The Last of the Bad Boys

What door have you closed in your life, and why?
Will you ever open it again?

I almost recall writing something for a prompt like this one time, and should go see what I responded then, but in reality, it was likely something completely different, and that would make perfect sense to me at this point in my journey.

I have been in 3 relationships in my life that I would classify as serious.

One I married and two I didn’t. To add to the confusion, I am still legally married to the 1st and likely will be for the rest of my life, as I took a stand and refused to pay the paltry $ 230.00 to file for the divorce, insisting he do it, and I am rather afraid that after years of towing the line with that stubborn man, I decided that refusing to suck it up and pay would be my hill to die on – my last hurrah- my middle finger adios to that man.

That first relationship started when I was 17 and ended when I was 34. In all honesty, it likely should have ended 10 years before that, but there were children to feed, and thoughts that boys needed their father, and a definite dread of the unknown. My wings had not even started to bud yet, so stay I did.

For awhile. Physically.

The second , who we will refer to as Rebound – began when I was still tied up in the first and the third – let’s call him Broken Billy – began while I was untangling, not so graciously from the second.

I understand my part in the breakdown of these relationship and take full responsibility for my lack of communication in at least two of them. There is only one of them that I allowed to see the whole me – the saviour, the sinner, the grotesque, and the reprehensible.

Broken Billy is my last relationship, which took place from 35-52, and in the most literal sense, almost finished me, in every way possible.

I really should back up a bit, though, and talk about Rebound for at least a paragraph. He was an American that I met through work. He had a contract with the software company I worked for and used to frequently be at my office for weeks at a time. Due to the sad state I was in at the end of my marriage, it was so easy for my eyes to see him as my knight on a white horse. He was handsome, charming, very witty, and so, so smooth, compared to what I was used to in men. He was educated. He dressed really well and smelled even better. We had a mutual love of music, which I had never experienced during my marriage. Anytime I put on music, my ex husband would yell to turn it off. I know this sounds crazy, but if you are a music lover, you will understand this on such a deep level.

So, as these things usually go, I allowed myself to be swept up by Rebound and when he wasn’t in Canada, I was down in California with him. I must have known he was only with me for a season, as my children never met him, and he asked me many times to arrange that. I will always be eternally thankful to him for building me back up, after the years of wilting on the vine I had done with my husband. He made me feel beautiful and desirable and pampered me in ways I wasn’t aware were even possible. He was very financially secure and took me to restaurants and bought me clothing and flowers and it was like living in a dream state. He eventually wanted me to move to California and live with him, but I couldn’t take my sons so far away from their Dad, so sadly, I ended it with him. Not in a nice clean way, either.

In the way I always do.

Drift, drift, drift away until I have disappeared without you even knowing I am gone.

Don’t feel badly for him – he is married now and retired to Phoenix and apparently raising his wife’s granddaughters with her, which is nice, as he never had children of his own.

During the time I was with Rebound, I saw a well-known psychic in California and not one of the hucksters. One that was very successful for many years and built quite the empire with books, media, and appearances. I asked her one question and it was if Rebound loved me. She looked me right in the eyes and said ” yes, he loves you, but the next one will love you more than anyone ever has or ever will for the rest of your life.”

Broken Billy showed up in my life thanks to my ex husband. We used to laugh about how he introduced us, actually. How ironic life could be sometimes. I think about that sometimes now, looking back and it makes even more sense now that, of course he showed up that way.

My brother was couch surfing at my place at the time, and had left my phone number with BB, as the last time he saw him, he didn’t know where he would be, but his sister would always know, so gave him my phone number at the house I no longer lived at- hubby refused to leave, so I moved out with the kids.

So, BB shows up at my place, looking for my brother, and finds him. I just happened to be having friends over that evening, and he stayed, as he hadn’t seen my brother in a year or so. It was a beautiful summer night, and some of us were outside and some of us inside, and at one point I walked back inside to refill a drink or grab more chips for the bowl and came upon the sight of BB sitting with my older son, who was about 13, in a corner, looking through his sketchbook with him. My son looked so happy to have the attention and I felt a profound overwhelming love in my heart, that he dragged that sketchbook everywhere with him, and someone was showing interest in his talent. His own Dad had shown little of that, and it hurt us both.

I had just sort of bookmarked BB into the “brother’s friends” category, and they were mostly a motley crew, so I was surprised to see one of them choosing to spend time talking with a teenager at a party where there were plenty of adults to socialize with. It saddens me now, that I would be struck so deeply at the time by a simple act of kindness towards my child.

It made me look at him differently.

I had always been with big men, tall men, loud men.

BB was only an inch or so taller than me. Soft spoken. Slight.

He almost looked like an accountant, which is hilarious if you knew the types of men I usually go for.

He made no sense to my friends and even less sense to me, but he was persistent!

I now know that a lot of what occurred should have been red flags , but I was too stupid and naïve to see any of them.

He moved in with me 2 months later. It made sense. He was there all the time anyway and when he wasn’t there, he was on the phone to me constantly. Checking up on me and the kids.

Asking if I needed anything.

Making himself indispensable.

Weaving himself seamlessly into my life.

He shared so many secrets with me about his childhood. Horrific tales of insane, abusive stepfathers, and molestation and neglect. I held him while he cried, and my maternal, nurturing, codependent self just inhaled all that pain and suffering like it was oxygen and I needed it to survive. I engulfed his agony in all its glory and made it my own.

He checked himself into Casa Shannon and totally absorbed me in every way.

I asked him one pitch black night to just go slowly. I begged him to not make me fall in love with him. I was terrified. I had never experienced a symbiotic relationship like this before and must have had some precognition that I would not survive it if I allowed myself to fall.

The highs were so high with him….oh, but those lows…they were absolutely death-defying in every way.

Broken Billy had found his parasitic twin soul in me, with my dysfunctional childhood and lack of attention my entire life. Grown up in chaos and unpredictability and now madly pin-wheeling backwards right into the womb of uncertainty and danger with a partner by my side.

He will always be the love of my life and I don’t have the energy to tell that entire tale today, but it wasn’t pretty and it ended very, very, very badly.

Hurt people hurt people.

Broken people reach for things that will numb them from the memories that will not give them a moment’s peace, playing over and over and over again in their minds.

They steal goodness, and hope, and dreams and love, and they feed and they feed and they feed over and over like piranhas on anything pure and honest and full of light, trying to fill themselves in all the places they are empty.

Even when you give them everything you have, and are, and eventually turn into someone you don’t even recognize.

When you disappear totally from the inside out and fear you will never find yourself again.

They never let go.

Not because they love you more than anyone ever has or ever will, but because you are their last branch to hold onto when the river is rising and it is human instinct to pull someone under to drown with you, even when they are trying to keep you alive.

The door that is closing for me and never opening again is loving anyone more than I love myself.

Samantha

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Years ago, when I was not even 20, I saw a psychic who told me I would have 3 children. She looked very carefully at the lines on my hand, and softly said,” I see two tall men and a small woman standing together looking at your stone.”

There are two inconsistencies with her message that have appeared over the years.

As a matter of fact,  I gave birth to 3 sons, with the first dying within an hour of his birth, and I never gave birth to any more children following my youngest son, Nicholas.

The second inconsistency would be the whole “looking down at my stone” rubbish, as I do not want to be buried and my kids know if they put me or my ashes in the dirt, I will haunt them for the rest of their lives and might even show up as a ghost to traumatize them while they are having sex some time in the future, after I am long gone.

I would do it, and they know it.

When the boys were young, and I knew I wouldn’t be having any more children, I decided that the small woman must be one of their future wives. Future me maybe hits it off well with one of their wives and she will come with them to the “stone”, which better translate to grassy wood or stream or wherever they decide to toss my ashes. I have already expressed that I don’t care where that happens, as I will be everywhere, so the location of my remains does not matter in the least to me.

The story of how I met my Samantha is pretty convoluted.

She is the daughter of a man(child) I was involved with for many, many years. He had lost contact with his daughter years previous to our getting together, as her mother was bitter about the circumstances of the breakdown of their relationship, as far as I can surmise from the information that has been shared with me. Samantha has confirmed that to him, so it seems to be that it was indeed the reason she was kept from him until he located her (with my help), when she was about 18.

I wish I could say that it all turned out lovely, but it really didn’t, at all. Samantha’s upbringing with her mother was the stuff nightmares are made of, and despite our hopes that she had had a lovely childhood, she most certainly did not. She eventually called child services and had herself and her brother removed from the home her mother and stepfather resided in and never lived with them again. So, she basically brought herself up, in a rotten broken system, and moved in with a boyfriend and his mother at the age of 16. Not surprisingly, she didn’t make the best choice in a boyfriend.

Knowing her and her delicate heart, I suspect she was attracted to the home and the mother figure more than the boy himself. The normalcy of the environment.

At the time she came into my life, she had walls around her that Trump could only dream of. This tiny little girl barely 5’1, with a permanent tight-lipped expression on her face and language a sailor would envy. (That actually endeared her to me, as I come from a long line of creative cursers.) She talked a real tough game. Acted like nothing could ever make her crack and it was very difficult to ease into this new relationship for both her father and for me.

I made the decision to hold back and allow whatever relationship we would have to be decided by her. She was an adult already, and I was not sure what my place would be in her life at that time- friend, big sister, Dad’s wife, or evil step-mother. Plus I felt her relationship with her father was more important work. Sadly, they struggled to connect right from the start, and that broke my heart for both of them. He wanted to treat her like the 7-year-old he last saw and she had been basically taking care of herself AND her little brother her entire life, so did not welcome that from him. No matter how many times I tried to tell him that, he ignored it and carried on, which just made her more angry- and she was already a girl hosting a lifetime of anger inside of her small frame.

I honestly think she was smarter than anyone gave her credit for and knew he couldn’t be trusted with her heart, so she refused to allow it to happen. Not from anything her mother said to her, but from her own gut feeling and years of analyzing broken people and their motivations. She saved herself from more heartache.

I know her father loves her as much as he can love anyone in this world, but he really isn’t one to count on. He comes and goes. He’s here, then he’s not.

Broken.

I separated from her father a couple of years back. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure how she would proceed, or with who.

She chose me.

Immediately and with more support than I could have ever expected.

I have spent a lot of time getting to know Samantha and my love for her has a permanent place in my heart, in that special space that once only had room for my boys.

During the last 2 years, she has severed ties with her mother, and does not talk to her at all. She has now severed ties with her father, as well, in what I suspect was her feeling that it was only fair, as she was making that choice with her mother. The last time he tried contacting her, she asked him for space. She was planning a wedding and was not in the frame of mind to deal with trying to fix their relationship at that time.

She had found a nice guy, lived with him for many years, and didn’t need that male relationship, as her guy was a big old bear of protection between her and the world around her.

During the time she made these difficult decisions, I listened to her. and allowed her the time to figure out what was best for her. If I have done anything, I have tried to encourage her that perhaps someday her mother and father will change and that there is always hope for that.

Not to give up the hope. Ever.

I have also told her that she has every right to make whatever decisions she wants with her life. I gently suggested that she was always so angry and blowing up at minor issues, and that I have noticed that this doesn’t happen anymore. I never say a negative thing about her mother or her father, but I also don’t think she owes either of them anything.

Having raised sons, this is all new to me.

The bar is higher here and she expects more of me than my sons ever have.

The daily calls or texts- ” How do I check my credit score” , ” What temperature for the chicken” , ” I have a chance at a new job- what do I do”, ” do you think I drink enough water”……endless questions and requests for advice!

It was me and my boys who were her family at her wedding in Mexico in November, and I was the mother of the bride- I have the dried corsage and pictures to prove it!

Recently, we left the hospital after visiting her grandmother, and I suddenly blurted out to her that being old and vulnerable scared me more than dying did. I have worked in healthcare long enough to see the elderly languishing in chairs, some of them strapped in and medicated, to prevent falls. I have also prepared investigative reports on abuse and neglect, by staff and families. I am aware of the realities of long-term care.

I was the driver, so I kept my eyes straight ahead, full of tears, and tried to shake the feeling off. Focus on the road. Get us both home safe.

I felt her hand reach out for mine that was on the stick shift, and she squeezed it and held on for a long time.

She said ” Shannon-  I would never let that happen to you- I promise.”

And I glanced at her quickly, and realized that in spite of the paths we had both taken, and the ones we chose not to take, and the people in both our lives that had fallen away over the years,  I had been given the gift of a daughter.

And not one I created myself- one who chose to love me and invite me into her heart as a mother.

Looking back, I wonder if her father was only a bridge to get to the side she was waiting for me on, like a little child, lost and looking for help.

Or perhaps, I was the lost child, waiting for her to come and find me.

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

Marcus Aurelius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Mom

Hey Mom,

It’s such a beautiful day today and I know how much you love warm sunny days and taking every opportunity to spend your time outside during them.

One of my earliest memories is sitting on the back step watching you with clothespins in your mouth, carefully hanging all our whites out in the sun so they would be dry by noon, and the line ready for all the heavier clothes to dry in afternoon heat.

You always seemed so much happier outdoors. It was like the sun soothed you, and the fresh air somehow carried your many worries away with the breeze. You would find any excuse to be outside the house, whether that was coaching baseball, spontaneously deciding the house needed repainting, or just sitting in a lawn chair in the evenings, having coffee with the neighbours or my friends as we grew old enough to take part in adult conversations.

While going through your things, I spent a lot of time picking through pictures in a box- snapshots in time of you as a child, and teenager. Formal shots lined up in front of Grampa’s stunning flower beds, and silly shots of you being at the lake with your Mom.

Those pictures made my heart ache for some reason. I never knew that carefree you, with the ear to ear grin. I wondered at what point in your life that apparent sass left you and the more somber, reserved you appeared.

Was it Dad and the price you paid for loving  a broken man like him?

Was it the weight of carrying all the responsibility for keeping us all alive, as the only adult in the room?

I so wish I could have magically traveled through time just to spend one day with you back when your smile was like that and your eyes sparkled with fun and mischief. If we could have somehow been contemporaries, living in the same time and place- would we have been friends? I think we may have been, you know. I see traces of myself in those pictures of you. I had that same trust in my eyes looking at you, as you had looking at your Mom. Not crystal-clear and evident in a quick glance, but there if you spent the time analyzing the snapshots closely.

Definitely there, Mom.

We always struggled, you and I, but always came back together, after a time out- a cooling off period. You would just suddenly call like nothing had ever happened, and I would respond back in the same vein, our problems buried instead of resolved.

You never apologized once for any disagreements or arguments we had. I felt so overpowered by your opinions and beliefs that I could feel myself shrinking in your presence, fumbling, stuttering for the words that I could never seem to find in order to  defend myself or my choices, or my actions.

You were right in the end about oh so many things, Mom, and I should have listened to you and followed your advice. I certainly became the queen of cutting off my nose, to spite my face, now, didn’t I? I can hear you laughing right now at me dusting off that old gem. I still use “gallivanting” and “jack of all trades, master of none” on at least a monthly basis, though, so your words didn’t totally fall on deaf ears. I heard you even when I was pretending not to.

My boys adore you, Mom, and did from the first time they looked into your eyes as infants and felt your overwhelming love for them. Your most uninhibited and loving moments were your moments with my boys. Mark and I would laugh about how you transformed into a woman we didn’t know at all with them. The woman who would give potato chips on the side rather than vegetables with a sandwich. The woman who actually cut the crusts off the bread for the picky eater, or who suddenly thought Popsicles and Freezies were suitable main courses for that same picky eater, while simultaneously coaxing Flintstones vitamins into him.

Watching you with my children thawed something inside of me, Mom, and made our relationship better than it had ever been in the past; closer, more authentic and honest. I would frequently ask your advice and heed it, knowing you knew better than I did and had raised children to adulthood, while I was still a novice. It was suddenly me, rather than you, coordinating time with each other. It was me calling you you crying and scared about how high a fever could go before it was an emergency, and it was your calm, soothing voice I clung to for dear life, as you explained all the times you had sat up yourself with feverish babies and children during the night hours.

Showing up at my door after working all day and insisting I hand the colicky, screaming baby over to you so you could walk with him, which allowed me to take a shower and get out of my pajamas at 5 P.M. Reassuring me that he hadn’t stopped crying for you because I was a horrible mother, but had just cried himself tired and that he sensed my fear, so kept reacting to it. Then you told me to grab my purse and go for a walk or a drive- to go away for an hour or two and leave you with him and his brother. God, if you only knew how much that hour provided me with the strength to come home and start it all over again. I cannot even remember if I thanked you properly for that or not and that dismays me now. Thank you, Mom- your help made me such a better mother than I could have ever been on my own without your sage advice and counsel.

You have always, always, been there for me, along every stage of my life and I know I have hurt you over the years, as our children always do.

I remember the way your face fell the day I looked at you incredulously when you commented that we were best friends, and I let a lifetime of feeling oppressed by you colour my response to your perception of our relationship.

I remember your trying to comfort me following Dad’s death, and my pulling away from you, and suggesting in my grief that I would be just fine and that your attention and comfort would be better received by Mark, your favourite. What an utterly bitchy, mean thing for me to say to someone reaching out to care for me.

I know you understood and forgave more for it. But I also know I had a part in taking some of your shine away that day forever.

Every December 20th for 42 years, the first thing I heard was your not so great voice singing happy birthday to me either in person or over the phone line. That makes me smile and feel so loved and wanted, Mom, and always will.

In the time since 2006, I now have to purchase purses, pillows and my own underwear, which has turned out to be a colossal pain in my ass. I know that makes you laugh, as well, and I am sitting here laughing with you.

It provides me with so much comfort that you and Mark can talk daily now, as you were always so close, but makes me sad that I only have this one day in the sunshine with you.

Sitting in the sunshine here with you now, I see you raise your face up towards the sky and close your eyes, much like you did another time we were sitting together outside towards the end of your life.

I watch the worry lines fading from your face, and suddenly you are once again that sassy, beautiful young girl outside and away from the walls that surrounded you most of your life.

I reach over and take your hand in mine, put a soft kiss on your cheek, and whisper to you that in spite of the many times you doubted it, I always loved you best and realize now that I would not be where or who I am without you as my guide.

XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love

Love

At 4: Falling asleep in a random place and magically waking up in your bed, all covered up and somehow still feeling the kiss placed gently on your cheek by someone who cared.

At 7: Curled into your mother on the couch, being told secrets and stories to calm you down, frozen bag of peas on your lips- shuddered breathing, after violently losing both your front teeth during a fall from the top bunk, whilst amusing your brother with your gymnastic prowess.

At 11: First kiss behind the barn in the sweltering heat of July, feeling that rush of awareness that the boy you peeked at from around doorways and behind trees, noticed you in spite of your shyness and naivety.

At 14: The feeling of your best friend’s hand taking your shaking hand and leading you out of the school and to home when the mean girls came to call in middle school.

At 17: The bluest eyes you had ever fallen into, looking straight into yours and smiling the widest, happiest smile and feeling that click in your heart – knowing the path in the road had been decided for you.

At 21: Feeling the first kick and inside you and not knowing how it would end.

At 23: Holding your second miracle in your arms and staring into his eyes in awe, in the silence of the night, your heart and your soul making silent promises, feeling like there is only the two of you in the entire universe awake at that moment in time.

At 25: The sight of that same wee one suddenly seeming so large and holding your third and last miracle in his arms, looking down at his new brother with that same serious gaze he analyzes the world around him with… and then quietly weeping in gratitude as he reaches ever so gently to touch his lips to the top of his brother’s head.

At 36: Nurses asking you how many sisters you have, as every one of your far-away friends has figured out the rules, and  calls the trauma unit identifying as a sister, in order to get news on your condition.

At 37: Riding 20 hours on a greyhound bus in a neck brace and walking into your mother’s house to prove to her that you are in one piece. That first careful hug and feeling her hot tears running down your back when she won’t let you go.

At 38: Laying on the couch with his hands stroking your hair while you whisper, “please don’t make me love you- I’m too broken and scared.” His promises and assurances that he will never leave.

At 48: Your brother telling you for the last time how strong and smart and capable you are. Letting you know you never once let him down or left him alone.

At 53: Loving yourself wholly and completely and allowing that love to flow freely and to be accepted freely, by the same little girl who woke up in places she didn’t fall asleep in.

The girl who can sometimes still feel the kisses and the stroking of her hair by the people who loved her before she could love herself.

 

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Sergeant Stinkers aka Lil Sarge

I am so excited I am vibrating!

After serious introspection and decision-making, I am going to collect my new baby next week and could not be more excited.

I lost two beloved furry family members within 6 months of each other two years ago, and it has taken me this long to grieve them properly and allow my heart to open enough to consider the possibility of going through it all over again. But it did, and I am and it is NEXT WEEK!

I have visited with this cutie and have observed him with all his siblings and his momma and actually picked him out from a picture before I ever met him in person.

My previous cats were Sylvester and Yayo aka Babygirl.

Sylvester I have written about here on my blog and he lived longer than any pet I have ever had in my life. He was pitch black in colour and incredibly chill in temperament.

Babygirl was white and black and looked like she had a beaver straddling her back. She was far more fiesty but very funny and adorable, always positioning herself for “spankings”, as she loved being patted, sometimes rather hard, on her rump end. She was also incredibly fickle and could be snuggling with you all content and then if someone she fancied more came into the room, she would sometimes tear half the skin off you in her struggle to plant herself on THEIR lap, instead of yours. My youngest started calling her a little trollop as she reminded us all of a woman who would quickly dump your ass if she caught a whiff  of someone with a fatter wallet approaching!

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I chose my new baby due to his colouring, as I have never owned a gray cat before, so he would be his own person in my heart, with no reminders of the ones that have already carved out their spots before him.

He seems to be that perfect blend of cuddly and independent, which I need in my life at this point. I work and am away from home for at least 7 hours a day. I have the flexibility to run home at lunch to check on him, which I will do during our adjustment period, but apparently he is also OK to be alone, according to  the people he has lived with since birth.

When his siblings all do that kitty-pile thing they do, he curls up with them for a bit, but then wanders off on his own to a chair, or bed, and plays with a toy alone and content. He sounds quite a bit like me, actually. I like my playtime  and socializing but also wander off to be by myself when I need to be.

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It was so hard for me to see all those kittens and only choose one to bring home with me but I want to be able to give everything to Lil Sarge, rather than spread it out. Also, I really could be the type who turns into the “crazy cat lady”, so I tried to use some restraint.

I am already buying the little things he will need and planning to set up a space for him in a spare room, where he will feel safe to run away to, if he is fearful during his first days here.

I cannot wait to have him home with me and just wanted to share my excitement with any cat lovers who may follow my blog.

Stay tuned- you can bet I will be writing more in the future about our shenanigans together.

 

 

 

 

Adam

Twenty nine years ago tonight at about this very time, I felt the beginning stirrings of my first-born son inside me.

He was signalling me that his time had come. We would be meeting soon.

I performed the necessary silly tasks that every expectant mother- to- be performs, hair washing, leg-shaving…giggling at my then-husband’s nervousness and teasing that I really looked just fine and should likely just “sit quietly” and wait.

I kept getting up to answer the cries of “trick or treat!” at my door. Handed out candy and smiled at little princesses and firemen on my doorstep, knowing that in the future, I too, would be doorstep begging for free candy with my little one inside me.

After my Mom showed up and assessed the situation, and following a call to my Dr, we three headed off to the hospital.

My labour was typical and I handled it like a pro, according to my usually critical Mother. I remember it being a time I went deep inside myself and blocked everyone out. The only sounds I heard were my own breathing and the sound of the fetal monitor.

My Dr appeared at my bedside, performed an examination, looked a bit perplexed and left the room rather quickly.

My husband followed him out to find out what was going on. He was and still is a Nervous- Nelly type. I barely noticed either of them leaving. I was riding the waves and doing my breathing and content in the thought that everything was going as planned. Nature, after all.

Strange Dr. appears and tells me that he is the Obstetrician on call, and that my baby is breech. Asked me if I had had ultrasounds at all during the pregnancy and I told him no. Remember, this is almost thirty years ago and I was a healthy, 21 year old woman, with a very typical pregnancy and a regular family doctor overseeing it all.

Suddenly, he is harshing my mellow birthing experience and wanting an ultrasound and then wanting to try to “manually” turn my baby within me. As I found out later, this man had zero bedside manner, but brilliant clinical skills and experience.

After an excruciating ten minutes that felt like ten years, with his hands inside me twisting and pushing and rolling at my tummy from the outside as well, he told me he was going to have to perform a caesarean section and that judging by the fetal monitor, it  should occur ASAP.

Suddenly, all the lights are on in the room, I have nurses and anaesthesiologists poking at me, as well as a lab tech drawing blood for god knows what. They are telling my Mom and husband what is happening, and ushering them out and to wherever they stick people to sit and wait in agony while their loved ones are rushed to surgery.

I remember waking up in a pitch black room. It was utterly silent and I thought I had died. I was heavily drugged and felt horribly disoriented. So much so, that it took me a few moments to ever remember that I had come to the hospital to give birth. Too quiet to be a hospital. I felt pain in my stomach when trying to move and was just about to try and find a call bell or even move out of the bed ever so carefully, when I heard a sound that scared me so badly, I pulled the sheet over my face in an instinctual childish reaction.

The sound was that of a grown man in unbearable anguish crying somewhere where I could hear the pain echoing off the walls outside the door. I heard a quiet rhythmic thumping and sobbing..endless heartbreaking sadness spewing from within someone’s deepest places.

That man was my husband.

My son, Adam, was born Nov 01 1986 @ 0115 in the morning with no kidneys, which meant that his lungs did not develop. He survived inside me, but once born, could not live on his own. As I learned later, one of the biggest reasons these conditions are lethal is because if there are no kidneys or the kidneys do not function and make amniotic fluid, the baby’s lungs will not develop. The amniotic fluid is necessary for the baby’s lungs to grow and mature.

After he was delivered and prognosis shared with my Mother, she sat in the nursery with him swaddled in her arms, and simply rocked him until he died.

I was asked if I wanted to hold his deceased form in the blanket and I said no. When I tell others this, they are sometimes quite shocked and I see the looks on their faces. Expressions range from shock to sadness to bewilderment to distaste.

I never felt I had to justify that choice to anyone ever and I never have.

The reason I didn’t hold my dead, silent, still, son is not because I didn’t love him or want to hold him, smell him, touch him.

I knew in my heart if they tried to take him from me, which they most certainly would..I would shatter.

I would shatter inside to the point there would be no more me left.

I would fight and snarl and roar and scream and bite and HOWL if they took him from my arms like they took him from my belly while I was sleeping.

I had survived much already in my life, but I would not survive that.

So, I didn’t.

He was buried with my father on a gloomy grey day with just a handful of family present.

When my Mother saw the tiny casket coming, being carried quite easily by one man, she had to walk away, her sister holding her in her arms. She just could not bear it. I understood that, too. I really did and wished that I could walk away too and not see that. There is no sight in this world sadder than a tiny white casket. Nothing.

I have struggled to find the meaning in losing my first born son. Adam..the first.

I believe now that it made me a better mother to the two boys who followed.

Two more sons, the youngest, Nicholas, identical to Adam in every feature, according to my Mom and husband.

With my Mom and brother gone now, and my husband at the time now an ex-husband, I am likely the only one who remembers him at this time of year.

My first son, Adam Edward, always in my heart, where he is safe, warm and loved by his mommy.