Maybe…

Maybe three just isn’t enough.

img_2518

Changes

Dayne came home after taking his step mother home.  She didn’t want him to leave her so he stayed a while, until she fell asleep.  So here’s this man, Dayne, who not only found the strength to sit by his father’s side for the last thirty-six hours of his life, made decisions he thought his father would have wanted, and then battled out all the sadness and angst in his family between the step mother, two step sisters and the dozens of people who showed up to say goodbye to George.  He didn’t want a funeral so there will be nothing done at this point, but the sisters will be writing and posting a eulogy in the local paper and Dayne is going to send something to the nurses who worked so hard to make his dad’s last hours comfortable ones.

George hated dying.  He hated not being in control and absolutely hated being doted on.  He tried, constantly, to pull the tube from his throat while intubated and removed his oxygen mask every moment he could.  Dayne fought with him the entire night, telling him he had to wait until the morning when his sisters and step mom could be there.  They all went home to ‘rest up’ while Dayne sat tirelessly by his bedside.  George would not have wanted to be alone there…in that hospital bed, and Dayne knew and stayed.  He fought with the hospital admin who told him he had to leave and was so kind to the nurses who helped his father so much.  He got home a few hours ago and told me, over and over, how many people came to him and hugged him, or laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, telling him that he was a good son and was making the right choices for his dad.  Apparently, along with the pneumonia, there was a serious heart condition and a respiratory disease George kept to himself for several years.  He was never one to be ‘doted’ on.  Dayne never left his side and yet called and texted me constantly, making sure Colt was okay.  I kept telling Colt what was going on, gently, and the kid just kept trying to console me, wiping my tears away and hugging me, telling me to breathe with him deeply….in…..and out.  In and out.  “It’s okay mom.  Just breathe.”  I tried to tell him it was okay to be sad but he was so desperate to make me feel better I ended up just letting it go.  When Dayne finally texted me that George was gone, I told Colt and he only wanted to know when his dad would be home so he could give him a hug and tell him it was going to be okay.

George made Dayne promise one thing before he left.  He made him promise to try to love his family and build a relationship with his sisters and other family members.  The sisters were open with Dayne and they both told him they were hurt and missed him, not understanding why he had decided to cut them all out of his life.  They talked a lot and mended so many wounds.  I fell, selfishly left out of it all but they are not my family, they are his and no matter how hard I tried to get him to let us come, he wouldn’t have Colt see the pain his father was in and the heartbreak Colt’s father was going through.  I still feel like an asshole for not being there, but I did what Dayne asked me to do and was here waiting for him when he got home.

So he’s going to try to repair the relationship with his sisters and aunts/uncles on his step mother’s side of the family, all of whom came to say goodbye.  I told him I would do anything he wanted to do…would follow and back up his decisions.  His sisters want to know Colt and they have several kids who are his cousins.  Colt’s great grand parents went to see George (on his mother’s side) and they wanted to see him too…everyone made it very clear, foster brothers and sisters, step sisters, step mother, step aunts and uncles and grandparents, all rallied around Dayne, knowing he was the only one who sat there with his dad and was the only one who would ever be strong enough to do so.  They all asked about me (he said, but I don’t believe my name came up) and Colt.  They want to be a part of his life somehow, even in the background, and how could I possibly deny Colt even a small slice of family who wants to know and love him?  I can’t.  So….we will start a  new perspective and try this again….this family thing.

Dayne told me it was okay if I didn’t join in.  I was allowed to stay back while he and Colt built relationships with these people.  He knows me so well.  The very thought of all this brings up such panic in me.  I am happy in my little bubble, socially maladapted and completely alone with the two of them but…I’ll never deny either of them the family the both long for.  I hate that I might not be a part of that, but I’m terrified of the relationships I’m going to have to either hide from completely and watch from the side lines for the good of my son, or join in and try.  I’ve never done this well.  I don’t know how to feel.

If we have a relationship with his sisters and other relatives, how can I not reach out to my own brother and sister?  My mother?  If I do that, can I still not talk to my father?  They hate Dayne…all of them.  All I can see is hatred, pain, anger and anxiety.  Will Christmas suddenly become me taking Colt to my mother’s house to spend a tense and unhappy visit and then sending him off with his dad to visit his aunts and cousins while I…what?  Sit here on the couch and watch Youtube videos?  I don’t know how this shit works and I don’t know my place in it.  At all.

All I know is that I’m glad Dayne is home, I’m glad George is out of pain and I feel so much for these people….all a big mass in my chest.  George is gone.  Dayne’s mother needs him even though she’s never loved him and he wants to be there.  He wants Colt to know his grandma, but maybe not his other grandparents on my side.  I’m not sure I want Colt to know them either.  My father, when Colt was born, offered to “take him for the weekend and straighten him out” to stop the constant crying and misery.  I almost threw up right there and vowed right then to never, ever, allow Colt to be alone with my dad.  My half siblings and mother are angry with me and they hate Dayne; blame him for so much and then are overwhelmed by Colt’s disabilities.  I don’t think this is a place I want to go back to, but this was like a pact Dayne and I went into together….we were going to leave the past behind and start a new life for Colt that wouldn’t be tainted by our miserable pasts.  Dayne feels differently now, having watched his father die, and I understand that so well….but I don’t know where I fit in here.  I don’t think I’m part of the plan to move forward and, if I choose not to engage, I am sure it will happen without me.  So there goes my bubble of solitude…my lifeless, half-arsed fake relationships at work that are kept healthy only because I am forced to see these people every day.

I am proud of Dayne.  I’m proud of the child we share who only wants his mom and dad to not feel any pain and to stay happy and safe.  I’m ashamed of myself though.  I wasn’t there, I didn’t say goodbye and, again, I left Dayne to face a loss that tore him apart without being there for him.  When his best friend died a few years back we were on the outs and I didn’t know my place.  He asked me to make sure Colt was okay and I did that.  This time, it was the same, only there were so many tears and so much loss.

I have to get up for work in a few hours and my entire face is swollen from sobbing.  I let Dayne tell me everything…every detail and every moment and he is now sleeping on the couch across from me, not having slept in days.  Colt is asleep in his bed, satisfied and happy again now that his dad is home.  The cats are even happy again, loving him up….Daisy cuddling Colt as he constantly kicks her off his bed; Jack, who literally sat on me the entire time Dayne was gone, now cuddled into Dayne’s side.  I can hear him purr from here.  Everyone is going to be okay but my life is about to change in ways I don’t know I can handle.  I will never hold either of these boys back.  Never.  Even if it means I need to curl into a ball and isolate myself from everything I will never hold them back.

Then again, my foster-mother loved me, even though she threw me to the wolves and never bothered to protect me from the monster that was her husband.  I loved my brother and sister so much I took every moment of abuse from our father just so they never felt the pain I felt.

I think I’ll just lie down and go to sleep.  My eyes are so swollen from crying I can barely see and tomorrow is going to be a hellish day at work.  I missed today and that’s going to fuck me over. Giant bags and swollen eyelids won’t help that much.  I’ve had an ice pack on my eyes for hours and it’s not going down.

Can I just crawl into my closet and hide from the world for a while?  Please?  I don’t think I can do this family thing…and now George is gone and I have no way to tell him I’m sorry that the last time I talked to him, I turned him away.  I don’t like Dayne’s family.  I don’t like how he hurts because of them….but if he wants them, I can’t stand in the way.  I already feel like I’ve fucked everyone up here.  Maybe I was meant to be alone.  Maybe they would be better off if they didn’t have me dragging them down so they could be loved by many, rather than just by me.

I don’t belong here.  I should have been there.  I have so much regret and so much guilt and yet I wish everything could just go back to the way it was.

Perspective

It’s all in your perspective, I think….the way you deal with things that happen.  Dayne’s father is no longer suffering.  He’s out there in the nowhere, hopefully meeting up with his long lost best friend, his mom and the many others he has lost along the way.

Rest peacefully George.  Thank you for the good you brought into Dayne’s life.  He loved you no matter what, even at the worst of times.  I’m glad you had your family around you when you went.  Don’t worry about Dayne.  I’ll take good care of him for you and will never keep him from the life he wants to live.

IMG_0904

The things in my head while I sit and wait

Early Sunday morning, Dayne’s cell phone went off.  It was the sort of hour that one only receives bad news via phone calls, so, we knew something was up.  Dayne’s family is an odd bunch.  His family is essentially not his own and there were a lot of foster kids going through that place, well cared for or otherwise, it was what it was.

When he was born, both of his parents were under 20 and his mother had some serious mental health issues.  She basically gave birth to him and then, the moment she was able, she got dressed and split, leaving Dayne behind.  There were a few battles in the following year when his mother regretted her decision and tried to take him back from his very young father, but through some very …. questionable methods, Dayne ended up entirely in his father’s care.  After a few years, he met his current wife and they went on to have two children of their own and the foster kid train started.

I’m not shy about saying that the new wife was a crazy bitch and took full advantage of everything and everyone she could.  She resented Dayne the entire way through and despite her being the only mother figure he had in the world, he was not ever recognized as ‘her’ son.  He was not part of family functions with the rest of her family and Dayne has many years of memories of being alone.  When he was 5 he walked home for lunch from school on his own and would have to eat whatever portion of crap she left in the fridge for him.  I guess it was a different time, as I also recall walking home for lunch when I was just a few years older than he was, but it was to a stay at home mother who would have something ready for me to eat like canned zoodles and grilled cheese.  Big difference there.

He was dropped off at strangers homes (neighbours they knew, but certainly not friendly with) on Christmas eve while they took off to Florida.  The unsuspecting neighbours never knew what to do or say to this child who arrived on their doorstep.  Many of them tried to make things better for Dayne and managed a few gifts and made him feel welcome, but the next year, they would be sure not to answer the door when they saw the family coming.  There were so many things like this…just so many.

Dayne grew up feeling unwanted and unloved.  He adored his father and thought him to be the smartest man in the world.  It was a crushing blow when he discovered that hid dad was mainly full of crap and embellished stories and knowledge to hide the true feelings of inadequacy that lay just beneath the surface.  That’s not to say that Dayne was given any special treatment – his parents treated their own kids the same.  All of them were kicked out of the house long before they finished high school.  They had an odd, dismissive way of parenting.  Basically, the fact you were allowed to live there was gift enough and the rest was none of their business or responsibility.  The foster kids had it better because there was more regulation around them, but not much better, that’s for sure.

There were a lot of things that happened between the time I started dating him and met his family and now that have left the bunch of them estranged.  It’s just been in the past few years that Dayne has been talking to his father again, mostly on the phone, and has just started a few chats with one of his two step sisters.  I’ve struggled with this part a lot.  They hurt Dayne so deeply…..all of them did….and I hated to see him suffer.  They all turned him away when he needed them most and he forgave them; they lied to him repeatedly and he forgave them; his step mother treated his dad like her own personal slave and his father, so afraid of being alone, constantly chose her over everyone else. When Colt was born, the step mother didn’t ‘count’ him as a grandchild because Dayne was not her son.  His father, on our last visit over there when Colt was a toddler, got upset with Dayne when he didn’t agree with something he said and his response was to say:

“I wish I could go back in time and find your mother when she was pregnant with you so I could beat the shit out of her until you were aborted.”

That was it for me.  Dayne too.  He stopped talking to his family for a while.  This wasn’t an isolated incident though, it was just the way things were between them.  It horrified me even more than my own dealings with my foster family and, supporting Dayne, I bowed out of any relationship we had.

So life goes on….and suddenly Dayne is talking about taking Colt to see his grandfather. The idea terrified our son who has no idea who this man is because he was never willing to visit us.  The step mother wouldn’t come and wouldn’t allow his dad to visit without her so, we didn’t see him.  There was a single attempt to sneak out to meet up but it went bad and Dayne did not want to put Colt through the confusion of having people in and out of his life….he’s not one who would understand such blatant changes and the swing between being loving and kind to hating and angry over almost nothing.  We talked about it and decided we’d let Colt decide.  I said I’d go so we could play Minecraft on our phones together so he wasn’t too nervous about having to talk to this grandfather he never knew.  That’s where we were when phone rang in the middle of the night.

Dayne’s dad has MS.  He’s fought it like nothing I’ve ever seen before and, all things considered, did amazingly well in life.  He figured out how to live with it, no matter how bad it got.  There was a period of terrible seizures, black outs, blindness, inability to walk, move or balance…..he has lesions on his brain and some mass in his lung but he just kept going and going.  This flu that has been going around this part of the country that is causing such a problem was rampant in the office that Daynes dad worked at part-time.  He didn’t protect himself and caught it, then, almost immediately developed pneumonia, half filling his good lung.  He drove himself to the hospital on Saturday and was admitted.  The sedated and intubated him while draining his lungs but once extubated his heart started struggling.  I convinced Dayne to go to him yesterday afternoon, and he did….he’s been by his side ever since, staying the night to make sure his dad didn’t rip out his IV’s and oxygen, which he did every chance he got.  This morning, the two girls, the wife and Dayne assembled to decide on what to do.  His dad has a DNR so the choices weren’t exactly expansive.  At 11 this morning, they started pumping him full of pain killers to stop the agony he was in all night long, removed his IV’s and turned off the machines.  For the last five hours, they have stood by him as his heart and blood pressure goes wildly up and down and his breathing gets more laboured.  He finally fell asleep and is out of pain and now they wait…..just stand there and wait.

Dayne is devastated and I’m not there with him.  The guilt is overwhelming.  He’s been calling me in tears every few hours but would not let me come.  He doesn’t want Colt to see that – seeing him so torn to pieces will really confuse and terrify Colt, no matter what. All of Colt’s life, it has been just the three of us and although we are trying to expose him to as many real life situations as we can….prepare the kid somehow for what life is like out there….this is one thing that might be way too much for him to handle.  I’ve been trying to explain to him what’s happening, and why.  I start to cry and Colt immediately comes to comfort me.  It’s all backwards and confusing and I just want to be there for Dayne but I can’t.  So….I’ve sat here all night and all day, calling out of work, waiting for this man to die.

The hardest part is hearing Dayne say that it’s his own fault for not taking his dad up on rebuilding their relationship over this last year.   That said, he did spend the night talking with him, forgiving him and making their peace.  I’m so glad they had that chance, as most of us don’t.  The phone call no one wants to get is so often that it’s already too late.

Now I’m stuck thinking about my own family and the horrible way things went.  If the past is the past for Dayne and his dad, should it be the same for me and my family? My father won’t be able to hurt me anymore, not the way he did back then, and I already had the big talk about how we wanted to put the whole ‘dropping me off and driving away when I was 15 to fend for myself on the streets’.  We ended up able to still have somewhat of a relationship after that.  I need to figure out if my parents who raised me….sort of… should be forgiven and if I should take advantage of the time that is left or if it should all be left in the past.

This isn’t about me though…it’s about Dayne and his dad.  I asked every loved person I’ve ever lost to go be with Dayne and to help his dad let go….because he really needs to let go. I am sitting here, an hour away, protecting our son from this horrible part of life and I feel like I’ve just stepped out of the picture and all I can do is wait.  It was hard to watch Dayne suffer their neglect and lies and now it’s hard to watch him suffer the loss.  Where is that line between forgiveness and self protection?  Maybe the thing that scares me the most is the thought of no one being there with me when my day comes.   Who will stand at my bedside and hold my hand while I slip away?  Dayne?  Surely – and our son as well.  Maybe that’s enough.  Maybe the others don’t want me in their world anyway.

So I sit.  I field tearful phone calls and offer support, love and sympathy.  I want this horrible moment to be over for all of them and I wish I could do something to make it different.  But I can’t.  So I wait….and I hate every single moment of it.

Still here. Still dreaming. 

I’m a bit lost for words these days… obviously.  Health wise my docs and I have embarked upon a mission to find a balance between treatment for the arthritis turning my spine into a grinding, dried out mess, and treatment for the narcolepsy vs R.E.M. disorder. 

Anything that allows me to exist in a world with pain control that brings the constantly driving pain down to a moderately tolerable level (that’s really all I need. I can handle pain as long as I can move and breathe) is sedating in one way or another.  

Issue: Anything sedating kicks the narcolepsy into high gear and makes my fight to remain conscious less possible.   The meds that keep me awake tend to battle that for a few hours at a time.  

Issue: Anything stimulating, such as the meds I take twice a day to keep me awake and battle the ones that sedate the pain and inflammation….well those little fuckers provide a supercharge to whatever causes the R.E.M.issues.   

Anyway. Endless cycle later, I’m exhausted, forcing myself to sleep much less than I used to, constantly in pain, and back to the whole “let’s go into a sleep cycle while we’re awake (barely) at work and start dreaming while simultaneously working.”  Of course the work is not focused and I feel like I’m moving under water. I’ll stare at my screen trying to make sense of what the hell im doing while I’m kinda of lost elsewhere, experiencing somehow, a multiple story behind the scenes.  

This isn’t the point of this post though.  That’s just what I’m wading through.  

What is the point?  It’s a mess of dreams and turmoil, relationships and confusion.  I dream of people I love hating me, people I hate owning me, people I want tossing me aside and ones I am afraid of holding me hostage.  I’m dreaming of my foster family in endless, continuous dreams that find a way to continue nightly and get progressively more distressing.  I’ve dreamed my own death in constant loops and wake wishing it was reality, just so I can stop fucking dying when I close my eyes.  

I’m tired and confused.  Someone keeps calling my work with a blocked number, and then my cell with the same. There aren’t many people who have my cell.  Is it you Drew?  Maybe Mike is wondering if I’m alive or dead, although I doubt he would care.  

I don’t know what’s going on. And yet I do.  

More later. This is turning into another draft each letter I type. 

The last 30 days

Wow….that last month has been filled with stuff that’s been overflowing from my head and running down my entire body, pooling around my feet in a mucky, sticky puddle that just won’t dry up or go away.

I have so much to write.  I have so many drafts pending…..  I’ll tell you why I haven’t been writing you soon.  Just need to get my thoughts together.

And yes, I mean you Mike….and yes, Drew and MH you as well.  It’s all the same in different ways.

So much to feel at once, I can never finish a post or an email.  I think, when I get a chance this weekend, I’m just going to post it all in one, long, epic post that will answer everything, all at once.

You’d never know it would you?

One of the saddest parts of mental illness is that you’d never know it would you?  You’d never look at this photo and think of how much suffering is going on behind my eyes.  What a weird, deceptive game.  I feel like everything is falling apart and I look like I have it together.  Or maybe it’s just me.

Just remember, my friends, to never look only on the outside.  My friend Sara died two years ago this week….by her own hand…the last photo I have of her is a happy one where she wears a huge smile and her eyes shine.  No light there now…..no Sara there now.  That scares the living shit out of me sometimes.

IMG_6347