(I hope you all don't mind a blog post as an update. I know it's not the same as responding to people individually, but it's all I am able to manage right now. I hope you can all "feel" my heart through my words.)
When I tentatively rejoined/reconnected with the "real world" today (for pretty much the first time in a few days), I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support, concern, prayers, offers to help, etc regarding our family situation. Messages, comments, emails, texts, voicemails from so many people letting us know that we were loved and not alone. It meant so much to me that even though my "spoons"/energy are still on the low side, I felt compelled to write this post addressing all of this, and all of you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. So much. I do not possess a vocabulary sufficient enough to express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you. Thank you. As I said earlier, I lack the emotional strength right now to respond individually the way that I should, but please know how very much it is appreciated.
I am hurting right now, a lot. I had an uncle pass away this week on top of everything else that is going on. And though I already miss him, his death was somewhat expected given his valiant battle with a lengthy illness. This new development/unexpected situation affecting my sons' security in our family was absolutely NOT expected. We were 100% broadsided by this. It might sound odd, but even though they are living, the situation with my boys hurts even worse than my uncle's death.
Right now I am in deep distress and emotional pain, and though I know it isn't rational, I also feel a sense of guilt over my inability to "fix" this and prevent my children from potentially enduring something that they shouldn't have to. Cognitively, I know it's not my fault, but my heart feels differently. I feel as though in some way I should have seen this coming, somehow...I'm a relatively smart person and should have been aware. But despite being technically "smart," I'm also a very naïve person in some ways. I'm a "straight shooter;" I don't play games and don't always detect when others are doing so. Obviously, at great peril.
I have had a very difficult time the last few days "dealing" with this disturbing discovery. The way I have handled it is to basically hibernate; the kids went to be with relatives who had a greater grip on their sanity than I this weekend, and essentially I just stayed at home (mostly in bed) hiding from the world, though during select moments of lucidity I did try to process, strategize, and cope. My DH tried to draw me out to support and encourage me, but I was very enveloped in pain and sadness, so sadly I wasn't as receptive as I could have been. Fortunately he understands, especially as he is hurting too.
The things that I usually enjoy doing - I couldn't handle them. So I haven't been on any outings, haven't been on social media or online, haven't really seen or talked to anyone, haven't been able to cook, or read, or write, or listen to music. I have sent regrets for nearly all of the meetings and conference calls I have coming up throughout this week because I don't feel that I can handle any of that right now.
I know I have not shared with specificity what is going on. I'm sorry to be vague, but legally, I cannot say much (and might have already said more than I'm supposed to in my earlier post, even though I didn't spell it all out; I hope not though). If all goes according to plan, we have an important "meeting" (not the real term for it, but one that reveals less and is safer to use) with key individuals coming up that will shed more light on what is to come. Once that has passed, it is possible that I might be less restricted in terms of communication about some details, though many other areas of the situation will likely remain off-limits.
Please know that it isn't because I don't trust people to keep my confidences if shared privately that I am not revealing details. It's because I want to be ethical in my dealings and try as much as possible to play by the rules, even though I think some of the rules are frankly a load of BS. As they've asked us not to speak in detail about it, I want to honor that.
I don't want to give anyone any ammunition against us or to appear that we are disregarding policies and expressed wishes about how all involved parties will conduct ourselves. It's important to me as a person, and as a Christian, that I fight fair. I am definitely going to fight, but I want my hands to be clean in this. (I know that until now no one was aware of legal nuances, so please don't misinterpret my words as being critical of anyone who encouraged me to share more freely if possible.)
I feel very blessed that so many people are willing to help us in some way if given a chance. I am a true believer in the power of unified voices. And I have no shame when it comes to my kids; no shame at all. If the time indeed comes that my global network of friends can weigh in on our behalf, believe me I will not hesitate to send out the call. When one is in need, it is critical to seek help even if it's not something one is accustomed to doing on a personal level. There's too much at stake to try to "go it alone" when there are people willing to assist. I am truly, truly blessed to have so many great people who are willing to help us.
In many ways, when it comes to my life I am a very open person, but in other ways, especially when it comes to sensitive matters related to my children, and also when it comes to certain emotions, I can be pretty private. (I'm sure most of us are like that.) Writing balances this dynamic, however; it is an integral part of helping me function in the parts of my life that are open as well as the parts that are more private.
Writing is therapeutic for me, but it is also do much more than just that. As long as I can remember, writing has been instrumental in helping me to have a positive outlet to "get out" feelings and/or experiences that are otherwise too difficult for me to express, or even at times understand. It is my "native language." But because, like most Autistics, I'm an "all or nothing" person; as such, there are times that my writing can sometimes leave me feeling somewhat naked and exposed.
That feeling of exposure, of emotional nudity - while it might make one feel vulnerable, it is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it was too much for me this weekend. I really put myself "out there" and it was scary. I'm not perfect, but I am usually strong, usually pretty positive, and usually able to hold it together. In this situation, though, that has NOT been the case. It is a scary thing to admit to oneself, and even scarier share with other people. It makes you feel like...I don't really know, exactly. Not ashamed. Not embarrassed. Just...I don't know. I guess wounded, broken. Hurt. All if the things I do feel, with this.
I captured my weary heart in words. Then I literally logged on to FB, posted the blog link as a status, and logged right off - and stayed off. To share that post was very revealing for me, and difficult. But I felt that I needed to, as I didn't know how else to express the depth of my emotions regarding this whole mess.
I am going to try, slowly and in small doses, to re-engage with people IRL and online. I still feel very, very weak and wobbly, and very sad. But I need to "keep going" in life. I need to NOT give up hope no matter how dismal things look, because the final outcome is not yet determined. My kids need me to re-summon that fighter spirit that I have. It might be somewhat "worse for wear," but it is still in me somewhere. I need to channel that.
I need to fight for my kids, for my family, for myself. I cannot do that laying in my bed staring at the wall and sleeping for hours at a time. Self-care is important, but there's a time to "lick one's wounds" and a time to fight. Right now I need to fight. Well, I guess I kinda need to do both actually (nurse my wounds as well as fight, but more of the fighting.
You have all been wonderful, and I can't thank you enough for showering us with so much kindness. I feel so supported, and will try to draw strength from your friendship and love. My family has been great also; pitching in to help and support us through this nightmare. The other day my mother gave me all of these songs and Bible verses to meditate on when I start feeling sad. When she first tried to give them to me, I have to admit that even though I consider myself a strong Christian, I haven't exactly been acting like one, and I wasn't very receptive at first. I've been pretty preoccupied with feeling downtrodden and devoid of hope.
I told her to definitely keep praying over this, but shared with her that I felt really sad because it looked like a lost cause. Even though I appreciated what she was trying to do, I was just too worried to "get" what she was trying to say. I said that my family was like a little "David" and this situation was like a giant "Goliath" (from the Bible story).
But then she reminded me that even though, like us, David was smaller and less equipped than his opponent, in the Biblical account he still won. He was victorious despite the fact that it appeared to be hopeless. She said that I can be victorious in this as well. And then she demanded that I get up, shower, and eat. Even if I was going to get back in bed afterward, she said, she wanted me to at least do those few things for myself.
It's kind of ironic; one of my favorite Bible verses is in Genesis 50 and talks about how a particular circumstance that was meant for harm ended up being used by God for good. I would love to experience that in this scenario. I hope and pray with all that is in me that this will not go the way it looks like it's going to go. Please, please, please. I'll do anything not to have it end up like that. I just don't think I can handle that; I really don't. I don't want to have to handle that.
I don't know what is going to happen, but I desperately want a positive outcome. Even if it is an unrealistic thing to hope for. Even if it seems like that's a ridiculous thing to want. Can the seemingly impossible be possible? I need it to be.
I thank you all for your love, and apologize for not being responsive to messages/emails/etc right now. It's not malicious; I'm just really bruised and not yet ready to be in regular communication with people yet.
I intend to listen to and read everything that has been sent when I can even if I don't get back to you for some time; please know that I am grateful. You are not "pestering" me (someone asked if they were) in the slightest; it is helpful to know that we have people in our corner who care so much about our children and our family. If you can, continue to remember us in your prayers and/or thoughts. We need them - so, so much.
With loving appreciation & gratitude,
Morénike & fam