Please read this article by Peg Streep. You Had a Toxic Parent But Your Siblings Say They Didn’t
It feels so good to know I am not alone. That this is a ‘thing’, a real form of dysfunction and it has been completely crystallized during the most trying time in my life. My mother called me the day Savannah died – did nothing but talk about my siblings and told me ‘everyone is calling (my sister) because they’re so worried about her because she’s pregnant’-(like 4 weeks pregnant btw) (also on this day she decided to tell me this info.) This IS ON THE DAY MY DAUGHTER DIED. (Truly baffling) Not one member of that family called me, ever, and then said only four words to me at the funeral: sorry for your loss. Like strangers; actually strangers have been kinder. But she still wanted to let me know the other sister was getting called and warranted all the concern. I haven’t heard from them since. —-I know I walked away, my children had relationships with these family members, I never cut that off, I did my own thing trying to survive; I just thought the death of my child would open up a little gap of something else to take place in for a little while.
I was wrong.
I am out of shock now, and see this clearly. Most recently my mom informed me she can no longer come to any events regarding Savannah as they are too sad and she has a new grandbaby on the way. -Sick- (This was at the Casa Bonita party which was so fun, but she and stepdad and my ex and his wife sat in a completely different area away from the entire group that was celebrating.)(And yes, my mother has a relationship with my ex husband of 20 years but not with me.)(COOCOO pants anyone???)
Here’s where I get stuck, and where I think I keep falling into this trap.
I can hear that voice of the devil’s advocate, or ego, or that ever strong voice that was programmed into me that made me believe the core root of myself is bad, the one that says: ‘at least they came’ (to the funeral/event/thingy) somehow insinuating that I should be grateful and they did nothing.
WHY DO WE DO THAT TO OURSELVES? That ‘at least’ voice? Why does that part even enter in? It’s from being ingrained into me by narcissistic, toxic parents and spouses, that I inherently know I am bad and because of that I am allowed ZERO feelings. It’s the ego chiming in to make sure I don’t get too far from shame. ‘How dare you speak out against these people!’ The ego says in their defense. ‘AT LEAST THEY CAME/called/bla bla bla’. Savannah’s father SHOOK MY HAND at the event. His wife said nothing and didn’t even look at me or interact with any of Savannah’s group of friends, their parents, ANYONE there…despite the fact that she isn’t quiet and didn’t mind having it announced at the funeral show that I was the ‘biological mother’ and named herself as the parent. (Of four years btw) She’s a real go getter. Real upstanding catholic citizen. But ‘at least’ I should be happy for their appearance?
The mistake I made, the lesson learned that day was not that I am a victim, let me just make that very clear, it is that I am always on the lookout for what I can learn. Always. Every situation. What did I learn here? That I was feeling like I should invite them so they could participate in this happy thing, so they could share in some good stuff at this awful time, be around young people. To be real honest and dig real deep though, I guess I was probably hoping they would see me as a person. Lesson learned. The act of me inviting them was about getting permission and hoping to be validated by the people who have undermined me my entire life. My entire youth. Say WOW THANKS JUDY THIS WAS NICE.
I was 22 when I got married. —-Savannah’s age. Wow.
How dare these people fuck me over during my most best youth. I refuse to let them keep that. I am a strong, independent person. And I have them to thank for that actually. The lesson here is that I don’t need permission. They can have their own events. I don’t need to invite them into my space during very special and meaningful times.
I conceived of this Casa Bonita party to gather up friends for something other than a funeral. In Savannah’s most favorite place ever. That kid. She loved Casa Bonita. I shouldn’t have made it a Shatterproof event either. I thought I needed something to stand on to get people to come. I also have an overwhelming feeling of Doing Something Good. I want to help other families, somehow, in some way. Shatterproof does that. I don’t know. I’m still navigating this.
I am learning a lot here. Regardless, we ran around that night at Casa Bonita, watched videos, went in Black Bart’s Cave, and I got to share some time with some of Savannah’s closest friends. It was amazing. Nothing will take that away. But the eye opening I had, even after 20 some years, was profound and cemented the deal to myself to be true to my heart. It was my heart’s idea to have this party. I like it when I listen to my heart.
Five years ago there was an ‘at least’ when my mom offered to help with Savannah while she was going to the Eating Disorder Program at Children’s Hospital. I had stepped away from them yet again because of their toxic bullshit. However — on the one morning she drove Savannah to the hospital, my mother asked Savannah how much she weighed. On the way to her OUTPATIENT EATING DISORDER PROGRAM.
I’m done with the justifications. I will burn this shit down. I am going to continue to move on. I’m a little angry that not only do I have to go through the grieving process, I have to recover myself from this toxic family shit. At a time in my life where I have to be stronger than ever and I have to dig really deep to find the strength and I keep coming up with handfuls of this toxic family muck. But watch me. I get to live my full life now. Finally. Its such a mind fuck that this powerful movement of becoming is rising up at a time where I lost my daughter, my soul mate. She was always an advocate for the underdog, as was I. I will not stop that crusade. I will not live without her driving me to strive for the life I want. She always did.
It’s crazy too that right now, at my lowest of lows, I can see so clearly. It’s okay to honor yourself and not let this crap in. Stand by your own guns. I made my move, so to speak, as it is stated in this article, and I made it years ago. This time in my life is just a big shining light on the fact that I am on the correct path regarding fleeing these relationships. I spoke out against someone over 20 years ago as well and paid dearly for that too. I am not a quiet soul.
Savannah’s death has made me more fearless than ever. Meaning: LESS FEARS. Life is fleeting, we have to grab it ALL. I fear less and want more. We have to live big. Nothing shows the true colors of the people around you like a complete tragedy will. My son is being an amazing human being. He is inspiring to me. He hates when I post shit like this, but we let each other lead our unconditional and individual lives. I taught him that. It might bite me in the ass one day but I want him to be happy. He is a rock even though I know he doesn’t feel like one.
I opened up wide and offered gratitude and love to everyone during a time in my life where I was at a loss for anything else. A friend of 20 years has also turned away from me recently. Grief is a crazy, crazy thing. It eats you up and you eat it up and you live and you walk around and you don’t and you do and you don’t and you do. This family dynamic is a crazy fucked up thing and it made me feel like I was crazy and bad and not worthy then I married crazy — and then my family carried on a relationship with my ex-husband but not me. It’s truly baffling and completely understandable why I went into stand up comedy. Jeeze.
It has taken me 52 years to realize this is not MY crazy it’s THEIRS. I don’t have to participate in it but I did want to let anyone know who’s going through anything similar to this, that it is real and your feelings are valid and that you matter. At a time in my life where I have been stripped of all protections, all veils, all walls, all anything, and have been left standing to weather the storm completely naked with only myself; was I able to see the reality of this.
#livebig #staygold #youwillbefound #standupandbecounted #healing #grief #soarabove #beyourownhero #breathe #rebel #takecharge #letitgo #breathe #alwayschallengethestatusquo