is so unfair and my heart is heavy with your sorrow.
She is beautiful and her smile is incredible. ((HUGS)) I love the strength that took hold within you to move forward in your quest to give N the life he was entitled to have. I am in awe of you. Please know that I care and will keep you and N in my prayers.

supremevision said...

Thank you for following me...your story has made me so emotional, I don't even know what to say. You will be forever on my prayer list.

Linda... said...

Thanks for the follow. I've spent quite sometime reading your blog...quite emotional. You're in my thoughts and prayers. I'm following you now and will continue to come by for updates.
Lindalovesblog

eof777 said...

Deeply touched. Deeply prayerful that God's compassionate mercy will lift you and N to a place of joy, abundance and peace. O is in God's arms... Thank you for sharing so powerfully.
Words are never enough...
Elizabeth

cinderella11pm said...

You've gotten such beautiful and compassionate and wise comments here, Won.

I can only add my empathy.
Old wounds that deep leave scars, and loss can seem everpresent.

Perhaps - and it is only a perhaps - your mission in life is to have learned / to learn how to be kind and true and honorable in the face of unbearable hurts.

To be different than those who were cruel to you, abused you, misled you or disappointed you.

Angels have the hardest job of all, doing that, and it looks as though that is who you are and what you are meant to be - a survivor with grace, who has risen above all the darkness, to do and be a good person:)

Genuinely,
Cinderella11pm
http://www.cinderella11pm.com

Xmasdolly said...

I thank you for stopping by, and all I can say is I'm speechless. Sure I was through similar things as you, but no where near the severity of your life, but this isn't about my story just as other don't seem to understand you shared your story, and I'm sure it's in hopes to find some sort of maybe answer? Hope? A friend to share? I truly hope you find what you're looking for. Bless you and you son. I'm your latest follower and I hope you latest new friend. I won't give you cliche' such as whenever one door closes another opens (but maybe it's the wrong door), or God doesn't give you more than you can handle (or is it really God who is giving this grief to you? I don't claim to have the answers, but I'm only a note away if ever you would like to talk.

Janet said...

You need to keep telling your story. Thank you for sharing it so far. My thoughts and prayers are with you.