This post, I thought long and hard about writing today. Honestly, the whirlwind of emotions, the chaotic and at times painful process I was involved in, was very stressful & difficult to navigate. I even questioned myself, my decision to pursue a petition in court to seek visitation of our estranged granddaughter. You see, along with the pain and trauma and anguish of losing our son Michael to addiction, I was also dealing with him losing custody of his baby girl. Without getting into major detail, due to his drug use, the court had ruled for the mother to have full custody. Sadly, tragically, he never would gain that back. She, the mother of his child, fled and severed all contact with our family. I often described it as another loss. We bonded and drooled over this perfect tiny girl for 2 months in our home. In a blink, she was gone. She nor the mother, ever returned. I was forced to pursue the battle in court. Ironically, I filed a petition the day before my son overdosed. I was ordered to appear just a couple of weeks after that. I honestly, do not know how I mustered the courage or strength, perhaps LOVE does conquer all.
It was not easy. None of it ever is. The mother did not want us to bother her, to become part of this baby’s life. She has her reasons, I am sure, but, so do we. One day, I was leaving court. She would not speak or acknowledge me. She didn’t even offer her condolences. I left heartbroken and I was in deep grief. I drove out of the parking lot and looked up to the skies and at that moment, perhaps a leelee moment, I felt a shift inside my heart. I vowed to my son. I will do what you so badly wanted, but could not conquer here. I will find a way to your baby. I will teach her, love her and tell her all about her Daddy who loved her. No matter what it takes, that is what I would focus on. She would know you existed. She would learn how much you loved her, held her and was in awe of her. I never looked back after that. I just stood strong and proud and kept showing up.
Five months later, we are due to start a trial for visitation. Simply due to the fact that she would not budge, speak, or negotiate. I obtained a lawyer and was ready to plead my case. I showed up with my Army of strong, loving women. My sister, sister in law and daughter. We were determined. I was told to remain calm, keep my composure and call in my angels and spirit guides. After all, I wasn’t running the show! I wasn’t the one making the decision. God already had his plan. I just had to have faith in him. I tried my best to believe.
There was some drama, some accusations, my lawyer even told me at one point she had fled, left the courthouse? My nerves, adrenaline…well, you can imagine. I feared the worst. I mostly feared for my Granddaughter. It turns out, she didn’t “flee”, she was clean and finally her lawyer negotiated a starting point for visitation. She decided to allow me and my husband to see the child. A couple of hours, at a park, beginning on Father’s Day, no less. I stood there in shock. We did not have to sit and give testimony. We did not have to rip each other apart. We did not have to suffer and relive the nightmare of losing my Son and his baby? I had to pinch myself a few times. Life is not easy. In fact, it has been a whirlwind of disappointment and loss. This baby is our little drop of hope. This child is a part of my beloved, beautiful child. Perhaps, this is the start of something beautiful and rewarding. I vow to remain civil and focus on the truth here. We only wish to love, to spoil, to enjoy this child. She is the most precious gift we could have of my son. I realize, she is left here without her Father. I plan on loving her as much as she allows me too. I can only hope he is watching us, every step of the way. I pray he continues to guide me, as I have asked him each day. God, I miss him here, beyond what words can express. I am grateful today for enduring this battle. Only good came come of it now.
Love & Light~
Hope Remains….<3 in honor of my son Michael Anthony.
love you to the moon & back
Mamabear <3 xxx
First and foremost, I survived the dreaded, highly anticipated, first Mother’s day without you here. You gave me your sign the day before, a tiny set of angel wings I had lost while gardening last year. They just appeared in the corner of the yard while I was planting bulbs for you. So, maybe, my meditations, maybe, those little signs of you around us will keep me breathing and moving. You see, my Mikey, I try so very hard to stay present, to be in the moment, and not break down and surrender. I will admit, I bolted upright yesterday, a huge sob, choking me in my sleep. Perhaps, I dreamed of you…perhaps, the reality slaps me hard and I am forced to accept you gone from here. Somehow, I sucked it up, or pushed it down…and I got up and went into a hot shower. I knew your sister was coming to take me away for the day. She planned an extra special High Tea and lunch, followed by a hike in the beautiful woods of Avalon Park in Stonybrook. She insisted we go to the vineyard up the hill and have a glass of wine. I don’t say it often enough, that kid saves me, over and over again. She just knows, she feels and reads my heart, not many people take the time to do that. Honestly, my daughter, God bless her strength and her compassion and her love for me. Her wisdom is beyond her years. Perhaps, she inherited our female,family intuition. Perhaps, I’ve done a good job raising a beautiful, caring woman. She gently carries me through my grief and my heartache, filling our days with laughter and beautiful gifts and long walks. We kid each other about that hashtag – #Blessed, but, I know, without a doubt it’s true. I knew from the second I found out I was having her, I would be truly #blessed. So, she whisked me away from my private hell. The tea house was like a fairytale. It was something I would dream about, and there we were. Enjoying the “moment”. I glanced around this quaint restaurant and saw beautiful women, strong women, with their Mom’s, friends, sisters. I thanked her 100 times, it was THAT special. The sun was shining and we laughed how the weather forecasters predicted a horrible rainy weekend. She fed her ducks and geese and birds and talked to all of them, telling them, they were her friends. She loves nature, just like me. She and I hiked up the trails and chatted about her new love, her plans, and oddly, with her by my side, I feel the stress and anxiety subside. The heartache is there…but with her next to me, I can still smile and giggle and joke. She is showing me, teaching me, helping me to go on, to heal, to accept. I am very proud when I look at her beautiful sparkling blue eyes, that she also is grieving, and accepting, and trying to build and adjust to our new life. we just do it one day at a time.
We visited the Vineyard, and enjoyed a glass of wine, and took a walk to the harbor. Snapping pics, and drinking in the beautiful sunshine. It was magical, it was soothing and peaceful. She is all of those things to me. I’m fascinated by the fact that as we spent this near perfect day together. We both stopped and offered to take family photos of people we met along the way. I stared at their beautiful children. I stared at the beautiful couples and told them what a beautiful family they had. We were glad to capture a moment for all of them. Yes, I privately grieved mine..but I kept reminding myself, I had 31 years of Mother’s day with Michael…never, will they be enough, but, I had them and we were never apart. Secretly, I will wish for 31 more, but, I also stare at the two Hydrangea plants he gave me and think about my beautiful son. I can still hear him ask me. Mama Bear! What do you want for Mother’s day??..and I would say..flowers, plants! But! Don’t spend a lot of money. My Mikey, he bought me many flowers, many Mother’s day gifts and cards, his heart and love is such a beautiful part of him. I missed him every second, as I do everyday…and I suppose I will for the rest of my days. I went to church in the morning, trying to pray and find my peace. I sat in the pew and heard the pastor recite the people we pray for. On that list again, was Anna Lisa…..soon, we will find out if they are answered.
Love & Light to all the Mommies in the world
We, us survivors, are on our own journey. No one can navigate this for us, no one can tell you how long, how hard, how painful, how life changing it will be. The journey of grief and healing is an ever evolving merry go round. I remember when my brother Thomas died, I was terrified of waking up. Each morning my feet hit the floor, I stumbled to the bathroom and I would just cry. The tears came like clockwork. I started to get abit frightened of my own self. I was scared of my own grief. I let them come and truly mourned the loss of a brilliant, healthy young 55 year old man. I could not make sense of his suicide. I could not find peace or the “why” or relief. My siblings and I grieved together. We dissected his reasons. We shared our feelings about why he would violently take his own life. It was so painful, I read a dozen books about suicide. Clinical books, sibling books, loss from a suicide books. I read anything that helped me digest and accept his suicide. The road is very steep, it cuts you to the core and rips your heart apart. Really, us survivors, we just secretly wish we had the magic word. We scream inside, Why didn’t he just reach out to me? After awhile, you realize. He is not here to answer any of these questions. The answers are within the deceased. We may never fully uncover all of them. We eventually comes to terms, realizing, mental illness plays and dictates the tragic ending. You can not read somebody’s mind. You just have to come to a point of acceptance. Then forgiveness. Oh, and you have to cry. A river, an ocean, whatever it takes. For me, it was finding a group of compassionate souls who also lost their loved one. Sharing our pain, our love, our broken heart.
My son Michael died on December 24th. He, my first born, healthy, young 31 year old, he struggled with heroin for over 2 years. The progression of his addiction was mock speed. He lived in a secret hell, trying to hide it from all of us. By the time we discovered the truth, he was deeply and physically dependant. I watched him suffer. I watched him cave. We tried everything and anything to help, save, persuade. He tried 100 times so very hard to stop. To recover, to run from the demon. Unfortunately, Heroin overtakes everything. His mind, body, life, everything he was and could have been, gone..vaporized, all lost to this drug. Tomorrow, will be 4 months that Fenytanol, poison, stopped his life and killed my boy. I can’t begin to tell you the anguish. I can’t begin to pen the pain and loss of losing my son. I do know, without a doubt, a part of me, my heart, went with him that very fated day. The loss and confusion and trauma will always be a part of me. I can share, there are days now, that are so dark, so heart wrenching, I wonder how I make it through. But, I do. I am somehow, still able to breathe. I still have my job. I still cook and clean and work full time. I have dreams of him, tainted with his addiction. I write a lot about my grief, my pain, my thoughts, nightmares, I write a lot to him. It is my therapy, writing, it is my way of figuring out this nightmare. I have a lot of trauma. It is part of the disease of addiction. The parent agonizes daily, nightly, as each day ticks by and they are on the street, relapsing, in rehab, it is a never ending mindfuck of hell. The range of emotions, well, you better get to a shrink. It takes everything to sustain and survive, living in and with addiction. The private hell that a family endures, is like no other. So don’t be so quick to “judge”, how could he? why couldn’t he stop? You haven’t a clue, till you live and breathe it with them each day. All I know is, we would have severed our limbs, burned down our home, to save our son. We, all who loved him, tried. Mikey just could not beat the demon in his body and mind. I read that less than 1% can….he really didn’t have a fighting chance. But, I will tell you, he tried 100 times…praying he would not yearn, crave, go back. He did, over and over..living in shame, guilt, hell, physically beating up his body. I watched Heroin eat away his brain. I can’t tell you the HATE I have for this drug. It doesn’t matter, apparently, it’s killing our kids, daily.
Somehow, I lost the rest of this post. I wrote for an hour…my heart pouring out onto these pages. I will do my best to recover my thoughts.
When I had my son’s service, two beautiful souls entered. I had met them a couple years prior at a support group. They entered the church with a set of beads. A handmade set to hang over your rearview mirror, that said ~Look Up For Michael Anthony ~ a beautiful sparkly set of beads. They gently hugged me and whispered…these are from our group “The Beading Hearts”. We make them and give them to Mommies who lost their son, the very same way we have. They told me about the foundation; ” Look Up For Adam ” is the name, & His Mommy, Linda, started this foundation, in honor of her son, Adam, she lost also to addiction. They said, when you are ready….reach out to us. We are here to love you through this. We are sisters, and we bead together. I was touched, moved, by these two beautiful women. Eventually, I reached out…and Linda texted me.
Come to my house for a meeting…Dinner @ 6:30. We all need each other…we all need the love~….and so, my readers, I will attempt to share with you just how the magic begins… <3 Beading Hearts <3 unite!
I attended my first meeting last month. I am greeted at the front doorby this infectious energy, the founder, Linda. I must share this truth. Linda gave me the most warmest, longest HUG, I have ever received in my life? IT's true…and immediately, I felt the magic…and I was surrounded by incredible loving energy. We ate, and chatted, cried and laughed. Then we all do a guided mediation.. incredible, loving, gently guided healing meditation..and she even has a Masseuse on hand! For the first time, in my grief, I felt at home. I found my person, my angel with the blue eyes…I had been searching, clawing, desperate to connect with other Mommies. I needed this bridge, this love, this hope, if you will, I need them. She held me, and whispered, we are all sisters, we NEED each other to get through this. We make these beads. Come back..and I did. I made my first set of beading for Nate. I don't know Nate or his Mommy, but I heard Nate loved blue. So I wanted it to be beautiful for her, with shades and hues of blue and sparkles. I was so proud and honored to do it. I felt "good" for the first time in months.
A few days later, Linda called and asked me if I would like to present a set of beads to a Mommy at a funeral service. I just knew…immediately, I would meet her and give a set of beads to Sean's mommy. I met her and few other members at the funeral parlor and we gently made our way to Sean's Mom. She seemed grateful and moved by the offering. We shared with her, we all lost our child to addiction and overdose. We listened to her, comforted her and gently told her, we are here to love you, when you are ready. Ahhhh..can you feel the magic? I sure did. When she casually pointed out another Mommy who recently also lost someone to overdose, we were guided over there…and we comforted her, and she shared her pain and loss…and then, we met a Dad who lost his son 3 years ago, and there you have it…~Beading Hearts~ is growing. My heart is growing with each bead we give…Truth..I think we are on to something here…
Mikey, my love, my heart, guide me with these beautiful women. Make me an instrument and a comfort to all who need and suffer…like we have suffered losing you my son. Eternally, loving you & honoring you
One bead at a time ~ Love, Mamabear
Peace & LOVE to all