I fight for you…because he couldn’t
I am sharing my heart here, my last post was and is by far, the most difficult for me to write and share. Today’s post, I hope brings that little drop, that small glimmer of hope that I search for daily. Our beloved son, Michael had a child on New Years Eve a little over 2 years ago. Our little angel girl came into this world and hope and faith were restored the moment I laid eyes on her. She was a tiny baby, just 6 lbs, and as far as I know she was born healthy. She came a week after my brother died, so her silky velvet skin and soft sighs and suckles just made my heart swell. I saw hope and renewal. I saw big dreams and beautiful moments of love, and family. I swear, the moment I held her, I felt an overwhelming love. This child was not planned, they only knew each other a few months. I remember my son bouncing upstairs with his new girl, smiling and nervous. He announced they would be parents and I remember him saying, your dreams are coming true Mama! I just stared at this waif of a girl. I didn’t know much about her. They both said they were In Love! She was happy about her pregnancy. I immediately asked, are you planning on getting married? Well, not right away, but maybe after the baby is born. Hmmm, I said. I am somewhat a traditionalist, and hoped they would plan a wedding. Something in my gut, stirred, and I quickly pushed that aside. I remember his father’s face, his concern and worry. I prayed that my son would mature and handle all of this responsibility. I admit, I was secretly Over The Moon, that I was to be a Grandmother. God was paving a new road, and I intended to support and love them all. I remember my son telling me for 6 months daily, that the girl was sick. She didn’t feel well. I didn’t see much of her or him. Again, my gut questioned the isolation. He just protected her and said she was throwing up and tired.
She also announced she would have a scheduled cesarean birth. I asked why, and she replied. I have a vein in my head, and the doctor does not want me to push. Strange, I thought, but I did not want her to feel uncomfortable. She promptly moved into my home. She continued to work and he was starting his new career in the city, working for my brother’s electrical firm. When it came time to plan a shower and get prepped for a new baby, she was adamant about having it at a restaurant. She did not want her Mom to stress. She did not want a low key event. She basically told me, she would pay for it herself? Strange, I thought. But she was standoffish and quite strong about what she wanted. She informed me, that her Mother had no money, and no means to pay for anything. I offered to chip in, cook, make favors, be involved. Her family seemed upset that she left her childhood home, the one she financially supported for her brother and Mother. I remember asking if she registered for gifts? Over and over, they did not have time, they were going to register. I asked about invitations and a guest list. I tried to get involved and be supportive. She was always secretive and vague.
The shower happened, she got so many beautiful gifts. My husband ran and bought a $400 stroller she chose. I remember her family speaking Greek at the shower, although, they spoke English. Fast forward, she is getting ready to deliver. She planned on returning to work and having her mother care for the child. The crib was assembled at her old house. I didn’t see them much. I did not see friends or family come by. I remember how controlling and cruel her mother and brother were. Things were slowly starting to unravel, lots of whispering and covering…I just prayed all was ok. She scheduled her delivery date, and suddenly moved it back, they wanted it before the New Year, for tax purposes… Strange, but ok, the Doctor approved, so it must be safe.
She gave birth on New Years Eve. We were there, to meet our Granddaughter. Anna Lisa, was born by C Section, 6 lbs 12 oz and had the most beautiful healthy rosey coloring. I remember my son putting her in my arms, I remember her family, frantic, rushing around her, stating she had an aversion or condition that caused a blockage to pain medication. I found that odd. Needless to say, I watched the nurse IV morphine into her and within a few minutes, I asked if she felt the relief, she said Yes!, ahhh She was ok. The baby seemed peaceful and perfect to me. We all held her and bonded with her. We fussed over her in the hospital. I will never ever forget that moment. The love my son had for his new baby girl. The absolute joy and it was a moment, that a parent never forgets. On the 2nd day, Joanna announced that I overfed the child (2 oz) and she had a bad night. She also mentioned the baby was going through withdrawals from Cigarettes. I said from what? Cigarettes, the nurses were holding her all night and comforting her. Hmmmm… I got that familiar stir in my gut. I visited and fell instantly in love with Anna Lisa.
They brought Anna Lisa home to our house and settled in. My son, seemed filled with anxiety? Hyper? He announced to me that her mother had called her phone over 256 times, and my son was upset about the constant harassment. I remember, me and my daughter waking up the next day to check on the baby and my son bit my head off. He screamed, they are sleeping Mom, don’t bother HER, she was up all night. He was on the couch, and very agitated. I burst into tears and ran upstairs. She came up and apologized and told me he was cranky. Strange..I thought. I was confused, afraid to approach or interfere. I thought he had insomnia. They made many trips to the pediatrician and changed formula’s several times. She was PERFECT to me. I worried about my son, on the couch, isolated? I loved to help and feed and love her. I rocked her everyday, and sang to her in her nursery. I wanted them to “rest”. I noticed, they had no friends or visitors, no family came over. It seemed dark. I also noticed the apartment was filthy and in shambles and the kitchen was piled to the ceiling with dishes and bottles. That familiar stir in my gut again.
He quit his job, stating he was unhappy. The basement was kept dark and closed off. They went in and out and she visited her Mom a couple of times. I remember telling my family. Something seems so strange. I was watching the baby everyday, and we were more than happy to help, but something seemed amiss. The smell of cigarettes permeated into my home upstairs, all night. Darkness loomed below.
When Anna Lisa was 2 months old. Joanna came upstairs and sat down in my living room. She announced she was giving my son 1 week to get his act together. She said, she would leave if he did not. NO details, nothing but, He was acting strange, saying strange things, not helping, isolating, etc.. and he was removed and depressed. I said, well, this is your child, you need to do what you feel is right. I informed my son. Searching for answers, questioning what was happening? I Asked him why would she say that? He promptly ran downstairs in a panic.
One week later, she packed a diaper bag, and told him she was visiting her Mom and never returned. Never spoke to us, or contacted us. He was suicidal and depressed. He laid in his bed for 3 days. Crying, sleeping, and deeply depressed. Suddenly, our life was upside down. I begged him to let me take him to the hospital. I could see he needed help. He refused and became obsessed with getting her back. They had an altercation a week later, and he was served with an order and to appear in court. Sadly, she and my son split and before she left my house, she was very upset and then sat down and admitted HE had a drug problem. That night, was the beginning of the end. We never saw the baby again. Ever.
I can’t tell you the pain, we felt. Distraught, desperate and grieving, quickly, I am discovering and hearing about her hidden addiction and secret. Losing her, is very much, just like a loss, I cried and missed that baby every single day .I kept my distance and did not want my son put in jail. Mainly, our family was devastated, watching our son slowly sink deeper into his addiction. We were in a battle every single day with my son and his addiction. We were desperate to seek treatment, to keep him alive. She never once reached out. She blocked us on social media, they left their home and she hid from everyone. Letters, messages, unanswered, all of them. My daughter bumping into her in the grocery store, she remained silent and hidden. My son, suffered, and was removed from their lives, instantly with a drug test. She however, remained unscathed, not tested and awarded full custody. She claimed domestic abuse, and shut out our entire family. I come to find out, Joanna was a heroin addict, along with my son, the father of this child. She had lots of reasons to hide and escape and try and disappear.
I am now in court, awaiting her arrival for Grandparent visitation petition. Sadly, she doesn’t speak to me, console me, she rolls her eyes and runs away. Her brother attacks me in the waiting room. They show up 2.5 hours late each time, cold, and looking pale and paranoid. Hmmm… I know I am in for a sad, painful battle. They are strange, distant & she denies my petition. I am determined to meet my Granddaughter again. I know I have so much love to share. I know my son could not get well, or be a father to this perfect innocent being, so, for me, I am doing this in honor of him. I feel he is guiding me now. I know, and witnessed how He loved that baby, and she left when she was 2 1/2 months old. I believe, the abandonment and punishment in court made his addiction worse and worse. He had a loving heart, a soft spot for children and he was banished from seeing her. Her 1/2 brother tortured my son. Her Mother abused her and my son. We only gave her love, a warm home and support. She forgets all of that and denies me our granddaughter. Truthfully, he was sick and I understand her leaving. I truly do. She won’t be able to block me for much longer. She did not show up again to our court date (3rd date). One more try and a trial will be scheduled in June. She may be clean, or not. The child appears healthy in the pictures my friends find on the internet. They are guarded and paranoid. She was shaking head to toe on the first date. I wonder if that is nerves or Heroin. I plan on finding out. I have NO fear now. No reason to not pursue my rights. NO reason to not meet her and show her our loving, crazy, Italian family! I am preparing for trial and obtaining an attorney. I only wish to know her, to love her, to enrich her life, to tell her about her beautiful, Daddy. She has the right to know. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or when I will be able to reunite. I wake up in the middle of the night, wondering what will happen. I don’t really have control over the outcome. I just know, I Love her, we Love her and will do anything to prove that.
Wish me luck and love and God’s speed. Wish that the mother of this child is clean and sober. That her living conditions are healthy and happy. I know my son could not live with himself. He unraveled and sunk deeply after losing them both. He never knew the joy, the most important thing in this world. To love, and nuture a child. I know, Mikey, down deep inside, what your heart was. I know what your loss did to you. I know you tried 100 times over to get well. I don’t forget a moment, I don’t forget you or your baby. Keep guiding me son, we will get there one day at a time. I love you to the moon and back <3. xxxx