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PTSD and Heavy Hearts December 16, 2012

Posted by makingyourdashcount in mourning, parenting, Thoughts.
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I’m not sure if it’s PTSD, but I can’t watch a crime drama because it takes me right back to the fingerprint dust that encrusted my brother’s car.  When I went with the detective to pick his car up from the impound lot, it never occurred to me that this all too real connection to the crime scene that marked my brother’s death would even be there.

Detective shows of the 90’s always showed the carefulness of fingerprint screening.  Dusting a bit on, dusting a bit off. Meticulous.  That was not my brother’s car.  His was covered in it.  Fine and black every time one touched the car, inside or out,  it’s evidence remained on black hands and fingertips. I had no idea.

My first stop after the impound lot was a car wash.  I remember imagining it as a rape victim showering after an attack.  Although this was not a physical assault on me, it was an assault on all that defined my comfortable suburban middle class life.  This evidence of the fact that my brother died as part of a crime sent shudders through me, even thinking about it today, 11 years later. But I can avoid crime dramas.

I have a harder time avoiding ambulances, whose sirens take me to 2004 when my daughter’s ambulance blazed its sirens for miles to our local Children’s Hospital.  Perhaps the sirens would comfort me today, if Sarah had survived.  She didn’t.  Even now there are times when a passing ambulance leaves me still on the side of the road, while I catch my breath. But ambulances are luckily long and far between.  I can live my life.

The children, parents, teachers and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School will not have that luxury.  They have no choice but to again sit in a classroom or send their children on a bus. The love and and guidance that will need to accompany each step is beyond imagination. Elementary schools are places of wonder, not of violence.  In efforts to protect our children, how will the parents whose children were spared  fit this back together? It isn’t a matter of “suck it up and get on the bus.” Of course my heart is heavy for those who grieve.  But my heart also cries for those who survived.

Three Broken Children of Divorce August 4, 2008

Posted by makingyourdashcount in divorce, Life Journey, parenting, Thoughts.
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There are some life experiences that one never wants to repeat. I witnessed one of those this weekend; it wasn’t my life and I was thankful that it was not, but I was there. The child exchange was to happen at the airport. He had kept the kids longer than allowed 1,000 miles away. He had moved from Ohio and was court ordered to return them to their mom. That alone should have been my warning that it was not going to be a pleasant experience, but luckily I am naïve about matters of divorced parents, so I had no clue what was to happen.

Since Sarah died my message has been to appreciate our children: to love our children in ways that they know that we are on their side, that their well being is paramount to our own well being. I am not sure that parents REALLY understand how wonderful and valuable their children are until they no longer have them.

But this weekend, I heard the first words to come out of a father’s mouth on seeing a son that he had not seen in over a month be scorn and belittlement yelled across the Port Columbus airport foodcourt. I saw a 14 year old boy not only shirk but run from his father. For whatever reason, this boy felt threatened by a father whose profession and professional life is that of healing children, a true non sequitur. I saw daughters holding back their father from what appeared to be rage against his son.

At the same time, the daughters wanted little to do with their mother. This was foreign to me. It let me reflect upon so many divorced families I know wondering if the emotions children reflected scorn to parents or the situation. At the airport, I wondered if the emotions were theirs or emotions taught by their father. What does a disgruntled, angry and bitter parent tell their children about the other parent? I will never know these answers.

All I know is that I witnessed three broken children from a broken marriage “sharing parenting” with the aid of police involvement. It was heartbreaking.

In contrast, it made me consider another divorced family I knew, as our daughter went through elementary and middle school. As icy as they were to each other, Kelsey’s parents always put Kelsey first. Her parents attended every performance, every accolade together for Kelsey. They put their differences aside for their daughter. Kelsey showed EACH of her parents love, in the same way that they demonstrated her how much they loved her. This seemed to be as successful a divorce as one could have. Kelsey was raised as a whole loving person.

As sad as Saturday was for me to witness, it was uplifting to remember Kelsey and her parents. Her parents made a choice to keep Kelsey feeling loved and secure instead of broken and lost.

Remember…. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Let’s choose to love and appreciate our children today- especially our children of divorce.