Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Welcome Home Baby Girl!

Have you ever been driven to do something, driven to keep pushing for something? Many, many years ago there was a baby girl in our lives. Her mother & I were best friends. She was cousins with my daughter. When Kierra & I moved to Wyoming they moved somewhere else & I haven't seen her since. Her mother made the most loving choice to give her a better life. Sarai was adopted by a wonderful family and they named her Kristen. She has had a wonderful life and her parents have always supported her finding her birth family. I respected my friend's choice and thought of that baby girl often. When the time came for Sarai to be old enough to look for her family I tried finding her. Multiple times with multiple disappointments. Every year I would remember her birthday, think of how old she was, what she would look like, what she would be doing. I have a couple pictures of her and would look at them often. A month or so ago I started having very vivid dreams of her and Kierra. As babies, as adults. I don't remember all my dreams, but I remembered those. I spoke to my friend and talked to her about trying to find Sarai again. I just felt like I was supposed to keep looking. Late one night I came across a registry for adopted children and also birth families of adoptees. I had all the information from her birth, and who both her parents were. I filled in every blank and also wrote a small message. in a couple hours I had an email that they found a partial match! Kristen had the same birthdate, she listed her birth name as Saria, which was a typo. She did have her birth father's name, but not her mother's. She had registered to find her birth family over 10 years ago, November 28, 2005. Just a couple weeks after Kierra died. I knew it was her. I sent back the permission to give her my information. They warned that with the length of time since her registration, the information could be a dead end. This is where the adoption registry went above & beyond. Judy at Find My Family Adoption Reunion Registry could not reach Kristen with the information she had registered. So she took to Facebook and found her on there. She sent her a message and was able to make contact! Within less than twenty four hours Kristen & I were texting back & forth, exchanging photos and she was able to connect with her birth mother and other family members. Within a few days we were able to get her connected with her birth father too. It has been so rewarding to fill that space in our hearts. Krissy has two boys, lives out west and we all are anxiously waiting to meet them all! Her parents have raised a remarkable young woman and it is amazing that they gave her the love and freedom to find her birth family. The registry I used is non-profit. Some I have tried before charge fees to help you find your loved ones. This registry does not. Here is the link in case anyone wants to make a donation to their cause:

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Bereaved Mother's Day?

Is this really a day? I feel, as a bereaved mother, that there is no one day. It is every single day. It is odd to me that there are days labeled as such. As though it gives us permission, on these acknowledged days, to be bereaved, to be grieving. Yet on most any other day, it is not so readily accepted. People actually avoid acknowledging our loss, or losses.
There are two pregnancy losses I do not often acknowledge to anyone other than myself. One was when Kierra was just 3 months old. I was about 6 weeks along when I miscarried. I was battling an infection from Kierra's birth & my body was not prepared for another pregnancy. I was not aware I was pregnant until after the loss. The second was April 30, 1998. Almost 12 years after having a tubal ligation. That pregnancy was about 10 weeks, there was a heartbeat & the choice had to be made to dissolve the pregnancy due to the placenta being on one side of the rejoined tube, and the fetus was on the other, pinching off the amniotic sac between the two. There was no way to save that pregnancy.
I grieved those losses. I sometimes think about when they would have been born, how old they would be now, etc. Those losses are dim in comparison to the loss of my oldest daughter at 24 years of age. I have lost a parent, a sibling, nieces, nephews, & friends. They are all different losses. The dates of their deaths can be a more obvious day of mourning. As are birthdays, holidays, etc. But I miss them every single day. I can laugh and enjoy life and still miss them not being here to share it.
Grief is not contagious. You cannot make me feel worse by mentioning my child. You can't remind me that she is gone by mentioning her name. I am never able to forget she is gone.
You can honor her by saying her name, by sharing a memory. It brings me great joy to know she is remembered. So I appreciate that there is a day acknowledged for mothers who have lost a child or children. I think it is not spoken of enough. It is pushed behind closed doors all too often. Hug each other, honor each other, love each other. Every single day!

Monday, April 18, 2016

I'll take that..

It has been such a time of emotional change for me. There are obvious reasons and not so obvious reasons. I have lived a life for several years that was missing something, something besides my daughter. I was not being true to my self, and others were not being true to me either. I developed an auto response of distance & anger that permeated every thing i did every single day. What a complete waste of time and energy. What a waste of love and living. I am demanding more, demanding better. But in doing that I must be willing to give the same. Honest commitment has to be a two way street. You have to equal the effort given to you. I am the sum of all my parts.. my husband, my children, my friends, my family, and not least among them.. myself. If you feed me I will thrive accordingly. What you feed me will produce what you get in return.
I have not felt this loved in a very long time. It is wonderful, yet scary too. Brian and I are refocusing on each other. Rediscovering what we love about each other. We got too used to not wanting to burden each other, thinking the other had enough to contend with. We got too used to doing what we had to do to keep our family going, instead of what we needed to be doing to keep our family alive. We got too used to standing on our own two feet and forgetting that we had each other to lean on.
This is not going back to what used to be. This is learning to move forward in a different way. A better way. Change is hard, change can be scary. But change can be good, even wonderful, amazing. It has been such a rough journey since Kierra's death. It isn't just about that, but there is definitely a before & after. It has been uncharted territory for us. We do the best we know how. I have felt the difference, the shift in us. I have moments of doubt. Moments of thinking we will fall back into complacency. But the moments of feeling loved & wanted outnumber the moments of feeling anything else. I'll take that any day.. I'll take that every day!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Polar Express 2016

This is my family. The part of my heart I will always fight to protect.

Emotional F.U.B.A.R.

There are so many things scrambling around in my head. Do I go back & retrace my steps to catch up this blog, or do I forge ahead & take jaunts back to specific moments as they become pertinent to what I have to say? As I usually do, I will start "talking" and see what comes.
I have been in a fog of sorts since Thanksgiving. I would normally blame it on my "season of discontent" but this time it was emotional blindsides that did me in. This is where I am unsure how much background to get into.. if you don't know the details, this may not make as much sense to you. I guess if you have any questions, please comment or ask me.
I have an older brother in prison. Roy Glover was sentenced to 15 years in September 2013 for stabbing my Dad in December 2012. He was supposed to be eligible for parole in 4 years. The night before Thanksgiving we found out he had a parole hearing the following Thursday. Due to a transfer glitch we were not notified and they did not have any of his criminal history. He was considered a low risk inmate & due to overcrowding he qualified for what they called Governor's Leniency. I dropped everything else and attended that hearing. I also supplied them with a full criminal & psychological background. His parole was denied. He will have another parole hearing in December 2018. He is now in maximum security. Sucks to be him. Dealing with that dredged up a lot of emotional stuff I had locked away in a dark hole and had hoped I would never have to deal with again. I have been in therapy on a regular basis for 12 years. I thought I had this under control. After the 13 hour drive to get to the hearing in Nashville on Wednesday I headed back home to Florida after the hearing on Thursday. I ended up stopping just south of Atlanta Thursday night and spent about 2 hours crying non-stop. I cried for my father, I cried for my divided family, I cried for the damaged little girl I will always carry inside of me. My "brother" never loved or protected me. He never stopped others from picking on me or from hurting me. He was the one who hurt me, who abused me repeatedly for years when i was a young child. Some people have nightmares of things they are afraid will happen. My nightmares are reliving things that did happen.
Thankfully he went to live with our biological father when i was about 12 yrs old and had little contact after that. I had to spend time with him on various visits or events over the years, but I learned to never be alone with him & kept my distance. As an adult I completely disconnected from him. My children never knew him. My oldest saw him when she was 2 yrs old for about 5 minutes. I never let him get any where near her & she never saw him again. Dealing with his parole hearing on December 3rd was such an emotional whirlwind.
I had not processed my emotions from that encounter when we received the news on December 10th that my younger brother had committed suicide. Both of my brothers have had long standing mental health issues. It has been a constant struggle for our family to deal with them and the consequences of their actions. My younger brother had disconnected from our family a year before his death. I can say it was my expectation that at some point he would take his own life. I can admit that in some ways it was a relief that he could not cause anymore pain to others or to himself. It was also a relief that he would no longer be chased by his demons. I cannot describe the mixture of guilt, grief, and even the relief of his passing. A death is a loss. I have experienced too much loss already. My grief is not just for my younger brother. It is for my parents and their advanced age and health concerns. It is for the situation that caused even more division in my already dysfunctional family. Too much to go into here.. at least for the moment.
There are some other issues that added to this emotional F.U.B.A.R. But these were the catalyst to my present fog. I will warn my readers now.. I plan to be honest.. perhaps brutally honest about my life, my feelings, my perceptions of events & experiences. It can be most unpleasant, and not usually a "Warm Fuzzy" kind of sharing. Warm fuzzies do happen from time to time.. but right now I have a lot of muck to wade through first.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Open Wounds..

I am going to start blogging again. For myself, if no one else. I have so much to say, so much built up.. but for now I have this to share..
For my 10th birthday I was in All Children's Hospital in St Petersburg Florida recovering from surgery. According to my medical records I had a cancerous cyst of unknown type. Ruptured membrane excised with surrounding tissue. I have a very visible unusual scar about 5 inches long across my left collarbone.
After surgery the wound was left open. They took daily cultures then figured it was easier to let it heal from the inside out and still be able to access the area until they figured out what it was. They never did figure it out. Every day, numerous times per day, they would come in, pull out the gauze, clean the wound and stuff it with more gauze. They had me in isolation in a room by myself. Every time they pulled out the old gauze it reopened the wound and was extremely painful. It took a long time to heal and left an evident scar.
I have some emotional scars that remind me of that experience. Just when I think the pain is under control and healing has begun the wound is ripped open again, freshly bleeding with a new burst of pain.
I even have that same sense of isolation, of being alone, struggling with my recovery.
I keep thinking each time the gauze is ripped off if I just let it bleed till its done then the wound can heal. Stop trying to pad it, soften the pain. There is an end. There is light at the end of the tunnel, I just have to get there.
I have always felt strongly that you can forgive someone who hurts you, but they do not get a free pass to do it again just because they claim to love you or are related to you. I firmly believe that. It just gives me another person to grieve.
So I will recover, I will heal. I just need to guard my heart for a while longer.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Overnight Oatmeal

1 cup STEEL CUT Oats (Do not use instant or quick oats)
1 cup dried fruit (Craisins,Raisins,Figs-chopped,Apricots-chopped)
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored & chopped (Granny Smith holds up better than some other types. Can also use pears.)
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

4 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Half & Half or Light Cream

You can customize this with whatever you do or don't want in it. The liquid amounts remain the same. I can't wait to make it with Pumpkin & the pumpkin pie spice! (You use 1 cup canned pumpkin & omit the apple & craisins.)

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot/slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours. I set it up before I go to bed.

My slow cooker has a timer that stops the cooking at the end & puts it on warm for an hour then turns off. Some crock pots are higher heat even on low and can cause the oatmeal to brown around the edges & stick to the crock pot. A sure fire solution to that is to set it up in a water bath. I use a multi bowl crockpot that has 3 different sized bowls. I use the largest, 6 Quart bowl, fill it with 2/3 water, then put all the ingredients in the smallest, 2 quart bowl and set it inside the larger bowl. Check to be sure the water comes up the sides of the smaller bowl about 1/2 way. You may have to add a little more water or take some out so it doesn't over flow. Cook on the 6 quart setting on low for 8 hours and you have perfect oatmeal.

If you do not have that kind of crock pot you can use a ceramic casserole dish or bowl to put all the ingredients in and put it down inside your crock pot with enough water to come up the side about 1/2-3/4 of the smaller bowl. Cooking time is still about 8 hours on low.

Enjoy! MJS 10/16/13

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Why Bother

Perhaps you have been lucky enough to never experience the pain of abuse. The pain of someone you love hurting you. Perhaps you have never felt the pangs of hunger when you have had no food to eat or anything to drink. I have experienced both. Abused children & abused animals are similar in the way they will cling to their abusers. The way they will submit to whatever is dealt to them because they don't know any other way of being treated. If someone had not reached out to help me I am not sure I would be here today.

So why do I bother saving & helping these animals.. because they did not ask to be abused, neglected, abandoned, or thrown away. Any more than I did. So if reaching out & showing some love to these animals can in some way repair the damage done to them, then it is so worth my time to do it. It is so worth anything I can do to find them the best possible homes. Because hope is priceless. Because love doesn't cost a thing. Because I know how it feels to be hurt & afraid. I know how hard it is to look in their eyes & see myself reflected in them, to know how much it costs them to trust us, to give us just one more piece of themselves, hoping beyond hope this time will be different.

So why bother?? Because it would bother me more to do nothing.

MJ Shore 9/16/11