Greetings. Thank you, Anywhere County USA!
You have activated the social justice warrior within me, and now that I have the voice that was my mother’s out of my mind, soul and heart (do see the ‘Dear Mom’ letter if you so wish to delve a bit) –
There’s a need to expound a bit, as I feel the need to – for the first time ever in writing – share the other side of the “Mom circumstance”. I have come to the realization that I will never have my birth mother’s – well, anything – and that is okay.
Once upon a time, I had a ‘heart and soul Mom’, the ‘Mother to my heart’ is what I called her. It was my dear Grandmama Helen. My birth mother’s Mom. She is the one person in our family that did not judge me, did not condone me, did not hurt my heart. She loved me unconditionally. She did not question my oddness, my Sarahisms… she just loved me. She and my Granddaddy are the ones that took me in, moved me to their home in Fayetteville, when I was 14 and being disowned by my parents. We were stationed overseas and I was a threat to my father’s military career. So, the best thing they could do was remove me – as if I did not even exist – and that they did. I moved to Fayetteville, where about 6 weeks later (March 14, 1987) my Granddaddy quickly succumbed to cancer and died after the first round of chemo.
A few years later, my parents convinced my Grandmama to sell that house and buy the one across the street from them in Alabama (where we moved back to from the last overseas tour of duty), so they could help her. This is where the rest of this story takes place… in 1996.
Grandmama turned from ill to grave one day, and was found passed out across her bed with the phone in her hand. She had poo’d all the way down the hallway trying to get to the ringing phone to catch the morning welfare check call from Hospice. My Grandmama did not want folks going out of their way, and she had hustled because she did not want them to call out the first responders to check her for no reason.
At the time, I worked overnights at a station in Columbus, Ga – running the overnights and handling production requests that required a female voice. I quit this job to go to my Grandmama when I got the call that June morning. With apologies to the Operations Manager, it was not my norm to leave without notice.
For two weeks I cared for my Grandmama who was in a comatose state. I’ll spare the day to day convalescent care, but I was there 24/7. When she woke, I was there at her bedside reading a John Grisham novel (somehow I was going to become an attorney, an honest attorney, and use my knowledge to save this world, and I loved those books). When she called Barbara over, I was there when she told her final wishes. Wishes discussed previously with her doctor, where Barbara had also been present. Grandmama reminded Barbara of her signed directive, something that I had been a part of, too. I knew what was coming. I knew what Grandmama wanted.
When that moment came a few days later, Barbara handed me the bottles of pills and walked back across the street. Barbara the licensed registered nurse gave that task to me…. My Grandmama and I had a long talk. We cried. I begged without begging to be taken off duty from this, but the thing is I loved that woman, that sweet country girl that was her spirit til the very end. She had been the one and only who had loved me weirdnesses and all, accepted me without even a hint of criticism… She made me promise not to stop. She told me what to do once she fell asleep, and not to stop…. I started a log as she directed, and gave her the first dose of her meds.
I was the only one there, the house felt so small around us. When she fell asleep asleep… and I could no longer wake her, get a vocal response and the next step had to begin, I think I wanted myself to be transported anywhere but there. I had made a promise…. I had made a promise…. I kept my promise til the end. Then waited at her bedside hour after hour…. Hour after hour …. It was late at night, 11 pm, when the rattle began, the death rattle…. It is a sound if you have never heard it, well I cannot describe it to you – once you have, you will never escape the memory of… I held her hand, I remember how I shook from the center of my being through my skin, an earthquake of feelings, holding her hand in mine. Hours and hours more… so it seemed…. Just as it turned the darkest it had ever been and it was just before dawn… it happened. Not quietly, peacefully…. But with a violent outpouring of bile from (it seemed) every orifice of my sweet Grandmama’s face, all over us both…. The sun was just getting up in the sky when the responders and coroner showed up, when I remember being in the driveway with my father whilst Barbara was inside wailing like a baby…. I remember asking the coroner where she was going, what funeral home, because no one was touching her face if it was okay, but me. Next day, my one highschool friend, Connie – who was a hairdresser – met me and she did Grandmama’s hair and I did her makeup because she needed that – to be herself, not what a stranger thought but what I knew her to be. That night, my father made arrangements for her funeral in Fayetteville, NC. I did not go. Grandmama wanted flowers in life, not a fuss in death… I had done my best to give her that last bouquet of her creation, at her directive.. .in life… and could not would not be going to the funeral. I drove back to Auburn/Opelika, to my cats….
…I am not sorry to say, you are about to be Sarahfied. You have royally pissed me off, Anywhere County. Not just for my family of three, but for the masses that are being not heard everywhere!
I am going to aspie out on you and if you have thick enough skin to make it to the end, you will be a better person for it. You will learn something. If you use that learnin’ to do somethin’, if only within your own self, then you will grow. You will see part of the spectrum of issues that I am all too understanding of already from every angle. Every. Single. Angle. Including that of the ‘other side’.
We live in a society of hypocrites. Real life we see it happening, our ‘leaders’ putting on this big damn show about the babies – save the babies, ban abortions, save the children! It makes for good television news, it may make for a good way to shuffle papers and play the bureaucratic game they do, but it does not transcend into reality day to day.
Those same leaders that want to save the babies are complicit with babies and children being held in concentration camps, trafficked and – OMG some are ultimately slaughtered so that they – yes, the same fucking people – can have the elixir of youth. No they do not admit it, nor do they want the world to know anything about it. We are hell and gone from that point (thank you, world wide web!)- Pedogate is real, it is global, and it extends into all levels of our leaders and beyond.
The family courts say they want to ‘help heal families’, get them ‘healthy’ and back together. Perhaps the courts do. Perhaps this judge does…
However, without the truth – the whole truth, not just what is provable by the attorneys – that simply will not happen. And, without hearing from me, your Honor – fully, without the boundaries set by the fluorescent lights – the whole truth you may never know. I understand that any statement I write and submit to my attorney, even when addressed to you, will not be seen because of email rules and law. So here we go – using my right to free speech in the public forum. My initial statement is here.
If one is going to repair a gaping hole in a wall, there are choices. You can take the time to measure, decide if it needs a drywall patch or the mesh tape and putty, fill it in, sand it and paint it. Or – you can cover it with wallpaper and call it ‘done’. No one will see underneath it, right? Until it is leaned upon, or someone wants to hang a picture, may never know that hole lays beneath the surface.
I’m fairly sure that I have now busted the wall wide open. Fairly sure that I have exposed all the ‘issues’ and I have already taken measurements and I know how much drywall it’ll take to rebuild it. Thing is – the analysis, the quote, is not being read or understood.
I know that in any building, be it physical or metaphysical, the ‘building’ is only as strong as the cornerstone on which it is built from. In a family, that is the parents. In our family – that is me. I know of my weaknesses, as they are perceived by the allistic world as such – my traits. I know what I am made up of – yes, even the worst of me – and I have traced a lot of it back to its origin. Some I have regurgitated all over for whatever good or bad it can do in being judged, analyzed, acknowledged and – dare I say – accepted and understood. Some – I still hold onto, because though I know the truth, I have yet to find the proof of it, and my mind is protecting me from it.
Let’s be really real here please. I hate spotlights, with this exception because in allowing its harsh beams upon me, we will bring about positive change in the end – hopefully stretching far beyond our family. But I wanted to say this- without sounding ego driven as it is absolutely something that I am still whispering to myself: I am stronger than I/you acknowledge, I am a warrior – that I live daily with complex ptsd, I am Asperger’s with a very heavy trait load, and micromanage a myriad of comorbids that go with each, and do it by myself as I have done most of this life – I am a force of the universe, all 122 pounds.
I felt judged today, by the Judge – and everyone – because I didn’t LOOK as good today as I did yesterday. Well can we just break that apart? This is the third morning I have presented to the courthouse – the second with just myself (I had a person on Monday). This morning I am overly tired. I have walked through a lot of moments and have processed them – but it is not something that happens in mere moments. We are talking hours – days – of mental work.
Ask any autistic about processing and recovery from said processing, and though we are all different we share a common thread in that it takes us longer than the allistic brains around us. Said another way, when an allistic brain walks out of the courtroom they have likely already compartmentalized what happened and have moved on to the next thing. When my autistic brain walks out of the courtroom, I have to work through every moment, which is not limited to the words spoken. I have to process and/or recover from the bright lights/noise, remember everything that was said and review for context cues both vocal and non vocal that I may have misunderstood or missed in real time, and if there was a lot of emotion in the room I have to process and recover from all of that, too. That is just a start, btw.
I said in court, “I can mask or I can make sense today, but not both.”
That was not good enough, I sensed it, I almost heard it internally. The message being that, although we have to accept that you are autistic, we do not have to accept your autistic traits. We do not have to accept that you are tapping and flapping simultaneously and that those behaviors are normal. Can you be less autistic? Can you be autistic and still show up to court looking well rested, be on stable feet/have your balance (which I did not today), and know precisely when to speak and what to say and with what inflection to say it so it is well understood?
I know that none of those folks would be able to – daily – face the day, in any way, if they had to micromanage what I do on a daily/nightly basis. Any one of them, if they struggled and fought as I do to stay in control, to stay in the now – to make it to the dawn, get up and face the proverbial music on too little restful sleep and sore from fighting or running from the phantoms while asleep – would be calling in sick on the regular.
I am badass. My soul – My Sarah with an ‘h’ soul has risen from the ashes becoming the phoenix that she is – she has taken down and fully kicked out of her space the voice that permeated and tried to take her out for the majority of her entire life- that voice of the never gonna be satisfied with you, never gonna accept you, approve of or unconditionally love you piece of work that is my birth mother. That is who died last week. That is what’s yet to be recognized, but you will – I conquered her and sent her packing! This stuff isn’t pretty and I am not naturally graceful between the screwy physical alignment issues, Aspieasfuck brain compounded by cptsd, so I apologize for the mess that followed. Creation – and especially re-creation – means busting open walls. It’s messy.
It’s imperative to understand – I did not ask for C-PTSD. I know it is my mind playing tricks on me, I know it is not real – but it IS real in those moments, those dark hours, those days one after another… instead of granting some grace, giving some credit for facing it/handling it/riding it out… whatever it is that I have to do to get to the other side, and then show up for court – you want to make me feel bad, badger me a bit, bat me around mentally – like I am not doing enough? Not good enough? Not standing there normally enough?
PTSD results from one incidence. A car wreck. Surviving a fire. Living through a hurricane.
C-PTSD results from trauma after trauma after trauma…. Autistics are often bullied, and abused, as we are just more gullible, trusting and malleable overall. It is part of our naturally occuring neurology. Autistics of my age – we that are the lost generation left unnoticed and undiagnosed til late adulthood – whether with a history of childhood abuse or no, often develop cptsd as a result of decades of bullying. I am so thankful that children now – my son, his peers, the autistic children globally – are given supports sooner. They are (hopefully) watched out for in school settings and elsewhere, so they are not bullied.
I was not so lucky. I got it on every playing field – physical bullying, emotional, mental, and sexual. Can’t recall how many gravel sandwiches I ate in elementary school…. One too many though, for sure. Nevermind how many times gum was thrown into my hair on the bus through high school, or how many papers I typed because I was told I would be invited to the graduation party. BTW – Brian (my lost-now-to-me brother) – if you ever read this, I wanna thank you for helping me egg and tp the party house that night! It was the most, though I am still sorta ashamed of the destructive bit of it.
Just the facts, not feeling sorry for myself.
Add a dose of feeling your hair come out of your scalp, hearing cries you cannot comfort, add not being able to swallow or fathom trying to swallow food because what you feel instead of the food going down your throat is your ex’s hands squeezing just a bit more…. OMG I CANNOT DAMN BREATHE!
The sleeping battles. The convulsive, uncontrollable shakes withers and and what the fuck is it I am trying to get away from, you are not double jointed Sarah… how did you move like that ……… I do not know. I do know….I do not want to know…. No no no no no…… fetal position please protect me and let me see sunlight….My brain as broken and non normal as it is, should be honored for being so freakin’ badass it has and continues to keep me safe from that which I cannot handle on my own, by myself. Thank you, brain!
Hey, I got up this morning! I had coffee, got dressed, brushed my teeth and tried to brush my hair. I drove to the courthouse. I was there early. I was there without an advocate. I was there to stand on my own, to play a game that I do not keep up with in real time. I was shaky, but I was there.
To be clear – I do know without any question that it is the PTSD that is the issue most concerning to everyone involved with us and hey ….. That includes me! I did not ask for this, I am merely as have been – for decades now – trying to find the way through it to the other side. Looking for the answers on how the hell do I do this…. With this….. That I did not ask for…. And do not want….. I have asked it to leave, shown it the door, even tried to boot it into the next century a few times to no avail so far but I am working on it. Just like any one who walked a path they did not choose and would never have chosen even for their most disliked enemy, I seek a way to move away from it. Or understand it, so I can get on top of it – control it. I am strong, I am brave, and I freaking Rock! I face this, have faced it, even when not knowing what I was facing or what I was doing or supposed to be doing, but I have been at it – I shall stay at it, til I drop from total exhaustion or this gets properly rebuilt.
What I have seen glaringly obvious through the course of doing …. Well, this…. Is the hypocrisy.
Time and again seeking after help, what maybe I did not know but something, hey you know what is going on here? Can you help us, please?
Included in the lot of efforts is a call as a parent in need of assistance to local County DCF. Please go on and check, it was April 2017. April 6th if I am not mistaken. The case manager came out, did his interview, and then retired. No one else bothered to follow up, no one called to check on us, to check on me as a parent asking for assistance. Is that not parental capacity? Did I do the wrong thing, calling for help? Why did they not help?
I am wondering, your Honor – since none of the DCF attorneys, case workers, or the GAL seem to have an answer – how is this OK?
What I have come to understand is this – they are saying that they are there to help families, but the truth is…. If you want the truth…. It’s up a small road that leads to ‘Who is making the money here?’.
Not different from the Henry Ford car, or the dis-regulation of natural medicine. Laws are written to suit the ones that are meant to be beneficiaries in some way to their passing. They are not written with an authentic purpose of helping the masses. If we are being honest, then the gruesome four would have said “Screw the oil fields I just invested in, the paper mills I just bought! Yea Henry we love your hemp car! It is stronger than steel? It runs on biodegradable, renewable hemp fuel? Awesome!”
Now I’m just imagining here, but if we had used hemp to fuel our cars (and left the finite resource of black gold alone in the ground), instead of the black gold that has created a cesspool of our environment – how good would that have been for the masses of humanity? Those who have gotten sick working in the oil industry, not to mention the illnesses many deal with from the pollution created, and then there is the mass benefit that growing all that hemp offers – cleaning the air, creating work in raw harvesting and then production of the plant, not causing global warming with our too many, too greedy and needy machines and industries that run on oil products. Not to mention, we would not have an overflow of plastics to contend with as hemp makes the same things! Yes, Sir! So the animals would’ve been happier, how many species are now extinct or on the verge of extinction that could have been saved. Ahh, but Hearst needed his paper factories and the rest wanted to roll in oil soaked millions.
Seems that the system is created to be funded by taking children instead of helping families
If the system was set up to actionably, viably help families, then they would help the cornerstone stay strong, especially if the cornerstone is waving her arms, flapping her hands, asking and asking and asking for the help…. Seems that it would cost less to provide help to a struggling mother on the front end – to ensure she can get access to health care, to mental health care as needed, to support services so she can micromanage as a single parent being asked to wear the hats of two people and fill at least double that in roles. Seems to me that the system would follow the same concept as the airlines – Mom puts on oxygen first, then she helps the kids. Well – what we have here is the opposite. Let Mom suffocate a slow and painful demise, ensure she is as weakened and incapable, stressed and overwrought, as possible – and then take the kids. Then help the kids and blame the Mom.
To add to that baseline came today – again – the ‘parentification’ of my daughter. Are you kidding me? Can I shout this loudly, will you please hear me – neither child has had to play ‘parent’ to me or to each other. NO my daughter has never had to be parent to her brother. She has not been doing his laundry, cooking his meals, saying night night prayers and tucking him in, or anything of the sort. She babysat a couple times. Helped with his iReady a few times. That. Is. It.
If a person goes to school to become a doctor, the reason is to help in healing others, not to see them to death’s doorway.
If a person goes to school to help the weaker, the disenfranchised, the abandoned/abused/neglected/disabled individuals of a society – that they should actually do the work that produces those ends, not take the bits that give them the outcome that is ‘easier’ to understand, to respond to, to present in court.
Yes I get it. Again. It is easier to say that I am crazy, unstable, incapable and incompetent to be a parent and embrace the bright eyed allistics spin than it is to actually look at the entirety of things including the parts not likeable, relatable, easily fixable – the parts that do not fit on the worksheet, the parts that blow the caseload, the bits that make everyone have to think outside the box, about unimaginable circumstances.
Stuff like this can bring one who works in the system to a hard pause, I’d imagine – for the ones who are in it from truly caring. Question how to do things within the written boundaries/laws to affect a change.
Trying to do the right thing without realistic rules in place to pull from, then leads one to say, “Make any change. If not a positive change, a change nonetheless”. One that fits, somehow. One that is provable/supportable by evidence, not necessarily the truth.
Well from this angle on the world, I see that truth is discerned by the person’s willingness to take in information, and how much information they take in is up to their own constitution. Some just do not want to know what was done beneath the wallpaper….