Day 68 - Choices You Don't Want to Make, Movie Plots & Letting Go.
I am not sure I can actually write about what is on my mind today. It is so painful. It is also so personal, so private. But I need to get it out of my head. I need to release all the feelings so that they can breathe and stop suffocating me...
I know this is going to be a horrible comparison. I know that what I am comparing are really not comparable. But I am going to do it anyway. I have a choice to make and it is heart breaking. Whichever choice I make is going to break at least three people’s hearts.
I have two children. They are almost polar opposites of each other. One child has some pretty severe emotional needs and issues. Those issues impact our lives in ways that I find hard to talk about, am afraid to write about and mostly try to hide from.
I love both of these budding humans more than I have ever loved anyone or anything. There is nothing that I would not do for them. There is no expense that I would not pay for their happiness, safety and health. No lengths that I would not go.
Our circumstances put us all in a kind of jackpot. What one child needs, the other needs the exact opposite. They are in constant conflict with each other. I am in the middle. Some grand mediator whose case will never end. I spend a great deal of my time, desperately trying to bring parity and justice to two people who can never be rectified or aligned.
It is painful. It is hard. It is exhausting.
It is like living Sophie’s Choice every day in smaller ways. (See I told you I was going to make a horrible comparison and it is not the same - it just feels that way sometimes). It does feel like life or death sometimes. My children need opposite things so much that I feel like I am literally being forced to choose one’s life and best interest over the others. Who do you choose?
Now, the child I do not pick is not being sent to the gas chamber. I am not forced to stand there while I watch the one I didn’t choose walk to their certain death, knowing that their mother, didn’t love them enough to save their life but did love the other one that much. But, if I am honest, there are days when I feel like that. I feel like that is what I am doing. I see the look of betrayal in their eyes. I see the hurt. I see that no matter what choice I make, someone I love is going to suffer.
I will never know how much damage this is causing each of them. I tell myself that I am doing the best I can but really I think about the long term effects this everyday. Is this dynamic not really an emotional gas chamber for my kids? One that they are sent to day in and day out? Is what is going on worse in some way? Am I killing my children emotionally a little or a lot every single day?
It seems overly dramatic and a horrific comparison. But it is what my heart feels like, I feel torn apart with guilt, shame and disgust. I feel like I have been placed in this no win situation. One where I would gladly trade places and select them both in exchange for myself. But like the movie, that isn’t an option.
I do not think I have words to communicate how long I have lived in this place. How much it has hurt me and them. I do not think that I have the ability to write in a manner that can communicate how much this has broken my heart and theirs daily.
When I thought about having kids, I never thought about this. I never thought about having one kid need the exact opposite of the other. I didn’t really ever think this was a possibility. I just thought that you had kids and built a family and somehow it all worked out. I never thought that you could live everyday failing.
I have lived in a place that is painful. I have been living with fear of letting go. I have tried to keep my family together. But I reached a place where I could no longer maintain the status quo. There was no big event. No Nazi guard standing with a machine gun forcing me to pick. But I felt like I was going to lose my shit if I didn’t do something different. I felt like I was going under.
My son is going to live with his dad. This is in no way a gas chamber. And I am sure he will be ok. In fact, I am doing this so he can thrive not just be ok. As his mother, I feel like a failure. I feel like I have failed him. I feel like I am sending him away and choosing his sister. I feel like I am betraying him. I feel helpless. I feel awful. I am filled with a sadness that I lack the ability to convey. I feel like my sadness might overtake me. I am crying in my car. I am crying in the shower. I am crying while I write, meditate and yoga. For the most part, I believe the tears are good. But it is hard to let go. It is hard to make a choice. It is hard to pick one child over the other.
Unlike Sophie I have had time to think, time to decide. Time to calculate, consider and evaluate. It is not a rush judgment. But like her, I will always wonder if I made the right choice. I will wonder what would have happened had I made another choice?
I believe that the only way I am going to get some peace around this is to remember that I am making choices every day. Ones that can have dire impact. Decisions that I don’t even think about. And regardless of the intentionality or lack thereof, I have to live with the consequences.
I feel very guilty that I am feeling hopeful about not having to pick one child’s needs over the other everyday. He will be in Texas and his father will be responsible for his daily care. I will not have influence or impact. I will be a voice over the phone and a presence on holidays and summers. I will be removed from him. It is a sad day when all of your best thinking lands you with the conclusion that this is what is best for your child, your other child and you.
I believe that there are no wrong decisions and no right ones. There are only decisions that lead to consequences. So in evaluating whether or not, I should do one thing or the other, I try to get out of the right/wrong binary trap. Instead I try to think of what consequences I want to pay. What course of conduct is likely to lead to the best outcome for all? I believe that I am making that choice here. Sophie picked one so that two could live. I am picking one so that three may live better and more peaceful lives. I hope I am really doing what is best for all. I hope that my son moves into his new life that is filled with friends, purpose and love. I hope he is able to work on his issues and succeed. I hope he can forgive me for all the ways I have let him down, failed him and not been what he needed. I hope he can see that I love him so much that I am letting him go. I am getting out of his way and allowing him to leave because I love him that much. My love requires that I do what is best for him even if that means that I don't get to see him as often as I would like or need. I am picking him over me. I am picking him.
I pray he sees that and knows how very hard it is to let him go. I hope he knows how much I love him and how much I want him to be happy and content. I hope he knows that I am giving him what he wants because I love him not because I don't. I hope he understands that while we may be separated by distance, he is never far from my thoughts and heart.
Yesterday I wrote about the secret to life being breaking your own heart...today, I am doing that. My heart is fracturing into pieces in order to allow all of us to live better. That is my most true and honest desire, to love him enough to allow him to grow beyond my love limits, geographic area and capacity for being different. Today, I break my own heart so that I can stop breaking his every day. I have no idea how this will turn out. I only know that loving is sometimes messy, gut wrenching and sad. Today, I can only embrace those things and start again. Today, I break my heart to spare his. I pray that he can see that and does not see it the other way. But like so much of life, it isn't completely up to me. My only choice, is to make a choice, forgive and allow life to unfold. Today, I will be grateful to have had a choice, the time to make my choice even though it is a painful one.