Monthly Archives: April 2014

Life was never the same again or again or again.

My life has been completely changed three times so far.  I’m not talking “oh I’ll drive this way to work today” or I guess I’ll change my major again”.  I’m talking waking up in one world and going to sleep in a completely different one in the span of 24 hours.  The first was when I was 18 and was forced to go to a court hearing between my parents that should have just been about the formality of changing custody.  I wanted to spend my senior year living with my father and that had to be finalized legally.  I also needed to stay on my birth mother’s insurance plan due to my disability (Cerebral Palsy).    Seems simple enough given my age and the limited amount of time I would even be dependant.  However, nothing about it was simple.  At the risk of sounding trite, the next was the day it was verified that I was pregnant. (verified is a very purposeful choice of word, but more on that in another post).  The third was the day my family and I were T-boned (is that a real phrase?) in the intersection directly in front of our apartment and my leg was shattered.

Part 1

I sat in court and listened to my (birth) mother lie and lie and lie.  It was so blatant that I honestly thought she was mistakenly talking about someone else.  She accused me of playing up my disability, of getting in trouble at school. of always being in trouble at home and worst of all wanting to move out because I expected to have name brand products and she was “too poor” to provide them.  She even had my older sister get on the stand and testify to the same general idea.  Now, up to this point I had been very close to my mom.  I had until recently truly believed that she loved me but was overwhelmed by having to take care of my sister, me and then my niece (who was a toddler at the time)  Over the years just before this hearing she had announced when I was fifteen that she was ‘done parenting”  that if we needed anything else we could handle it ourselves.  She had gotten to the point that she wouldn’t even speak to me unless I stood directly in front of her and screamed.  Even given all that I still chalked it up to being overwhelmed and stupidly thought that by leaving I would be lightening her load.  I wasn’t being completely unselfish, I DID want attention and I DID want a chance to live with my dad and step mom and I DID want to know what it would be like to be on my own with them for a while and away from all the loneliness of what felt to me like going through adolescence with no guide.  I did NOT do it to hurt her.  I did NOT want things to get worse.  It wasn’t really up to me.  I didn’t realize it until the court date arrived.

My mother, the always impeccably dressed (if overdone for my taste) full make up, big earrings, designer clothes bag and sunglasses with big Texas hair to match arrived in court in what I can only describe as a brown sack.  I think it was a pull over dress.  It was plain.  It was dark.  It was NOT my mother.  She had on almost no make up.  Her hair was flat.  She had on small if any jewelry.  She didn’t even have her nails or hair done.  I didn’t even recognize her.  I had to look twice to be sure it was her.  I was shocked.  Our attorney told me that it is pretty common for attorneys to tell their clients to dress the part of whatever it is they are trying to convey.  In this case I suppose it was poverty.  I really don’t know.  Throughout the day we were in the same court room and she avoided my eyes.  At one point in the courthouse lunchroom she walked past me and sat with her back to me at a table three down from me.  It was like I was invisible.  I didn’t know what in the world to think.  Each time I heard her side speak I was floored.  It was one lie after another after another.  When it was my turn on the stand her attorney accused me of having my CP be in remission (which btw is impossible as CP is a permanent condition NOT  a disease or illness that can go into remission)  I kept trying to catch my mother’s eye from the stand b/c I was trying to grasp that this was in fact the same person I had lived with my entire life.  The person who used my disability to get herself attention.  The person who ignored my disability almost to the point of my losing the ability to walk because she couldn’t deal with the fact that it WAS real OR because she didn’t want to pay the deductible or miss getting her premiums refunded thanks to not using the insurance all year.   She refused to look at me.  The longer the day went on, the more ridiculous the lies got the more I realized why she refused to look at me.  She used me.  She threw me under the bus to be sure that she wouldn’t have to pay for me to stay on her insurance.  She was so determined to make sure that my father was punished by making him pay for my insurance that she didn’t mind using my heart and health (not to mention my sister’s) as the bullet to wound him.  When it was finally over and we were all leaving the courtroom that woman I had called my mother stopped me and called out “I love you”  “Call me” in a weak pathetic put on voice.  I stopped dead.  I turned around and starred.  My mind was whirring.  My ears were ringing.  What the hell was going on?  What did she say?  Who the hell was she?  I starred for a minute and so did she.  Neither of us moved.  She looked at me doe eyed.  I wanted to vomit.  I opened my mouth and rather than vomit  the words FUCK YOU flew out of my mouth at top volume.  I had never in my life said that to her.  I had thought it over small things, bigger things, teenage things.  This time, I hadn’t even meant to say it.  It just flew out.  I turned and walked away crying harder than I have ever and maybe since.  The very next thing I remember is being in my bedroom just inside the door, still bawling, and dropping to the floor.  I died that day.  The child in me that believed that mothers always love their children.  The child that KNEW that mothers never MEAN to hurt their daughters.  The child that knew how the world worked and where she fit in it.  I didn’t have a place anymore so my world stopped and my heart with it.    It’s frightening when your heart breaks and you don’t die.

The next thing I remember is waking up in my bed the next day.  I was told that I was essentially catatonic so my father put me in my bed and my step-mom (Lisa) tucked me in and checked on me periodically through the night.  I know I woke up in a world I felt I’d never seen.  I am SO thankful that this new world had two people whom I know love me and were able to help me walk though it one step at a time and remind me that I was ok and safe and loved.  That all that had happened was not my fault and that there is a new way to continue in life knowing what I know now.  It was nothing but a blessing.  It was frightening, it was surprising, it was invigorating and exciting.  It was the best and and shortest year of my life.  More posts on that to come.  To end this on a positive note:  Life does go on, it does get better, with and without the scars left behind.  Keep reading to learn more 🙂hardest battle

 

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Split Second

What do you do when a split second changes your entire life?  Platitudes notwithstanding I’m presently living in the aftermath of a split second.  I was born with mild Cerebral Palsy.  Born prematurely and deprived of oxygen for an unknown amount of time left me with a lifetime of overcoming obstacles to do the simplest of tasks.  At three, after surgery and some physical therapy I was able to walk on my own.  It took some more doing and at least one more surgery to maintain that ability into my teenage years and young adulthood.  I got on with life.  I went to college.  I had a daughter.  I took care of her and myself alone for years.  I LOVE being a mama.  I LOVE having a calling from God to a ringside seat at the blooming of an amazing human being.  There were some struggles and some frustrations to do with physical ability but I managed.  I enjoyed my ability to do for us.  Then God brought me a second child.  He is a joy.  He is a busy bundle of lightening.  I adore him. I struggled a bit more to take care of another little one with a few more years (and pounds) under my belt.  Literally.  We managed.  We were all working toward some goals.  I was excited at the progress toward physical health I was making.  

Then that split second.  That damn second.  

On our way home a woman decided that the light she was barrelling down on would hold out just long enough for her to plow through the intersection.  She was wrong.  She plowed into us.  The crunch of metal, the screeching of tires and the shattering of my leg, of my life.  Our car spun and then our lives did.  We lost our only transportation.  I lost my strongest leg.  That split second was the first domino in a line of events that piled up and buried us under other people’s decisions, right and wrong, that conspired to keep us swimming hard to keep our heads above water.  First, the driver, next the police officer who didn’t investigate but made a rash decision without merit and then lied to cover it up.  Then, doctor’s and nurses who believed the lie and answered it with neglect of my injuries as a form of punishment for a crime I didn’t commit.  Then an attorney who tried to help but came against an insurance company who (reasonably) took the word of the cop that lied.  It’s amazing what one false word can do to a family and how little that family can do to right it.  All we can do is try to live with it.  

I thought I could.  I thought, as long as I get my life back we’ll be ok.  We’re always ok  God takes good care of us.  Then a year, four surgeries, a massive infection of the bone, a year with an open wound and lots of physical therapy later and my life is not anything I recognize.  It’s nothing I can see my way through.  I still can’t walk more than a few feet on a good day.  On a bad day I can’t walk at all.  I will never be rid of my walker or my wheelchair.  I will also never see justice for what was done.  I just have to find a way to move on.  

God still takes care of us.  We have a car.  Sometimes it starts, sometimes not.  We all lived. We still have each other and that’s nothing to shake a stick at.  I’m so thankful.  I love my family.   I was the only one injured.  I wasn’t the only one impacted.  My children lost the mom they knew.  They lost the mom who comes to every event.   The mom who took care of the house (usually!)  The mom full of confidence and plans.  I’m working hard to find that mom inside me again.  She seems to have vanished with the the bones in my ankle. I have lost my way.  

Being thankful for my ability to walk and care for myself and my family was never something I took for granted.  I hoped that would keep me from losing it.  I was wrong.  I didn’t just lose my ability to walk I lost my confidence.  I am looking for it under every pile of dirty laundry and sink of dirty dishes.  Sitting in the chair makes it hard to see what’s in there.  I’ve never felt so beat down.  I’ve never been told that my hard work for recovery is not going to get me where I’m headed until now.  

How do you live with that split second?  I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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