The Phases of My Grief

A week ago today, I was sitting in the hospital having just learned that my baby boy was about to pass away.  Seeing him hooked to all those tubes and watching his body slowly die was by far the most traumatic thing I have ever seen in my entire life.  We buried him a few days ago and ever since I have been trying to cope with the idea of living without my little Prince.  I keep looking for him everywhere and everything around me reminds me of him.  For those who don’t know what this sort of trauma is like, here are the phases I have gone through in the past week.

1)  Shock:  When the doctor told me that my son would not survive, it felt as if time stopped.  My brain was literally incapable of processing the information I was hearing.  I had been in hospitals with Prince before, but every time we came to the hospital I left with Prince in my arms expected to make a full recovery.  This time, I knew that I would leave this hospital without my son and this was a reality that I could not process.

2)  Pain:  As the doctor placed Prince’s lifeless body in my arms, I was still sure that if I just spoke to him he would wake up and the doctor would claim it had been a miracle.  This, however, didn’t happen.  As I spoke to him and sung into his ear, he still remained lifless and his eyes staired at me completely blank.  Realizing Prince was truely gone, sent a sharp pain through my entire body.  I sat there and cried as if I had no control of my body.

3)  Despair:  While I held Prince in my arms, I cried, “please don’t leave me Prince- please don’t leave Mama.  I love you so much.”  The hospital chaplain prayed as I begged God to bring my son back to me.  I knew, however, Prince had gone before he had arrived at the hospital.

4)  Guilt:  As the reality set in, I immediately started to second guess every decision I had made in the days leading up to that moment.  Mainly, my decision not to cancel the visitation with Prince’s father.  While I knew I had a court order to follow, I was still painfully aware of the fact that if I had gone against the court order my son would still be alive.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the look Prince gave me as I put him in the carseat and sent him away to his father.

5)  Anger:  This emotion was late to arrive and comes and goes in waves.  I have fought for 15 months to save my son.  Everyone from the courts to my own attorneys treated me like I was crazy for being so afraid of Luc killing Prince.  I was so angry for all the terrible things people said to me and how the courts didn’t allow me to follow my maternal instincts.

In the past week, I have filtered through all of these emotions on a near constant cycle.  It’s painful and its exhausting.  I am feeling these things and all the while searching for my son and listening for his voice.  It is impossible to turn off your motherly instincts when your child passes away.  My mind races around in circles as I no longer have to focus on a toddler and keeping that toddler save.

I told people I would have been happy if I lived the rest of my life with just me and Prince forever.  We didn’t get that chance.  Because of who my son’s father is (or what he is), the courts denied him his basic civil right to life.  I’m in shock, pain, despair…I feel guilt…and I am angry.

Saying Goodbye

Baby Boy’s name is Prince.  We had Prince’s funeral tonight.  I still feel very numb.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about seeing him in the casket, but I am very glad I made the decision to do so.  I went in alone at first.  I read him his favorite book, “Oh Baby, Go Baby” by Dr. Seuss.

I cried and placed my hand on his chest.  He was so cold, and he didn’t look like himself.  He did, however, look peaceful.  The way I saw him in the hospital was so horribly traumatic that it felt a bit like closure to see him there in his baptism suit.  He looked a lot older than 15 months.  He was a wise toddler though.  My little guardian angel had come to do a job and it was like his job was done and he was returning to God.

I haven’t always been a religious person.  I have always believed in God, but after my son’s death I feel somehow closer to God.  Prince came into this world for a reason.  The church tonight was filled with people who loved him and it was obvious that he had made a huge impact on this world.  To me, though, he made the biggest impact one could ever make.  He taught me about true love, what passion really feels like, how to laugh, how to smile just because, and also about incredible loss.  That little man made me so happy.

Tonight, my mind is going in a million directions.  I feel such incredible pain, but I also feel hopeful that I will be able to carry out the mission Prince was sent to this earth to accomplish.  I am not sure yet what our mission entails, but I do know that little Prince lives on inside of me and I owe it to him to be a more extraordinary woman than I had originally set out to be. I didn’t fully appreciate life before my son came into this world.  His life was so short, but it was so important.

Tomorrow I will bury my son.  That is the most unnatural and terrible thing that a parent could ever be asked to do.  I will, however, rise to the occasion because he is my son and I owe him strength.  Prince was wise beyond his age.  He taught me to love with my whole heart and for that I will forever be thankful.

Mama misses you more than you will ever know little man.  God has welcomed you home son.  Please wait for Mama.  I will join you someday in heaven and we will continue our journey together.

Sick of the questions

I know that people mean well when they ask me if I am ok, but I also know that when they ask that they don’t really want the real answer.  It used to slightly annoy me when I would walk through the halls at work and people would ask how I was doing and expected nothing more than, “great, thanks, and you?”  Now, however, it is a whole new level of annoyance.
Most everyone around me now knows that I have lost my son.  Most everyone around me also knows how much that little baby meant to me – how he was my entire world – and how much it rips me apart to know that I will never see him alive again.  So when I am asked the question, “how are you?” these days….it puts me into a little rage.  Here is what I want to say:
“Actually, person who probably has never lost a child, I feel like death.  I am a walking zombie who has completely lost her heart and soul.  I feel guilty that I couldn’t save his life.  I miss him and I want to be with him.  Honestly, I feel like joining him in the grave.  If the casket were big enough, I would get inside with him and seal it closed on top of us.  Does that satisfy your questions?”
That, however, is not what people want to hear.  They want me to say, “I am fine.  Thank you for asking.”  I am not going to say that though…because I am not fine and I will never be just fine.  I might get to the point where I can rejoin that game of “I’m fine, thank you” but for now I have no interest in playing along because I just don’t give a damn about protecting feelings right now.
Is there anything I can do to help?
The next question that is difficult is, “is there anything I can do to help?”  Now don’t get me wrong, I remember asking this myself when other people would experience loss around me.  I remember the awkward moments when someone was breaking down and not having a clue as to what to say.  I am not sure how to answer this question.  Do people want me to ask them to make me food?  Well that’s out, because I can’t eat anything.  Do they want me to ask them to dance or something?  I am at a complete loss.  Here is what I want to say:
“Well, person who has never lost a child, how powerful are you?  Do you have the power to reverse time?  Can you wake the dead?  If the answer is yes, then you can absolutely do something to help me – bring back my son.  If the answer is no, however, then please don’t ask me that again.  If you want to make food to make you feel better then by all means cook.  It isn’t going to help me, but if it makes you happy then maybe it will be nice.”
This all might sound incredibly insensitive, but I don’t care.  The love of my life and my reason for waking up each day is gone.  He isn’t going to come back no matter how much I pray and no matter how much people cook.

The Grief Process

I have heard people tell me that when grieving for someone you love, you have to take it one day at a time.  Today, I was trying to take it one second or minute at a time.  Some people might wonder why I am still writing through all of this tragedy, but to me its simple – I have to tell the story of my little angle.  I have to remember him in a way that might help others.  I have to keep writing about him, talking about him, and remembering him.

The process of grieving for a dead child is not natural.  Today, I went to the church and planned my son’s funeral.  It was very possibly the weirdest thing I could imagine.  I felt as if I was talking about heaven, yet standing at the gates of hell.  As I looked through the hymns and chose readings, my heart felt like it was beating on the wrong side of my chest.  I know I seem crazy because I go from appearing to be lucid to completely breaking down.

I’m not sure what to do with myself going forward.  I still look around for him everywhere I go.  I never realized how closely I watched him until now when he is gone.  It seems like so much energy went into keeping him safe that I am having trouble going back to just focusing on myself.  I am in so much pain and my mind is completely shutting down on me.  I have actually heard people around me have to say things to me several times in order for me to process what they are saying.  Time is slowing down and I am watching the world move past me and wondering how I can rejoin society without my heart.

Karma is an Angry, Scorned Woman – Watch out Psychopath

Tonight I received a letter from a woman who reads my blog.  She told me that she has been in a Custody War with her psychopath ex for eight years.  She has been through countless hearings and has suffered from both physical abuse at the hands of the psychopath and legal abuse from the courts.  Though her children haven’t been in contact with the psychopath since 2006, he continues to drag her to court for the sheer “enjoyment” of it.  It continues to amaze me how a person can actually ENJOY being in court.  Personally, court makes me feel terrible.  I could be winning and everything could be going my way, yet leaving court often makes me feel terrible because its always an abusive incident when dealing with a psychopath.

The Psychopath Blood Sucking Monster

Many people would read this woman’s story and say, “hey lady, what is wrong with you?  You should be happy your kids don’t have to deal with him and blessed to have left that abusive situation!”  I, however, understand how terrible she feels being dragged through the coals of court over and over again.  It doesn’t matter if the psychopath is clearly a dysfunctional mess.  The courts don’t care about the fact that this process allows a psychopath continued access and a constant chance to feed off of the emotions of their victim like a blood sucking predator sucking the life out of its prey.  This poor woman has been dragged back to court every six weeks for the past eight years.  In the psychopath’s feable brain, he believes this is a perfect scenario.  He doesn’t actually have to BE a father, but he gets to pretend he cares while causing maximum pain and suffering to the person he believed scorned him.

My Advice

Let’s be honest – I have only been in this hell for a year and a half; therefore, I completely understand that I am just chipping the top of the iceberg on information about psychopaths and how to recover.  That being said, sometimes I feel as if my story mirrors so many others.  There are so many women (and sometimes men too) who have suffered at the hands of these monsters.  When I read this letter, my first reaction was near panic as I realized how possible it is that I could be fighting this same war eight years from now – even 17 years from now.

So in moments of panic and despair, what do I do?

1)  I look at my son and realize he is worth it.  He is worth every minute of the fight.  I have said this before and I will say it again.  I would go to the end of the earth, jump off, feel the pain of the impact, and do it all over again for my son – every single day of my life.  I can have the worst day and feel completely helpless, but coming home to his smiles and hugs keeps me fighting this war.

2)  I try to put things into perspective.  Luc chose me for a reason.  I had my life together.  I was successful and I had an amazing life ahead of me.  No matter how long this war takes, I will still be me and he will still be him.  He is a parasite who lives to feed off of people whom he wishes he could be.  I have the power to NOT react to his terror; therefore, I had the power to take away his supply.

3)  Finally, God works in mysterious ways and Karma is an angry, scorned woman who gets her revenge on people like Luc – psychopaths.  I believe that God and Karma work as a good team.  Luc will have to answer to God someday.  He will be standing at the gates of heaven and likely receive a heavy kick in the butt on his way down to hell.  Karma, on the other hand, works her magic here on earth.  Psychopaths aren’t happy people because no matter how much they get away with – bad things always happen to them eventually.

There have been many moments over the past year when I have been reduced to tears – crying and shaking in a corner like an infant.  I am sure I will have more of these moments before my son turns 18 and the courts finally allow me to remove Luc’s vampire fangs from my neck.  In the meantime, however, I will always be baby boy’s mom.  At some point, we are more important than all this.  So allow yourself to cry, but don’t forget to also allow yourself to have some joy in the midst of the madness.  Let Karma’s rage and fury take care of the psychopath.

Society Blames the Victim Instead of the Psychopath

I am not sure why I am still shocked when people choose to blame the psychopath’s victim.  I have heard that this is normal from others who have suffered from an encounter with psychopath, but I still get a shock each time it happens to me.  From friends, to family, to the courts, to complete strangers – people seem to want to find something wrong with me to somehow better explain to themselves how this happened to me.  It has been happening so long that sometimes I find myself wondering there is something wrong with me that made me ignore the red flags and believe the completely fantastic story he was telling me.

The Judgements:

This week alone, I have experienced both friends and family trying to psycho analyze me and question how I ended up with such a monster as the father of my son.  I am not sure how to respond to people when they ask me absurd questions or decide that it was somehow my fault that I ended up being conned by Luc.  Here are some of the things I have heard over the past year (the first two were said just this week):

1)   “CQ, really…how did this happen?  What were you thinking?  I mean, please don’t feel as if I am blaming you…but how did you not see this coming?”  -  An old friend

2)  “I know what happened….I think CQ must like to be controlled by an abusive man.”  -  A family member (behind my back)

3)  “Let’s be honest…you wanted a bad boy…so you are now getting what you asked for and deserve.  My daughter, who is your age, would never be in this situation because she doesn’t like bad boys.  She is marrying a man who wears suits and collared shirts.”  -  My Lawyer

4)  “You are not without fault here CQ, what you saw in this man…well, it must have been fairy dust…and now the fairy dust has disappeared and you are going to have to deal with him for at least the next 18 years.”  -  The Judge

5)  “You didn’t have a problem with him touching you, so you shouldn’t be so bothered that he is now touching your son.”  -  Family member

My Reality:

The hardest thing for people to understand, it seems, is how a person can be conned by someone who is so clearly dysfunctional.  My response to that is, “when a person’s full time job is to learn everything about you – your hopes, dreams, weaknesses – in order to exploit and con you – you will likely end up conned.”  I have used the analogy before of the frog and the boiling water and in this case I can’t think of another analogy that would prove my point any better.  Psychopaths control the boiling water.  They know that if they threw their victims into a pot of boiling water, most people would jump right out screaming and cursing at them.  Instead, they slowly bring the water to boil with the intension of burning their victims alive.

Every time I walk into court, I feel like I am holding my heart inside of my chest with my bear hands.  This process, this war, with Luc has torn me apart from the inside out.  Luc’s boiling water effectively ripped me apart, but sometimes I feel as if the judgement and misunderstanding I receive from those I love and society at large is worse.  I went from being a beautiful, self confident, intelligent, and successful woman – to a victim of a completely misunderstood abuse.  Luc burned me alive, but society will always blame me as if I willingly jumped into a burning fire along side satan.

The Future:

I want my son to know his mama as the woman I was – but wiser.  I dread the day when my son might join society and make judgements about what happened with his father.  Will he understand how his father used my kindness against me?  Will he understand why I tried to hold the relationship together even when it seemed clear to the rest of the world that it was a hopeless situation?  Will he understand why I fought so hard to protect him from a man I once trusted?

It’s easy to think about all the horrible things Luc is and ignore the things that attracted me to this man.  While many of the things that attracted me to Luc were not real (most of them were completely fake actually), there are good qualities in Luc.  (Yes, you read that correctly)  Despite the fact that my family refuses to see anything of Luc in baby boy, this is not the stance I will take as baby boy’s mother.  Luc wasn’t born evil – he made choices.  He took his talents and used them for evil.  For example, being charming is not a bad thing if you don’t use it to manipulate and control others.  Being a good actor isn’t a bad thing as long as you use it on stage to entertain instead of to lie and cheat.

I love baby boy for everything that he is and that means that I accept the fact that he is the product of what now feels like a violent emotional rape.  I refuse to make my son feel bad for carrying half of the psychopath’s genes and I also refuse to lie to him.  So while I kick myself every day for not paying attention to the now obvious red flags of Luc’s psychopathy, and I suffer through the constant judgements I receive from others, I would do it all over again for baby boy.  I didn’t choose what Luc really is – but I will choose baby boy every day for the rest of my life.

Psychopaths Create Smoke and Clouds in Court and in Life

During one of the Custody Battles in the Custody War with Luc (my spath ex), the judge said, “There is a lot of smoke in this case and a lot of clouds…and its clouding my vision horribly.”  The judge went on to note that Luc hadn’t presented any evidence indicating who he was and all the judge could see was the smoke and clouds floating around him.

I have been thinking a lot about this idea of smoke an clouds lately.  I have had a few “epiphanies” in the past year.  This particular one came to me while driving to work.  I was thinking of what the judge said and I realized that with psychopaths, there will always be smoke and clouds.  Psychopaths are relentless in their attempts to maintain the smoke and the clouds because they don’t want their targets to see the reality and run screaming.  The same thing happens in court because if the judge (and or a jury) were to see the real person, there would be no way the psychopath would have access to a child. In some cases, there would be no way the court would allow the psychopath to continue living freely to continue the reign of terror.

The “Blocking Access” Trick (Early Smoke and Clouds)

For those of you who have followed my story, you might remember that after I left Luc, he waited three months (and for my actual birthday) to file his response to my custody motion.  For the three months in between the time I took baby boy and left and when he filed his response, he knew where I lived and how to get into contact with me.  He had no problem asking his attorney to terrorize me in an attempt to get me to pay him, but he made no request to see baby boy.  Then, almost suddenly, he fell into “character” and acted as if he had been crying in his house since baby boy had left.  During the initial court hearings, he would cry about how I had blocked access from him and how I was such a terrible person for keeping his son from him.

This was one of the earliest examples of “smoke and clouds” in the Custody War.  Clearly, if one could get beyond the smoke of Luc dancing around crying like a toddler who had just lost his toy (the toy being baby boy), they would see that if Luc actually had cared to see baby boy – he would have bothered asking earlier.  This output of smoke, however, the court fell for hook line and sinker as it was easy to believe I was an evil “access blocker” since there are so many scorned women who easily fit into this visual.

Smoke and Clouds To Hide Abuse/Neglect:

This past weekend, Luc had a seven hour visit with baby boy. Despite the fact that Luc continues to threaten (through third parties) that he is going to take me back to court for more acces, he can’t seem to handle the time he has now.  Baby boy always seems to return miserable after a visit.  He is always hungry and always has a digustingly full diaper.  This visit, however, was one of the worst.  As I picked baby boy up from the supervisor’s car, urine dripped all over me.  Baby boy’s diaper hadn’t been changed all day and it was so full it had spilled out through the clothes.

As I tended to baby boy and tried to get him as dry as I could (while I stood in front of the police station where he was dropped off), the supervisor was trying to tell me how Luc mentioned that baby boy had a fever and he had given him some children’s advil.  (Note:  Baby boy did not have a fever and was not sick)  As the supervisor went on about this so called fever, I slowly realized that Luc had used the “fever” as his smoke and clouds.  He wanted to have a story about something else so that the supervisor would ignore the fact that he had just returned baby boy soaking wet in urine.

My mother, who helps me with my son, is getting sick of Luc’s lies.  Initially, she was determined to prove that Luc had been lying about the fever (the thermometer provided in the emergency bag logs the last temperature taken).  I realized, however, that the fever issue didn’t matter – It was just more smoke and clouds.  What mattered was the fact that Luc fought tooth and nail for more extended hours wth baby boy during which he refused to actually take care of baby boy.  Baby boy was wet and starving – this was what needed to take focus beneath the smoke and clouds.

How to Clear the Smoke and Clouds:

I have learned that Psychopaths create smoke and clouds to make their victims angry (especially in a custody war) or diguise the truth and confuse them.  Losing focus in a Custody War can be very dangerous.  Sometimes, over the past year, the smoke and clouds has made me feel like I am going crazy.  I am slowly learning that in order to win this war, I need to focus on what is important despite the smoke Luc throws at me.  Its much easier to see through the smoke and clouds if you recognize that they will always be there.

Now that I know that smoke and clouds will always surround Luc, because of his constant firey chaos storm, I try to go over the following steps in my head before I react or respond to anything having to do with Luc:

1)  Breath

2)  Think

3)  Identify the Smoke and Clouds

4)  Figure out the “Bottom Line”/Real issue

5)  Decide if I care (because sometimes I don’t once I realize the bottom line)

The next time I go to court with Luc,  I will be repeating the above steps over and over in my head.  The way I imagine (and pray) it will go next time is that Luc will be spinning around like an out of control top and I will present my documents and organized notes.