And so it goes

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by New Leaf, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It has been awhile since I have posted,(again) been super busy with my grands, it is a whole new ballgame parenting traumatized children. I have a lot to learn, as we navigate this journey and map out triggers, overcome explosive episodes and tirades, all attributed to children’s brain development ravaged by violence and the dark inconsistencies of addicted parents.
    It is a rough road, but my Hoku has helped every step of the way. The boys had an extensive evaluation recently, which should reveal strengths and weaknesses and help us help them. Sister is due to go for a simpler testing as she is younger.
    On another note, their mother has popped up again, this time we weren’t home and she broke into the house to “shower because I had my period.” Huh. I made a police report. That turned my stomach, but, breaking and entering is unacceptable. She is still on the run from her probation violation, bench warrant over her head. Sigh.
    Rain was in the hospital again for cellulitis on the same leg. She waited until she was so feverishly ill with the infection that she couldn’t move, to seek help. Spent three days in the hospital before calling any of us. I visited her and was aghast at her swollen, reddened blistered lower leg. I said all of the things that anyone of us would say, especially that she did not deserve mistreatment from her (once again) violent boyfriend, she could use this hospital stay as a way to get well and clean and get off the streets, how much we all love her, encouraged her to stay for the full treatment.

    On my way to visit yesterday, got a call from the nurse.
    She left AMA.
    I drove down the street looking for her, mostly knowing that if I found her I could not force her to go back.
    I am not giving up hope, but am again bracing for awful possibilities. I know, that is polar opposite, still having hope but preparing for the worst. But, I feel that I have to have some kind of shield of the stark reality of it all, for my own sanity.
    I found myself rewinding the tapes wondering what I could have done differently, but I did not dwell there. I’ve visited that “if I did or didn’t do this” scenario too many times over these many years.
    Didn’t cause it, can’t control or cure it.
    I confess, I feel like an emotional zombie at times, or is it unemotional? Is it that I am learning to grieve each crazy situation differently? Am I fooling myself into thinking that I will be fine? Is this acceptance? It’s too soon to tell as I brush aside the thousands of worries having two meth addicted daughters brings. Who am I kidding? Am I brushing them aside or are they brewing underneath the surface waiting to explode into a worry storm, a bomb cyclone, a freaking emotional breakdown, a visit to looney toons with my eyeballs bulging out.
    Okay breath Leafy, breath.
    What can I do?
    Write it out.
    Get it out of my system, that nothing can be done frustration of seeing loved ones slowly kill themselves with drugs. Watching their personalities change into Gollum like characters from the Lord of the Rings, morphing into unrecognizable street people always searching for their “precious” next fix. Willing to literally lose life or limb for their unconventional “freedom”.
    Willing to leave their three beautiful children.
    Who by the way are trying desperately to overcome the trauma inflicted on them throughout their lives by their parents drug use and domestic violence. Then to be left with paternal grandparents who abused and humiliated them. The audacity of their experiences spewing over into my home with yelling and swearing, fights, tightened muscles, clenched jaws and furrowed brows bursting into uncontrollable rage against a past they had no control over. It’s called “re-enactment” a child's way of replaying history, which traumatized them, put them in perpetual flight or fright mode, but.........they feel strange in a calm home.
    I am stuck in the middle as they each seem to take on their parents violent outbursts, one sounding just like his mother, the older, his father. That sends me backwards remembering how chaotic my home was, the many TRO’s, then violations, the craziness.
    I have to become the therapeutic voice in all of this, remain calm, figure out different coping strategies, try to understand the mechanism behind the madness, avoid triggers, find out how to help them process it all and learn to be peaceable.
    It’s like I’m caught on this giant terror go round, a ferris wheel of horrible things repeating themselves.
    So, can I just stand on a mountaintop and scream to the universe a gigantic primordial WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?
    Then comes the voice of my Dad an echoing response to an age old child’s outburst of “LIFE IS NOT FAIR!!!!” To which he replies in ghosted memory “Who said life was fair, Leafy.”
    I swallow it down and go to work, fix booboos and comfort children who have somewhat normal lives. Then go home to my three beloved hooligans and hope that we can have a peaceful night.
    One day.
    My granddaughter looks so much like her mother. Same mannerisms. Same smile. Same goofiness.
    I can only try to to do my best to give her love and direction to seek her potential. Part of me sees a bright future, part of me also braces for challenges to come. My grandsons, so handsome and angry. Will we be able to reach them in time?
    I’m exhausted!
    There, I wrote it out. Thanks to anyone reading along. Yes, I am going a bit cuckoo, but who wouldn’t under the circumstances. Sometimes I feel like the lieutenant in the old Pink Panther movie with the steadily increasing facial twitches (on the inside of me) my face doesn’t twitch.
    But my soul does.
    I have a quote from Shakespeare on my desk
    “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er fraught heart and bids it break”.
    So here I am, back, giving sorrow words. I can’t afford for my heart to break, I have three grands to raise and hopefully, break this cycle of madness. That is no easy feat, but they have no other family fit to raise them.
    And I love them.
    And, so it goes.
    Love to all
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  2. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Leafy, I wish I was your neighbor so I could jump in and help you. I can pray for you and ask God to make your journey lighter. Your grandchildren are so lucky to have you. I am deeply sorry for your very rocky road. Love and compassion sent to you in abundance.
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  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I wish all of you were neighbors, we sure would have interesting coffee hours together. Thank you so much Newstart. I truly appreciate the love and support. Day by day.
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi New Leaf

    I want to be your neighbor too.

    I read a lot of spiritual writing in my faith. Staying present in the very nucleus of reality. Not shutting down. Not closing off to what you experience, feel, see, know. Staying in hope. Not that any external event will happen. Not that any want will come to be. But just to stay in hope. Because, that's really all any of us have. This what you're doing I am learning is the very highest plane of spiritual development. Some people say that this capacity only emerges in "emergency." That otherwise we would not go there.

    There is nothing I or anybody could say to make this better. Because that isn't life. You're giving these kids the only shot they have. You didn't turn away. You ran towards them. You embraced them and never looked back. Who wouldn't feel tired, alone and afraid. That's real life. And you ran towards it.

    I'm sorry it's so hard. I am glad you thought of us when you felt tired and vulnerable. We're always here.
  5. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    New Leaf, what a beautiful description of acceptance you give in your story of what life is like for you right now .I don't know what I would do with 2 meth addicted daughters .You are a pillar of strength , a warrior woman, a beacon of hope for these 3 children in your care. You give me hope and strength.

    Of course you are exhausted. Of course you are sad. I am learning I can be those things, anything and let it be so. I don't have to feel that it's wrong to feel this or that or any which way.

    I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Much love to you.
  6. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    New Leaf, you are such an inspiration to all of us.

    Wise, I do believe acceptance of what is helps us and the addict the most. Bless your wise words.
  7. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Leafy, I am in awe of what you are doing for your grandchildren. Your willingness to help bear their trauma to help bring some healing and restoration to their little minds and hearts. Wow. I'm sorry for the moments of sadness, exhaustion, and frustration that comes with seeing your daughters lives and the outcome of their choices. It's inexplicable and very painful to watch. I too wish we were all neighbors.
  8. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    When reading your post all I could think of was this verse from 2 Cor. 12:9

    "My gift of undeserved grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak."

    You may feel weak at times through all your struggles but honestly you sound like a pillar of strength. You've inspired and encouraged me in my difficulties by sharing your heavy burden.

    God knows your good intentions towards your three grandchildren. He will give you the courage and strength you need. The reason we get all tied up in worry knots is because we want a contract saying everything will be good for the next ten years (at least). Even in the Lord's prayer we pray "give us this day our daily bread" not "give us this decade our daily bread". We are to try to take it one day at time. Not an easy task but something I try to remember.

    Sending prayers.
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  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    My Dear Leafy...I wish I was your neighbor, so I could come give you a big hug whenever you need one. Bless you. You do so much and it's not fair it's been so hard.

  10. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I want to be your neighbor too!

    What a great and expressive writer you are as I have always said and admired.

    I am glad that you are hanging in and hanging on.

    God only gives us what we can handle they say. Hard to wrap my head around all you have been "given" but HE knows that you are the right one to be in the lives of all these people that so desperately need you.

    Hugs and strength and peace and prayers to you.
  11. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I thought the same thing when I read Leafy's post!
    I too believe that God will honor the sacrifices you are making for your grandchildren, and He will grow you in ways He couldn't have without this trial. Remember, "His mercies are new EVERY morning."
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone, I am stealing a moment to write in the rare quiet of a rainy dawn. A new day. I am so very thankful to have my cyber warrior sisters to turn to. I oft reflect on how much your kindness and encouragement has helped me through the darkest of struggles. There are no words to express my gratitude.
    Dearest Copa, what a respite that would be, for us all to be close physically. How remarkable that despite distance and anonymity, we are able to share a bond through troubles and triumphs. I treasure your thoughts, wisdom and kindness, most of all your perseverance in being a beacon of light for those who’s hearts spill out upon this site.

    Staying in hope. That is where I must be, there is no other recourse, to lose hope and faith would be to shut down completely. I could not envision a future for my grands if I lost hope. Yet I falter at times. Hoping this will not be a repeat of their parents history.
    Thank you Copa, I feel I have had that emergency mode over my head for quite some time now. But, many people suffer challenges of different sorts and prevail. I am thinking of Viktor Frankl and his ability to rise above the insanity of the concentration camp horrors, to still have faith in humanity and focus on helping others find their light and potential. In fact, now that I wrote that, I need to refresh my mind on his teachings of logotherapy. “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control how you feel and do about what happens to you.”
    Oh boy, do I feel so not worthy at times of the task, incapable, perhaps, sometimes resentful, confused, frustrated. But then I think of the resilience of these kids to have survived thus far the abomination of mistreatment by the very people who are supposed to love and protect them. That they function at all is a miracle. So, my job is to stay present and try my best to work through the challenges. I don’t feel a hero at all. I am bereft that they have had to suffer the consequences of their parents ill choices. I am hopeful that their resilience will shine through and that they will be able to heal. It will take time.

    Thank you Copa. You all are in my thoughts and prayers even in my absence from this site. I thank our CD staff who labor to keep the site going. It truly is an oasis for those of us who have traversed the desert and sweltering heat of our challenges with our beloveds.

    Oh goodness Wise, I don’t feel like a pillar at all. Thank you for your kind words. I ordered some books on raising traumatized children and hope to gain some insight. We are still in the early stages of their healing and I have to remind myself to not take their raging personally. I am grateful for my daughters help, she has given me strength and guidance and bolsters me when I am weary.
    I have read these words over and again. Thank you Wise. Feelings are warranted, not weakness. I must admit, I have my moments where I have pity parties for losing my “freedom” (my youngest just graduated and I was looking forward to a new beginning to work on myself). Surprise! I felt overwhelmed and somewhat ambushed by this new responsibility. Truth be told. I had a goal to cross the Molokai channel again as they just introduced a 60’s division and I turned 60 in June. I realized that that would not be possible with time constraints on training. That was a tough one to get over. Just so happens that due to weather and outgoing tide this years channel race was one of the longest and most arduous crossings ever. So, I was saved from that ordeal. Life has a way of teaching us. I will still aim for that goal, it will happen hopefully one day.

    Much love back. Prayers are powerful, sending ripples of hope and strength throughout. I do believe that. After all, we are somehow communicating through tiny machines, satellites and airwaves across the miles. Heartfelt thanks.

    You all have inspired me with your strength and wisdom. I do believe we hold each other up. Thank you Busy.

    It is difficult to watch, a stab to the heart. For some reason, Beta, our grown children have set off on paths that we never imagined for them. But, as Copa often writes, they are the authors of their own stories. My hope is that one day they will be able to wake up and see their true potential. I have learned the hard way that I cannot save them from their choices.

    JayPee thank you for sharing this wonderful verse.

    Not a pillar, just bolstered by the kindness and example of others. Far worse has been suffered. Mom always said “There, by the grace of God go I.”
    There is an exercise I read about in psychotherapy called “reframing”. It’s taking challenges and giving them positive meaning. One thing that I have noticed is that the kids are teaching me valuable lessons as well and helping me to reinvent myself.
    A ten year contract would be awesome, but it is not life. Yes, for sure one day at a time.

    Thank you JayPee and all for your kindness in walking me through this, though I have been but a stranger of late. I am at work and will write more later. I am forever thankful for your help and kind uplifting words.
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  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh Leafy, you have such a beautiful gift for writing. You really should author a book.
    I so admire your strength and deep love for your grands. You are the one chance they have at making their lives turn into something wonderful.
    It is my hope and prayer that you will be able to break through the walls of anger and pain they have built around themselves.
    Yes, it's true, life isn't fair. It simply is what it is. The only control we have is our response to what life throws at us. We do the best we can, we get up each day and hope for more calm and less chaos. You have given your grands such a special and wonderful gift, the gift of your love and a safe home, the possibility of bright future.
    Sending you love, prayers and hugs.

    What a beautiful thought, all of us being neighbors. In my minds eye I can see it, gathering at each others kitchen tables or on the the front porches, to share coffee, tea, etc....... We would have cookie exchanges, block parties and neighborhood garage sales.
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  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Lil. It is hard. I am at therapy with the kids and it was a task getting them here. They see no need for it, I’m “forcing” them. But our lives are so broken at home. Living with regular teens is hard enough, these angry birds don’t want to budge at times. It is definitely challenging.

    Oh what a lovely thought that we could all be close!
    Thank you RN, we are going to need all those prayers to break through and survive. The social worker says it takes near a year for things to settle down. :confused: I often look up and say “I am not as strong as you think Lord, please help!” I find myself exasperated at the fights going on in my home. They take sibling rivalry to a whole different level. Thank you for your kindness and prayers. Hugs right back at you dear.
    Yes, Beta, every day is a new day for growth and change. I was blessed with my last two kids being the best of friends, so this level of turmoil is frightening at times. I can only hope that time will heal the trauma and teach theses kids more peaceable ways.

    Thank you Tanya. I try. Starting therapy myself to learn coping skills and how to pick battles. The scars of chaos are still so fresh with all of us actually, each episode triggering painful memories.
    As much as I study to try to get a grasp on it, when in the thick of an outburst it is difficult to remain calm and steady emotionally.
    Thank you Tanya, we surely need and appreciate prayers. Sending love and hugs back.

    That’s such a lovely vision Tanya, I will hold on to that imagery.
    Thank you all for your special words and prayers.
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  15. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Leafy-I read your comment about feeling the loss of freedom and the loss of being able to participate in something you had planned on..."Life is what happens when we're making other plans," right?
    Prayed for you and your grands just now--strength and wisdom for you and healing for them through God's love flowing through you and through the therapy they are in.
    I like what Mother Theresa once said about not being able to do great things, but rather, small things with great love. You are doing something with great love.
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  16. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    I am your neighbor, Leaf !

    I think of you so often. Many days, gazing through rainbows over the pali, my thoughts, love, aloha fly to you.
    I am just now seeing this thread. Know ... "It is well..." ~ All good, Leafy. Onipa'a kakou !!
    You are going to be alright. And all that pertains to you - na mo'opuna also, are going to be alright.
    Take care, dear Tita.
    Ka la hou ~
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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  17. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    I'm with you, hon.
    Wish I could be a neighbor as well. We all need neighbors. Tea time would be grand.

    It struck me a little what you said about your grandchild. I try to keep him as his own, and see him for his individual self. Sometimes, though I see my daughter and it makes me happy and fearful at the same time.

    Our counselor pointed out that, in grandparents care taking for grandchildren, there is a loss. A grieving. Have you grieved? I'm not sure I have, because it seems selfish and ungrateful. But it might be necessary.

    I didn't plan on raising a grandchild, but I might be. So I have to shift gears. Grieve a bit, I guess, for the camping I was planning to do, the independence I was starting to feel as all of my children are now adults.

    We were also planning independence in other areas, but my husband's father has cancer and his mother is needy. This isn't the "sail into retirement" we were planning on. But it is what it is. It's where we are. There are small joys to be found in it.

    Today I realized that my grandchild and all of his needs had opened me back up to the root of my cravings for simplicity and joy of making home, crafting, being a bit more frugal and tidy. I had lost that in the business of working. I am thankful to be back opened up to it.

    Sorry, I guess I'm just thinking out loud. Just wanted to know you have a a neighbor in me. Much love.
  18. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hello there Kalahou, yes indeed you are my neighbor. It’s been awhile dear friend, thank you for your kind words.
    The same goes to you dear sister. I hope all is well. It is so nice to “see” you!

    I do have faith that things will work out. It will take time, patience and a whole new way to respond to my grandchildren’s needs. I am blessed to have them with me, although it is hard at times, I pray that they will realize there is much more to life than what they have endured.

    It would be so sweet to be near physically. I do feel that as we write out our deepest thoughts and reply to one another, we develop a closeness that transcends the miles apart.
    I understand completely the need to keep in mind that our grands are unique individuals. It’s those instances, a laugh, a profile, facial expression, I can see their parents so clearly. My hope is that my grands will take their positive traits and travel a path to their true potential. I have to see my role as not only providing a safe home, but as guiding them along the way. I do have to watch myself, the anxiety that can well up while they struggle to heal and misstep. Although they are minors I have no control over their choices, I can’t be with them 24/7. They need to figure out what they want out of life and grab it.

    Thank you for sharing this, ChickPea. I have allowed myself those moments, because it has been a major life change for me. I understand your hesitation on examining those feelings, focusing on the blessings, because in both of our circumstances, not having our grands could mean a very harsh life for them. I am hoping that I can still do some of the things on my bucket list when the kids are more stable.

    Neither did I think I would have my three in my care. My youngest just graduated high school. I had grand thoughts of what I would do in my spare time. But I must admit, I had a bit of the empty nest feels.

    Yes, there are small joys to be found. My Mom encourages me, but also lamented that it’s not fair. “It’s life Mom, and these are my grandchildren, they need love and stability.” She spent 10 years caring for my Nana, then for my Dad through his illnesses until he passed, shortly after was diagnosed with lung cancer. Talk about not fair. We have all kinds of challenges to surmount in life. You are right, this is where we are. I feel as if I have been grieving for a long time. The loss of two daughters, living, but hooked on meth, my dad and hubs death, moms illness. My grands are helping me to refocus. Though we are going through rough patches, they are incredibly resilient considering all they have witnessed in their young lives.

    This. Reframing purpose and meaning. How to move forward with what cards we are dealt? There is really not much time for me to grieve over what might have been, with the business of my current life. I remind myself that this is a chance for my grands to seek their possibilities. That they have a better chance to choose what they want their lives to be.

    Please don’t apologize ChickPea, what you have shared is valuable in so many ways. Thank you for taking the precious time to respond. Much love back and may God continue to bless you on this journey.
  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Update: Rain called, wanting to come over. She left abusive boyfriend and is back with former boyfriend who has been known to be full of bs but not abusive. :confused:
    I figured maybe being around family for a bit could help her see the value of her own life. So, I met them at Walmart, got takeout and went home. Kids were busy getting ready for a Halloween function.
    Then comes the stories. “We have an apartment.”
    Great, is it true? I don’t know. They both have bulging backpacks. Huh. Supposedly, they left their apartment because now ex abusive boyfriend is sending his street minions to stalk Rain. Old, new boyfriend starts to rant about how he is going to “kick his ......” I stop him and say that I don’t allow that kind of talk in my home, especially around my traumatized grands. He apologized. I say “Call the cops, this is terroristic threatening”, look at Rain and tell her she is no one’s property.
    This guy is trying to convince Rain to go back to the hospital. Her leg is gruesome looking. I can tell through the bandage she is wearing. “Wait till you see it with the wrap off” boyfriend says as Rain rolls her eyeballs. “I don’t need to, her leg is swollen and purple, she needs to be in the hospital.” More eyeball rolls and protests that it’s getting better.
    Of course, she wants to shower.
    So afterwards, I am looking at this festering mess, skin peeling off and oozing fluid. I don’t know if it is cellulitis or flesh eating bacteria.
    She won’t go to the hospital. After boyfriend wrapped it, they ask to be dropped off at their supposed apartment. boyfriend tells me he has my number and if anything happens with stalking ex boyfriend, he wants Rain to be able to “chill at my house.”
    Uh no, call the police. I have my grands, they don’t need to be involved in the circus.
    Give it to God, Leafy. I repeat to myself over and over.
    This morning comes the internal questions. Why would anyone make such a display of their affliction to a loved one, a mother, then repeatedly refuse medical care?
    It is emotional abuse, entrapment, a degradation. Mental illness.
    A game.
    I can’t allow myself to ride the emotional rollercoaster of worry. Somehow, I have developed over the years this stoicism with my two, or is it that my heart is scarred by years of this craziness? I wrestle with myself, the utter reality that I can’t make Rain do anything, the fact that my heart is not sinking into despair, and the old saying “Lest I grow cold.”
    My own advice to others that love says no. No to enabling, but also no to synchronistically spiraling into this pit my two continue to dig for themselves. As I write to others, I am repeatedly driving that into my very being.
    Love says no.
    It is what it is has had to be my mantra, lest I go mad. Or, maybe I am there? I don’t know.
    All I know is that none of what has transpired with my two through these years makes any sense. Twilight zone. Bizarre. Insanity. Darkness.
    My grands are afraid of the dark. I have nightlights everywhere to help ease their fear. Sams club had these led candles on sale and I set them up to automatically turn on at dusk. I am surprised at how much I like them.
    They are a comforting visual reminder that whisper with their flickering glow “Stay in the light Leafy, stay in the light.”
    God help us all.
    New Leaf
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  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have a bad migraine so must cut this post short.

    I think our kids have lose screws. I think they have gone partially nuts. I think this is one reason I go so crazy around my son because he keeps acting so weird. So off the reservation. This (formerly) gorgeous, charming, intelligent young man, has turned himself loco, by indulging every weird thought, impulse that comes his way. So that now there's no core logic or reasoning that can serve as anchor.

    I don't think their intent *usually, is to cause us agony or distress. But I do think they want to manipulate us, and do not have any stops, as to what is appropriate or beyond the pale. Our welfare doesn't factor in.

    I also think their moral compass is broken. I believe it's fixable, but I believe it's on the fritz.

    For reasons you've illustrated I think this is why I find being around my son so painful. I can feel it's still him but it's like looking at him behind wavy glass. My own son has gotten creases in his face, (let alone his low, low weight) that I don't have and I am decades older. This causes me deep pain.

    I feel the physical urge to fix him. I mean to pick up the pieces and put Humpty Dumpty back together again. And there is not one thing I can do.

    I do get it, New Leaf. I am sorry. I think you might think about keeping Rain far away for now. She's not reliable or safe, until she can keep herself safe.