The Best is Yet to Come

New Life

 

Sleep was still a problem. The wine helped some. Going to bed alone was a death march to a pool of Loneliness. After mustering up the courage, I would enter. Then slowly sink into it. Until my head was submerged. Once my head was under the water, I was held down, unable to resurface. The suffocation would start. The struggle, ensue. Slowly at first. Then more intense. Violently trying to surface. Gasping for air. Oxygen. The oxygen of companionship. The oxygen of relationship. But there was none. Just the struggle. Tossing. Turning. Sobbing. Wishing that there was reprieve from the agony. The agony of Loneliness who was strangling the life out of me. I would fight it until I could no longer. Slowly. Weakened. My strength ebbed away. The struggle would subside. Sinking. I would surrender to my slumber in the pool of Loneliness.

In waking life I felt like the man lying on the side of the road. Stripped and beaten by bandits. Robbed. Half dead. Bleeding out. A mess. A broken mess. To my dismay, as many of my friends learned of my plight, they didn’t help me. They turned away. Crossed the street.

Abandoned in my hour of need by those I thought friends. The amazing network of people who were so supportive when Dean was sick, evaporated. Maybe if I hadn’t made mistakes. Maybe if I mourned the way people thought I should. Is not a friend supposed to love at all times? People are going to have an opinion about what I should do? Shouldn’t do? Judge me? Criticize me? From their steady jobs. Comfortable homes. Happy marriages. Healthy families.

They have absolutely no idea. 

Silence.

From so many.

Nothing.

And I resented it.

I resented the idea you would only offer love and support if you like what someone is doing. How is that love? That is not love. And I silently resolved. Lord, I pray that I would not be the callous Christian. Whose love is conditional. And abandons those who are most in need. Help me God. Help me be the kind of friend who loves at all times. Especially those who are hurting. Broken. Lost. Abandoned. Robbed. Cheated. Lied to. Through their struggles and their trials and their mistakes and failures. I want to move in close, get down on my knees, and whisper in their ear, “I’m here.” Help me love like you love.

And so I became grateful for my mistakes. Grateful for my trials. Grateful my friends had abandoned me. So that God could show me. He could show me exactly how it feels. To know what it’s like. And to learn how to love people.

God was doing something in my heart and I cherished it. I started to lean into Him again. I treasured the moments, when I knew He was close. I began to recognize the people that knew Him. The ones that knew Him well. Because they were like Him. They weren’t condemning and discouraging. They believed in me. They spoke life into me. They loved me.

He never left me. Never once. Not when I pushed Him away. Not when I ran away. Not when I ignored Him. Not when I disobeyed. Not when I was drunk. Not when I was completely disinterested in Him. Not only did He not leave. He pursued me. He showed His love for me. He brought people to encourage me. He provided for me. He showed me He was close to me. He comforted me. He showed me that He is so good. And so faithful. In my faithlessness, He was faithful. In my wickedness, He was good. In my indifference, He was kind and merciful. What an amazing God He is. That I do not deserve His love. There is no way I ever could. And yet, He lavishes it on me…even when I don’t want it. His love never runs out. Never dries up. Never gives up. It never fails. It really doesn’t. And I began to learn that it really is Him that’s good. It’s not me. He alone is good. It is only Him in me that is good. You alone are good my God. Let me not forget. It is not I that is good, but You. 

And then a dream. Dean. I was sitting in a chair in a living room. He was sitting on a couch adjacent. Laying on his back. His hair long. His skin olive. His build was strong and sturdy. His face was alive with gladness. He had Maddox in his arms. I watched as he was blew raspberries on his neck. And then spoke to him in his booming, joy-filled voice. I could see and hear vividly. Maddox was giving the most delightful belly chuckle. Laughing loudly and wildly. Giving squeals of delighting in daddy’s play and attention. I was aware was dreaming, but wanted to enjoy it. Hold onto it as long as I could. Savor as much as I could. I drank in the sound of my son’s joy. The look on Dean’s face. Relishing the blissful sound of my son’s laughter mingled with his father’s.

 

Wine, Lies, and Envy

wine-glass

 

Months past. I continued working at Starbucks. I got an apartment of my own close by. I started going to night school for massage.

I had a box in the closet of some of Dean’s things. His bible. A few shirts. A couple belts. Some other bits and pieces. At this point the waves were getting further in-between. They would come about once a month and last three or four days. But they hit hard. Thankfully the boys had each other to play with and things to do at home. I would try to cry somewhere they wouldn’t be able to see me. Screaming into my pillows or the carpet. Rolling around on the floor. Overcome with missing Dean. Picturing his face, his hands. His smile. The sound of his voice.

Everyone loved Dean. Everyone.

It should have been you.

Dean would have done a better job than you.

You’re a fuck up.

You’re a mess.

You can’t get your life together.

Dean was a better person than you.

A better parent.

A better christian. 

The thoughts came like a plague of ticks. Burrowing themselves into my head, embedding themselves under my skin as I howled and heaved.

I poured myself a glass of wine one night, and got into a scalding bath. The adrenaline rush from the heat helped calm the anxiety. I reclined. I partook of the dark elixir. Crying. Wondering. Hoping. Trying to picture a future. That somehow, somewhere, everything would work out. One day. Maybe we’ll have a two story house. Maybe a dog. The boys will have a step dad. Someone nice. Someone who likes to play sports with them. Someone strong and kind. And we’ll laugh a lot. And we’ll go on trips together. And the boys will be happy. And I will be happy.

Once the bath was too cold to be comfortable, I got out. Relaxed and woozy from the wine and heat.

Dean.

Tears. A rush of emotion. The floor. Crying. Sobbing. Dean. Dammit Dean. Dammit Dean! Punching the ground. Hitting the ground. Can’t breathe. Lord help me, I can’t breathe. I can’t do this. It’s too hard. It’s too hard. I want to be a good mom. Help me be a good mom. Oh Dean. Why did you leave me? Look at me. Oh my God. Help me do this. I remembered the box in the closet. I crawled over to the closet. Pulled the door open. Dragged out the box. You’re more than a box, baby. You aren’t just a box. I love you. I need you. I miss you. Why aren’t you here? I ripped it open. Pulling everything out. His t-shirt. I put it up to my face inhaling deeply. Baby, oh my love, my love. I put the shirt on. Baby I need you. Come to me. Come to me. Darling. You’re not just a box. You’re more than a box. Baby I’m sorry. Crying. Sobbing. Travailing. Scream into the pillow. So the boys can’t hear you. Don’t let them know. Be strong for the boys. You have to keep going for the boys. Dean. I miss you honey. Tears. I miss you. Babe…

Exhausted.

Asleep.

7am came way too early. My eyes, red and swollen from the tears. I felt sluggish from the two glasses of wine as well. Ugh. Okay.

“Mom! I want breakfast!”

“What cereal do we have?”

“I’m doing show and tell today. I need to bring a book about my favorite animal. Okay mom? Mom! Do you hear me?”

“Where’s my shoes?”

“What am I having for lunch?”

“I don’t want the vanilla yogurt in my lunchbox, I want the strawberry one.”

The morning routine. Accosted by the boys with their thoughts, requests, complaints, plans, and questions. A whirlwind as I tried to surface. Trying to be patient. Trying to be organized. Trying to understand. Trying to be helpful. Trying to show love.

Alone. I’m on my own. I fucking hate doing this on my own. I fucking hate it. I wished that somehow I could put their lives on hold. Call a timeout. I could gather myself on the sidelines for a while. Regroup. Get a plan. Get an award winning motivational speech by Denzel Washington. Then I could come back pumped. Ready to win. This was the only childhood they were going to get. And I was off balance, off guard, off sides, out of bounds, and recovering from injury.

Off to school.

I had determined long ago that I would never be a single mother. I had a single mother growing up. It was bloody hard. We were always late. Unorganized. The house was a mess. We were all falling apart most of the time. It was an existence I said I would never replicate. But try as I might to avoid it, here I was. And all around me, all I could see were happy families. Whole families. Beautiful, healthy, thriving families. I should be happy for all of these people. But I’m not. Why? Why am I not happy for these people? I was unable to drown out the sound of the searing pain of my own loss long enough to experience joy on another’s behalf.

Envy. You envy these people.

The truth hurts. I’m envious? Yes. I had to admit it. It was the truth. I was envious of lots of people.

I was living in a moldy two-bedroom apartment. Working my ass off. Struggling. In almost every area of life. My whole life is in shambles. 

Everywhere I looked I saw what I didn’t have. Stability. Wholeness. Joy. Peace. Lives of blessing. Seasons of abundance. I was a tree in Winter. No leaves. Bare. Cold. Gray.

Still alive, but no signs of life.

It troubled me. As long as I can remember, I never found it difficult to be happy for people. Friends. Family. Whoever. I hadn’t really struggled with insecurity or jealousy or envy before. I felt so ripped off. Why, God? Why couldn’t Dean and I just live in Australia our whole lives? Raise our children, see our grandchildren grow up. Live our lives. I would have been content with that. Why did that not happen?

I feel so ripped off! I’m so angry. It isn’t fair. Its not fair. Why God? Why?

Cassi, you resent your circumstances.

Yes. Yes, I do. 

You’re pushing them away.

Yes, I am. 

Cassi, you are a single mom, but it doesn’t have to be the way it was when you grew up. It can be different. You are privileged, Cassi. You have been given an opportunity that very few people get.

I have?

If you let me, I will write an amazing story with your life. Embrace it, Cassi. Embrace your circumstances. Embrace your loss, all of it. Don’t push it away, don’t run from it. Don’t resent it. Embrace it. And let Me shine through it. I will do amazing things in your life if you let Me.

Ok Lord. Oh Lord. Help me do it. Help me embrace it. Yes, Lord. Change my heart. Change my heart, God. Mold me. Shape me. Make me the woman you want me to be.

And there was a shift. I chose to embrace it. To trust that God would do what he said. Look at this as a privilege. Let him shine through my life. Only He can turn this into something amazing.

And so

I trusted Him.

Out of the Ashes

ashes

 

Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.

~ Eat, Pray, Love

The next day, I sat on my bed. I knew it was time. Time for me and God to sort things out. It was time to face my pain. The avalanche. The Tide. I felt like I’d been grieving for so long. I didn’t want to grieve anymore. I didn’t want to cry anymore. But it was the only way. I knew Pain was still in my heart. I knew I was broken. I have to work my way through it. Through it is the only way passed it. There’s no going around it. There’s no ignoring it. There’s no drinking it away. I crossed my legs and sat still. In the quiet, by myself.

I’m ready Lord. I looked within my own heart. The avalanche of pain that I’d been running from. I stopped. It took all of the courage I had. I stopped running. I turned around. And I faced the avalanche. I faced Pain. I was expecting to get flatlined by a torrent of emotions. Swept up in Pain’s avalanche where I would be pummeled, beaten, and buried.

Instead, slow tears came as I felt God put is hand on my heart. It wasn’t an avalanche. It was gentle drops of healing oil. I cried while my Heavenly Father poured his love on me. With the skilled hands of a surgeon, He began to mend my broken heart. I was a little lamb. A little lamb with a terrible injury. Running around the paddock in pain. Bumping into things. Making it worse. The shepherd wanted to pull me into his lap so he could fix me up. But whenever he came close I ran away. Don’t touch it! It hurts too much it hurts too much, just leave it. Leave me alone! But the little lamb was ready now. Ready to lay in the Shepherd’s lap. To let him put his hands on the sorest places. Trusting that, as much as it may hurt, He is going to make me better. If I just let Him. And that, when the time is right, He will send me bounding back into the paddock again. All healed up.

Four weeks grief settled over me like a gray sky. Incessant tears. Not like the waves that would come to drown me. Like steady winter rain. There’s a time to grieve. And I was grieving. The song “It is Well with My Soul” brought me much comfort. I sat. Staring out the window. The clouds and rain echoing my heart’s melancholy. Listening to the precious words of hope. Hope beyond brokenness. That my soul is well. Despite the loss. The suffering. The trauma. The pain. Death. It is well. The tears welled up in my eyes and fell down my cheeks. Dripping off my chin. Then more would well up and fall. Rise and fall. Rise and fall. The only way past it, is through it. I was lost at sea. In a boat. Feeling the water’s rise and fall with its gentle ebb. Unsure where I was headed. But trusting that God, my rudder, would guide me back to port. Eventually. That was me. Sitting. Staring. Weeping. My weathered soul’s lament. My baby. I love you my baby. I’m sorry baby. Mommy loves you, baby. Dean. Dean. I miss you, sweetie. Gone. You’re gone. Can’t get you back. Alone. I’m alone. Won’t see you. Not in this life I won’t.

Not long after my sister and my cousin got pregnant. Both with girls. The news stung.

My baby is dead. 

My husband is dead.

After my four weeks of tears, something started to happen. Something changed. A strength. A strength that I had never felt before, rose. Determination. Out of the ashes the Phoenix rose. That was me. I don’t know how. God. He’s the only One that could have done it. I felt iron in my bones. Where I had felt the shakes, quakes, and quivers. I was immovable. Undeterred. Resurrected. Determined not to give up. I am not going to curl up with a bottle of whiskey. Fuck no. I am not going to give up. Leaving the house to go work at Starbucks, walking out to my car. Fuck no I’m not giving up. NO! I had been in the fire and everything had burned away. All that was left was made of steel. If I can bury Dean. If I can let go of my angel baby. I can do anything. To the powers of darkness: You cannot have my smile. You will not take my joy. It is mine. I’m going to keep smiling and keep laughing and keep loving.

I made a decision. Any negative thought I had or sensed from anyone else, I’m going to turn it into joy. And love. And hope. With light, and everything good.

 

Submerged in Black Water

black-water

 

C had moved to Vegas. He found a job there and decided to go. We kept in touch. I gave him updates on the pregnancy. We decided that we would go to the doctors for the ultrasound when he was in town.

I was about 10 weeks along when he drove over for a visit. We went to a small clinic. It was exciting. I was letting this little life in my heart. Your child is your child, regardless of the circumstances. A mother’s love is a mother’s love and I was going to love this baby. Even if it meant things were tough. Even if it meant I was a struggling single mom with three kids.

The nurse went about doing the sonogram.

We waited. The boys were there as well. On the screen we could see the outline of the baby’s body.

“Okay. Yep…” She wasn’t saying much. “Are you sure you’re ten weeks along?”

“Yes.” Of course I’m sure. You don’t have to have a degree to count to ten.

“Hmm, okay. Your baby looks a bit small. I’m just having a hard time finding the baby’s heart beat.”

Something’s not right. I felt it. In the pit of my stomach. This isn’t right.

We left. I had mixed feelings. Seeing C again. It was even more evident to me that this was not the man I want to walk alongside in the journey of life. He left the next morning. I told him I would keep in touch.

About a week later, on a Sunday afternoon, I was working at Starbucks. I started feeling some cramping. Like period pain type cramping. That’s odd. I don’t remember having cramps when I was pregnant with the boys. Hmm. Weird. I went to the bathroom and there was the slightest spotting. Fear swept over me. Something isn’t right. 

When I got in my car, I called Naomi, who is also a trained Doula. I explained what was happening.

“Okay. Yeah. Listen, go home. Put your feet up. Get some rest. I’m sure everything is going to be fine. See how you feel in the morning, okay?”

I went home and tried to relax. It was harder to relax without having any wine.

I put my feet up on the couch. The cramping continued. Just the slightest sensation. I had another fitful night’s sleep. I woke up to worse cramps and more spotting. God, no. No, no, no. Something’s not right. Shaking, I called my sister.

“Calm down. Okay, I’ll come down to mom’s house. You stay there. Keep your feet up. We’ll take you down to the clinic just to make sure everything is fine.”

I was trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears. “Thank you, Noni.”

I called in to work and told them I was sick. Naomi came to get me. I was walking ever so gingerly. Afraid of making abrupt movements. We got in her car and drove to a clinic. They turned us away saying we needed to go to hospital emergency.

So we drove to the hospital where they admitted me. They got me into a hospital gown and laid me down in a bed. It was awful as most emergency rooms are. Sterile. Florescent. Devoid of color or life. Once again, I was grateful for my sister’s ability to make me laugh in any situation. She took time away from everything else to be with me. My heart squeezed. Thank you God for my sister.  We chatted and giggled over inside jokes and funny movies. Trying to lighten the seriousness and uncertainty that weighed in the atmosphere. I laughed outwardly but was quivering inwardly. The doctor came in, it was a female doctor. She asked me a few questions and then gave me a quick internal exam.

“There’s some blood there. It’s not a lot of blood, but there is some blood. We’re going to send you up to ultrasound to get a scan and see how your baby is going, okay?”

“Yes, okay, thank you.” I felt grateful.

A little while later someone else came and put me in a wheel chair. They wheeled me to the ultrasound room. A woman did my scan. She didn’t speak to me while I was there. Then they wheeled me back. I was grateful to have Naomi at my side again.

After some time, the doctor came back.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you, your baby is not alive. It looks like your baby stopped growing at about eight or nine weeks. You are going to have a miscarriage. Now, if you like, you can have a DNC done, which is a procedure we do here at the hospital where we basically vacuum and clean out the uterus. Or, you can go home and have your miscarriage naturally. At the stage you are, about half the people would have the DNC.” Her tone was sympathetically matter of fact.

I couldn’t hold back the tears. Naomi was crying. She was holding my hand. My baby is dead. Grief gripped me hard. I was trying to maintain some sort of composure so that I could respond to the doctor.

“I think I’d like to go home and miscarry naturally.”

“Okay, yeah. I’ll prescribe you some pain killers. It will be pretty painful, so just be prepared for that.”

Your baby is not alive. Her words echoed in my head. My baby is dead. My baby. My precious little innocent baby. My mind raced. I thought about all the nights I laid awake crying and sobbing. The stress. Anxiety. My body probably thought I was too stressed to carry the baby. I was too distraught.

“Cassi how can you go through so much?” Naomi was crying at my side. She’d been so strong. She’d been so reassuring. The doctors were gone now. It was just me and Noni. Crying. Pain. More tears. More pain.

We had lunch together. I wasn’t very hungry. We talked. I tried to process it. The cramps were slowly intensifying. Eventually, she had to go home to her kids. I went home, already feeling emotionally drained. I was trying to wrap my head around what was happening. I had made phone calls during the day, so that most of the family were aware of what was happening. I called C.

“The baby died. It stopped growing a couple of weeks ago. I’m going to have a miscarriage.” I said somewhat despondently.

“Oh my gosh, really? Oh no. Babe, listen, I’m going to come out there as soon as I can. Call me whenever you want, I’m here for you.”

Yeah, but you’re not here for me. Whatever. 

I went to the drug store to get my prescription filled. A line started forming and I started feeling painful pressure. I need to sit down. I sat down and someone took my place in line. I tried to explain to them that I was uncomfortable and needed to sit down, but I was actually in line. They weren’t interested. Others formed in line behind them. The pain was mounting and I couldn’t wait any longer. Defeated, I went home without meds.

It’ll be like really bad period cramps. I’ll just have to grit and bear it. 

Everyone went to sleep. I tried to lay down in bed, but the pressure was getting too intense. I drew a hot bath for myself. As hot as I could stand it. Got in.

Alone.

The cramps were becoming unbearable. I grabbed at my stomach and tossed and turned in the bath. Crying. I had no idea it was going to be this bad. Oh my god. Oh my god. I can’t take this! I clenched my fists and teeth. I tried to swallow my sobs. I fantasized about someone coming in with a baseball bat and knocking me unconscious.

The worst physical pain I have ever endured. Matched by the excruciating emotional pain I was in. My husband is dead. My baby is dead. The finality of death and the pain of loss overwhelmed me. I looked down into the water. It was black. I was surrounded by death. Emersed in death. Death. I could feel my heart as it was breaking. My insides being slowly torn out at the same time.

Alone. So alone.

Dean. My husband. My baby. My angel baby. That I’ll never hold. My darling baby. My precious baby. 

I got my iPhone and played the Alison Krauss song, “Baby Mine”

“Baby mine, don’t you cry,

baby mine, dry your eyes,

you are so precious to me,

sweet as can be, baby of mine.”

I wept and I wept and I wept.

I picked up my phone. I called C. I need someone to talk through this with me. I need to talk. I need to distract myself from this pain. God, it’s more than I can bear. 

He answered, “Hey babe, how are you?”

“I’m in the bath. I’m in a lot of pain. It’s happening.” I could hardly think straight. I felt a wave of nausea.

“You are? Oh wow, that’s bad. Listen, do you mind if I call you back in just a minute? Just in a moment.”

“Uh, yeah, okay.”

He never called back. I rang him, he didn’t answer. Bastard.

Help me God.

I called one of my closest friends in Esperance. I didn’t know who else to call. She answered. I fought back the tears to try to explain where I was and what was happening.

She paused and then gave faning empathy, “Oh wow. Gosh, Cass. Well, maybe you’ll do that different next time.”

Her trite and insipid tone were salt in all my wounds. Making the all enveloping death, darker. Stronger. More powerful. It stole my breath. How can she be so cold? I never want to be like that. I never want to be that person. The conversation ended shortly after. And I felt I’d lost yet another friend.

Desire gives birth to sin and sin gives birth to death. 

That’s me. I’m literally giving birth to death! Oh my Lord, my God. Look at this mess I am in. This world of pain and hurt. This is so bad. This whole situation is bad. It looks so hopeless! Like the part in the movie where everything is so bad and you can’t possibly see how things could work out. You’re the only one, Lord. You’re the only one I know that can take broken and impossible situations and turn them around. Turn them into something good. I’m sorry I’ve been running from you, Lord. I’m broken. 

I could see it all so clearly then. I’d been running. Running from my pain. Making decisions out of brokenness. Living out of brokenness. Unable to see past my pain. And I was going to keep making a bad situation worse and worse until I let God heal my heart.

I’m ready God. Oh it’s going to hurt so much and I’m so scared to face my pain. I feel like that avalanche will crush me. But Lord, there’s no way around it. There’s no way around my pain, but through it. I’m ready Lord. Heal my heart. I want you to heal my heart. You can have my life again. God you can have it all. 

And right there in that bathtub, laying a pool of death, in a world of pain, with a broken heart, I surrendered it all to God again. I reached for Light. For Hope. And I asked Him to come. Come, Lord. For I am weary. I am faint. I cannot do this. My Lord, you will have to, because I cannot.

After four hours in the tub, I felt a gush. Relief. The placenta. It was a bit bigger than my palm, and an inch or so thick. I let out the blood water and dried myself off. It wasn’t over, but it was a reprieve. I carried myself on shaky legs to bed. Weak. Exhausted, but not alone. God was with me. Sleep.

The next day I mostly stayed home to rest. I was having some light cramping but nothing bad. I had the good sense to go back to the drug store and fill my prescription for pain meds. When the next round hit, I would be ready. It was the following morning, about 6am. Pain woke me up.

I got up and took two of my Vicodin and laid back down. Trying to mentally prepare myself for the ensuing torture. I was squirming in bed and moaning. The pain was gradually getting more and more intense. I hadn’t passed the baby and the sack yet, I knew that must be happening now. My mom came in,

“How are you honey?”

“It hurts, mom. It hurts so much.” The tears were running across my temples and into my ears. Laying still was too painful. I was rocking around and rolling in bed. The Vicodin made me nauseous. I asked mom to bring me something to eat. Thankfully she was there to help the boys get ready for school and drop them off. I got up and drew a hot bath. Heat. I need heat and water. The Vicodin didn’t seem to be touching the sides. I sat up and banged on the wall. “DAMMIT!” I stood up. Leaned my head against the wall. Let out a bellow. “God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.” My mom came back and sat in the bathroom with me. Having someone there somehow helped. Someone to witness my torture, even if they couldn’t stop it. I banged against the walls and shouted. I got out of the bath and back in bed. Writhing in the pain. I took two more Vicodin. Still no relief. I took two Advil as well. I continued to toss and turn. Crying. Moaning. Mom kept me from getting hysterical. My fists clenched, I punched the pillows. So angry. So frustrated. So overwrought. Dean. Dammit Dean. Why Dean. C. You fucking asshole. God. Oh my God. You’re supposed to have a baby at the end of all of this pain. My baby is dead. I’m going through all of this pain, and I don’t even get a baby at the end of it. I thrashed in bed and swore. Once again I wished that someone would give me a good hard hit in the head to knock me out.

Four and a half hours later. In the bath. I felt something between my legs. The sack and my baby. Before I thought about it, I flushed it down the toilet.

My baby. Oh my God. I flushed my baby down the toilet. A flood of tears came. The cramping was gone. I went into the living room and laid on the couch. I could feel the effects of the Vicodin now. The woozy, cloudy high. I’m empty now. Baby’s gone now. My angel baby. Is with Jesus. I’m sorry my little baby. I’m so sorry. I’m going to miss you. I’m sorry I never got to meet you. I’m sorry. I love you. I’ll see you in heaven one day. Angel baby…I drifted off. Sleep.

 

Something Mended, Something Broken, and Something Unexpected

nightmare

 

I told him to leave. I told him I needed a week. A week to think. A week to get some clarity. And then I cried. I cried for a day. Over my mistakes. Over the rift in my family. For my boys. For the death of my fairy tale. My dream that I had love in my life again. My dream of having a companion. Reality had given me a good, hard slap in the face. And then I thought. For the next six days. I cried and I thought. And at the end of the week I knew. It was over.

I called him and arranged to meet. We sat in my car. I was calm. I told him. It’s over. I explained why. You’re a liar. You’re an alcoholic. You do drugs. You’re not employed. There’s no trust. There’s no love. I used him to fill a void in my life. It was wrong. The relationship was wrong from the start. I needed something. Something to escape my pain. He was a great distraction. A fantasy. And that was over now. It was done.

He begged. He pleaded. I was insistent. I made up my mind.

The following weekend my siblings and their spouses, the boys and I, all went to my parents’ for a visit. My sister and I were on speaking terms again, for which I was beyond grateful. My period was four days late. It was playing on my mind. Surely not. I’m surely not. I wanted to get a test though, just to have the peace of mind that I wasn’t pregnant. I told Naomi that I wanted to go fuel up the car and asked her if she would come along. She agreed. On the way there she assured me,

“Yeah Cass, I agree, I don’t think you are. Let’s just do a test though, and then you’ll know for sure.”

I took a deep breath. Yes, that peace of mind will be good. We got some fuel and then went into the drug store. Found a test. Paid for it.

“Let’s just do it while we’re here. There’s a bathroom at the back of the store.” She pointed.

“Good idea.”

We went into the girl’s bathroom. It was a rather large room with a toilet in the corner. Florescent lights and white tiles. A typical commercial bathroom. It was stark but clean.

Being sisters, there was no issue with her being in the bathroom with me while I took the test. I squatted. Peed on the stick. And set it down on the floor. I pulled up my jeans and wriggled them back on. I looked at Noni.

“Are you okay? It’s gonna be fine, Cass.”

I couldn’t wait any longer, it had only been a minute or so.

I picked up the stick.

Two lines.

I collapsed. All I could feel was the cold tiles underneath me. Pain like a tidal wave crushed me. I’ve ruined my life. Pain. Oh my God, I’ve ruined my whole life. No, no, no, no, no. This can’t be. Oh my God. This can’t be. What have I done? What have I done? Dean’s family, my family, what will they think? Oh my Lord. Thoughts bombarded me like a barrage of bombs. Hundreds, all at once. Wreaking havoc in my mind. Anxiety. Dread. And panic swept over me. I could feel my sister next to me. She was trying to comfort me. I was in a world of my own though. A world of regret, pain, panic, and despair.

Naomi helped me off the floor.

“Okay, Cassi. Listen. Let’s just go next door to Applebees, get something to drink and talk this through okay? Do you think we should let C know what’s going on?”

That guy. Oh my gosh. How can I have a child to that man? It sounded like a life sentence. A life of fighting. Like his parents. Screaming matches. Bitterness. Hatred. Blaming. Resentments. Oh my Lord. Oh my Lord. Help me Jesus. Help me Jesus. 

I sat down at Applebees with Naomi. She had a way of making light of any situation, for which I was most grateful at that moment. We got in touch with C. He seemed happy. Yeah. This is just great. Did this man possess any foresight? Do I try to make a relationship work with him just because I’m going to have a child with him? I couldn’t figure out if that sounded right or wrong.

We got back to my parents house a number of hours after we left. I don’t know where they thought we must have got to. I was exhausted. I was pregnant. Pregnant!?!? Sweet Jesus. Since when is this my life?

Bed. I need sleep. Bed.

Over the next week I cried. A lot. I would sit in my car looking out at the ocean and weep. And weep. The idea of bringing a new baby into my situation was beyond comprehension. I can hardly take care of myself and the kids I do have, let alone a new baby. Anxiety pumped through my body. Whoosh. Adrenaline. Why do I have to be so damn fertile? Damn those Irish genes. God. Oh my God. I’m going to have two kids to a dead guy and another kid to a dead beat guy. Who will want me then?! Any man would have to be insane to want me with that package. Oh my Lord. What am I going to do? Tears, tears, and more tears. I’m so sick of crying. When will it ever stop? When will it stop?

I told my mom and Brian. They were compassionate and supportive.

“Well, if we’re gonna have a baby, then we’re gonna have a baby. We’ll just make it work. Worse things in the world have happened.” Mom comforted me as the tears flowed. I was grateful for their help.

That weekend we went to my dad and Ginny’s house again. I knew I had to tell them. There are some things that…there’s just no easy way to say. I know. I’ve tried to find one. There’s no easy way to say that you’re pregnant. Six months after your husband’s death. With a man who is an absolute mess. How do you say that? Other than, say it. Some things are just hard. There’s no way around it.

I sat my parents down in the living room. My sister was there.

“Guys, there’s something I have to tell you…” Pause. “I’m pregnant.”

They were quiet. Thank God that they are the beautiful and gracious people that they are.

“It’s been rough, Cass. We never wanted this for you. We never wanted you to have to go through what we went through.” My dad was referring to the visitation, custody, child support, blended family business that we were all too familiar with.

“We’re here for you. It’s going to be okay.”

I spent the rest of the day there. I had a sort of relief now that they knew. I wasn’t shouldering the burden so alone anymore. I had my family with me. And for me.

The boys were enrolled in school now. I had gotten a job at Starbucks just a few blocks away. There was beginning to be a sort of rhythm to life. The days were okay. I had something to get me out of the house, I had the boys to tend to, and family at home. It was the nights, when everyone was asleep, that Torment came. I was fraught with worry over my baby. Over my relationship with C. Over my future. Panic and Anxiety came over and over again. Assaulting me. Taunting me. I was so lost. I’m sleeping on my mother’s floor. My kids are sleeping on the floor. I was grateful for a place to stay where there was Peace and we were provided for, but it was so transient. What am I going to do? I filled my blankets with tears in the night. Fearful that Grief and Agony would swallow me. Their jaws, a death grip. Trying to hold them at bay. Trying to fight them. Push them down. Run from them. Ignore them. But they won out. And I caved to their bidding. And so in the quiet darkness of night, I would sob my heart out. Weeping over Dean. Crying over my regret. Worrying about my future. Desperate to figure out how I would care for a new baby. And how I would deal with the other half of that baby’s family. Eventually exhaustion would overcome me, and I would fall into haunted slumber. Where Trauma and Fears would take shape and hunt me down in my sleep.