Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's about Forgiveness.

The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.                          

Don Henley has been haunting my  head with these lyrics for the past 4 days.
"I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness

In this years multitude of resolutions, my quest to continue in my practicing gratitude (my inspiration being glorious Alicia), I added a bugger of a challenge. To also actively practice "Forgiveness aka the art of letting things go"...and good crap I apparently don't like to do that, (NOT-AT-ALL) I like to hoard my feelings for a rainy day, so when that day comes all the misery of my life can be played again and again like an old time slide show. Equip with a trusty side of junk food, my pity parties indulge my entire need to self destruct including Doritos, Ben and Jerry are invited, and of coarse my trusty sweat pants, protecting myself by putting the world between me and my bed covers. I revel in my hurt and roll around in it for a while. Healthy, right? Yup, that's me,  work-in-ever-lovn'-progress.

If I have any chance at all of helping my children heal, learn these arts and practices of both gratitude and forgiveness, my arse better be in shape,so as much as I sucktasically fail at doing much of either thing I am 'trying' to practice that of which I teach. UGH.

 So I went to Vegas.
Cause you know it's the place to go for Inner Peace and absolution, right?

 But I really did, with my two baby (*cough* they prefer "younger") brothers in tow to visit our biological Father.

You see, we for a short time were raised by both him and our mother, together until their marriage collapsed with us three at ages of 7,6,and 3 caught in the cross fires. It was ugly, hard and difficult for everyone involved, much like many children of divorce and broken homes could testify. He moved far, far away and visits were limited.  I know our story is not rare, there a specifics too private to share, but lets just say in the wake lay trauma, lots, and lots of trauma.

Do I ever question my parents choice to divorce? Never. I wouldn't be the person I am with out every exact moment that has led me and my siblings to who we are...and not to toot, whoot, or blow my own horn, but we three are fantastic people.

We have shared losses, and trauma, protected one another from abuse and taken the brunt in turn. We came out on the end of a childhood and adolescence together scared and world wise, but most of all together. For the most part, despite our Fathers best of intentions, he was unable to protect, be a part of or emotionally support much of our growing up years, you see as his right was, he started life a new, with a new wife and children. There is still pockets of loss I have felt in lacking the relationship I wished I could have had. Cynically rolling my eyes at the song "Butterfly Kisses", hating movies with "Father/Daughter" tear jerking scenes...because being angry at them, thinking them sappy and ridiculous, covered my pain, and yes, even jealousy towards our Father and his other family.

As the years have passed, visits had been on behalf of Funerals, and occasional Weddings.Then as a grown woman and adult, in my own marriage, and motherhood set in, I began to let the loss create anger, and judgement, hiding the hurt, of what I felt he was missing, the best parts of me,within my children.

I gave that hurt and resentment free rent inside part of my heart for years.
As I have grown older (oy) and wiser (debatable) , I have learned, in order to fit certain things in your heart you have to kick out some of those old tenants that are no longer doing anything for you but messing things up and making way more noise than peace.

So after a bi-annual phone call on Fathers Day, I shocked myself into an idea, a sibling trip to visit my Father and Step
and so we did.

It was special, he made so many efforts to ensure we had an incredible time. No huge life altering conversations, but time was spent, laughter was present, healing took place. Boundaries were kept.
I think sometimes we confuse "letting things go", forgiving as forgetting and putting ourselves at harm. That is the beauty of boundaries, they are the catchall for how far it is safe for us to go without getting hurt.
Much like my INSANE, debilitating fear of heights (imagine crying, puking,shaking mess)...we went to the new bridge over Hoover Dam, the height is indescribable...I had the option to walk on the bridge or wait, tentatively. I decided to "do it", BUT, 90% of the time I held onto  the outside wall holding fast to the concrete side where I could not see the distance between me and the bottom. Only when breathing deep and making the decision to cross did I, and when I was ready returning to the safer, more stable side, and on that day, I let go of some of that debilitating fear, on my terms.

Within my boundaries, I accepted the relationship my Dad has to offer with open arms, letting in that redefine my expectations and past hurts that were mucking up any hope of anything healthy. I moved much out of my heart this weekend, and surprisingly the old resentment of "what it can't and won't ever be", made room for someone new, "acceptance for what is".I think I may let them stay.

In that same apartment building in my heart, there are some other rascally tenets that are having an eviction notice signed as we speak. Sometimes our forgiveness needs isn't for one specific individual, but an experience, and all encompassing 'thing' that slowly eats us up, and knocks us around a bit. For me this 'thing' has been the Quintessential of the early 1990's "Guns and Roses" hotel guests of my heart. My inability to safely bare and deliver children naturally.

You know me the freaky, all natural, organic when possible,essential oil using, free ranging my chickens in my suburbian backyard chick....well I am having to learn to forgive myself, my body,the Universe and even God for not allowing me the gift and experience of safe, natural pregnancy and child birth. It is something I have mourned and been so very sad over. I may sound like a gluttonous-baby-hoarder, good crap I have 10 children, Right?!? I should shut my ever-living-yapper. Understand I have so much gratitude for ALL of my babies,and the beautiful ways they have entered my home. But, truths, of truths, as many true honest adoptive mother would tell you. I wish I had been able to give birth to each and everyone of my children, sparing both them and I loss and pain.At times I wish I alone could carry their story with them, from the beginning. Selfish? Maybe, but after multiple, and I mean M-U-L-T-I-P-L-E, miscarriages and pregnancy losses, I still do sometimes wish I had the sacred opportunity to carry and give life without hoards of I.V's, feeding tubes, constant stress tests/Ultra Sounds, though those modern day things saved both me and my children's lives repeatedly.  I wanted an at-home water birth, with a Doula and Midwife. I ended up with hoards of Dr.'s and Nurses, tubes every where and two miracle babies of myself and my husband, and eight Miracle babies of other warrior women, whom I am blessed to share our children's stories with.

 In this forgiveness for myself, and absolute belief that women in their beauty and strength to create and sustain life, should have the right and option to have the birth experience they wish to have (the one I was denied due to my high risk) I am seeking my healing by becoming what I lacked. My passion for natural childbirth, respecting and advocating a mothers wishes has evolved in my passion to become  Doula certified.
As this journey of healing, and wonder of the amazing, AMAZING power of women and creation, being allowed to be apart of that heals parts of my loss, crying with them, soothing their pain, creates light in places dim with resentment. Amazingly as winding as this journey is, in the next three days, I will be helping my Baby Faiths Birth-mother give birth to her next child.
Beautiful aint it?

Forgiveness is a Gift, oddly the receiver is 100% you.

The heart of the Matter is simply that. Loving yourself enough to let go...and receive with both arms wide open.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Soul Cancer

Tonight as I bake cupcakes at mid-night for Bugs play ( because isn't that when most sane people bake cupcakes.) I started thinking, and then the thinking got passionate, and then while my confections baked...I decided to word vomit up the feelings I keep on pushing down...AND HERE YOU HAVE IT...

lucky you.

In our community there is something so heart breakingly tragic going on with a teen girl that we know and love personally. She is an AMAZING, talented BEAUTIFUL young woman, that is such an incredible leader and example to the youth in our area, just last year this girl organized a dance for relay to life, because she was inspired. One year later she has been struck down with a debilitating disease, that has been touch and go daily for weeks and weeks. I and our family pray so much for her daily. It has been such an incredible opportunity for my kids to work on building compassion. Through service, they have helped me plan and put together freezer meals, recommending their favorites. I love this girl and her family.

And as I read another update and saw so much love and support and amazing rallying behind this angel of a girl....I got jealous.

Yep, I did.

Not that ANY of the support, love and prayers that have been showered upon this sweet wonderful girl are not incredible, I continue to add my own, it's just that I began thinking about our battles last summer, with our teenage daughter...and my heart started to hurt.

You see, losing Papillion was hush, hush. The 10 hospitals, multiple suicide attempts, all of the pain, and scares, and scars, all of the visits, and hopes up, and then dashed were weathered alone.
When she finally disappeared from our home and community, there were no questions asked, no prayers of support, no phone calls...she just materialized into thin air...because well, we just don't talk about mental illness now do we?
It was the loneliest thing I have ever been through, with very little validation out side of other trauma parents...I get the “People don't know what to say.”....but even if they just saying THAT...”Linds I am so sorry I don't know what to say" would have been something...instead of avoiding me in the hallways at church, or changing direction when come face to face with me in the grocery aisle.Or completly stop being my friend...
Mental health is so isolating, but it is time in 2012, for it not to be...really.

If my daughter had, had Cancer, broken both legs, even terrible asthma, we could talk about it, and everyone would nod their heads sympathetically, ask questions, offer prayers, help, love...
But when it is a cancer literally eating away at someones soul, future,emotional health...when it is a broken brain, when your child can't take a full, deep breath because trauma has stolen it, well, that is something put in a corner, whisper and generally not ever bring it up.....and

It's not like everyone on this planet has never known someone that has not suffered from abuse, depression and even post pardum...we all know someone...whether it be a former soldier that gets skidish around loud noises, an Uncle that gets angry faster than needs be, a sister, Aunt, Grandmother or Mom that has quirky things she has to do, for “things' to be alright...getting hurt, being a little messy in the head, is part of the human condition we don't talk enough about, and we need to.

Medically in the last 100 years we have made leaps and bounds in the physical needs and healing of our bodies...but what about our brains? Our souls? There isn't enough demand, because no one is standing up and saying THIS, THIS NEEDS WORK, this need to be fixed, THIS needs to be a bigger priority than magic diet pills. It is not happening fast enough, it is not being prioritized.

I agree some amazing, AMAZING work and books have been written in the name of R.A.D., P.T.S.D, O.C.D and all around trauma and the effects of it...but why? Why is is so much easier for a parent to get a 504 for a child with A.D.H.D. That is hyperactive and struggles concentrating, than a child with severe trauma and behavioral and attachment challenges?

one word, shame.

Our shame as parents being judged for our kids behavior, or that we "did" this to them, our fear and shame as a community, that if all start talking about our emotional and mental health, that judgment will be passed. No one judges someone with Cancer, “well obviously they weren't doing something right.”
That does not happen, why? Because what they have is physical, and obviously not anybody’s fault.
BUT, Nor is what happened to my child...Or to me for that matter.

My name is Lindsay. I am parenting children with severe trauma, anxiety, depression, psychotic tendencies, suicidal ideation, addictions, bulimia, anorexia, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder,Hording, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and they are surviving by the skin of their teeth, everyday. Their diseases are devastating, everyday is an Emergency room of Soul Triage, deciding which “bleeder”/trigger must be dealt with first.

My children have soul cancer. Their illnesses and struggles are not their fault or a result of my poor parenting. The statistics are stacked against them. There are not nearly enough resources, well trained Dr.'s, or therapists around to suffice...but we are fighting this with everything we 've got, and not quietly. I am not going to be ashamed with or for my children's needs and
illnesses. I am going to talk about them, I am going to get the word out.
And hopefully someday the help, that will heal them, and other kids like them...because when we don't shout, and demand, and talk about what needs to be done, without shame, without fear of judgment, that is when the possibility to be heard and have change can really come...