season of exaltation

It’s still life.  20 months and a week or so later, we’re still here; dancing forward and falling back.  Himself, the master of the house, the blond, blue-eyed, tall toddler has wrapped the Nonnie and the Poppie and the Kimber dog ’round his every finger.  His mother is deeply in love with him, and he with her.  He is the very spirit of the house and lord of all that he surveys.

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Enter ‘the holidays’.  A decade plus have seen them observed under a cloud of uncertainty, haunted by our own ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.  I totally and humbly and personally understand the annual season of suffering this is for so very many people, and I keep them all in my prayers.

This – his first sentient Noel – we are a little closer.  It is our Advent- to come closer- whatever we have yet to accomplish, resolve, let go of, embrace, or forgive; with all the change I feel coming; and against sweeping odds, there is a feeling of faith in my heart, a whisper of triumph in my future, and a song of exultation on my lips.  Bring it on, Wenceslas, Dickens, and Baby, It’s Cold Outside. It. Is. Still. Life.

 

It’s a new life

This journey, and those on it, are different now.  Some tenuously, some hopefully, some nervously, some watchfully, some just plain stoned in love.

This baby.  This beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.  With the deep dimyellow subple in his right cheek, his Gerber curls on the top of his head, his two teeth that he bites his fingers with, his bright blue eyes, his squawking efforts to converse, his alabaster skin, his own sweet smell, his utterly still gaze when I sing him Yellow Submarine.  I’ve wondered for years what her drawing meant…it was a prayer to the future.  Right now, in this moment, I can believe in anything.

Badass, Baby

Addiction Recovery, being in recovery, is a life sentence.  For addicts, it can only be self-conferred.  For their families, it’s served voluntarily and, as I have recently experienced for my family, fervently and passionately and zealously.  Given the grief-to-earnings Insanity Scale between death-by-heroin, active-addiction-wretchedness, and in recovery, it’s the only way to pass go.  With a doable rub.  It’s not a sure thing; at best it’s a definite and defiant balance of for better and for worse.  Maybe like remission, with the sword hanging ever overhead. worth it

I’m not the addict; I’m just her mom, and the grandmother of her son, the saver of her life, who we will meet when he is born any day now. She will, God and the rest of us willing, serve a prolonged, sustained life in recovery.  And so will I and the rest of her family.  If she can keep a life grip on it, so can we.  It’s not the life she envisioned, and it’s sure as hell not what I dreamed of, but after ten years trapped in the yo-yo spiral between shadow and shroud, it’s breathtaking.  There’s a long way to go, and this is a forever-work-in progress, every hour, every day.  I’m okay with that.  I’m not naïve that it’s very early days, but it’s been enough days to finally risk the statement:

We are one badass warrior Family In Recovery.

Second Trimester

Fetus to fruit comparisons are as good a measure as any.  When I last wrote, in late September, at the end of the first trimester, we had a lime.  Now, at roughly thecoconut end of the second trimester, I’m going with coconut (I like the imagery, the song, and a good margarita).

It’s been a long three months.  We’ve made it though.  Three months to go.  What then?  Don’t know – my least favorite state of being.

Living with adult children – also not a favorite state of being.  Living with an adult child who has neither options nor prospects – really not good.  Living with an adult child you don’t trust – genuinely awful.  The pros:  We love her. She’s clean, she’s got great prenatal care, eating healthy, and we see no threat to making it to the coconut’s birthday in good baby/mommy physical health.  The cons:  It’s basically a hostage situation on a tightrope over an abyss in the dark with a totally unsettled weather front looming.

Living in a state of WTF is draining.  So, I’m reading and talking about mindfulness with some other women.  Up until a few years ago, I’d have said I had it going on – I excelled in practicing grateful, liking myself, handling stress with aplomb, maintaining and sharing a sense of grace.  Now, not.  The first thought I have in the mornings when I wake (on nights I actually sleep) is how long until I can go back to bed.  I’m avoiding making decisions, finishing books; I cry if you look at me (okay – that’s always been close at hand); I’m moody as hell; and frankly, bah humbug.  Strangely, however, I can’t stop ordering baby clothes.

I opened one of my mindfulness book-study texts today – the first thing I read brought me to my knees: there was another life I might have had, but I am having this one.

Yes, yes I am.

P.S. Our lime turned coconut…is a boy  blue-baby-feet-clip-art-at-clker-com-vector-clip-art-online-royalty-i16bfz-clipart

…how many more?

candles

I received yet another notice this morning from yet another mother whose 28 year old child  overdosed and died last night.  I’ve lost count, just in my small area, just in this past year. My daughter is 28 and still battling – every death notice takes another little piece of my hope.

How many deaths will it take before we have an all out sustained push for whatever it takes to stop the heroin epidemic? To remove the stigma?  Whose kid has to die before attention is paid?  How many more?

 

Hanging Tough

It’s been said Tough times never last, but tough people do.tough-times-never-last

I say, yeah, maybe.

We knew this abrupt change of forsworn direction, this most weighty and fearsome decision to take her in again, only because of the baby, would be tough, and precarious.   We are tough.   How tough, you ask?

Getting tougher every day, thanks in part to an epic breakdown in plan this weekend.  An unfortunate, ugly, unwelcome, blame-to-spare, blast-from-the-past clash.  But WE MADE IT.  WE ARE ALL OKAY.  It was almost a relief to have the emotional shoe drop finally, but the storm broke, and we three, this unlikely and fragile trinity, didn’t.   So I’m calling it out loud – we passed this test.

We’re a long way from anywhere, the woods are nothing if not dark and deep, but we have promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep.  Please God, grant us safe travels, grant us the strength to trust each other, and if it’s not too much trouble, let’s get a move on to March 23.

So for today, we are hanging tough. It’s still life.

 

 

 

PSA: No one told me life was gonna’ be this way

I’ve heard every possible response to my chronicle, my testimony as my Nonnie would have called it – from compassion to flat out hellfire judgement. I welcome all of it, because you never know who might hear you, who might tip the scale.   The hard and undeniable truth for everyone, including the haters, is that the chances of personal experience in your own addiction nightmare are increasing exponentially.  When the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. is drug overdose, it can’t happen to me or mine is dangerously naive.

We are in a heroin epidemic.  It has finally been demonstrated, validated, proven once and for all, that  addiction is a disease, not a choice, and I can personally add a guarantee it will permanently change every day of the rest of your life, whether you are the addict or not.  Without universally available addiction and mental health, medical, and behavioral treatment, in creditable rehab facilities for a proper amount of time, addiction will continue to spread and kill our children, our people, our beloved.  While Narcan is all in the news lately, it is kind of a defib equivalent for overdose – it can only keep an addict breathing after the fact– without follow up treatment in rehab, nothing but rinse and repeat.

I write about this because I can, because I want you to understand it could be you and yours in the beat of a heart, because it’s lonely and isolated and scary as fuck hecant-see-tears-in-the-rainre, and because I don’t do voiceless or invisibility, and I absolutely reject the addiction stigma.  We don’t say screw those losers, let ‘em die about any other group of people suffering a raging, potentially fatal disease, do we?

While it sure as hell hasn’t been my day, my week, my month, or even my year, it’s still life, I’ve kept it together for another day, and I’ll try to be there for you, when the rain starts to pour. Testify.