- I’m grateful we didn’t go to the yurt and were able to get a lot of stuff done. Lisa said it took 4 hours for them to hike into the yurt on a snowy hilly path with wind chills of 20 below. Then they left early, only staying one night instead of two, because they couldn’t get it to warm up more than 60 degrees inside the yurt. We picked another weekend to get together.
- I’m grateful that we found Arabella a car and I got it all registered and insured. I let my daughter use my car until I got it registered. I ended up driving her car to get it registered at the DMV without plates. I thought for sure I would get pulled over especially after a squad car pulled up behind me at the gas station. He didn’t even bothering glancing my way more than once and didn’t follow me. Only proves I’m a middle aged lady not even a threat at all for committing a crime. I strike fear in no one. Sad! LOL.
- My mom took Paul and I out for hibachi/sushi to thank my husband for helping her with Matt’s bookkeeping. I had crab rangoon sushi which was amazing.
- Volunteer time.
- Paul and I went to see our couple’s therapist who is very insightful. I think she can help us. I actually made my therapist cry when I told her some of my childhood stories. She wants me to join a woman’s group she is having and I think I will give it a try.
- We were supposed to get a snowstorm on the night I was planning a girl’s night with Angel, Lexi, and Arabella. We had plans to go out to eat and thrifting. The 6 inches of snow turned out to be about 6 snowflakes, so I didn’t have to cancel.
- I had some good finds thrifting. I was able to replenish my supply of candles and I found a murder mystery party game. Angel found multiple Stephen King books she didn’t have.
- The guys were able to make a lot of headway fixing my son’s car.
- I spent some time working on my book and feel more organized about it.
- I just finished a really difficult puzzle.
- Angel and I are going to spend some time together this afternoon sorting donations at the place I volunteer at.
This past week I finished reading A Father’s Story, a memoir written by Lionel Dahmer the father of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. I found a renewed interest in the story after watching the Dahmer Netflix series. I remember the story unfolding as a teenager in the early 90’s. At the time I tried to find out everything I could about the case which wasn’t much because…well…pre-internet and 4 TV channels. I did read a couple books back in the 90’s but nothing like this.
I gave the book 5 stars. The memoir was very emotional, dark, and painful to read. I could find myself relating to Lionel. I have to think that every good parent tries to seek the answers deep down within themselves as to why their child went astray. What did I do or not do that could’ve caused this? What part of me do I see in them? Why do we have this need to know or blame ourselves or others?? It was very clear to me that he was reaching at every little straw to blame himself for what his son did. He could’ve trashed his ex-wife but he didn’t. He blamed himself for his traits he saw in his son. He talked about the hopes and dreams he had for his son before he knew he was a killer. He wrote about thoughts and feelings every parent has.
At times while reading this, I found myself in tears. I could relate to Lionel’s analytical mind and his tendency to throw himself into work as a way to cope. Although I can’t relate to what it is like to have a child who is a killer, I can relate to how he felt. The book was challenging and triggering to me at times. It’s impossible to not blame yourself as a parent. I still struggle with that as a parent of a child with mental illness. I had big dreams for her before this all happened. We were going to go on college tours. But instead of going off to college, my daughter spent the end of her senior year in a residential mental health facility after multiple hospitalizations, threats of suicide, and an outpatient program.
My dreams of her living a normal life were gone. Just seeing her is a painful reminder of that. Her body covered with hundreds of self-harm scars so deep they will never fully heal. I feel somehow that some of it was my fault. I remember at one of her earlier hospitalizations one of her doctors blamed me for her condition. The research says that Borderline Personality Disorder is a trauma based disorder a majority of the time. But not always? I don’t want this kind of life for my child. She has a hard time taking care of herself and holding down a job. Nobody cares. The system doesn’t care. The dozen therapists she burned through don’t care. The multiple doctors and health care systems don’t care either.
It falls back to us as parents. Investing our time and resources trying our best to help her help herself. That’s not the life I wanted for her or myself. It’s painful especially after my daughter accused me of abuse and neglect, others thought poorly of me, and I’ve blamed myself. I can relate to trying my best and sometimes it is just not good enough. There is grief in letting your dreams for your child die. It’s so painful that at times I deceive myself with false hope. It’s awful having a child who wants to kill themselves. I can’t imagine the weight of having a child who kills other people.
The other day my son walked in while I was crying for one of the first times. I didn’t want him to see me like that. He choked up with tears in his own eyes telling me he felt sad by my pain. He tried to comfort me in the moment. He was calm, kind, and empathetic. I showed him a side of myself he doesn’t usually see and in return I saw likewise. It feels good to have the support of my spouse and other adult children for the times I blame myself for having a child who is not everything I dreamed of her being.
This week I’m reading I’m Glad My Mom Died, a memoir by childhood actress Jennette McCurdy. Oh boy, it might be a long week…
Gratitude week 90
- Summer! The last couple of days the weather has been wonderful with warm days and cool nights.
- I just finished an excellent memoir of a girl that struggles with borderline, bipolar, and anorexia called Loud in the House of Myself. It was very personal, well written, and should’ve been a best seller. I just started a new memoir about a guy who struggles with extreme addiction to crack and alcohol. It’s been a hard book to read.
- Arabella still has her job. Her manager sent her home after she showed up late. Tardiness has been something she has struggled with for quite a long time. I’m so glad I don’t have to wake her up for school anymore.
- Yesterday my husband and I took some friends out sailing. Afterwards we went out to eat to celebrate the September birthdays including my husbands. Thankfully the weather was perfect.
- We are leaving for our trip in a couple days. I am excited to check a couple more states off my bucket list.
- I have an appointment for a hair cut and am going to get my nails done. I always look forward to a little pampering.
- Supper with my son and his new girlfriend got postponed until tomorrow. But she did come over with my son to do some laundry this past week. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen my son do laundry. I sat down and talked with them for about an hour and she seems really nice.
- I saw a wild turkey in our yard this morning. I’m grateful for our house and ample opportunities to see nature. I’ve seen turkeys now along with deer and foxes, plenty of birds, and even the 4 frogs that live in our decorative pond.
Gratitude week 89
- The last few days of summer.
- Making it home from a run outside two minutes before it started hailing.
- I finished three books this week. One about introverts, a biography of a madam, and the memoir Girl, Interrupted. I just started another memoir today.
- Lighting a candle in the memory of the 20th year anniversary of 9/11. I can’t believe so much time has passed. It’s strange to think the my kids have no memory of 9/11 or weren’t even born yet. It was a year later that I remember taking a pregnancy test (positive with Arabella) on 9/11 just as the fire trucks passed our house with American flags waving from the back. It was a horrifying time, but we banded together in a true patriotism I haven’t seen since. I’m grateful for the heroes of 9/11. It was a somber experience to go to NYC and visit the 9/11 memorial. I will never forget.
- My son after being single for a couple of years started dating a new girlfriend this summer. We are planning on having them over for supper this week so we can get to know her better. Who knows, some day she might be my future DIL.
- I spent the last couple of days up north with my mom closing the cottage for the season. We went for some walks and took the kayaks out on the lake. The weather was nice.
- Since I have been uninvited to the family reunion, my daughter took the opportunity of us having a free weekend to schedule wedding dress shopping. It’s something to be excited about.
- I’m starting to get excited for our trip to Maine in a week and a half.
- I’m thankful for my geriatric pets. My dog just turned 14 and my cat is 15. My dog is chill now. No more barking. I can’t remember the last time he barked. My cat is happy to cuddle up by me. He doesn’t bring mice in the house anymore and hasn’t for awhile. This week I surprised him by buying him a catnip toy mouse. It looks so real that a couple of times I jumped when I saw it.
- Oh my gosh, I saw my son went out grocery shopping on a Saturday night. I didn’t even see any liquor. Maybe it’s a good sign that he is growing up? I’ll take it as that.
Gratitude week 82
- Today I had my upper endoscopy re-check. Everything looked normal, so I’m grateful for that. I still feel a little doped up so bear with me if I start cracking bad jokes.
- Angel, Dan, and I got massages for Angel’s birthday.
- Since my massage was way earlier than theirs, I hung around until they were done and then they followed me to the restaurant. Why I’m grateful for this is because apparently both blinkers and break lights weren’t working. I didn’t even know it. I’m grateful that I didn’t get into an accident while my rear lights were out.
- Arabella’s boyfriend broke up with her. You might have been wondering if I thought he was a jerk or something to be grateful for this. I am not that mean. What I am grateful for is that her response was appropriate. She was sad and crying, but she wasn’t depressed and didn’t self-harm. She said that she knew she wouldn’t feel this way forever and that she was okay. I truly felt she handled it well. Her boyfriend is leaving for college soon and that is apparently why they broke up. I am truly grateful she is handling the break up better than I expected she would.
- Summer!! Oh my gosh, the weather was perfect this past weekend. We spent the weekend up north for Angel’s birthday and had a lot of fun.
- I achieved my sailing certification. Although sailing is my husband’s passion a lot more than mine, I wanted to know what to do in case there was an emergency.
- Now that I finished reading my sailing certification book, I started reading the book Educated and it is really good. I really want to dig into some really good memoirs as I want to edit and rewrite my own book soon. Wow, I really used the word really a real lot.
- My mom is making supper tonight.
- I’m grateful that my husband took me to my appointment today.
- I’m grateful that my daughter might have a wedding date picked out this week. Then the real fun starts…the wedding dress shopping will be so much fun!
Grounded for life, part 5
A few days later, Randy showed up with a car full of friends in his old boat of a car wanting to go for a ride. But I was grounded. Sometimes if I knew that my mom would say “no”, I would ask my dad. He always said “yes”. I suspect that if I asked my dad if I could go out for a wild drunken night of debauchery he would still say “yes”. But no such luck, my mom was home. Plus she got pretty angry if I went past her and asked my dad. Anyway, there was no getting around it, I was grounded.
Randy drove off leaving us behind. That was not all he left behind. As Randy drove off, the guys noticed that Randy’s car was leaking fluid of some sort. Brake fluid! Back in the day, we couldn’t just call him on his cell phone to tell him. I will liken it to my parents stories of walking to school uphill both ways. How did we survive? Sometimes it is amazing that we did. Instead we worried. Randy never came back to pick up my friends. Later that afternoon, we received a call that Randy got in a car accident and was in the hospital. He was going 65 on a back road. As he approached the stop sign he didn’t have any brakes, lost control, and ended up hitting a tree head on. Luckily he walked away with a few bumps, bruises, and glass imbedded in his face and body. It was a miracle that he survived a head on collision with a tree without wearing a seat belt. He remembered wandering around aimlessly in confusion. His Def Leppard tape still playing but the front end of the car was gone.
The next day, my friends and I went to the junk yard to see the remains of his car. It was a pretty dismal sight. We wondered what our fate would have been if I hadn’t been grounded. Would some of us be underground?? I remember getting the call that night and driving my parent’s car to get to the hospital. I was afraid and crying. We were all pretty shook up. I think that God was watching out for us that day. If I wasn’t grounded there is no way we would have all survived that crash.
It has been over two decades since I saw Randy. I don’t think of him all that often anymore. To be honest, if I saw him walking down the street I would turn around and walk away. Some doors are meant to stay closed.