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.

The Things I Should Have Said | #BehindTheBlogger


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I can remember what the door of the car looked like as we wound around the mountains of Colorado. I don’t really remember if it was dark outside or if the memory is just so dark that it feels dark in my heart but everything in the memory is that of gray. A black and white that can’t be duplicated in photo. I remember looking at the door handle and feeling the car juggle my body around and then I remember he was gone and I knew he was never coming back.

My parents divorced when I was very young and my biological father is/was a bad man. I like to think in the years since he was so awful to my mother, that he’s changed but I know better from conversations with my half brother. I saw him periodically growing up. I remember a brief visit at Easter and car ride with blankets from our mother’s home to his, almost an hour away. I remember racecars and Camel cigarettes and two tiny boys who were my brothers. I remember all the mean from that house and all the sad when I knew I’d never see him or the tiny brothers again when he created an ugly scene in the San Jose airport.

I also remember how it felt to know your parent didn’t want you. I still know, with the full burn of a fresh wound because I think about it looking at my own children. I think about it more then I probably should.

Sometime ago he tried reconnecting with me on facebook. It felt uneasy and sad and I can remember the hurt I felt when he called me by a childhood nickname that means nothing now but did then. He told me I take after a man who I knew only bad about. The only stories I’d ever heard were of suicide and sadness and now he was comparing me to him. He asked about my kids and I told him and he asked about my brother and I told him only a little because I almost felt like he didn’t deserve to know him.

But I was kind. As kind as I could be. To a man who left me so damaged that I am almost 40 and I can’t help but feel worthless. There was so much I should of said to him. That I didn’t because I don’t want to hurt people, just because they’ve hurt me.

The things I should have said to him, GO AWAY. You don’t get the privilege of knowing my beautiful children. A perfect stranger stepped up to be my dad and HE gets the privilege of being their Grandpa. You don’t. Ever. I shouldn’t have to share their names with you because a REAL DAD doesn’t walk away from their kids and so they get to know their grandkids. A real parents doesn’t  let kids feel worthless into their adult life. A real dad sticks around when there is no money and when they hate the other parent because real parents do whatever it takes to be a part of their children’s lives. Love doesn’t come from money, love comes in time spent and you missed out. You don’t  get to know my kids. Ever. It’s the one thing I can’t bend on.

There is so much I should of said and instead, I gave you grace. I don’t know if it’s true but there is suppose to be healing in forgiveness and I am choosing to forgive you but never forget.

I should of said, I’m sorry but you’re not privy to my life anymore. But I felt like grace should win.

Sometime last year I unfriended him. I haven’t looked back. I feel sad for him. And for what he misses. And someday just saying the words, words he’ll never read are enough to begin to let go. I can’t imagine leaving my kids. I can thank him for teaching me that lesson. I know what not to do to my kids…

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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.

Cookies or grapes

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January and February are particularly tight months for us. It’s after the holidays and a birthday and I just have never had much work in the cold season. When I was shooting it was because of the cold but now that I mostly focus on graphic work, I think the slow period comes from other people’s tight months too. I am a meal planner, a frugal shopper. I utilize both Aldi and freezer meals. I have to, I’m feeding 7 and 5 of them are boys. We do what we can to get through the lean months. All of the time I worry, all of the time we come out okay.

Yesterday I took my weekly budget to the store for the staples I can’t keep in stock. Milk, chocolate milk (yes, I know how much it costs), bread, bananas, apples, carrots and some treats for today’s school Valentine’s party. I got healthy snacks this time and pre-cut, non-brown apples are where it is at. I buy eggs at Grocery Outlet though. You can get 2.5 dozen for around 2.00. Dexter eats at least one egg a day and with baking and what not, I need eggs all the time. It’s conveniently next to Dollar Tree too. Win win.

I wandered around the store for awhile, taking note of new items and how their produce looked. I grabbed lunch meat and some frozen fast food for the days when dinner doesn’t come till 9PM and then I stood in line behind a woman who smelled lovely, like the woods but didn’t crack a smile and counted her money over and over. 26.00. I couldn’t help but count with her. She’d placed most of her items onto the belts but held onto a bag of grapes. And when it was her turn, she asked how much they were and when the checker  replied, she dropped her head and asked the checker to put them back.

I couldn’t help but notice she’d chosen two, several pound logs of cookie dough over those grapes. And I wondered, without judgement, why?

I played out several scenarios in my head. But I couldn’t help but think why I’d of chosen the cookie dough. If my kids needed a treat for school, they’d signed up for it, for a party, and I couldn’t bake, I would’ve chosen the dough too. To make sure they fit in, to make sure they have what they need. And while cookie dough doesn’t seem like a need to some of us. I might be a need to them. Did she chose her kids over herself? I couldn’t help but think those grapes might of been a want, a need for her. That she gave up to makes sure someone else was taken care of.

As a mother I always try and put my children before myself. Often at the sake of sanity. I want grapes. I want them but their need for cookie dough always comes before mine. When they need a haircut, they get it. When I do? It waits until I make sure their needs are met. It’s what parents are suppose to do, isn’t it? There is so much huff and puff these days about self care. You need time for yourself, they say but when it comes at the expense of your children, how do you choose self over the people you brought into this world and promise to take care of.

Tough being a mother.

My self care has fallen to the way side. I don’t go out much and though a tried and true introvert, I still experience the longing for connection. I just think it’s not in the same way of the masses. I am never going to go to moms night out but I would really like a mom friend at baseball. Even if we don’t talk, it would be nice to breath in the presence of her and her of me. But my going out? It’s Cub Scouts and while I cherish and value the time I get to spend with my Drew and I think Chuck, Steve and Charlie are pretty much the bomb.. .I couldn’t care less about how to build a tent and I am a TERRIBLE Pinewood Derby car creator. I’m trying to retrain my brain into taking those moments in as “self care” but I find myself thinking about what it would be like to be 17 again sitting at a table on the Pearl Street mall listening to Open Mic night at Penny Lane cafe. It was my self care. My connection to people, my  grapes.. and I am missing it. This weekend, at a Cub Scout related volunteering, I listened at the pastor taught about rest.. and I thought, I never rest. Even when I am still….

I feel fortunate in the fact I have a couple pretty stellar online friends. I chat with two every day. Both too far to visit daily but close enough that if I filled up my tank I could go see for a few days. I’ll do that some day, when there is more time for me.

The days are long but the years are short, they say. I think while I struggle with it right now, ultimately I am doing the right thing by my children and kids by giving them the very best I can. But I think I need something, even if it’s little, just to myself.

How do you self care? Or are you, like me, struggling?

 

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.