Grievie Grievie

Grievie Grievie, Nunnery Scene Peevey (Hamlet in the house!)

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To grieve, or not to grieve, that is the question.

Whether ‘to nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them.

 

Psssst…  if you are a Mommy*, you don’t take the time to ponder these things.  You get up.  You do the things which need doing.  You go to sleep.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

 

You grieve in your own way in your own time.

 

None of it makes you courageous or brave or really, anything, other than alive and a mom.

 

I cannot pinpoint the time where I made the definitive decision to no longer suffer the slings and arrows.  If I could pinpoint the time where the decision was made, I can assure you that I did not consciously decide to take up arms against a sea of troubles.  I can also assure you that by opposing the slings and arrows, I did not end them.

 

I can definitively tell you the exact time that I experienced the final straw for tolerating threats and abuse in my home.  Truthfully, honestly, though, I had no idea of the snowball I had put into play by taking a stand for my child and myself.

I am a teeny tiny minority of those who have taken a stand against domestic violence, and have come out the other side of divorce (as a result of domestic violence), alive and with full sole legal and physical custody of our child.

 But, I still grieve.

 I grieve for all of us.

 Some days are so hard. 

 

On the days which turn out to be most difficult, I doubt my entire existence (not purpose, of course, because, being a mom does not provide for that).  What I mean is that I question the appropriateness of me, as specifically “me.”

Some have described me as “brave,” “courageous,” “compassionate,” “strong.”

The truth is that I am none of these things.

Those are words describing the actions of someone who had no idea what was/is coming, on somedays, hour to hour.  There is no planning in response to constant crisis.  There is no intention of bravery or strength.  There is only survival and the responsibility of being someone’s mom, mommy, momma.  When your vulnerable child is desperately looking to you to keep their world from spinning into nonsensical chaos, and you are the mom, you have no choice.

No choice does not equal courageousness. 

No choice is reactiveness survivalism.

 

When I am grieving, please be patient with me.

 

Please remember that I feel none of those positive words you are ascribing to me.

 

Please remember that I cannot see that “everything happens for a reason” (primarily because I think this is bs).

 

Please remember that I am desperately trying to “hear and understand the messages the universe is sending” to me so that I may learn from them, so that the awful things stop happening (even though this too is bs, and makes no sense when it comes to real personal trauma).

 

When Mr. Shakespeare was writing “To be, or not to be…” it is clear he believes that opposing wrongness is a choice we all wax and wane on, fully aware of definitive consequences.  If that were true, I think that my grief would be much more productive with a defined end.

Which would be much more neat and tidy for everyone, of course.

However, that is not how my decision to leave a domestic violence situation was made.

Also, it is not the process of my grief.

I do expect that I will be better prepared to respond to my intense moments of grief, as we continue to move from just being acquainted, to intimate mates (is this ageing or…?).

My grief seems to always demand that first I am accepting of “to be” just me, without the option of “not.”

Love, Ms. Herisme

*or any fit (defined by humanity, not legally) parent or guardian

Dear Mr. exH…

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Dear Mr. exH,

You have said so many things to me, through your actions, words, legal threats, harmful terrorizing behaviors, and deceptions.

And yet…

You were sitting across the courthouse floor from me, and obviously agitated.  You were moving your arms with wide exaggeration, sighing very loudly, kicking your legs up periodically and trying to balance an oversized old shoe box stuffed with papers.  You were rubbing your head, fidgeting with your glasses, crossing and uncrossing your arms – in constant agitated movement.  I could not hear you, somewhat deliberately on my part, because I am afraid of hearing what you have to say.  However, I could not help but hear the agitated anger and frustration in your tone. Everyone on the courthouse floor could hear you, and were aware that something was not right with you.

 

I desperately wanted to comfort smooth that out for you.

 

I desperately wanted to walk over, hold your hand, remind you how important you are to some people, and to tell you that we were going to be okay.  We just need to get through this hard thing, and we will be okay.

 

I wanted to encourage you to listen to the professionals who will help you, if you allow them.

I wanted to encourage you to listen to what you know is true about our son’s well-being, safety, and health.

I wanted to encourage you to keep faith in your team of experts who want to support you.

 

I wanted to encourage you to take good care of yourself, so that maybe one day our son can know you as a safe, healthy person who likes and loves him.

 

I desperately wanted to do these things, and I feel guilty every day that I could/did not do these things any time that I saw you after April 2014.

 

While I recognize that doing any of that would put our son’s and my lives in literal jeopardy, the emotional pull is almost too much to bear.  You need help.  You have always needed help.  I could not help you when you were with us.  I cannot help you now.  I have to remind myself of this multiple times every single day. I feel like a failure.

 

I have failed you.  You have a severe degenerative mental illness and I could no longer pretend that I could care for you.

 

I have failed our son.  I brought him into a family where his father is incapable of providing for him, either emotionally, physically or financially.

 

I have failed myself.  I allowed an abusive situation to continue in my home, subjected my child to this, A CHILD, and set myself and my child up to be left penniless, unemployed, on foodstamps, on medicaide, working though PTSD, etc.

I am not really sure how to move on from knowing that you want to murder us.

I am not really sure how you have moved on from knowing that you want to murder us and cause us physical and psychological harm.

 

No one has shared any information about your condition or treatment, to me.  Every interaction I have had with you since April 2014, has been alarming and further confirmation to me that you remain unwell and unsafe for us.  The information I have about you, other than my personal observations (confirmed by others surrounding me and observing too) reaches me third or fourth hand.

 

And yet…

 

You are ill.

 

I pray for your peace and comfort. 

I pray for you to be treated well and to have healthy, safe, and meaningful purpose. 

I pray for you to feel empathy. 

I pray for you. 

I pray for our son to keep safe from further harm from you (or anyone).

I pray for myself to be healthy and safe in order to be able to keep our son healthy, safe, and thriving.

 

I am sorry that I was unable to care for you adequately. 

I am sorry that I was unable to see you for who you really are. 

I am sorry that I relied on my eternal optimism, hope, hard work, and prayer to overcome your insurmountable fundamental challenges and mental illness. 

Now that I know better, I pray that I do better and make better choices.

 

This letter is about me, I get that.  It is about me telling you that despite all of the pain you have brought into my life, I continue to struggle daily with guilt about the entire situation.

 

This is the story of an abused person.  As long as the guilt sits with me, as long as I feel that urge to run over and reassure/comfort you, as long as I internally vigilantly look for signs of distress in our son, I remain an abused person.

 

You have put a definition of myself in my life story that I do not want or like, yet like most of life’s tragedies, I have no control in making it go away.  It happened.  It is. I am.  This is who I am.  This is a part of me.  This is not about ‘letting go.”  This is about recognizing the real struggle of domestic violence and mental illness.  This is about making some attempt to learn from it, grow from it, reconciling the immense guilt, and making different/better informed decisions as a result.

 

I will not be coming to hold your hand or comfort you in any manner. 

You will never be a safe person for me, or my son. 

But, I will allow myself/us to pray for you. 

Safe and appropriate.

 

Now, in this moment of release, I feel like I can do this hard thing.

 

I pray that you take good care of yourself, and if that is not possible, I pray that others are taking good care of you.

 

Ms. Herisme

These Days

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These days I am struggling.

Some days are just like that when you are grieving, feeling stressed, reconciling terror etc.

In the meantime, I will send you here to hear another voice:

I had the Courage to Leave

And as one sweet friend who stopped in the midst of her own busy schedule today, to share a warm hug with me, said, “Today is a hard day.”

I responded, “Today IS a hard day.”

She heard, “Today is OUR day,” and was delighted to have this affirmation.

Don’t worry, I corrected her.

“Today is a hard day.”

and then

“Hard days are OUR days. 

Today is a hard day,

and hard days are our days. 

Today IS our day!”

Love, Ms Herisme xo