Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Real Life, before and after

Posted by newlawmom on December 22, 2008

My philosophy is shot. I don’t have one anymore. I am confused. I’m happy to be done with school for a bit. But this is actually a new place for me. I’ve never been here and I have no idea where I’m going. I’ve had an interesting few days since school ended. Did I ever mention that I lost my husband? Well, for all intents and purposes, that is exactly what happened. But before I lost him, we lost his brother for real in a tragic car accident. Death comes in many forms.  Said brother-in-law was very unhappy when I left my husband, and yes, I do believe in ghosts. I have set my Christmas tree up twice now.  Twice it has been knocked over by an unknown force. I haven’t decided yet if that is my brother-in-law returning to express his displeasure with my new relationship or my manfriends deceased ex-wife letting me know she is unhappy. But somebody is unhappy, and they really don’t want me to have a Christmas tree this year. As of now, the tree has been moved into the garage and I have managed to salvage approximately half of my ornaments (none of which have any value to me, because all the ornaments from my past life have been packed away safe and sound). I’m a little creeped out. Christmas doesn’t mean that much to me anymore anyway. I don’t need the tree. But I need to have something for the children. There is nothing quite like seeing a tree fall over twice when nothing is near it, there is no wind, no breeze, no anything to explain it. It just went down. Twice. And I have no real desire to set it back up. Sometime between now and Wednesday I need to force myself to put it up. If it comes down again, I am going with a two-foot tall artificial version. My honey is creeped out. He knows the intensity of what was the disaster of my life. But he doesn’t quite understand that it follows me.

Speaking of following me, life has a way of coming through for me. Thanks to a mix up at the hospital where sonny boy has his organ transplant, I had the opportunity to talk to his social worker. He is fine. Doing well. Now, I suppose they could just say that to make me happy. But in my heart I believe it. I think he’s doing ok. I think he understands where things were at, and I think he still loves me. Someday, when he is old enough, he will come back to me and we will be fine. My ex-husband on the other hand is never coming back. He will never be ok. And that is just the sad truth of the matter. Unfortunately, I will never be ok either. The trauma of the thing has changed me forever and there is no way to go back and undo it. I am not the same person I was.  Life will never be the same. And anyone who has lived through a trauma that divides their life into before and after will know exactly what I am talking about.  The things I used to think would be the worst things that could happen to me are nothing. There are worse things. Things that are unimaginable. And such is life. So… I’m in law school.  That’s a pretty big deal. I love my honey and he loves me. That is a gift beyond my wildest dreams. More than I ever deserved to have and I am blessed. But the same, or even remotely close? No. And Christmas time is just a reminder of that. I can’t wait for it to be over. The falling tree may, after all, be simply a reflection of my own state of mind. This year marks my fifth Christmas on my own and my third Christmas without my son.  Only God knows why that is. Law school he tells me. So I go.

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Posted in 1L, child welfare, grief, law school, loss, trauma | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Moving in more ways than one

Posted by newlawmom on July 30, 2008

I moved all day, from 7AM until 10PM. I moved boxes, cleaned house, picked the dog up at the vet (she was spayed  yesterday), brought my daughter to my sisters place to babysit (alternative was to give up my car for the evening….not), went shopping, and got a lot accomplished. What I didn’t do was anything law school related. I am tired. The changes that are happening in my life right now are overwhelming.

A few years ago I went through major life change. I lost my son, lost a brother-in-law to a fatal car accident, lost my husband to mental illness, and lost my beautiful home in the middle of the country along the way to a divorce. That I am in as good of condition as I am is nothing short of a miracle. But packing my belongings and moving my oldest off to college and my boys into the home of my man-friend is just a far cry from where I had imagined I would be right now. Packing up right now seems to bring up the wounds of the past as if they were not that long ago at all. And I suppose in reality the time is short. I left my husband the summer before my daughter’s freshman year of high school. And I’m moving on again during the summer before her freshman year of college. Four short years and I am moving on to “life” number three. I was with my husband for so long that I forgot anything about lives that happened before that.

So…I’m going to be a new law school mom. A parent of a new college student, living in a new home, having a new life, with a new man, and expecting my two young boys to go with the flow, while one becomes a new middle school student and the other transfers to a new school for 3rd grade. I guess it is fair to feel a tad overwhelmed once in a while. But moving on is the only choice I find acceptable. Sometimes it would be easier to die. But usually I focus on the future. I hope some day my current life is as satisfactory to me as the life I had. I don’t want to live forever thinking that I lost everything that mattered when I was 35. Especially considering I am meeting awesome people, experiencing things that I never dreamed possible, and doing some things that are really pretty cool. (Yes, to those of you who are wondering, I am in love with my honey. I love him dearly and I am in love with him. But we also have a trauma bond. Some losses are beyond words. He has lost in a very similar way. Who knows what the future holds. We love each other, but we are both traumatized. That does influence our view of the world…) I can only pray that God finds my current choices acceptable. Because they look bad from my old view of what is right and good and fair. In my old view, just FYI, failing a child or giving up on a child or leaving a child behind is simply unacceptable. I never would have done it. Never meant to do it. And never actually had a choice. Because he was only given to me for a little while. And that is just how it is. The word adoption doesn’t change that small fact.

Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Parenthood, Purpose | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Pre-law careers

Posted by newlawmom on July 9, 2008

Well, I will test the possibility of anonymity and truth blending well together. The more truthful I am, the easier it is to uncover my identity. Does that matter? Only because I would rather my future classmates don’t know everything about me. I prefer to remain quietly in the background in real life. Gunner will not be a word that anyone could apply to me. So….my pre-law career….working with people with disabilities. Currently, that takes the form of people with traumatic brain injury. With the 20-hour per week restriction imposed by the ABA, that will take the form of one person with a traumatic brain injury. I love people. I especially love people who struggle in the world. I’m good at what I do and that shows in my work. Along the way, I have discovered that people with disabilities need to stand up for their rights. I have also had the opportunity to learn that acts based on good intentions do not always equal acts that are right. Many people with good intentions disregard the rights of people to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness”. It is true now and has been true historically. The best thing I can do for a person is to advocate for them, which often involves advocating for things that go against the desire to “care for” a person.

I assume that all people want to live their life with as little interference from others as possible. At the same time, all people want to have relationships and associations with other people. There are exceptions to every rule, and I’m sure my assumptions are not always correct. Even the notion that all people have a fundamental desire to live has not always proven true in my experience. So it is impossible to know what any one individual wants when I first meet them. But as I work with people, I come to know them. As I come to know them, I come to understand them. And once I understand them, I am their strongest advocate. Not for what is best for them, but for what they want. More often than not, those two things are not the same. I believe in the individual right to choose and it amazes me how often that leads to conflict.

I am adjusting to my new work schedule. I am gradually preparing for my 1L year. My school year hours will involve ten hours over the weekend and ten hours late nights. Those late night hours the client is sleeping and I am being paid barely more than minimum wage. However, my weekend hours are my professional hours and those will be paying my bills.  I am not used to sitting at work and having not much to do, but this is clearly in my interest as I will be able to study here. I am working in a private home, so it seems to be the ideal part-time job.  For tonight, I am contemplating how different this is and how much of a switch it will be to move away from direct involvement with the clients.  I will miss the work.  I have learned many things over the past twenty years and worked with at least a hundred different clients. That is probably significantly underestimated. But there are lessons I have taken from it that I need to find words for. Loss is one thing I have learned the hard way, and its own way, this career change is a loss as much as it is a gain.

Posted in Working Life | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »