Some Humans Are Good, Some Humans Are Awful
I want to start this post and share with you family pictures that were graciously donated by my new friend Megan from Maxwell Studios in the central IL area. Megan is also a grieving momma, but I won't share her story since that is hers to tell. She was so kind and generous with a beautiful portrait session where she really helped to incorporate my girl into the photos. These family portraits are phenomenal and are something that I will forever cherish. Likely we will return for a session each year to have her capture these types of memories as our family continues to grow.
She made sure to take a picture for us that was special and Adeline. This means so much and is such a beautiful picture. I can't wait to get my photos ordered, finally this weekend, and get this one hung up. I love it! Megan helps to remind me that there are good and wonderful people everywhere in the world. I am so thankful for these people, because sadly we have seen the worst in some while really seeing the best in most.
Our family is forever changed, but Adeline was ours. She was our daughter, our sister, our light, our laughter, our humor, our energy, and our smiles. She was a BIG part of who we all are and such a huge part of our world. She was special. She was worthy. But most importantly, she was ours. The grief books don't tell you how awful child loss is. They can't perpetuate the constant pain and sorrow that is your family after you lose a child. Shane and I didn't just lose our daughter, we lost seeing our girls growing up together and having the most amazing sister bond. We lost seeing our boys protect their baby sister. There are so many things that you can't even realize that you have lost in the beginning and they show their ugly heads regularly as you are processing the realness of your loss.
The love that we have for our girl is never ending. Therefore our pain is never going to end either. That's okay. It is okay that we carry our sorrow and sadness with us. It is okay that we openly talk about it. It is okay that we openly cry. Adeline is worth every single tear. Adeline is worth every single bit of pain. Adeline is worthy of it all. I have come to realize that your grief is as deep as your love. When your love is endless, your grief is as well.
As a wife, one of the hardest things for me to watch is the sorrow and pain that my husband carries after losing his little girl. We are blessed for sure to have an amazing husband/father/stepfather/provider in our lives. We have had rough patches and struggles over the years, as everyone does, but in the end, the love that Shane has for each of us is truly beautiful. Knowing the pain that he is feeling is hard. Seeing that pain is hard. I understand, although I am so thankful that we are not in this position and that we continue to only grow stronger, why couples don't make it through the loss of a child. It is not necessarily the loss of the child that causes the separation, it is the constant pain of watching someone you love so much hurting, it is the constant sorrow that you feel when you see your loved one breaking down and full of sorrow. It is the pain that you feel knowing how bad that your spouse is hurting, knowing you can do nothing to fix it, and knowing that it is never going to get better. That is a lot to mentally take on and if you are expressing these feelings and concerns, it will break you and I believe 100% that this is what ultimately leads to the end for so many couples.
Life just hurts so bad. I am in a constant state of mental pain and anguish. Each happy thing that we do, every single happy or joyful moment is tinged in the sadness and deep sorrow that I will forever be without my little girl. I will never gain get to do the simple things like watch her perform at a school concert or see her swimming in a pool with her friends. I don't get to hear her laughter over the silly things that happen or see her accomplish finishing the 4th grade and going to junior high or eventually graduating from high school or starting her own family. All of that is now gone. I have beautiful memories of a very special and beautiful little girl that I will forever cherish, but these memories are it. There will never be more or new memories.
As a mom, I struggle every single day knowing that my other children have to grow up with so much taken from them. They lost their innocence the day that they lost their sister. They lost a lot of the sparkle in their eyes and a lot of the happiness that they once had. They have been robbed of those blissful days of youth when you don't realize the heaviness and problems of the world. They have had to go through so much in such a short lifetime and frankly they have went through things to the point that they will never be the same. They will never be as carefree, as innocent, or as joyful.
However, they are strong and so resilient. Even with everything that they have been through, they are accomplishing goals and living life to the fullest. They are pushing through. They are inspirations to me and they literally keep me going on the worst days. They are my reason for trying to be a better me and for attempting to create the best possible life for them. They are my world.
Andrew inspires me to push through. No matter what life has thrown his way, and let's be honest I was a young mom and not the very best mom to him, he has persisted and he has come out stronger in the end. He reminds me to always be persistent and relentless in my pursuit of my goals. I fully credit Andrew with my push to finish my MS. I am finishing up because he has inspired me and shown me that I can do this, even though it is honestly so much harder since losing my littlest love.
Althea inspires me to pursue my passions. She has taught me that you find what you love and that you truly throw yourself into that thing. I do love history and exploring this passion has shown me that my goals can change and that there are things that we can do to make them better for my entire family. I wanted to be a college instructor but with new pathways to teaching licensure, I am hopeful that I will be teaching somewhere next fall. Prayers and good luck that I find a position that is near and dear to my heart and that I have the role that I am meant to have. I have a peace about the applications that I have sent that I have not felt since before I lost my littlest love.
Huxley teaches me to always try new things. He is never afraid to try something new or to fail as he knows that eventually he will get back up and conquer whatever it is that he is trying. I love that about him and am so thankful that he is here to remind me of these lessons. Lately he has been riding a dirt bike and while I have not picked up something new, considering teaching school is something new that I am hoping to accomplish and is certainly something new that I had not seriously considered before.
I am so thankful for the amazing friends and family in my life and for the many blessings that we have. That being said, I am at a loss and deeply struggling over some of the things that I have had to deal with in the past year. I am hurt, angry, and so tired of having these things thrown at me. At some point, I need a break from this. I need to be left alone....
WARNING -- This part of the post contains family drama. Lots of family drama. I have been allowing bullshit to weigh me down for too long. This blog is my space to release all of the drama, negativity, and grief that is a part of my life. If you want to continue reading, please do. If you do not want to continue reading, I suggest stopping here. Not everyone needs to be pulled into drama and if you'd rather keep yourself removed. Please stop reading now. I promise future posts will not go here....unless shit persists and I need the release. However, this is my safe space and my space to share what has happened to me through the grief process and I am not being honest if I do not share what is impacting me so negatively at this time.
This week has been an incredibly hard week for me to process. Two years ago, it was the week before the world changed. I took Adeline to what would end up being her final movie in a movie theater and I had no clue how special that last movie was. We went to see Onward and we both cried. I posted on FB about it and I remember thinking how sweet it was that my baby girl cried during this movie. Somehow now it feels foreboding. It is like she knew what was to come and that she was sad about leaving us. This kills me inside.
I am going to be honest, the stress that certain relatives (I refuse to call such awful humans family) continue to cause me is too much. I have learned about phone calls from family members who have stressed that there are two sides to every story. Wow....so the relatives that I have written off after they have done nothing but cause me pain and strife since losing my girl, are continuing to go around bad mouthing me to family. Why can't they do the one thing that I have asked and leave me alone?? I just don't understand. How can you be so awful that you continue to cause pain and strife for someone after they have been through the worst fate imaginable?
I guess maybe I should finally share my truth. On July 20, 7 months to the day after losing my girl, I had to deal with a cousin and aunt (who 4 days previously had told me that they were coming to Adeline's celebration of life) canceling. Now, this would not have been a big deal but Shane and I had wanted to have two celebration of life events because of COVID-19 and wanting to keep our numbers low at both. I had shared this with my family in March and everyone had told me it was fine to just have two events and invite them to one. My cousin complained to my aunt and supposedly cried over Mother's Day. I spoke with my aunt then and she asked that I ask my cousin. I don't have a huge family so I didn't feel it was right to have one cousin and not just ask everyone.
So, Shane and I gave up having a celebration of life with my friends and he gave up inviting many of his friends for my family to come. The event was planned, just a week earlier my cousin and aunt told my grandma at another funeral that they would be there. My aunt asked me 4 days before canceling what we would be doing, what events would be going on. At the time there was a big thing planned with my husband's extended family, but it was too much for me mentally at the time so I was planning on hiking. I told everyone that they could go to the big thing or they could hike with me. It did not matter one way or another.
4 days later my cousin canceled. My aunt canceled. I was upset and hurt, obviously. I think that anyone in my situation would be. What came next was a shitshow? My cousin told me that she was never planning on coming. When my husband told her that she was not his friend and that he had only tolerated her previously because she had been married to his friend, she lost it. She sent me nasty message after nasty message about things. My aunt also canceled stating that she didn't hike, although I have seen plenty of motorcycle trips that she has been on where she had obviously hiked. So, whatever. I suspect that the real reason for the cancelation was that they could not brag about what they are doing/had done for Shane and I. Everything with them is about image and the large event was canceled because of COVID-19 issues so they canceled coming because they could not brag to Shane's extended family.
Anyways, after Shane sent his text, (which we will both admit to you was not the nicest text, but it was a text sent because he found me crying in the fetal position in a bed in his sister's basement where we were staying at the time) my cousin texted me saying that she wanted the money back that she had given us for our children's iPads. That's right, at the funeral she bragged to everyone about how she was giving us her $1500 work Christmas bonus to buy the kids iPads after they had lost everything. We were appreciative, we thanked her. However, she demanded that we pay her back in one week, no exceptions or else. Yes, on the 7 month anniversary of my daughter's death when I should have been mourning, I was being threatened by my cousin over $1500. I quickly paid her the money via Venmo...like within 10 mins and thought that this would be the end of it.
Nope....she then sent the text from my husband to the entire family, made fun of us, and continued stirring shit. My aunt, who was the entire reason that we changed the celebration of life to two instead of one, sat there and allowed the shit stirring to go on saying nothing. When she finally did speak up, she blamed Shane for starting it all with his text. She did nothing but make excuses for her daughter's poor behavior. For months after her husband would call and scream at my mom on her answering machine. I called him because he didn't have the balls to call me and told him that me choosing to be done with him and his entire family because of their toxic behavior was nothing that my mom had done and that he should stop calling her. He didn't.
Now, there are phone calls from my grandfather to my mother. Phone calls from my brother to my grandfather in which he says that there are two sides to every story. I see though their game. I used to visit my grandfather a lot before I lost my daughter. I was there regularly at least a couple of times each year. My cousin hadn't seen him in years until our daughter's funeral. My aunt and uncle would go to Missouri and be close to his house and wouldn't visit him because they didn't want to. My mom, myself...we never even drove within an hour of where he lived without stopping. We never treated him like that. I have not visited since I last did with Adeline because it feels wrong. My last memories are eating at a small diner and then going bowling. I don't want to lose those memories of my little girl laughing and bowling with my grandpa. I know that I should go and visit and I am trying to deal with that, but sometimes the things that are the hardest are just these types of moments. The little moments that you are never going to have again.
Anyways, they are down there and they are talking bad about me. They are telling my grandpa awful things about me because he is saying that there are two sides to every story. Yes, there are two sides but when people do you this wrong...taking back gifts from my kids who lost everything in a fire, causing you unnecessary drama while you are just trying to grieve, and continuing to cause you stress while you are grieving....there is no excuse. I have only requested that they never talk to me again, that they forget that I exist and leave me alone. That is it. I can break the generational trauma and toxicity that they have caused my entire life. I can be strong and tell them, no more. However, they are not listening to these simple requests and are not stopping. They are relentless in their pursuit to ruin me and I am refusing to allow them to. My life is already crappy enough. There will never be more time with my precious baby girl. There will never be another day of going to the movies with my littlest love. A request to leave someone alone is not too much to ask and their persistence to continue has shown me that people really can be awful human beings and that we do not need to ever feed into their toxic behaviors.
One final note, as I want to be completely honest and transparent with you. After all of this drama, I asked that my aunt return an unicorn that was made out of Adeline's clothing. She proved with her behaviors that her willingness to be here for us after losing our daughter was not about our loss or about our daughter. Her willingness to be here was because my mother in law was here and my husband's family was here and she wanted everyone to think that she was so great. She did it all for show. I have very few things of Adeline's and when something is done for show, it doesn't deserve to be honored with a piece of my girl. Therefore, I requested the unicorn back. While I eventually got it, my aunt's initial response was no and that I had issues that I needed to deal with. You think??? I have issues because of you. (So, the unicorn is on a shelf in my living room. I feel good knowing that no part of my innocent daughter is in that woman's home. I will forgive them all, but I will NEVER forget and frankly I will only have to be in a room with them two more times in my life and then I will NEVER EVER see them again and at this point I will already NEVER speak to them.)