It has been a little over a year since T came back to us. We have had many tears and much laughter. The work of reconnection and getting to know one another continues and we have a much stronger connection than we did a year ago. I still sneak a look at him when he is asleep and just marvel at him being in his bed curled up under our roof, finally, so wonderful that it brings tears to my eyes still.
For me, much of this year has been about coming to understand how what has gone on has impacted upon us both (and all of the family). T is a wonderful boy, I am enjoying him so much, he is funny, confident in some areas, very grown up in some areas and bright and he can be really, really hard work. The parts that have been difficult have been the defence mechanisms that T had in place and probably his only way of surviving and we have gently been showing T that there is no need for these defences, no one is attacking him.
For the most part, it feels calmer in our home, there is a security in our boring routine that instills a feeling of stability, something T actively craves, things remaining the same instead of the constant change and chaos that seems to have been a constant in his previous life with his dad. It is easy to slip into this routine with school setting the pattern. T has reconnected with friends in our neighbourhood with some of the kids that were here before he left and at school the boys that he was friendly with have drifted a little but he has made new friends. T has had some support from the very wonderful Domestic Abuse unit and although he has had only a few sessions, it has really helped him to explore some of the changes and the way he feels about them.
I have found on a much deeper level that having T come back into my life has been such a relief, the pain and heartache of not knowing, constantly wondering, constantly missing him, constantly working to take the higher path and not feel murderous tendencies towards his father, the constant justifications I made to myself that if I had been more this and less that T would have still been in my life, the overwhelming sense of loss that never left me was awful. I am so hugely grateful that the powers that be conspired to bring my son back to me, I know I am lucky, I know I am blessed in some way, that Karma has been done and I know how many parents do not ever get the opportunity to see or be with their children and I feel so sad for them. All of that ‘stuff’ has stopped and the vast amounts of energy that I expended over the years has stopped being spent but it has left me almost burnt out. I thought that now T was back I would be freed up to live my life more fully but the opposite has been true.
Living with the supreme amount of stress has left me feeling totally exhausted, the effects of vast amounts of stress hormone, cortisol left me with insomnia, anxiety, inability to concentrate, palpitations and for me, not being able to find a paid job. I went to the Dr and we talk about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the trouble with my ‘symptoms’ is that they could be any number of things and there is nothing much to be done, my Dr said she is not surprised that I am feeling this way. I manage them by pacing myself as much as I can. I worry about not being able to bring in money, we are financially stretched and have been (like so many other people) for a long while but I want to be able to support my son financially and not feel like my partner is having to carry that load. It is something that can come up in arguments at times and I am very sensitive to it. I brought my two older children up without a penny from their father and really it is a matter of pride, I know. I feel good about working and providing and I don’t when I am not. I have to remind myself that being here for T when he comes home is working and providing (just unpaid at least financially) that the security I provide him is the most precious thing I can give him right now. I do feel a bit better thinking about it that way. I think, most of all though, it is the frustration that I have worn myself out in the previous years.
I am trying to be gentle with myself and give myself some time to replenish my resources. We live in the most beautiful part of the country and I am surrounded by inspiring and uplifting scenery even on a grey day. And just for today, although I feel tired, I also know where my son is (a lovely maths lesson) and what he will be eating for lunch (I made it for him) and I am so grateful. I extend my deepest compassion and empathy to all of you parents who are wracked with those saddest and most difficult feelings of ‘not knowing’ about their children, perhaps the most wicked thing of all about Alienation. I liken it to a tug of war, both parent and child are holding opposite ends of a rope, I was just never sure how hard T was holding his end. I don’t believe that our lost children ever really let go of the other end for they cannot deny their genes, cells and roots but I also know that it goes no where near the sense of loss we feel when we do not have our children with us. My thoughts and love go out to you all x