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The Will to Survive the Darkest of Hours
The eyes of an angel watch over you and do not judge you. The arms of an angel do not shield you from life-they guide you when you are lost.
We all have our trials, and we all experience hard times, but I don't think we should ever let it disable us from what we want to do.
I woke up this morning-and began my day as I always do. I changed both of my children's diapers-dressed them, combed their hair, and placed little barrettes with bows in my daughters pigtails. They watched Winnie the Pooh, while daddy took a shower and I prepared French Toast and fresh sliced fruit for breakfast. After breakfast, I cleaned both of their faces and headed outside to strap them into their car seats, and distributed kisses all over their cheeks.
Once everyone had gone-and I cleaned up after breakfast and made the beds; I secured my usual spot on the couch next to the bay window in our living room. I pulled out my laptop to check my email. A news story caught my eye and I clicked to investigate its content more thoroughly … It was about Elizabeth Smart-the 14 year old who was abducted in 2002 from her family’s home after being tucked into her bed by her parents. A year later she was rescued and returned to her family. Now; seven years after her horrific ordeal she is speaking out. She stated something that I too firmly believe, "We all have our trials, and we all experience hard times, but I don't think we should ever let it disable us from what we want to do."
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I described the above, to give you each a little bit of insight as to who I am. My writings are varied and reflect my doubts-beliefs and questions about the world. Each day brings me a new reflection of my past. I rarely speak of my past-and if I do it is in bits and pieces and of vague content. I feel as if certain things I have experienced sound like a bad Lifetime- Made for TV movie, and if I was to ever share them I would open myself up to judgment and ridicule. So when and if I decide to speak about my past or the part of my past that included Dylan, I intentionally leave out the details of how exactly he came to be.
Today I will share my past, my heart, my pain, my fears and share a part of my story that changed who I was and gave me a certain perspective on life, that I never wanted- but perhaps obtained so I could share it with others.
Dylan was born on December 3, 2000… A confusing bittersweet day, when the harsh truth, had to finally be admitted to and accepted. The story begins nine months before Dylan was born, on the day on which he was conceived. He was part of who I am-which was why I loved him. He was also part of who his father is- which is why at times, I cried when I held him.
I had known his father very well- I considered him one of my dearest friends for a very long time. In school, I was a bit of a loner or outcast; and never quite felt as if I fit into the popular more socially accepted group of individuals. I thrived when I was learning-but not so much when I was in a crowd. I was very quiet-timid and did everything in my power to stay clear from any type of confrontation.
I have always-and still do believe that there is good in all whom I come in contact with
I have never intentionally tried to cause someone turmoil or upset; and I would not change that about my personality-even if I could. My dear friend, the father of my first born, suffered from a terrible disease- this I knew, and had always known, but was not intimidated by or afraid of. He had learned to control but not silence the voices in his head with therapy and a cocktail of anti-psychotics. Unfortunately, college life had distracted him and he soon began forgetting to take his medications-after a few days of forgetting the cocktail of pills-he was no longer forgetting, but intentionally neglecting to take them.
And then there was light
"Something isn’t right. This isn’t right. He isn’t right"!
I figured he was just having a trying day-or maybe I didn’t figure anything. I didn’t think twice about his changed appearance or the way he was carrying himself that night… I just didn’t think-as he and I both took a few shots of cheap tequila-and washed it down with a watered down warm beer.
I was in a bit of a haze and treading on the fine line which lies between the stages of buzzed and drunk before I began to think to myself, "Something isn’t right. This isn’t right. He isn’t right"!
I remember being in a poorly lit room in the back corner of a house. It must have been the only corner in the house that was not occupied by drunken college students having a good time. There was a mis-used pool table with ugly brown felt in the center of the room-and it smelled like a boy’s gym bag which was being masked by Victoria Secrets Vanilla Body Spray. The smell of the room alone turned my stomach and made me want to vomit after drinking.
I don’t know what he said or what I said in the moments before the moments I do remember about that night. I don’t recall how I ended up being pinned in the corner where the worn pool sticks were displayed on the wall. I don’t remember how long I struggled before I stopped and closed my eyes and took myself somewhere else. I don’t know what people said to me as I walked through the house and stumbled down the porch steps towards the campus. I do not know who called the police or how I even ended up in a hospital room.
I do remember the pain of receiving three dozen stitches-and I remember refusing the little pill the nurse was trying to convince me to take. I remember feeling alone because the one person I would have turned to, was the one that had inflicted this upon me, betraying my trust and belief in everything I ever believed in. I remember I did not cry… Not for months… I remember when we locked onto one others eyes in the court house on the day he was ordered to a psychiatric ward of the mental health hospital - I remember feeling confused over feeling guilty for sending my friend to such a dark place. I also remember going to the doctor for my annual 5 months later to be told I was carrying another human inside of me.
I didn’t tell anyone, in part because I had no one to confide in or to tell, but I also did not want to explain my situation. I let people think what ever they wanted to think without ever confirming or denying any of their ideas-comments or accusations. On December 3rd 2000, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I took care of him as a mother should-I rocked him to sleep- took his temperature whenever he felt warm- and fixed his bottles when he was hungry. Did I love him? At the time I questioned myself and my love often. I now know that I had always loved him, i was just grieving silently inside.
Once again I am a mother.
We're never truly left alone in our darkest hour
I learned he was seriously ill before he was even a year old, when he was given a diagnosis of having Acute lymphoblastic Leukemia. I don’t believe that I ever truly realized the seriousness of the illness or the situation. Perhaps it was my inexperience due to age or perhaps I just did not want to consider that he would not live a full life.
At first he lost weight and then he gained it. His golden locks which had always shimmered in the sunlight, became dull. Even though his locks dulled, he did not. He shines even now in my memory and in my heart. What I like to remember the most is the toothless smile he showed so often and how everyone that met him-loved him. I remember how he lived and how he taught me to survive. I was the person who held him first when he came into this world and I held him while he left. The ache in my heart as that moment came and went; is something that is not easily given words.
To hold innocence in your arm as the time goes fast, yet slows to a crawl as you sit and talk and say how sorry you are that you could not take this away-that it could not be healed with a kiss-that you wish you were a better parent. You keep talking even when the tears pour from your eyes and blind you to his beautiful face. You are afraid to stop and take a breath, because if you do, you worry, that the breath you take would be the last chance you had to say how much you love him before he leaves you forever?
When his chest stops moving and his heart is no longer beating-you feel as though yours stops as well. For any mother who has watched their child die-you understand that part of you dies with them, but at the same time-you decide you will now live for them, and take all the memories, joy, laughter mixed with all the hope and dreams that you had for them. You then transform into a better, stronger, more determined, more patient and tolerant person; for this is not just your life you are now living, it is the life of the love you lost that you live for, because they didn't get the chance to live and experience the life they had deserved.
Elizabeth Smart stated, "I know that we do have angels on the other side that we don't see. We're never truly left alone in our darkest hour."
Do I believe in Angels? I surely do, specially now, fore I am sure that I have a little boy watching over me and the little brother and sister he never got to meet- and in that is where I find comfort, strength and a will to survive the most trying days and to never take a single moment for granted.
I don’t know if my life and the circumstances I have been face to face with are the reason I am who I am. Would I be different if I would have stayed in the night of that party in 2000? Would I want to be? I am okay with who I am and although this is the first time I have ever put into words the darkest of the situations that have molded me- I am not ashamed of what I have been through to get where I am now. I am still someone who sees the greatness in all- I make sure that each moment I have today is all that it can be- I know how to forgive and I am not afraid to care or to love with all that I am.
I don’t know why God allowed things to happen to me in my life- For a long time I was angry at him (God), because I was tired-I was hurting and I felt as though he was attempting to break me-or had totally abandoned me all together. But I am not broken, I learned how to bend and bounce back- I am stronger than my appearance suggest that I am-and have the ability to put things in perspective when life feels like it is too much. God has never given me something that I cannot handle- I know this because I am still here. Perhaps he has always known what kind of strength I possess-and just wanted to assure that belief to me.
So… My question to myself and to others is- do you believe in Angels-In God? My answer is- I have no doubt that I have an Angel and he watches over me as God watches over him.