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Ask the Band: Grieving after abuse.

Dear Band,
“I was sexually abused as a child from age 5 to 8 by my babysitter’s son who was 10 yrs older than me. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 10 and blocked the bulk of it out until college. I just found out that the babysitter passed away earlier this week. I don’t feel anything about her passing, I am sorry for her daughter and all of her grandkids. But there’s really nothing there. Am I wrong for feeling like this? I do believe I tried to tell her during it all happening.”
                                                                

 

Wednesday: Baby Olive van der Lingen

What you may or may not read below is something that you should be warned about. While not particularly graphic, the post contains strong themes such as child loss, stillbirth, baby loss, and suicide. If you feel that you cannot handle any of those triggers, please click here to be taken away to a world of glittery whimsy. Don’t feel as though you should read this if you’re not ready or if you’re never ready. Part of being healthy is being able to stop yourself if you’re uncomfortable with the following post. 

I need you to know that this is a first for our site and that I left it alone for a long time because I didn’t want to do more harm than good. Finally, it dawned on me that this anonymous poster (who I simply cannot locate – I tried) gave us her deepest feelings and fears. Even if I am uncomfortable (and I am), these are her sacred words, and they deserve to see the light of day. You’re very welcome to reach out to me via email: becky@bandbacktogether.com

This site has a motto, a simple one: we are none of us alone, we are all connected. 

We take stories here – all of them – and this is no different. 

These are her sacred words that she wanted me to share with you. 

And so I am.

If you are feeling alone, scared, helpless, and suicidal, please contact the National (US) Suicide Lifeline, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255.

AT THIS TIME, THE SUICIDE HOTLINE CODE 988 IS NOT ACTIVE. 

If you are not in the US, I have created a list of international suicide lifelines, which can be found here.

Baby Olive ✝️ July 2016

I was around 7 months pregnant when I lost my baby girl.

…I do not know how to cope with her loss anymore, i never really opened up about the pain and grief and the more time goes on the worse it gets.

I feel guilty and out of line when i speak about her on any other day except for her birthday… this year I could not even speak to anyone about her.

I don’t even understand what I must feel and what the normal grieving process is. Some nights even feel worse than the nights I lost her.

I had this idea that i would be over it by now or that I would not think about her so much.

I thought time would make it all better…..

tonight is one of the worse nights I’ve had. I just started missing her more than ever and then I felt like my heart is shattered all over again.

i can barely breathe from the crying, I feel the pain in my throat. My heart feels like it is being ripped out right now.

The image of her little lifeless body in front of me is stuck inside my head. She just looked like she was sleeping.

I just needed her her to breathe.

I just needed her to breathe.

Why did she die???

Why did she have to die?

I can’t explain this pain.

I don’t think anyone will understand what I feel right now. If I ever had to talk to anyone about this pain, what would they think? I just can’t talk to anyone! I will just be a burden or they will think I am seeking attention; that is mostly the case when i bring her name up to my ex-husband. I didn’t mean to blame him for not being able to save her, all the build up hurt just got the best of me. The grief turned into hate, hate towards people that do not deserve it, it made me push them away.

i just feel like screaming now!

Sometimes I wonder if I will feel better if I could talk about her, sometimes I wonder if it will ever get better….

Will I ever get closure?

i do not think i will male it through this pain…

i smile the whole day so no one even notices how broken I am. Once I am alone, I break down.

It is like a black hole that just gets bigger…

The pain consumes more of me each day.

Suicide is no longer just a thought, it is a pat of my plan, it is a matter of fact.

I am not scared anymore to go

I am so sorry for what i leave behind; the people I love that I leave behind. They don’t deserve it, my kids, my family, and my friends don’t deserve it… they have done nothing wrong.

i Just cannot go on , i have died inside a long time ago. Who i am now is just a body that is on repeat and that is not life. Feeling so numb and hurting this much is unbearable.

I hope the ones i leave behind will try and understand. On the brighter side at least my ex-husband will be happy.

I just want to go home, I want to be in heaven , I want to rest with my baby Olive.

I don’t belong here anymore.

After her loss, I tried my best to be happy, but I’ve never been happy again since she has died. I mastered the art of pretending to be happy at least , but I just can’t feel it. Funny how i even have the nickname “Smiley”… lol

If there was a person i’d have been able to open up about her, it would have been her father, but because of the ways in which i brought her up in our fights, he doesn’t want to hear anything about her.

I guess I cant blame him; it is my own fault … I never had a guideline or a manual on how to deal with the mixed emotions and thoughts her death caused.

I kept quiet about so many feelings that I should have shared and I lashed out about so many thoughts I should have kept to myself.

Anyway, it is to late late for the “should have’s” and “what if’s” and “if only i hads.”

Nothing will bring her back and nothing will change this pain. All this hurt killed me inside.

I didn’t die that long after she died; now it’s just my body that is left behind wondering around, longing to go, waiting impatiently to go.

Yes, I do think my death will be a shock to everyone in my life including my boyfriend ( which is the most amazing guy on earth). Some people don’t even know about Baby Olive, so most people that are the closest to me wont even link my death with hers.

The truth is i that just want to go. I feel so numb to their opinion about why I left – it won’t even matter. There won’t be a note it a sign before if I go, I will just go.

i guess the only reason i am still here is to finalize a few things before I go. I want my departure to be easy for those I leave behind, I want to be quickly forgotten. I don’t want anyone to hurt or feel guilty. My wish is to make it seem like an accident.

I am not even sure whyIi wrote this. If i ever had to say i am sorry, i will say sorry to her father for the anger and the blame and the hurt. I would have apologized for the person i was, I am sorry for my actions and how they affected you. I am sorry for being so controlling and crazy over you. I just never loved the way  I loved my husband and I’ve never hurt like the day i lost her.

I am not good at handling those strong emotions –  it just comes out wrong and I am sorry. Sorry will never fix anything and even if I had the chance to say sorry now, I know it won’t matter.

It has been 3 years.

I don’t even think you will remember. I know that you are happy now, I know you love her more than me, I know she is so much better and prettier than me, and that is good.

I will not bother to disturb anyone.

Whatever is left unsaid will forever be…

i guess writing this gave me some peace before I go, even if it will never be read or understood. Even if those i leave behind will never know that I got some peace before i go.

i feel so much better to knowIi can finally go. I feel it’s so selfish, yet I am no longer living even if i stay.

I will give my family my very best to make sure they know how much i love them and how much i appreciate them.

They are the best; that’s why i want to go without them considering suicide.

While everyone starts off with a new year, I just wish to start of with my eternal life without this pain and hurt.

i guess I am hoping to meet her there too … most nights, the thought of meeting her soon helps me to fall asleep.

I don’t know what I was supposed to feel or how, how to soothe this pain, but I do know i want to end it.

and i will.

I guess that’s just where my story ends.

my book of life has been completed and i guess not every story gets that happy ending.

I leave to see you breath, my angel.

In memory of my baby girl,

Olive van der Lingen

Missing The Tin Man

At the end of last month, I wrote an entry about one of my little brothers and I wanted to share it here with other Pranksters. Normally this is not the type of stuff I share, so getting it down was pretty difficult. I knew if I didn’t do it, it would eat at me until I did. So here it is…

I was at a loss for words, which rarely happens, so I got my son (The Boy) ready for an outing. Which means I handed The Boy off, informing my husband (Gadget Guy) that he needed to take a break, so I didn’t go outside smelling like a gym shoe.

Given the promptness of Gadget Guy’s willingness, I must have smelled pretty bad.

Once I got cleaned up, changed a massive poopy diaper, and got in the car, I decided to go to the mall. I had to take my wedding rings to get cleaned and decided that walking the mall would be as thought-provoking as anything else. Plus, it’s still reaching the low 100′s here in the afternoon, so outside was not an option.

Normally, the mall provides lots of things for me think about: obnoxious teens, people who touch my child without asking, panic attacks in the elevator, using the family bathroom, and the list could go on.

However, this is what caught my attention:

It’s an ornament. I found it in Hallmark.

And this little thing was enough to make me start crying. I was bawling like a baby in the middle of the Hallmark store. My son, who is a 5-month old baby, looked at me like I was a crazy person and the Hallmark lady asked if I was okay.

I muttered something about stubbing my toe, picked up the ornament and paid for it. Then, I high-tailed it out of the mall, as to not make a bigger spectacle of myself. I’m sure you’re wondering how this tiny replica of a 1939 musical fantasy character made me break down like I did.

Sit tight, because I may not make a whole lot of sense here, as I’m already getting teary-eyed at the thought.

I’m the oldest of four children. I have/had two brothers and a sister. I say “had” because one of them died.

Little Brother #1 wasn’t even the one we thought we would lose, but Little Brother #2′s story will have to be shared another day.

Little Brother #1 was a little over two years younger than I was. We grew up together and were bestest friends until we hit puberty. Then we fought, argued and generally didn’t get along. All fairly normal sibling rivalry.

When I went off to college, things between the two of us improved. We appreciated each other a bit more and decided we just needed to agree to disagree and move on.

For the most part, this worked.

Little Brother #2 did things in his own time and in his own way. He had severe ADHD and at 14, decided not to take medication to treat it anymore. He graduated a year later from high school, didn’t go to college, and was (medically) discharged from the Navy. He bounced from one job to another. We were complete opposites in most of those regards, and I had a hard time relating to him.

And he always had a difficult time in social situations which was particularly hard on him. He was a friend to a lot of people, but didn’t have a lot of friends. He was easily taken advantage of. I didn’t understand why he would give so much of himself to other people when they didn’t give him the same in return.

He did excel in dramatics. He was one of the youngest students ever to be inducted to the Thespians Cub when he was in high school. He wasn’t cast often, but tried out for every play and he became the go-to guy for backstage production, lighting, and set design.

People referred to him as Tin Man. I’m not sure where the nickname came from, but he wore it proudly. He had it put on his Letterman jacket instead of his name. It was on his track jersey, the back of his drama t-shirts, and even on his class ring.

In the beginning of 2007, he died.

He was 21.

He was in a car accident, but it wasn’t drugs or alcohol, thankfully. He fell asleep at the wheel and rolled his car.

If there was anything fortunate about his death, it was that no one else was involved, and the freeway was completely empty when it happened. He was pronounced Dead On Arrival. The Medical Examiner said that it would have been quick and that he hadn’t suffered. I HAVE to believe that. I can’t believe that he sat in pain, I just can’t.

My parents didn’t handle it well. I stepped up to take control of things where they couldn’t. Gadget Guy was a live saver and helped support me while I tried to support them.

Little Brother #2′s funeral was epic. There were almost 400 people in attendance. It was amazing to see the sheer number of people crammed into the small chapel as I gave his eulogy. And after the burial we had a huge party in his honor.

In the end, all those people that my brother was a friend to came to say goodbye.

To honor his memory, and celebrate the one thing he loved the most, my parents had “Tin Man” engraved under his name on his headstone.

Now, I can’t watch the Wizard of Oz without crying. I can’t even look at an image of the tin man without choking up.

That is why I was bawling in the middle of the Hallmark. I didn’t even keep the ornament.

Instead, I gave it to my mom.

Spotlight On Child Loss: Falling Apart

Child Loss

Every year, 10,000 children pass away.

This is her story.

 

My world is falling apart.

My just-turned-six year old is dying.

His brain stem is deteriorating, a side effect of the chromosome abnormality he has. Twenty-nine surgeries haven’t been enough to save him, though they have bought him more time with us.

We are told that he’s the only child in the world who has his conglomeration of medical conditions (the chromosome abnormality, spina bifida, a connective tissue disorder, chiari malformation, intracranial hypertension, and another half-dozen minor diagnoses).

The amount of pain medication he receives every day is a drug-addict’s dream, is administered around the clock to keep him from experiencing pain. It is so beyond awful that I don’t have words to express my feelings. Watching him decline is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and that is saying something.

As if that isn’t enough, the two children my family adopted from Ukraine eighteen months ago have a lot more “going on” than we were told about.

My two-and-a-half-year old has Down syndrome, autism, and reactive attachment disorder. She functions at the level of a ten month old.

My four-and-a-half year old has Down syndrome, a heart defect that wasn’t repaired properly, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, atlanto-axial instability, autism, tethered cord, syringomyelia, mild hearing loss, and is considered both medically complex and medically fragile.

We’ve been told repeatedly by numerous specialists, that she isn’t going to have a long life. She functions at the level of an eight month old.

Neither of the girls walks, talks, signs, eats (they’re g-tube dependent, just like my six-year old) or interacts well with people (they interact, but only on their terms).

When we adopted the girls, we knew they had Down syndrome and that the four-year old had a heart defect.

Everything else has been a big ‘ol surprise since we brought them home. Honestly, it feels like discovering new problems with our kids never ends.

We didn’t know our son had this chromosome abnormality and would die soon. If I’d known this, I wouldn’t have adopted him, or at least not when I did.

To top it all off, my marriage is falling apart.  I know I should care, but I don’t have the emotional capacity to handle it. I just want him to leave me alone. I don’t want to have to deal with him on top of everything else.

I’m struggling.

I’m struggling in every sense of the word. I don’t know anyone that understand how this feels.

Yes, lots of people have lost a child to death.

Yes, lots of people have a medically-fragile child.

Yes, lots of people have large families.

Yes, lots of people have multiple children with special needs.

But I don’t know any other people who have a large family with lots of kids with special needs, some who are medically fragile, with one who is terminally ill?

If there are, would someone please point me toward those people?  I REALLY could use a friend, someone who’ll say, “This totally sucks!” along with me. I know people don’t know what to say to someone like me, but I still want them to say something – the silence is deafening.

This road I’m on is lonely.

I just want to feel like I’m not on it all by myself.

Call To Action: International Child Loss Day December 9, 2019

On December 9, International Child Loss Day, we will share with you a list of people who have lost their children, siblings, cousins, best friends, similar to the way we did for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.

Those tables, forever missing one, are each welcome to share their loved one with us so that we may never forget.

I’m asking you today to pass this post around to anyone who may need it, you can use it if you need it, and you don’t have to have been the parent to feel the loss.

The way I generally organize these precious names is pretty easy:

Name, Parent’s Name, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Cause of Death, a Picture or 3, and if you feel like it, a bit more about your child. Who they were, what they loved, what they hated. Anything you’d like.

You can either send the information to me, becky@bandbacktogether.com or you can use the online submit form. Or, you can lurk. All are acceptable and all are welcome.

We are none of us alone; we are all connected.

Child Loss