A cry in the darkness

I can’t recall a moment when I was more miserable, and I’ve had a lifetime of miserable moments stored up. It was December 22nd, 2011 around 8am or so. I laid there in psychological agony and utter misery as I thought about the events of Sunday night…re-reading the texts and gtalk messages that laid out the evidence of a suicide attempt by my estranged husband who at the time had custody of our then fourteen year old son. (He’s come home to me and turned 15 since.)

I was crawling out of my skin with exposed emotions swirling, warring, coursing through my entire being.

It wasn’t thought or faith that brought me to my knees, but an overwhelming sense of abject failure.

I don’t know whether it was out loud or in my head, but I cried out to the Lord.

And He answered.

Oh my Lord, how He answered.

I know I’ll fail miserably in fully describing the moment because it was indescribable. More feeling than substance, but I felt the physical presence of arms around me and breath on my cheek and I knew more than heard the words that have sustained me since…

“It’s going to be okay”

And peace beyond measure filled me and joy overflowed.

Yeah, I know…roll your eyes if you must. I totally would have before it happened. There are moments since when I’ve doubted how real it was. Stress induced delusion anyone?

But it wasn’t.

And in another instant or perhaps even the same one, all the hurt and anguish and guilt and shame were sucked out of me…and in my mind’s eye I could see it like a Star Trek tractor beam, extracting the crap that had been building up, festering and feeding on my soul.

And when it was over, I cried.

Not a wah, wah, sniffle cry…a big, loud and releasing cry. And long…

Like it lasted two freaking hours long.

And I relived a lot of nasty, nasty stuff in those two hours. Things I’ve done, things done to me, opportunities missed, people I’ve hurt…lots and lots of people I’ve hurt.

And when it was all over and done…I was refreshed.

As if I’d slept for days. Though sleep was (and often still is) mighty scarce.

To be continued…

 

My Rock Star Moment

Have you ever had one of this moments that just feels like the best moment ever? One that you know you will be able to look back and relive the feelings over and over again..a moment that will forever pick you up, if you can just remember and hold onto it, when you’re feeling down.

I had one of those moments last Friday night.

Which is funny because my hubby and I fought over this night for weeks. I don’t generally go out, but I really, really wanted to go. So I did. Despite the fight, despite the guilt and the general bad ju-ju that fights like that generally cast upon an evening. I turned out to be a night I will never forget…

One of the owners and five of the staff had birthdays this month, so we had a party in the lounge in their honour. Friday is always karaoke night. I intended to sing. I’d only done it once before…and it thoroughly sucked.

And that totally makes sense. Because I can’t sing.

Which makes the whole night almost some kind of miracle.

I had intended to just embrace the suckiness and just have fun.

So there I was…about halfway through the song and I look up and my boss is swinging her arms clapping in time to the beat, and I hear my name…and hooting and hollering and clapping.

And it was fucking amazing.

Because at that moment I realized that I was rocking it.

Really rocking it, in front of real people.

People who loved me, yes. (About 50% of the crowd was staff and regulars) People who were right and royally pickled out of their minds, yes. Tone deaf, no doubt.

But that’s okay because in that moment they were loving me…screaming my name…

And I had a brief but tangible rock star moment of my very own to treasure.

I hear there is video footage. I haven’t seen it yet. Don’t know if I’ll be too embarrassed to put it out there if it does exist. But there is no doubt I’ll be replaying what my mind recorded over and over for years to come.

 

 

It’s probably not a good thing…

That one of my newest power me up songs is Theory of a Dead Man – So Happy.

(Warning for my Christian friends…explicit lyrics…don’t listen if you’re sensitive to swearing)

Yeah, I thought not, but I can’t help it…

 

Guns n Roses

I started listening to Guns n Roses thinking of my husband…we’ve shared many a time to the tunes over the years. But the music took me back further still…

To the times when my parents would go out and the sattelite would tune into MuchMusic and my brother, then somewhere around 4 or 5 or so, would air guitar to Paradise City…

It was his birthday earlier this month, on the 14th, but I don’t know his address, or his phone number…and I can’t seem to find him on Facebook. Facebook did not exist last time I saw him. That was 14 years ago. Or 13.

A long time ago, in any case.

My eldest was just turned one, and the second was not quite on the way yet…which really makes it a finite period in time that it could have been. But it’s not relevant, really.

I was no longer family by then.

For not too long after those crazy jam sessions, I moved away. I didn’t know until the day after I said good-bye that the door would close…that the relationship between my half brother (and my half sisters) and I would be severed for so long.

I don’t know if it would’ve changed things if I knew the next day that when I called home  collect that I would hear the man I called Daddy say “I don’t have a daughter by that name”…

But I didn’t know.

And I didn’t say good bye in a way that is any way memorable.

But I can still hear him playing…I wonder if he remembers Paradise City and what it once meant for the big sister he barely knew.

The Awakening

I fell in love quite readily between 13 and 17, when I met my husband.

The first ones I loved from afar. I was a hideous geek who was often called Medusa. Okay, one kid called me Medusa, the rest mostly ignored me except for my best friend and locker partner.

I didn’t kiss a boy until the summer between grade 10 & 11.

On a Greyhound bus, headed off for summer vacation.

It started with a milkshake in Fairmont. Or was it Radium. I forget exactly, except that I’d been noticing him since the transfer in Calgary. He was traveling to Pentiction with his little brother. We shared music on the old school walkman he had…and then it started getting dark.

So that the first time my mother sees me in 7 years, her baby girl is covered in hickies. Not wanting to reveal my sheer embarrasment (all my knowledge of boys until 8 hours earlier had been from books and family television…none of which covered hickies!) I made up a boyfriend back home.

See, back home I wasn’t even allowed have girl friends. At the beginning of grade 10, I missed a bus one day and Dad demanded the names and phone numbers of the girls I was with to corroborate my “story” (though what he imagined I did in the 20 minutes getting home late might have bought me if my story wasn’t true, I haven’t a clue). I’m suspecting because over the summer one of the “bad girls” I had started to hang with towards the end of Grade 9 called and sang the opening lines of “I want your sex” with my father listening on the extension. So yeah, no chance of a boyfriend back home. Though good god knows how many times I dreamed of having one…despite all the warnings and dire predictions.

I don’t know when the “boys are evil” message began. It was weird. Growing up in a culture that adored and celebrated boys, but being told that boys were to be avoided at all costs. No reason why. Not explictly. I put things together by myself through books (not a complete education as my very first taste of freedom proved!)

And that was the thing…they warned me boys only wanted one thing.

Which I began to ask myself why that was such a big deal. As through grade 9, at least three of my friends got boyfriends and lost their virginity. I didn’t think I wanted to do that…just kissing them and holding their hand would have been awesome enough for me. Or so I thought at the time before I kissed a boy and got hickeys.

Looking back, I don’t think my parents actually had a plan, other than keep us home outside of school and work hours.

Which was all fine and good before that trip, but useless after it.

All I had to do was kiss them during school hours.

And until the following spring, that’s what I did. With the few I could find that would.

Like David from Physics class who I wrote about in a previous post.

A Shaky Truce

My marriage is on shaky ground. And I’m oddly okay with that. It’s okay, for now, to be unsettled…unsure.

An odd side effect of this most recent upheaval is the unearthing of so many memories. So many songs. Right now New Jersey by Bon Jovi is playing on my new smartphone. The first time I heard this album it was on cassette, a gift for my 16th birthday. From David Iforgethislastname, who dumped me for a co-worker who was actually allowed to date.

I couldn’t face Physics 20 after that, and ultimately flunked the course…can’t say it was worth it, but can’t say that I’d change it either.

I remembered many firsts tonight. My first crush, my first kiss, my first hickey, first boyfriends…

I figure somewhere in there I might find some clues as to how I ended up here.

Or maybe it’s just easier than thinking about the 21 years in between.

 

Before the beginning…

This rift in my relationship has sent my my mind reeling back through the moments that brought us here. Music has played in the background steady since the start of this eruption…music soothes me…gives me confidence…takes me back in time.

God of War by played as I tapped out the opening paragraph of this post…ahh Hysteria

Def Leppard was mine like no other music in my life. Not that they didn’t have a kazillion other fans. Just that I never shared them, connected them with a boy

Nearly every other band and song is…

Madonna belonged to the boy with the dark eyes in grade 9. I’ve long ago forgotten forgotten his name, but remember that he and his spiky haired friend were some of my earliest eye candy.*

Eye candy is always boys that I never really wanted as boyfriends (not that I was allowed to have boyfriends anyway)…but were pretty to look at.

So songs didn’t have to relate to boys I talked to, to not be totally mine.I never let Def Leppard go…I’ve come back to them time and again to give me strength to remember who I am as a person of my own.

They come from the time when I was me…before real boys, real problems, real heartache.

The songs help me remember what it felt like to only know about the feelings and acts they were talking about in theory…

Days like today, I’m not sure I wasn’t better off being terrified (though obviously curious…) about boys.

9 Years Ago

Has it been that long? It seems like yesterday that the world as I know it seemed to come to a standstill. It felt like the world held it’s breath for days. I thought I would remember every minute for the rest of my life, but time has erased and rearranged bits and pieces around.

I know I watched. For what seemed like an eternity and then I turned to the computer. Checking in with all my email discussion lists. The Momwriter’s moments are the clearest to me, perhaps because it was the largest group it had the most connections closest to the tragedy.

I remember the reaching out to each other…the trying to make sense of it all.

Strange how it seems so clear and yet in such a complete fog…

It came naturally…

I was just tweeting with a friend of mine from Twitter about childcare…and I was reminded of the time when I was a professional childcare provider. That was my very first home based business (if you don’t count the one time I ordered a book by mail order and thought I could read books for a living…what?? The Internet didn’t exist back then. Yeah I’m old…on with the story…)

So I recalled that I still have an old card from one of my former client’s.

I used it a few times over the years as a testimonial. I had no idea what a testimonial was or how it could be important to marketing, but I used it anyway.

And I recalled that I still have my very first clip from the Edmonton Journal,a letter to the editor.  If I recall correctly a child had walked home from a daycare without the daycare being aware that the child was missing. The article pretty much stated that the only options for parents were dodgy daycares that parents could afford or high priced centers with supposedly higher standards. I forget the exact words, and I would have to dig around the basement to find the copy I cut from the paper…

But it was something to the effect that there was another option that the author hadn’t  mentioned and that was registered dayhomes.

I don’t think that ever led to any phone calls or business. Who reads the letters other than geeks like me, really? But it was a rather crude first attempt at publicity.

Some of who I am today as a marketer and publicist goes back to those early days running that first home childcare.  Some of the things that I later learned were effective ways to promote a small business were things that I had either picked up intuitively or was somehow born with.

Some of it comes naturally.

Then there’s the stuff that took a long time to learn and apply…some of it I am still learning and applying.  One of the things that has been constant over the past 13 years (I officially opend on July 2nd, 1998) is the changes in technology and the ways we market.

But more on that in another post or article or something…

I just found it really weird to look back and make the connections with what I do know now.

Back then, I was just doing  what I could to stay home and be a mom to my little guy. I had now idea I would have learned this much and come this far.  Back then I couldn’tconcieve of being smart enough or saavy enough to do what I am doing now. Back then, it would’ve seemed glamourous (it’s not really…well only sometimes) and unrealistic for someone with what I had for experience and skills I had.

Back then, my biggest dream was to buy a house with my husband, and raise our family while doing childcare…

Only part of the dream came true, thank God!

And yet, there is still so much more to learn and do…

Kind of makes me wonder where the next 13 years will lead…

Things That Make Me Sad

Despite all the happy moments today, bad memories and their unnerving emotions were stirred up too.

You see it started with an article  in the Edmonton Journal about Vincent Li the man who murdered Tim Mclean in a gruesome attack on a Greyhound bus.

This brings about huge feelings.

But not so much about Tim Mclean, because while I was disgusted and horrified to hear about the brutal manner in which he died, I did not truly know him.

But I did know my mom who was once diagnosed as a schizophrenic (it was eventually called bi-polar disorder) and her long time boyfriend who she met in the psych ward during one of her stays there in the 70′s.  He was an NCR (as described in Mom Magazine’s Blog -Not Criminally Responsible) patient/criminal. The same as Vincent Li.

The crime was not as gruesome to the outside world, but just as devastating to the loved one’s of the victim. Though by the time I came onto the scene, the story was long buried and only talkied about in hushed tones amongst the kids and teens in the family. I never heard an adult utter a word about it.

In any case…this case brings up a lot of old emotions that I thought I had let go of…

Fear, Anger, Confusion…

The man I knew as a step dad was not a monster like Li…though he’d committed a similar crime. My stepdad didn’t have schizophrenia like Li (though as I mentioned before that’s what my mom was originally diagnosed with…but she was the type more likely to hurt herself than others…though she did have her moments when she did hurl her illness outwards too) but he did (what boils down to) get away with murder because while his victim (who I never knew and would have never known if he hadn’t done what he did) never walked the earth again, he lived to a ripe old age (past even my mother) most of it free after a relatively short stint in the same psych ward as my (relatively) harmless mother.

She endured years of his often hateful words and venom. I was blind to it for the most part during the actual time I lived there. I mean I saw him as mean and hard at times, but I didn’t see it as abusive until I went back to visit years later…after I had two children of my own.

He never killed again…

But he wasn’t exactly spreading joy and sunshine either.

If he was repentant – I never saw it.

They certainly did not teach him good communication skills while he was “locked away for psychiatric care”. Nor did they teach my mom tools to build her self esteem, nor how to identify abuse.

I don’t want Li free. I think a psychiatric release should be for life.

But I do think that if the utmost care and attention to security is taken and he is getting the medication required for his condition…that he should be able to walk around outside for 15 minutes a day.  No matter what he’s done the fact is that he is ill and he is human.

There is no fixing him anymore than there is a way to bring young Tim McLean back to life.  There is no benefit to keeping him locked away with less dignity than an amimal.  The sad truth is there is never going to be any justice in this case. Even if Li was being subjected to electroshock treatments like my (very much a non-criminal) mother was back in the 70′s it still would not make up for the death of Tim Mclean in any way shape or form.

Let him have his 15 minutes, but join the fight for changes so that he never gets more than that, no matter how well the doctors deem him to be.