My brother, Kevin, we share a father and so much more

Kevin and WestinYesterday was my nephews 4th birthday. I can remember how excited Kevin was when he found out Westin was a boy. That he was father to a son. Kevin and I had just started really talking again and I was thrilled to be a part of the group of people he was eager to tell about his tiny, new son. When Westin was born I just remember thinking how much he looked like my own children. My own boys. Both the kids do. We shared those genes, Kevin and I. They’re strong.

Kevin and I shared a lot. A love for art, for our children. We shared, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, mental health crap that was and is sometimes, just unbearable.  We also share a biological father.

He unfortunately also shares Kevin and I’s mental health issues. Every story, from every person I’ve ever talked to about our father, has been riddled with angry and mean and hurt. Most of my own memories share those same feelings. And most of the good memories I have of him? Involve Kevin and Sam, my brothers. They include my step mother’s warm, and inviting family in Fort Morgan. But him alone? I only remember fear and sadness. I remember feeling what it’s like to be unwanted, unloved and abandoned.

I imagine his path of destruction started before my mother. But for me, her story was the beginning. His hatred and meanness. I can remember how the car door looked as he drove us to my Gramma E’s and left us. We only saw him for a short time after that. He left us broke. He left us broken. My mom tells me he loved me. I was his one. I am his only daughter, the oldest of four. I don’t know those feelings though. They got swallowed up by the sadness and the fear of him. Those feelings are overcome with those of being left, and unwanted.

In my preteen years, I had some time with my father, I don’t regret those days. I have some smiles and joy in that I met my brothers. I’ve mentioned my deeply joyful memories of them acting like the Bushwackers or sitting in the back of our father’s old gray car, singing Damn Yankees on the way to RC Car races. And Bubba the big white bird and Chris, my step mom used to make this food that I can still remember being so good. But Nyle? I remembering him taking my door when he thought I was smoking. I remember him, sitting in the rocker, arms crossed, ready to pounce when I’d come home from being with a young, black boyfriend. That’s what I remember. Fear. Of a man, I so badly wanted to want me. I remember wishing I could just go home.

He destroyed me. Ripped down my walls before the cement even had time to dry. He broke my mother and later my stepmother and my brothers. Kevin and I share that. I think Sam and Matthew have the same feelings but Kevin and I, sharing this profound depression, felt it different. Feel it different. I think we both suffered years of wondering why we just weren’t enough for him to love.

It's amazing how much destruction one person can cause

I’ve spent the months since November blaming our father for Kevin’s suicide knowing full well no one person can make a person do that. But his behavior did contribute to it. I don’t know how a parent can do that to their child. I would have so much preferred he just walk away instead of playing tortuous peek a boo. Lucky for me, I have a Dad. He wanted me, even when he didn’t have to. Sometimes parents pick you. Some of us are lucky in that.  I don’t know that Kevin and Sam ended up with that. I think they have a family who loves them but the shadow of our father was just always looming, it was always there.

When Kevin died, our father wasn’t mentioned in the obituary. I understood why. But wondered how it made him feel. I don’t really know why I care. I want to be furious with him. But mostly, I still feel sad he missed out on us. Me, Kevin, Matthew and Sam. And now? He’s missing out on Devlynn, Davis, Drew, Dexter, Dixon, Rylee, Westin, Cameron, Casey, and little Ritter. He did that to himself though. I can’t make up for his bad choices. None of us can.

Yesterday, on Westin’s fourth birthday he liked a photo of my newest nephew. My immediate reaction was to take down all the photos of baby Ritter. I don’t want to share him with this man. Not that he can do much destruction by liking a photo but I don’t want anyone else to be in the wake of it all. Especially my little Ritter.  I won’t though. That empathy is there. Hoping he’s changed. That he can see the destruction he created in just not making good choices. And I do see, that without that chapter in my story, I wouldn’t be who I am today. And who I am is good. His lack of parenting made me a better parent. His lack of love made me love harder. His destruction taught me to rebuild and rebuild bigger and better.

There is always some good in every bad.

Lessons you can take away from evil and hate-filled people. I’m learning to find that instead of getting lost in the sadness. That reminds me of “The Neverending Story”. See? That made me smile. I found some happy there. I’m really working on that.

I’m also learning that in destruction, there can be great joy and happiness. That only you can prevent being rebuilt. It’s an amazing feeling when you figure out you really are in control of it all. You can choose to make it or take the breaks. I don’t want any more breaks. I’m taking it back. All the happy I can. I am finding the beauty in the destruction.

We are walking October 1st in honor of Kevin and all those who’ve lost to the sadness. I would love for you to join us or donate to our cause. 

We are joining the community of nearly 250k people walking in hundreds of cities across the country in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.

 

Click here to join us or to donate.

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

On losing my faith

I have been praying to God for many, many years. For many, many things. When the sadness started creeping in, I prayed for help and when it got worse, and after I started asking for help, I prayed that someone would help me. It didn’t happen. Everyone asked what I needed and then when I couldn’t answer what it was I needed, the question was lost in a sea of hustle and bustle. I prayed for peace in knowing my biological father left me. That he didn’t want me even after he knew me. That peace, well I thought it came until my brother killed himself in November and the peace, well it wasn’t there anymore. I prayed to be a patient mother, I’ve prayed to be a good wife. I’ve prayed for God to help me to stay on a path of kindness and peace. I’ve failed at all. And I’ve never heard his voice once.

This Easter Sunday as I walked out of the church who spoke of new beginnings, I lost my faith in God and in myself. I will never, ever be the same. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. And, she’s probably right. No one, especially in that moment, loved me.

Last year was wrought with tragedy. In August when my period which is never late, was late, I popped up with a positive pregnancy test. Afraid of the judgment and comments, I sat quietly on it, hoping to enjoy our vacation the following week. And when I walked down the beach with my tiny almost 2-year-old in hand, I felt that gush and knew, I knew there would be nothing to tell and so, I didn’t. And I wept in the arms of my partner, then bled alone in the bathroom. Leaving my baby at the beach. He was due April 24th. I find great sadness in that I will never meet him.

October stole my friend. My Santa. A father and kind man. Out of the blue, his life stolen from us. The sadness and inability to understand why shook me to the core. I think of him every day. I think of his family, every.single.day. And as I stood in that auditorium taking the photos of no Santa, I prayed for peace. It still hasn’t come. And when the children’s leader had the gall to say to someone, when I was waffling with the idea of doing Santa again, that they would do it with or without me, I knew my value in that ministry was nothing more than the help. And my passion and love for the event meant nothing, as long as she got what she wanted. There will be no more Santa photos from me. And that charity has fallen away from my heart.

November took my brother. I can’t even tell you how he took his life, only that the pain of losing him is immeasurable. That my anxiety and my own hustle and bustle kept me from knowing him. And that the great sadness, that I often fear threatens my own self, took him, without warning and without hope. I see his face in mine sometimes. I’ve spent hours looking through the photos. I write him knowing he’ll never read it. I worry, that I will never, ever see him again.

I watched my sister’s life destroyed in a web of lies and deceit. My beautiful and innocent niece’s life forever changed. I’ve watched so many lives just crumble. Trying to keep it in perspective, I’ve shut down my feelings of drowning, trying to thank “god” that it wasn’t worse. And then, it just got so much worse.

In six weeks I have moved from being a silent victim, to a rage-filled person. In one week, I let passive, nastiness get to me and I have called names and said things I never ever thought would come out of my mouth. And yesterday, when provoked with the threats of posting photos of my children and a snide “hi” followed by “do you have something to say to me” after not so pleasant eye contact, I flew off the handle and I pushed a person, at a church and followed it up with a nasty curse word, on Easter Sunday. And it was made very clear that I wasn’t wanted there and that my sin, unforgivable, as the ‘punishment” was handed out of me in the verbal lashing for a nasty mistake. The day was full of police, 911 calls and locked doors. And what I learned? The police can do nothing if a person drives by your house or shows up at your job. That people can post whatever they want on the internet; personal photos, texts. They can lie and delete and argue. They can do anything and it if is not a threat, only the person who lays hands is in trouble. Unfortunately in this incident, that was me. In a desperate attempt to get this person out of the spotlight, I put myself in a terrible position. And the people in the front of the building, rightfully so, screaming at me, sealed that I will never, in this lifetime, set foot in a church to worship and I will likely, never pray for anything again.

When this all started, I sat silently and watched the shit show twitter parade and read the forum posts filled with lies. I tried to hide the emotions when I found out this person had been inside my home, I tried to go about my life as though I wasn’t scared and angry and alone. It didn’t work. They stole the peace I felt inside that room, then stole the happy from my Disney trip. And when the therapist said it was okay not to hide, I stopped and when the tweet eerily resembled responses to my own posts, I let them have it. Replying to the nasty, passive tweets, exposing the truth on the forums. Because if they can say whatever they want online, why can’t I?

The thing I forgot was it isn’t that I can’t, it’s that I shouldn’t.

My moral compass is off track these days too.

I’ve sent messages to most of the people I knew were involved. One young man, who’d while working with him, had inappropriate comments with my daughter, and lied to me and others over and over, got an ear full. He’s never responded, except once, to tell me to calm down. And then quickly walked into a building, instead of sharing “his side” and when he continued to pursue my child, after I told him not to and after his employer did as well, he through a mutual friend, attempted to relay to her, that he was indeed “there for her” and “was around if he needed to talk”. He had recent trouble, and instead of owning his own mistakes, he blamed me too.

I am the monster here after all.

At the very least, three other people knew since summer and no one told. I’m truly and deeply worried about the generations taking over the world. I am thinking whoever is in charge forgot to pass out the manual on moral obligations. I think that when things are hard, it’s easier to lie and hide. It’s sad. I’m a truther as they say; look where it’s got me though? Maybe these people are onto something.

So many people could have prevented the sheer amount of heartache this has been. A single, albeit difficult, conversation could have prevented a good majority of this. It could have stopped it before it started.

And what do I want? I just wanted an apology and the opportunity to say, “you hurt me. You could’ve stopped this.” Instead I get radio silence and a brutal, passive online attack. And I attacked back, with force. I’m not proud of that. It’s one of those things I will likely beat myself up for, for years.

Yesterday I deleted some 4000 tweets. My entire Twitter history and I am waffling with the idea of permanently deleting my Instagram. Logging into and thinking that this person is knowingly, and legally posting photos of my children, for some reason, makes me physically ill. I know in my logical brain that they are not hurting them but that they have these photos makes me sick. Physically sick. The worst part of it is I don’t know who to trust anyway. When this person was removed as a follower, they still managed to view everything I was posting on my then private account. I don’t know how or through whom but they saw. Making fun of our service night, something I’ve been doing for years… something I’d only posted on my private Instagram. I know I need to go completely offline but, the unfortunately reality of my mental illness, is that I built most of my friendships online, and I am not sure that if without them, I will make it out of this as an intact, sane person. 6 weeks and I am desperately missing being able to log in and see their lives. Or know how the cancer treatment is going or how the kids are growing, without a series of text messages. And my phone, with each vibration, I want to throw it out the window. It’s been sitting in the window. I have been turning it off. The catalyst to that? The awesome Happy Easter from the “father” who walked away from me. Ain’t that the shits.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I just don’t. I got out of the car yesterday and headed towards the baseball field. My legs couldn’t carry me and I sobbed between the box offices at the field I spend so many happy lacrosse hours at. I just wanted to sit in the dug out and imagine my sons playing. The truth is, I couldn’t see the future. I am still struggling to see it. When the police officer I had called showed up at my steps last night and asked if I needed him to take me to the crisis center, my heart screamed yes but my head and mouth said no, because I’m so afraid that I’ll go in and they’ll never, ever let me back out. Words like “unlovable” and “monster” seeped out of my mouth yesterday. Phrases like “this is all my fault” and “I am afraid of myself”. The sad is scary. And the silence after the prayers is so unsettling, that I am done.

I have been seeing a therapist for about a month now. She had blue hair; a clock and fawn tattooed on her arm. She gives me permissions I can’t give myself. And despite being made fun of for having this mental defect, and this sad, I think therapy is important and needed. I wish other people would try it. Maybe they’d see they are not the victim but the creator and while their heartache isn’t discountable, these feeling were created in choices.

I just don’t think praying anything away works. And if there is a God, he cannot hear me. And I am done asking for his help. And please, for the love of everything, stop saying you’re praying for me.

 

 

 

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

In the house of boys, we needed a doll

Devlynn outgrew her American Girl dolls many years ago. Although they still live her, complete with accessories, she doesn’t, at 17, play with them anymore. They, however, hold a very special place in her heart and I know, being that she is my daughter, she is holding onto them because she is worried the memories will fade. Those memories stick around if there is something physical to remind you.

Drew briefly loved a Bitty Baby he affectionately named, Drew Too. I couldn’t tell you where Drew Too is now. He fell quickly out of love with him as we discovered Bey Blades.

Now I have Dexter. He is a feeler and a nurturer by nature and because I have been making these soft dolls for the past few months, I have been frequenting doll boards on Facebook. He’d noticed, over my shoulder a boy doll. American Girl’s new boy doll, Logan to be exact.

Logan is 115.00. One-Hundred-Fifteen. From my experience, with Drew’s Bitty Baby I wasn’t going there. Not that I don’t think the AG dolls are worth it. I do. We own several. I myself have a Josephina whom I love and adore. She is clearly built better than some of the big box store dolls but having experienced the sticker shock of a badly wanted baby disappearing into who knows what, I wasn’t ready to fork over those dollars.

But you can’t buy a boy doll at the big box stores. Seriously. You can buy a girl doll and re-wig it. But the wig, I have found is often as much as the doll and I might as well of put that much towards Logan. So I bought a rooted doll and I cut. Slowly and not till after hoping a hairdresser would save me. No one signed up. Not that I blame them.

Let me tell you, it takes a little bit of bravery to make the first few cuts. I used sharp scissors, a small pair like for embroidery after I cut a large chunk of the length off. I cut up instead of against like you would think to cut. It made the actual cuts less blunt and blend better. I got to photo number two before getting some advice from someone who actually cuts hair and ended up with the last photo on the bottom right. I also removed the “makeup” from the cheeks and lips and trimmed the eyelashes by about half. A quick gray tee shirt and khaki pants, we’ll buy some sneakers (although I am hoping to find some Jordans) and I will make a beanie but overall, I think we landed a boy doll. We’ve named him Mateo. He looks like a Mateo to me. The doll was originally Samantha and we’d considered calling him Sam but he just doesn’t look like a Sam to me.

He’s wonderful and he will serve his purpose. My 13-year-old, he’d kill me for sharing this, loves him more than my 5-year-old. I like that. My 13 year is a nurturer too. That too would embarrass him but it makes me very, very proud. I wonder, though, why is it in 2017 that I had to CREATE a boy. And that 2017 is the first year that American Girl thought to create a boy. I mean, I get it. American GIRL but while I do have a house of ball throwing boys, I do have boys who love babies and want to take care of people. Why not teach them through play? Why not give them a doll that looks like them too? I can’t help but think that if my son walked in with a little boy doll, he’d get far less looks than if he had a girl baby. Sad as that is. There should be no side eyes at all, but let’s face it, society is a judgey bunch and we’re just trying to wade through the judgment without ruining our children.

I am currently on the hunt for another doll, hopefully, used, to create another “boy” only this time, we will call him transgender because those kids are looking for dolls like them too. Luckily the internet is full of awesomeness and I don’t think my hunt will take long. And I am looking forward to creating some memories for other kids. And maybe learning how to make tiny Jordans. Hey, goals. Right?

Edited to add: Walmart does indeed carry a boy. Two actually and they’re pretty handsome. Apparently at one point Target did too but I haven’t been able to find him.

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.