It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

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(Note: Lyrics used in blog, also from Eminem’s song “Like Toy Soldiers”. Lyrics from Celine Dion’s song “My Heart Will Go On” James Horner-music/lyrics Will Jennings. No copyright infringements intended with images and lyrics used in this blog. And only in an “unstapledlisa” blog, would you get an Eminem/Celine Dion mashup. While I’m discussing one of the most heartbreaking things, EVER, in my life, I only make a little fun of myself, at times, because if I didn’t use humor as a distraction, I’d be crying all the time )

“Step by step, heart to heart, left right left, we all fall down, like toy soldiers” -“Like Toy Soldiers”…….

March has traditionally been a hard month for me, since 2009, as that’s when I first started missing major milestones in my daughter’s life (March is Zoe’s birthday month, the same goes in October, which is Zach’s birthday) and I was still in the system. I’m more grief stricken, as I get older and as I lose more precious memories of that I had while they lived with me. And mourn the fact that there’s been so much time I’ve had not to be able to create new memories, that I wouldn’t have a prayer of remembering, anyways. I, however have, Zoe’s brother to thank for giving me Eminem as a coping mechanism, now. However, Eminem’s music was a coping mechanism for him, when he was old enough to see me physically and then, mentally disintegrate. And at least I could help him, help himself, indirectly by giving him music that helped him, coped.

“Why would I wanna destroy, something I helped, build? It wasn’t my intentions, my intentions were good” -“Like Toy Soliders”

However, I couldn’t do much then, when things were at the worst, for all of us, even though I did try to protect my children as much as I was capable of. Not much in the last 6 1/2 years has changed. Other than my memory issues are still getting worse. So is my medical health issues, as far as severe chronic pain. My mental health issues, still for the most part, have to be managed, by awareness, which some days, it is a full time job. It also is another full time job, to try and remember what little precious memories I have, of my children. Which pretty much secures my having to spend a lot of time, revisiting all aspects of my past. For the rest of my life.

“You’re here, there’s nothing I fear, and I know my heart will go on,we’ll stay forever this way, you’re safe in my heart and my heart will go on and on” -” My Heart Will Go On”

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My youngest sister emailed about 10 days ago, above pictures that were taken in September of 2003. My son was almost 11, Zoe was almost 6 months old. I know she meant well, and I’m glad she did. But this made my March “mourning” even more bittersweet. While I have some memory of her taking the set of pics, that she did. I have some memory of how I communicated with my children with my children at different ages, including when they were babies. Both verbally and non verbal expressions of love, it’s just that I’m losing more memories as I get older (it’s very hit or miss what makes it in to both short term and why I have problems with long term memory retention) and I’ve lost memories that I had of my son (before I got pregnant with my daughter/before she was born), post reversal in 2010, that I remembered then (meaning post reversal), but that I can’t remember now, 4 1/2 years later.

The 1st picture above, with Snoopy and Charlie Brown, is starting to go viral in my newsfeed. And I think it’s great about trying to prove a point about accepting the curveballs and bad things in life, that we can’t predict and have absolutely NO control over.

But, TRUTHFULLY I can’t say “My entire life can be summed up in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned and that’s ok”….

NO!!! It’s NOT fucking ok and I’m not ok about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that everyone that I love is still alive. I’m grateful that due to family, that my children are doing great. I’m grateful that I have a roof over my head. I have freedom of choice. That I’m still alive. And I constantly continue to shock those who are closest to me, by complaining a lot, but not for one second, lacking empathy and gratitude for all that’s good in my life and wanting to help others.

“But the battle wages on, for toy soldiers” – “Like Toy Soldiers”

The thing is, too. I did a lot of things RIGHT, as a mother, before my apocalyptical breakdown. I taught my children that love need not be competitive. With them being 10 1/2 years apart in age, that I had enough love for the both of them. And it was exponentially increased with the 3 of us as a strong family unit. That they shouldn’t judge people by they way they look. That show gratitude for all that’s good in their life. We did “normal” family things. I was a responsible, loving and nurturing mother for as long as I was capable of. But then came the day, I couldn’t help but do the bare minimum, which was NEVER a reflection on how much I love them.

I remember shortly after I launched this blog in August of 2013, I was able to see my daughter on a last minute basis for lunch, Labor Day of 2013, and she was 10 1/2 at that time. She had told me that while she had many fond memories, when we lived together, that she loved her life, now. With my parents. She also added that, in the last 18 months that she lived with me, but had respite care (she falls in the ASD, high functioning, though) that her respite care worker, did not take her to the places that she had claimed, and didn’t care for her very well and lied about how happy Zoe was in her care. And apparently, Zoe felt the need at the age of 4 1/2 to 5 1/2, to NOT tell me the truth. While I didn’t use respite care, except for when I was sick in the hospital with complications, and or when I was feeling most poorly,I’d usually get Zoe, early and  I still allowed her respite care worker to bill for days she wasn’t there (I had about 40 days a year for Zoe and maybe used 10 days a year, it was really hard to be away from my kids, so I only used respite, as a last resort)

I NEVER at my sickest, was sick enough, to have the expectation that my children had to care for me or coddle me. I was NOTHING short of horrified that she experienced that, and she thought at such a young age, that I needed somehow to be protected from that.

As more time goes by, I see my children less and less. . It’s easier for me to talk more on a regular basis with my son, who’s now an adult, because I don’t have to struggle with filters, like I do with my daughter, who is now a tween and turns 12, in a day and half. And my son is almost 22 1/2. He knows that as I get older, it’s harder for me to hide things from his sister and himself (i.e. when pain levels are super high or my memory issues, although Zach knows about my mental health issues). The only thing I’ve asked of him, now, is that because it’s likely by the time, my daughter is old enough to ask tough questions about me, that he helps her remember that I do love them both dearly. But my daughter still has a lot of good memories about our lives together as a family, from the time she was toddler.

The problem is, that as more time goes by, my memories dwindle down, no matter how much I try to prevent it. And I can’t make my peace with it.  It’s also harder for me to have a filter, as far as hiding reactions. My boyfriend and I, took my daughter, early last summer, when she was done with school, to celebrate the last day of the 5th grade for her. We had a nice lunch at one of her favorite restaurants. On the way back, in the car, to drop her back home, she said the following. “I’m so glad to be going to a new school. There was this boy who would bully me by making “yo mama” jokes”.

I couldn’t help at first but look at her in horror. I quietly asked if that boy knew that she didn’t live with me (Zoe knows about my medical health issues (including that I had a gastric bypass for weight loss) and she’s a smart girl, she has known for quite awhile that I have memory issues, too, since she was about 7 years old, but we haven’t discussed that). She said that, yes, the boy did and it made her feel bad, she knew enough to allude that “yo mamma is so fat” but not say it outright, because my boyfriend was there.

I saw her one other time, last summer. We had gone out to lunch and to see a movie. Then I saw both my children, on my son’s 22nd birthday, in October of 2014. I have NOT seen my children, since then.

In their case, it’s in their best interest, to not see them very often. It is painful for us to be together, because it’s tinged with remorse that we are no longer what we were as family, when we lived together, so it’s very bittersweet. Even though they’ve had a great life in the last 6 1/2 years due to my parents and my sisters who have helped out. If they weren’t ok with that, as far as how little I see them, I’d see them more. But then I’d also risk both of them seeing more often, no matter how much I try to hide it, that I can’t remember things and it’s getting worse, (as well it’s harder to hide my medical conditions, no matter how hard I try to hide it) and I don’t want to put that on them. That’s one of the reasons why I blog. So that my daughter has in my words, that I love them and that I wish more than anything, I could have been everything they deserved. That my lack of action and participation is NOT a reflection of my love for them. That I’d do anything and give everything to change that, but I can’t. So I love them dearly, but from a distance.

This isn’t a regurgitation of other past blogs about my children and I. It’s new insight and reflections of my love for them, given how limited I am, to show them that I do love them. More than anything. Much more than words can express. So I am so grateful for the pictures above of them. Even though they were NEVER intended, when taken, so many years ago, to be made public. But they express much more than I’m ever going to be able to convey in words.

So I’m grateful this March. Just like I am everyday, that I was Zachary and Zoe’s mom. It was a privilege and the best part of my life, when I was actively in my children’s life. And if I have to be in severe pain, physically and mentally as a reminder, every day, I take it as my due. I just hope that they realize they deserved all the good, that was our life together. And that they NEVER deserved any of what was bad. That their lives have meaning and have ALWAYS mattered.

And they always will….I love you  dearly and always, my beloved Zachary Aaron and Zoe Arielle…. ALWAYS

(note/addenum: This blog was published actually 3-22-2015. Zoe turns 12 on 3-24-2015. Happy Birthday, Zoe Arielle)

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