Hold Fast

In the past few weeks, I have received many more emails from women (no men yet) who are facing what seems like impossible situations with the father of their child/children.  Given what has happened to Prince, it has been hard for me to find the words to advise others who find themselves in similarly horrifying situations.  I fought through an impossible situation for 15 months, but even though I gave it my best shot – it didn’t end well for me and Prince.  My baby boy died during one of the first times he ever spent alone with his father.

While to many my story is uniquely horrifying, I have come to find that it isn’t as unique as it should be.  Sometimes after reading similar stories over and over, I start to think as if there is some playbook of psychopathy that all these crazy men are reading.  I say this because even though we are all different in some ways, some of the terrible things these men do are sickeningly similar.

Many people love to judge women for falling for psychopaths, but I am here to tell you that none of these men are going to walk up to you – punch you in the face – and then ask for a second date.  Most women who end up in abusive relationships (be it physical, emotional, or a combination of both) can’t even understand how they ended up in the situation when its all over.  The burning question on many of my reader’s minds is this: what do you do once you realize that you have been sleeping next to a monster and you now share a child?  The unfortunate reality is that you only have a few options and none of them are good.

1)  RUN:  If you realize the man is a monster early enough, the safest option is to back away slowly toward the door.  As soon as you get through the door safely, run as far and as fast as you can and make sure you hide in a place where he cannot find you.  If however, you have already entered into a Custody War with this person, this may not be a legal option.  (Note:  Even though it wouldn’t have been legal, I still wish I had chosen this option in order to protect my son.  Hindsight is always 20/20)

2)  FIGHT:  Once you find yourself in court with one of these monsters, you don’t have the option to stop.  By that, I don’t mean that you should get emotional and fight with your words or your fists.  If you truly believe this man is dangerous (gun carrying, serial killer, drug user, mentally disordered, gang banging, or whatever else evil you can imagine) type, you can try and fight if you choose not to run.  Most attorneys will not be prepared for the kind of crazy you are going to tell them, so start by contacting a local domestic violence group.  They can give you free legal advice and refer you to an attorney who knows how to deal with psychopathy.  If you choose this option, buckle down and get ready for a terrible experience.  Family court is never fun and games and this is especially the case when you enter into court with a pathological criminal psychopath.

3)  PRAY:  If the first two are not viable options, sometimes all you can do is be the best parent you can be to your child and pray for them when they are with the disordered parent.  The unfortunate reality is that in most situations, family court will not choose to protect your child if that means limiting the parental rights of the disordered parent.  (Yes, this is crazy – but true)  So if you have already considered the first two options, or have tried them and failed, your best bet might be to just be a good mom.  Your child will need you to be emotionally healthy so that you can help them weather the storm of the disordered parent.  (Note:  At the point where I ran out of money and my attorneys would not file an emergency order, I tried this – it clearly didn’t work)

Psychopaths do not play by normal rules.  You will find yourself playing a crazy and disordered game of chess with someone who might very well end up blowing up the chess board.  There are many things I am proud of in my life -my son is one of them.  I am not, however, proud of how many nights I spent stressed out over things I could not control.  I would give anything to go back and rewind time so that I could try all over again to save my son.  I would fight for him every single day and for the rest of my life.  I don’t have that option now, but many of you do.

Hold Fast

I come from a long line of strong people.  My Scottish roots can be traced back hundreds of years.  I am from the Clan McLeod.  My son is a McLeod.  When my son passed away, my father told me a story about how long ago when our family was still living in the highlands of Scotland there was a horrible tragedy.  The rival clan had gathered around the McLeod church and burned all of them alive inside.  Entire families were killed -women, men, children.  The only people who survived were the ones who happened to not be there that Sunday.

If my family members who had survived had not moved on with their lives, I would not be here.  They lived through a terrible situation and made sure to thrive in spite of it all.  Our family motto is “Hold Fast”.  This could mean many things, but to me it means sticking to who you are, protecting your family, and fighting for Justice.

So my advise to other parents who are living the nightmare that I have been living the past several years (since I met the devil himself), is to hold fast.  It is your job to protect your child in any way you can - even if that means just being the strong and healthy rock they can come home to after surviving the chaos.  For those of you, like me, who have lost a child (my unnatural or natural causes), you are still their parent and you must still hold fast in the fight to protect their memory and their legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

Surrounded by people – but still alone

It’s Christmas Eve tonight.  One year ago, this very moment, I was tucking my son into bed and preparing to wrap his presents for his first Christmas.  Looking back, I am glad that I was unaware of how bad things would get.  I was able to celebrate my son’s first Christmas like he would have so many more.  It was my son’s first Christmas, but it was also his last.

I didn’t go shopping this year and I haven’t been able to listen to Christmas music.  Nothing seems to matter without Prince.  I have been smiling to make others happy and going through the motions, but truth be told – I wish this holiday would just pass this year. It’s just another day that I have to wake up without my baby boy.

I woke up this morning and my first thought was how I needed to go get Prince.  Then, I remembered  that he was gone.  Even though its been nine weeks since he passed away, I still wake up sometimes and its like he is dying all over again.

My belief in God might be what’s keeping me from completely falling apart.  While so many people have tried to comfort me by saying that Prince is in a better place, this doesn’t seem to give me peace.  A better place for Prince would be here on earth where he would be allowed to live out his life.  Instead, he was never given that chance that he deserved.  So while he is not here suffering along side his grieving Mama, I am not so sure that he is in a better situation than he would be had he been allowed to live.

 

So right now as the police, the judge, the lawyers, the prosecutors, and the medical examiner all sit down with their families and prepare to spend the holiday full of joy and happiness, I remember the one Christmas my son was allowed to have.  I think about how this Christmas I will be visiting his grave instead of watching his face light up with joy while opening presents.  It’s this time of year when people take a vacation from things like death, duty, and “solving murders”.  Instead, they hug their children extra tight and thank God they aren’t me tonight.

 

I am surrounded by what feels like thousands of people, but tonight – I am completely all alone.  I am left with the thoughts of my dead son.  The child I was not allowed (by law) to protect.  I was a mother interrupted and my son was living on borrowed time.

 

Though my son was a shining star in my life, these past three years have been full of pain.  I grieve my son, but I have been grieving the loss of happiness, innocence, and justice since the day I left the devil.  I took my newborn son out of what I knew to be a life threatening situation and the courts send him right back.  I was not allowed to be his mother.

 

I sit here tonight remembering my son and thinking about all the things I wish he could have done – the places he could have seen – and the milestones he should have met.  I wonder when it will be that I am aloud to live my life and leave this monster in the shadows where he belongs.

 

So tonight, I don’t feel thankful for much in the face of this terrible loss.  I do, however, thank God for the fire burning rage I have inside of me.  It is this rage that keeps me fighting for Justice.  While I know that all of those who had a hand in killing my son will one day have to answer to God for their sins, I am certain that God left me behind to make sure that these same people don’t get away with these same sins here on earth.  Bottom line – there is nothing scarier to a public servant who has done wrong than a mother scorned.  There is nothing scarier to a psychopath than a woman who is not afraid to shine a light on what he really is.

The honor our children deserve

Each day, I think about the things I could have done to prevent my son from dying.  Regardless of how many people tell me the absurdity of this exercise, it is something that every parent who has lost a child (especially in this way) will do.  While I am smart enough to realize how my hands were tied in many ways, I still wish I had been strong enough to run away (essentially breaking the law) in order to save my baby boy from the fate he suffered while he was with his father.

Several people had a hand in delivering Prince to Luc.  I have spoken about many of them here on my blog.  What I find interesting is how many of those people have not been strong enough to admit their mistakes.  Beyond not admitting, they have not taken the steps to identify how they could avoid this sort of disaster in the future.  Most of them are too busy denying that they had any part in what happened to Prince.

I have heard from several Judge Algeo supporters over the past few months. They have commented on the Washington Post article and one of them has even infiltrated my Facebook page.  Instead of sending their condolences, these people feel compelled to talk about Judge Algeo’s honor and about how he is a family man.  While I cannot make a comment on how he is to his own family (I would assume he would care about his own family), I do believe I am entitled to comment on how fit he is to be presiding over Family Court.

Additionally, I would like to comment about “honor”.  To me, the most honorable type of person is someone who can admit their mistakes and allow these mistakes to improve them.  While Judge Algeo posed as a man trying to do what was best for Prince, he ended up bending over backward to accommodate Luc.  Luc sat on the stand and cried on cue playing the judge like a piano.  While Judge Algeo called Luc’s criminal behavior smoke and clouds, the dramatics and continuous perjury committed by Luc clearly clouded Judge Algeo’s vision.

Even after what has happened to Prince, Judge Algeo has been “unable to comment”.  His spokesperson has said that he is barred by the judicial code of conduct from speaking about active cases in which he may need to rule in the future.  Even though I know Judge Algeo is aware of Prince’s passing, it is baffling that he still considers this case “active”.  What will you be ruling on Judge Algeo?  Should I plan to roll out the red carpet for Luc to have visitation at the grave site?  Should I be forced to now invite Luc to Christmas dinner in Prince’s memory?  After all that has happened here, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if this were the sort of thing Judge Algeo had in mind when he believed the case was still “active”.

At what point will our society realize that not everyone should be a parent.  That’s right – I said it.  Being a parent should be seen as a privilege and not a right.  If your behavior is dangerous to the degree that people keep dropping dead around you, the court should be able to take away your parental rights.  If you insist on not getting a real job and instead living off of the people you have conned, you have no business being around a child.  If you have been arrested repetitively for violent crimes (even if you are able to weasel your way out), this should cause the court to wonder if you are truly innocent.  Parents should be forced to be on their best behavior and prove that they can be safe role models to their children.

Being a judge in family court is not an easy job.  The emotions run high, but the stakes are even higher.  In order to address these difficult societal issues, we deserve a Judge who is up for the challenge.  If you work at McDonalds and hate your job, you might ruin someone’s lunch.  If you work in Family Court and hate your job, you could ruin an innocent child’s life.  What happened to my son was a terrible tragedy which none of us will ever be able to rectify.  My son will never get to do the things that Judge Algeo’s children have done.  He will never again laugh, dance, or say “Mama”.  He will never learn to read and he will never have his first day of kindergarten.

Though my son didn’t survive our broken system, we now have an opportunity to make sure we learn from the mistakes that Prince did not survive.  What I worry about, though, is that the egos of these public servants will get in the way of progress.  If these people cannot get out of the way of their dangerous egos, more children will die.  I was not the first mother to lose her child, but I want to be the last.  I want this madness to stop here because I can’t bear the thought of my son’s death being for naught.

 

 

 

 

My son’s unmarked grave

 

Today I went to my son’s grave for the first time since I buried him.  I don’t know what I was expecting to feel, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I experienced.  As I stepped out of the car and walked toward the unmarked grave, my heart sank and I was brought back to the day it all happened.  I fell to my knees and began to sob as I saw the sippee cup, wreath, and mini Christmas Tree that had been left there for my son.

The cemetery was empty except for me and a couple of the grounds keepers who were filling another recent grave plot.  I hate it when people see me cry, but today I couldn’t stop myself.  While I hadn’t planned on coming back to the grave so soon, this was all I could think of doing this morning when I woke up.  Millions of parents hugged their children last night in the wake of the national tragedy in Newtown, CT.  Instead of hugging my son, reading him a book, and putting him in his bed, the only thing I could do was wait for sunrise so that I could kneel by his grave and tell him how much I missed him.

If I didn’t know better, I would think that I was gushing blood all over my son’s gravesite in that moment.  It felt as if someone had removed bandages from a fatal wound that now would not stop bleeding.  While I had planned to say some prayers and talk to my baby boy, all I could say was this:

“I’m sorry my Prince….I am so sorry baby.  Mama loves you so much.  I would do anything to trade places with you.  I would give up everything I have to see your face again and make you smile.  I love you baby.  Mama loves you so much.”

After some time, I realized that I was shaking from the cold.  I picked myself off of the ground, visited the children who were buried next to my boy, and left.

For the rest of the day, I tried to avoid the news.  It seemed, though, that I could not escape media footage about other dead children.  At the gym, nail salon, and just about everywhere I went…I couldn’t get away from it.  I wonder what all this trauma in our lives and on television is doing to us as a nation.  I don’t want to get used to this.  I don’t want to be so destroyed that the death of a child becomes part of normal everyday life.

Millions of parents will hug their children tonight, I will go to sleep alone with memories of my son’s unmarked grave.  No parent is ever prepared to bury their child, but the way my son’s grave looks is evidence that I was caught by surprise.  Until I can afford to place a stone on his grave, it will remain unmarked but covered with symbols of our love for little Prince McLeod.  He was taken from me too soon and without warning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Child Club

This post is dedicated to the parents who lost their babies in Newtown, Connecticut today.  18 babies died in their classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School when a gunman deliberately came into their classroom and murdered these innocent children.

Rest in peace baby boys and baby girls.  My Prince is waiting for you in heaven to show you the ropes, give you a big hug, and welcome you home.  You were loved and you will be missed.

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Tonight, several parents join a club that no parent wants to join.  I call it the “Lost Child Club”.  This group of parents are forced to live life as parents without their children.  These parents woke up one morning with healthy children, and are now going to have to go to sleep knowing that they will never see them again.  Unfortunately, I can imagine how these parents feel.  While my son was not killed in a mass shooting, I remember how I felt when I realized that my Prince would never wake up again.  A part of me died that night with him as I know is the case for all of the families who have lost their babies tonight.

I joined this club nearly eight weeks ago when my son died tragically and suddenly during an unsupervised visit with his father.  Before Prince died, I could never have imagined being a part of this club.  I wouldn’t have signed up, nor would I have wished membership on anyone.  I knew I was not the first parent to lose their child in a tragic way, but after it happened – I hoped that I would be the last.

A loss for the right words:

When I first heard about this tragedy I was on my way to meet with someone who I had identified to help me with my case.  I needed someone who could help me in my fight for justice.  For the last two days, I have been practicing what to say in this particular meeting.  I needed someone who could add some teeth to my fight and this guy was the guy to do that.  After hearing this news, however, my “speech” fell apart.  Hearing this news brought me back to how I felt the night I lost Prince.  So instead of the grand speech that I had prepared, I said something like the following:

“I had something to say – I had planned a speech.  I just heard the disturbing news about a shooter who killed an entire class full of babies.  I have no words right now that sound right.  I need your help.  My son died and I need your help.”

 

Under normal circumstances, I consider myself a very articulate woman; however, this situation has left me cold.

 

Psychological Confusion:

I hear news anchors talking about how “rare” these things are and attempting to calm down the public.  Having met someone who is capable of this sort of horror, I wonder if it is as rare as people want to believe.  While we don’t yet know if this shooter was a psychopath, it is clear that he had some sort of psychological condition.  Given what I know about the system, I believe that we will soon hear about the people who could have reported “suspicious behavior” or possibly even had him committed to an institution.  We will likely hear of the many things broken in our system that allowed this mentally ill person to walk into an elementary school and murder innocent babies.

We have laws in this country that state that if you are seriously ill, you cannot possess a weapon.  What is the threshold for this and do we really enforce this?  For example, Luc owns a handgun and actually still possesses a concealment permit in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  That’s right – a man who is under investigation for killing his own child is walking around a free man and allowed to conceal his weapon in public.

 

Finding some words:

I won’t sit here and say that my situation is the same as these parents.  While there are similarities, there are many differences.  (No better – no worse – just different)  I have been living in chaos since the day I met Luc almost three years ago.  I worried about Prince every single day,  because I came to understand what Luc was capable of and how truly disordered.  These parents, however, sent their children to school.  While they were at work expecting their children to be singing songs and learning to read, these children were being killed.

There is nothing that I can say that will make tonight any easier for these parents.  There is nothing anyone can do to make them not want to jump in the grave with their children.  If they were reading this tonight, however, I would say this…

“You are not alone.  You were not the first, and you probably won’t be the last.  You did the best you could to protect your child.  You will, however, still beat yourself up for all the things you think you should have done and all the things you wished you had done differently.  This is normal.  Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve.  You need to do it your way.

Right now, you get the ability to act or feel however you want to act or feel.  When this initial grief phase begins to ease, please try to celebrate the memory of your baby.  Your child is now your guardian angel.  You were chosen to be your child’s parent and, unfortunately, you and your child were chosen for a greater cause for which might not make sense at this time.  Don’t lose your faith in God because of this tragedy.

You don’t know me and we might not ever have the chance to meet.  If you cannot get out of bed and fight for the memory of your child, I will try and fight for you.  I am a mother who lost her son.  I fight not only for my son, but I also fight for yours.  When you feel like dying, please remember that you are the only thing left of your baby in life.  Your child deserves the right to live through your memories.”

For all of my readers who have children.  Don’t just hug your children tonight.  Hug them every day and never take being a parent for granted.  You never know what hand you will be dealt in life.  Even a child can be there one day and gone the next.

 

The Pain of a nation:

We need to all start taking some responsibility in this nation.  How many people see child abuse on a daily basis and don’t report it?  How many people see someone with a serious disorder and allow him/her access to a child?  How many children are going to have to die before we as a country start actually trying to fix the things that are wrong with our country?

President Obama said, “our hearts are broken.”  I would take that a step further and say, “Our nation is in danger.”  What has made our nation special is that throughout history we have overcome tremendous challenges.  We have been able to come together and make important changes.  Now we face a crisis on children.  Let’s come together and fight for our children.  Let’s put our differences aside and start asking the right questions and seeking the answers.  We are all responsible.  Reporting something after the fact is too late.

I was not the first, and clearly I was not the last…but I wanted to be.  Rest in Peace baby boy Prince.  Take care of these new baby angels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screaming at the top of my lungs

Today I spent most of my day on a plane traveling.  Looking out at the clouds, my thoughts were a reflection of how my mind is racing in a million directions.  I wondered how my son was doing in heaven, if he was mad at me for not fighting hard enough to protect him, whether Luc would ever have to pay for all the terrible things he has done…

Amongst these thoughts, I also wonder how I will feel once I slow down.  Ever since Prince died, I have been running.  I have been running and “screaming”.  By “screaming” I mean that I have been screaming to everyone who will listen to me through my writing and through my words about what happened to my son.  I haven’t just been screaming since Prince died.  In fact, I started screaming the moment I left Luc’s hellish cave.  The difference now is that it seems as if people are finally listening.  It kills me that it took my son’s death for others to realize what I have known since the moment I walked out of that man’s house and saw what he really was.
Seven weeks ago, I had to take my baby off of life support after learning that his brain was officially dead.  Though I have been trying to run away from the memory of that night, its times like this when those memories creep back into my mind.  I was holding Prince when his heart stopped beating.  I remember wearing a white adidas jacket – he bled all over my sleeve.  I remember feeling completely helpless because no matter what I did – I couldn’t do the only thing I wanted in the world to do.  I couldn’t bring my little boy back.
Last night I was on the phone with a friend.  As I told him about all the plans I had and how I wanted to hold people accountable, he stopped me and said, “You need to grieve.  You can do it now – or later – but you need to grieve.”
He’s right and I know this, but I’m scared.  I’m scared because there is nothing I can do with those thoughts.  I am scared that if I let them in, I won’t get out of bed.  I am scared that I will die right along side my son.
I am also determined not to let Luc have that sort of power over me.  Psychopaths count on scaring their victims into silence.  I will not allow him to do that to me.
So I sit here thinking about how I will “strike a balance” between grief and strength.  I cannot slow down until I am sure my son will not be forgotten.  I think about Prince every day and every minute.  I think about all the things I wish I had done and all the things I wish he had been able to do.  Lately, however, I have also thought about the things that I can do in order to be sure that Prince (through his memory) still has an impact on the living.
Several of my friends and family have expressed the reality in how dangerous it is for me to speak publicly about what Luc has done to me and my family.  I understand that danger better than anyone (because I lived and continue to live in fear).  That being said, I will not stop because even though I was not first – I want to be the last.  I want to be the last woman who is charmed and conned by this man.  I respect my son’s memory and my role as his mother too much to be silent and hide in a corner because I am afraid.
Yesterday I went to the police station.  Before leaving, I said, “If something happens to me, there is only one person who could be responsible.  I have only one person who wishes I were dead and would do anything to silence me.  One person.”  While nobody likes to hear someone say this to them, I am realistic enough to know that my odds of survival are not as good having been involved with this man.
I could be silenced by fear – but that is not who I am.  I guess I wasn’t the perfect target after all.  This particular con ends with me.

Prince’s Lessons – The important things in life

Prince always helped me put things into perspective.  He went through life holding onto important people and enjoying all of the new things he was learning.  He was independent (or tried to be when I would let him), intelligent, and happy.  He reminded me of a little old man trapped in a toddler’s body.  Here are some of the things I remember about him – some of the things that made him special.  I will call them “Prince Lessons”:

1)  Hugs and kisses make everyone feel better:  Prince always knew when I was upset and he would drop whatever he was doing and come to hug and kiss me.  The Wednesday before he died (during back to school night), there was a little girl in his class who was crying.  Prince had been ready to leave, but when he saw the girl crying he literally jumped out of my arms, ran over to her, stroked her hair, hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek.  Then, he smiled and was ready to leave.

2)  When there is music – you should dance:  Prince had a stuffed monkey that wiggled its head and shoulders when you pressed its stomach.  This monkey, sadly, taught my son how to dance.  Every time that boy would hear music play, he would do the monkey dance.  No matter where we were or what needed to be done, Prince always took a few seconds to stop and enjoy the music.  I miss the little head bobbling in the back seat of my car and the wiggle that would break out in the middle of a crowded mall.

3)  Put the phone down:  I am ashamed to admit that I spent the majority of Prince’s life thinking about how I was going to try and save him.  I spent hours on the phone with attorneys when I should have been playing, kissing, hugging, and enjoying my son.  At night, when I came home from work, I would try and put aside “Prince Only” time.  Sometimes, when I would forget and pick up the phone…Prince would always find a way to hide the phone in one of his toys as if he wanted to tell me it wasn’t important.  When I would try to text every so often while I was nursing him, he would swat my phone away like a fly and make sure I was just looking at him.  I am thankful he did that because it meant that I had more memories of just watching him.  It didn’t matter how long I spent on the phone with the lawyers – I still wasn’t able to save him.  What ended up mattering more was the time I spent looking into his beautiful brown eyes and making sure he knew how much I loved him.

4)  Group hugs make people happy:  One of my son’s favorite activities was grabbing multiple family members and bringing them into a group hug.  Prince loved his people and he loved when we all hugged each other.  The smile that would come over his face when he successfully got more than one person to hug him at the same time is forever burned into my memory.

 

5)  Baby don’t like evil:  My son loved people.  At times, he would jump into the arms of a complete stranger and smile from ear to ear.  Other times, however, he would scream so loudly and so shrill that I would wonder if we needed to call in an exorcist.  Prince screamed when in the company of the lawyer who always asked for money, the strangers who obviously didn’t like children, and most interestingly – he always screamed around Luc.  No need for further explanation here.

 

6)  If Grandpa eats it, hears it, or looks it – so do I:  While it is tough to admit, Prince was more than just a Mama’s boy – he was Grandpa’s boy.  If Grandpa was going somewhere, Prince wanted to go.  If Grandpa ate something, Prince wanted to eat it.  Prince loved Grandpa’s hats.  If Grandpa put a hat on his head, he never wanted to take it off.  He would walk around the room with his head as still as possible just so that it wouldn’t fall off of his head.  Grandpa buried Prince in one of Grandpa’s hats.  Prince knew good people and my dad was “his people”.

 

These are just a few of the lessons that I learned from Prince.  Many people live an entire lifetime without touching as many people as Prince touched.  Even though there are so many people who ache with me for the loss of this beautiful angel, I am not willing to let his legacy end here.  My job and my calling is to never let people forget about my baby boy.  Before he died, I always told me that if it were just me and him forever – I would be the happiest Mama alive.  I didn’t get that wish.  I have to continue on without him.

I keep wanting to tell his story.  I talk about him to complete strangers.  I show them the pictures of him on my phone.  I am constantly reminded of how horrible this all is when I see the looks on their faces when I tell them that the beautiful baby boy I am talking about is gone.  I talked about Prince all the time before he was gone.  Now, however, its turned weird for people.  Instead of sharing in my pride and joy – they are sharing in my pain and suffering.

I dream of a day when I can think about my son without thinking about his father.  I dream of a day when I can talk about my son without looking at horror in the eyes of the recipient.  My son deserves justice, child deserve protection, and Mama deserves peace.  I pray for all of the above.

 

 

 

 

 

Surviving My Way

This week I feel like my body is crashing.  My mind is racing all the time, and I cannot look at anything without thinking about Prince – and wishing he could be with me continuing to experience life.  Many people have asked how I have been surviving – how I can get out of bed – how I can walk around – how I can continue to fight for justice.  I wish I could explain the terrible feeling I have inside every single minute of every single day.  Instead, however, I give them a pained smile and say things like, “I have no choice” or I just shrug my shoulders.  While I understand the questions, I continue to struggle to find an appropriate answer because I don’t believe there IS a right way to act when something like this happens.  You just survive any way you can.

Earlier this week, I was sitting at my desk (shaking from too much caffeine and not enough sleep) when I realized that it was time to get away for a bit.   I decided to take a few days and visit my grandparents (who live in amazingly beautiful place in the middle of nowhere).  The sleep that I have finally been getting has allowed me think about how I have chosen to live.  It has also allowed me to read some of the courageous letters that I have been getting from my readers.  While I will not out any of them by name (for safety reasons), here are some of the things I have heard:

*  Terrified women trying to protect their children from the men who have abused then – proof of physical abuse – judges who don’t seem to care.  For some reason, judges don’t like to think that a man who abuses their spouse/girlfriend/ex could also be dangerous to the child.  Newsflash your honor – abusers rarely discriminate -  they likely will also abuse their own child.

*  Grandparents fighting to save their grandchildren from disordered parents – judges who fight against them despite evidence of danger.

*  A father fighting to save his children from a mother who refuses to leave a convicted child molesters.

*  A woman who lost her child for an entire year after Judge Algeo himself legally allowed the child’s father to kidnap the baby girl.

*  A woman who now has a baby girl – her only child – but not her first.  Her first child was murdered.  This woman told me that the death of her son is so painful that she has completely shut out many of her memories of him.

 

I read these stories and wonder if I will ever live in a world where these things no longer happen.  I wonder how I will explain these things to another child someday -Prince’s future sibling.  These ugly truths…I can barely even wrap my own head around.  I am not sure if I am surviving the right way or if I am just surviving my way.  Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to be the type of person who could just run away from all these terrible things and pretend they never happened.  I am not sure if this response is right or wrong, but I do know that it would likely not make me feel better.

Children continue to suffer at the hands of Family Court.  I often wonder if the Family Courts in our country are even capable of making the right decision.  It seems like the court would rather saw the child in half (killing him/her) rather than make the difficult choice to limit or eliminate access of a disordered parent.  I also think about the police officers who chose to ignore Luc’s behavior and chose to allow him to walk the streets.

These are things I think about all day long.  Whether I choose to lay down in bed crying or walk around faking a smile to hide the pain.  I think about these things all the time.

I am sitting in front of the fire and watching the evening news.  The news story is about “The Perfect Gift” that a parent can buy for their child for the holidays.  As I watch the children’s faces light up with joy, I can’t help but cry.  Though I know that I have been keeping up “a good face”, I notice that my face now shows a bit of the agony that I feel inside.  Prince will never open a gift and scream for joy at Christmas time.  He had one Christmas – just one.  The same as he only had one birthday, one Easter, one Mother’s Day…

My heart feels like its beating on the wrong side of my chest.  I know that doesn’t even make any sense.  I wonder if I can even go tell that to a doctor without him/her looking at me like I was crazy.  Sometimes I can’t even breath when I think about Prince.  I see things all the time that remind me of him and I try too hard to hear his voice.  I have nightmares about Prince bleeding all over me as the doctors unplugged him from the ventilator.  In the dream, I keep trying to clean him up and make him all better.  I usually wake up from this dream feeling like I have died too.

Shawn Mason died the week of her mother’s birthday in 2003.  Luc put naked pictures of Alexis on the internet on Alexis’ birthday in 2009 (he waited months after she left to start this terrorism).  Luc filed his response to my custody papers on my birthday in 2011 (three months after I took Prince and fled Luc’s house).  This year, the first time Luc saw Prince after my birthday – Prince died.  I don’t believe in that kind of coincidence.  These are the terrible thoughts that I think about.  I wonder if the police see what I can see.  I wonder how much they care.

When people ask how I am walking around,  I will continue to shrug my shoulder, smile, and say, “I have no choice”.  I will smile to make others feel better and I will also continue to tell Prince’s story.  Right or wrong – this is how I survive.   I will do this because I am a Mama – I am Prince’s Mama.

 

 

 

 

 

Every Single Day – and for the rest of my life…

The Associated Press came out with an article involving my son’s case this morning.  Several news outlets appeared to have picked it up within minutes of it being posted.  It appears that the story has gone national.  When I read the article, I actually felt like it was Christmas and my birthday at one time.  I only wish my little boy could have been here to experience this sheer joy.

 Toddler’s death promps review of 2 other deaths

Smoke and Clouds:

It appears that that Luc (or possibly the man he lives with) has been driving himself into a frenzy over the past week trying to comment on any blog/forum he can find in an attempt to tarnish my reputation and render my words not credible.  Despite these “odd”, periless, hilarious, and frankly idiotic attempts to “hijack the discourse” – the undeniable truth remains.  Screaming from the mountain tops about ME won’t change the fact that his own brother has called him a monster and believes Luc killed his own mother.  It also won’t change the fact that the police are investigating all of the people who have turned up dead around him.

Allow me to take a moment and state the obvious here:  The police don’t open a criminal investigation surrounding the death of a toddler merely because the mother wants them to do so.  (I can promise you – I am not that well connected)  The media would not make these claims without consulting with their attorney’s and verifying these investigations with the police.  A “vengeful mother” would not be able to create this level of media ground swell.  (Again, I am NOT this well connected or I would have gotten this in the paper BEFORE Prince died.)  Luc was given plenty of chances to speak with the media to “explain” and he chose not to comment.  It doesn’t take a genius to see why this might be the case.

Validation:

As I have mentioned before, the first time anyone hears my story they either start crying, look at me with shock and horror, or just plain don’t believe it.  I can understand all of these reactions, because in the past three years I have had variations of all three of these.  It is hard to believe that someone could be capable of doing all of these terrible things and still be walking free amongst us.

When Prince first passed away, I would tell people about what happened and their initial reaction was usually, “how come I haven’t seen this in the news?” I didn’t have a good answer for that question because I also questioned why a lot of things hadn’t been in the news.  For example, why is THIS the first time that Luc’s name is being tied in the press to Shawn Mason’s death?  Why hadn’t anyone ever heard of Alma Collins?

Luc has told many stories to many people.  I have been contacted in just the past week by a few who had heard outrageous lies and couldn’t believe the things they didn’t know about Luc. (To even include his real age – 40…instead of the 35 that is on his drivers license or maybe the 20 something he is trying to get away with claiming these days)

I am thankful that average Americans can now pick up a newspaper and read some facts about this case for themselves and I no longer have to try and explain what all of the odd, scary, and dangerous events that occurred around this one man.

Let’s put this to bed:

If nothing else, I have attempted to be the most open and honest that I can in this blog.  I have never tried to hide the fact that when I left Luc in 2011 the police arrested both me and my sister.  Despite Luc’s attempts to make me look like a criminal, the public is free to look at my criminal record and see that my criminal case was completely dismissed.  My sister’s case was also dismissed when they realized that they wrongfully charged a victim.  After this situation, I learned how many rapists get away with this type of hideous crime.

In fact, after the Commonwealth Attorney presented his case, my lawyer made a motion to strike the evidence (basically meaning he asked the judge to decide if the evidence the Commonwealth presented even warranted us to present a defense).  The judge told us he didn’t need to see my defense, turned and laughed at the prosecutor and said, “Mr. Richardson, this is not obstruction of justice.”  I have not expunged my record, so for those interested and bored enough to look – I welcome you to go to the Prince William County, VA courthouse and get all the information you can find on this case and see for yourself.

Most people who read the Associated Press Article will not pick up on a very important and nuanced detail.  Luc’s mother died in the jurisdiction of Prince William County, VA.  (The same county that falsely arrested me and my sister) The Manassas City Police (different police department) is now looking into a case that Prince William believed and ruled as a suicide.  The Manassas City police are re-investigating Alma Collins’ case in connection to Luc.  Does anyone see where I am going with this?  I am not placing blame on the Prince William County Police, I am merely raising this question:  How come another Police Department is investigating a death you ruled a suicide?  If there was no evidence that this woman possibly died from something other than suicide, why has this case resurfaced?  I will leave this detail to my readers to contemplate because it is one that continues to baffle me.

 

I have been through hell in the past three years.  From the moment Lucifer walked into my life, stress and chaos have been a constant theme.  Since I have learned about all the things Luc has been “oddly” connected to (internet porn, several arrests, and now these murders/deaths that keep happening around him), I have prayed for the moment that the media shines a light on this cockroach.

The Associate Press quoted me as saying, “Either he is the most unlucky bastard on this planet, or he is a killer.”  I have my own suspicions of which is true.  In my custody case, my lawyer described a scene to Judge Algeo of Luc as a runaway train.  He said that everyone who comes into contact with Luc either ends up somehow hurt and sometimes they even die.  He then said, “now Prince is laying on the train tracks and train Luc is headed right for him.  Are you going to grab him out of the way or just let him get hit.”

Judge Algeo didn’t grab him out of the way – he let the train hit my son.

So now as the media frenzy begins, I will sit back (with my guardian angel Prince watching from above) and open up a bottle of champagne – and maybe some popcorn – and watch as the world finally sees what me and so many other victims have been dealing with after coming into contact with Lucifer.

My Prince (also known as Didi, JaJa,  Princepuss, Bubba, little man, baby cakes, and baby boy), I will love you forever and always.  As long as I am alive…you will always be my baby.  I will continue to fight for you every single day and for the rest of my life.  Love, Mama

Pain is Pain: Not Worse – Not Better…Just Different

Today I went to brunch with an old friend/coworker.  We hadn’t seen each other in years so this is the first time she has seen me “post relationship with a psychopath”.  She had worked with me when I used to be a teacher, so she knew how passionate I have always been about advocating for children.  We spent most of the afternoon talking about our children.  I told her about my Prince.

As I told my friend my story in more detail and cried to her about the last moments I spent with my son, she began to tear up as well.  I learned today that my friend has lost two children.  Her first child passed away only one month before she was set to give birth.  She had been in a car accident and the baby died in vetro.  She continued to carry the baby to term and chose to hold her baby one time before the baby was taken away and later buried.  She went on to have a son, who died when he was only seven years old from  complications/doctor negligence after a routinely scheduled surgery went horribly wrong.

Since Prince passed away, I have heard many stories from others about tramatic episodes in their life.  Most people, when they tell me what they are going through (or have gone through) immediately say, “Oh, but now I feel stupid.  I know that my pain is not nearly as bad as what you are experiencing.”  Just today, I shared my son’s pictures with my friend’s mother and aunt.  When I left the room (and they believed I was out of ear shot), one of them said, “Wow…just when you think your life stinks or is going bad – you hear a story like that.”

Pain is not something that can be compared.  My situation is no better or worse than yours – only different.

The day I buried Prince, I drove back to the gravesite alone as my family and friends gathered at my parents house.  I stood next to the grave and cried for what seemed like hours.  Since Prince is buried in the children’s section of the cemetary, I decided to walk around and learn about the other children who had been buried next to him.  Most of the children were newborn, some of them were close to Prince’s age, and some a bit older than him.  I tried to imagine how the other’s died and if their parents felt the same way I felt when they had buried their children.

Looking at the stones of the children who had died on their birthdays or a few days later, I felt a deep sadness for their parents.  I, too, could have lost Prince before I had ever met him.  Undoubtedly those children made an impact on their parents even if only for a short time; however, I had been blessed to spend 15.5 months (not even counting the time he spent in vetro) with my little angel.  Some would say my situation is worse than those other parents because of the circumstances surrounding my son’s death.  I don’t believe my situation is worse – it’s just different.

The pain that I feel is not measurable and it is not comparable nor is the pain that other parents experience every day.  Our children are in crisis.  There are many other parents who are still trying to protect their children and prevent this “worse case scenario” from happening.  There are many others for whom this has already happened.

I know that I am not the first, I am not the only, and I will likely not be the last.

I grieve for my Prince and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  In my grief for my son, I will also grieve for the other children who need protection – the parents who continue to fight for these children, and for those whom have already lost their battles.