.... that my children became orphans on December 18, 2007.
OK, they didn't literally become orphans.
But technically .... they did.
They lost both of their parents that day.
Yes, I was here in body, but only in body.
My body was empty of any resemblance of me.
All it held was the cold, black grief that enveloped every part of me .... grief moved into every space, every cell of my being, and took over.
I was not, could not be, the person I had been.
So there was no way I could be the same mother.
There were many times when I beat myself up over that.
In spite of .... many things.
But I have moved past a lot of that.
My grief no longer occupies my body.
My grief is no longer in control.
It no longer makes me believe that my children would be better off if I, too, were actually dead.
And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I could no more have altered my grief, my grieving, than I could have reached out, touched Jim's body, and brought him back to life.
I did not choose my grief.
I did not want that grief.
But I got what I got.
And so my children managed to somehow keep growing and moving forward, without a parent to guide them.
That was something they had never, ever done before.
And I was powerless to change anything.
I am no longer powerless.
I am very much mostly back to the parent I was "before".
I will never be all of the same person/parent I was "before".
But that comes with pros and cons.
Last week was one huge con.
Last week I experienced the incineration of the wall of trust that had encircled one of my children and myself.
The wall was built out of my trust.
That wall no longer exists.
Yes, it can be built again, but that's up to my child .... and it will have to be built one brick at a time.
I think it will.
I hope it will.
But until that time .... here I am .... left to deal with the fallout.
And the consequences.
And all of the crap that one must deal with when a mistake has been made.
And I deal with it .... alone.
Very much alone.
And I hate it.
There are no words for how very much I hate it.
I hate that Jim's not here to share the good times, the big events .... with me.
But I hate even more that he's not here to help me navigate the storms .... the crap.
The crap that I had nothing to do with, and yet impacts me .... a lot.
A couple of years ago I would have been out of my mind with thinking that this "mistake" was my fault.
Because I was no longer the same.
Because I could not parent the way I did "before".
Because I had somehow failed them. My children.
But now, here in this place I've fought tooth and nail to arrive at, I know differently.
And it happens no matter how many parents a child has.
Or how many he/she doesn't have.
Yes, I am (mostly) back.
Much to the chagrin of my child.
And I am no longer going to be the only one dealing with consequences.
I am strong.
And I am pissed.
I'm pissed that Jim gets to miss out on all of the crap.
I'm pissed that I can't play "good cop, bad cop" with my kids anymore.
Because there's only one cop.
I'm pissed that, in dealing with this kind of crap, I am very, very alone.
But .... on the flip side .... I'm good.
Because now I know .... no, now I remember ..... that in the same way I could not alter my grief, I cannot alter the minds and decisions of my children.
And truthfully, I never could.
And then there's this: I asked one of my other children if he/she thought that this choice might not have been made if their dad were here.
To which he/she replied, "Ummmmm, no, Mom. Teenagers are just .... teenagers and I know this would've happened whether or not Dad was here."
And now, looking back on things .... I realize that my child is 100% correct.
Mistakes would still be made ..... whether my children had two parents or one parent .... or no parent.
And so I am less .... pissed.
Which is a very good thing.
Because I doubt that there's anything scarier than a pissed-off widow.