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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Med Review

A med review is supposed to be quick and painless.  How are you?  How have your symptoms been?  Are you having any side effects?  Ok, I've renewed all your scripts, please sign here.

A med review is not the place to lay out all of your irrational anger and rage, working yourself up to a volume is undeniably too loud for the office.  You really shouldn't find that tears are burning your face and threatening to leave the eyes of your healthcare provider.

I found myself trying to get the nurse on my side with this driver thing, and not having to spare a whole lot of effort to do it.  From there, we talked about the cops, and how cruel it was for the lead detective to bully me into leaving the scene, and demand I leave Cory's body on the road.   I am positive this woman has some children close to Cory's age, because she left her notes forgotten, and just gaped at me.  "They did WHAT?"

She told me about a cousin she has who'd been in a bad accident, who survived, but had horrible scars on her face and neck.  While I drifted off imagining a scarred Cory, but an ultimately ALIVE Cory, who continued to live and grow, becoming a wife and a mother, she continued to tell me her family had always suspected that the driver was protected somehow, since no charges were ever brought.  "The justice system isn't perfect.  It's not much further than us walking around with clubs beating each other."

Sister, don't get me started.

Do I have anger issues?
Oh, and how.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

All Apologies

I wish she would apologize.  I realize if you have to prompt someone to say they're sorry, they're probably not.  Still.

So many conversations have been dedicated to the fact that I've never heard from the driver.  Many musings of why she's never reached out or what I or someone else would do in her position have whiled away the hours without my girl.

Tim says she was probably instructed by legal counsel or the like to avoid communication.  I picture myself in the woman's position, and know the last place I'd want to be would be in front of the face of the mother of the child I fatally struck with my vehicle.

Fear?  Maybe.  Maybe somehow she's picking up the vibe that if consequences weren't an issue, I'd dearly love to go after her face with a hammer.  Maybe she reads the blog.

Confrontation is something I've gotten a little better at since Cory died.  But it's still not something I seek out.  When I really search myself, imagining I had inadvertently killed someone's child, I know I wouldn't go to them.  I couldn't.

But I would write.  I would write a letter.  And I would reread it.  And I would change it.  A few hundred times.  I'd obsess over it.  I 'd search for the right words, and they would never come.  I'd sent that letter anyway.  I couldn't live with myself if I didn't.

Tim says maybe she's afraid of being sued.

Okay, let's talk about money.  Money means nothing anymore.  Do I feel she or her insurance company should have paid to bury Cory?  Yes, I do.  That's just common decency.

That being said, money has nothing else to do with this.  I don't want a dime from her.  This is about guilt; it's about blame; it's about intent.

If the city of Battle Creek didn't value Cory's life enough to issue the driver a fucking ticket, could this woman at least say she's sorry?  Could she say she didn't mean to, and she feels horrible? After a million apologies in other situations that have never changed the final outcome of my broken heart, I can say they are at least a balm over the hurt.  To know someone is living with regret for hurting you matters.  It does.

When she doesn't take any type of responsibility for hitting Cory with her car, and the Battle Creek Police Department showed no interest in laying blame, all that responsibility settles firmly back onto my shoulders.  Mother.  Guardian.  Caretaker.

You try to walk with that on your shoulders.  If I didn't have Jake to take care of, I'd have escaped into drugs long along.  It would be such a luxury to not care about anything anymore, and then to die.

Sometimes people tell me I have to forgive myself, which honestly confuses me even more.  These are usually the same folks who've told me Cory's death was not, and will never be, my fault.  If it wasn't my fault, what am I supposed to forgive myself for?  Shouldn't I forgive the person responsible?

Who would that be?  Isn't it the driver?  So what she didn't get a ticket, and there wasn't a trial?  I find that to be pure laziness and incompetence on the part of Battle Creek's finest.  Does it change the fact that this woman, whose full name and address are forever emblazoned on my heart, hit Cory with her car resulting in multiple skull fractures, front and back, a broken neck, a broken arm, and two broken hips?  Does it change the fact that Cory was pronounced dead on the scene?  Does it change the fact that she never even hit her brakes?  That there were no skid marks?

I want you to think, just for a moment, about the severity of Cory's injuries, and ask you think the woman was doing the speed limit? Does 35 miles per hour do that to a human body?  Can it?   Do you think she was looking in front of her?  Does it seem more plausible that she was distracted?

I know what I think.  I know what most people profess to believe.
But even so, even if it was a freak accident...
isn't she sorry?

She took someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's grandchild.



When you are visibly feeling better, people bombard you with positive feedback.  It's pretty heady.  You feel like a superstar, but know somewhere deep inside, you'll never be able to live up to this image of yourself forever.

My oldest and dearest friend recently told me, "at times, it seems like you're making progress, but then you slip, and it's like day one."

She may have just described my entire life since July 5th, 2012 in one sentence.  Why is she not a writer?  Seriously?  

That is just what this is like.  Being every bit as cheery and optimistic as I've been since fourth grade, I told her that, and she responded with a question,

"What is bigger, you or the pain?"

Fair enough question.  And I will give a fair answer:

It depends on the day.

Last week I had three excellent days...days I felt alive and a certain measure of peace.  

Of course, what is up must come down.  And where should I fall down but my old worrying place, the shower, on Friday evening?

Another dear friend of mine would call it sabotage.  I recognized my happiness, and decided I didn't deserve it- insert crying jag, here.

If it is self-sabotage, it's buried deep, folks.  As much as it might to appear to someone who's never gone through this, I do not enjoy the pain.  It's not a good place to live.  And to get out of it, or stay out of it, it's not all choice and attitude.  To the loved one who told me it's impossible to be depressed while skipping, I challenge you to a skip-a-thon, and we'll see which one of us gets over the death of our child first.

Some of it is depression.  Some of it is trauma.  Some of it is grief.  Some of these are natural responses and others are, at least in part, rooted in brain chemistry.  I would be foolish to think the dark times won't be round my way again.  The best I can is hold tight to the memory of my three days while I go through them, and wait for another three to come.  

It can't rain forever.

Bright Eyes

Feeling better goes like this:

I catch myself running up the steps at work instead of using the handrail to pull my dead weight along.  My eyes look brighter (but then again maybe that's the meds).  My brain works better to solve problems, and I feel like I might actually be worth something.  Or at least I could be.

I spend more than three minutes deciding what to wear in the morning.  I remember how blue my eyes look when I wear brown eyeliner.  I look down and remember I have cleavage.  The dresses come out of my closet, and I begin to wonder if maybe I could be pretty again.  My posture changes.  A whole day will go by before I realize I haven't had to take any of my anxiety meds.  Wolf Teeth fade to an unpleasant memory, and the packs of gum sit in my purse untouched.

When I go on Facebook, I accidentally click on my timeline and find myself scrolling through the years, reading posts that I made when the world was in my hands, and chuckling over comments Cory made.  I keep going backwards through the years, seeing Jake's face become rounder and babified, and Cory's illness grow smaller and smaller until it was hidden somewhere inside her, sleeping quietly.

I pull up all my photos, and stare for a long time at the one of her going to junior prom.  She looked...radiant.  I look at the one of her standing beside her biological father, and remember the magnitude of hope that she and I held for that little family to be realized...and to last.  I regret nothing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hey, Mom...

Tonight, it's about Cory's words instead of mine:

"Thank you,
for loving me,
for staying with me,
for holding my hand,
for keeping me safe,
for telling me I'm beautiful,
for cooking for me,
for watching movies with me,
and more!
I love you."

- Cory

Monday, December 8, 2014

Maybe She Could

I made dinner tonight.  Spaghetti with a decidedly anti-climatic jarred sauce.  Not my best work, I admit, but I still cooked.  Yay, me.


lately, I've been seeing Cory when she was little, dressed in corduroy jumper dresses with cable-knit tights- one in particular that had cat faces for pockets on each side- her hair pulled away from her round little cheeks.  I cannot look at pictures of her when she was little, and haven't since the funeral, but they've been coming to my mind a lot lately.  She was the tinest slip of a girl with an incredibly advanced vocabulary, and a temper like you wouldn't believe.

 I can remember picking her up and resting her comfortably on my bony hip, and just toting her around, and I especially remember squeezing our faces close together in front of the mirror, "Look at those pretty girls!"  How she would smile!  All the selfies we took over the last three years or so of her life were just that old game reinvented, weren't they?

Yes.  That is such a bittersweet realization.

Now, then, let's get on to the guilt-begat-panic-attack business about going to Thanksgiving.  I'd like to think my therapist likes me, but I'm certain I was wearing her patience thin this last visit as I tried to explain why going to the holiday seemed like a slight to my girl.  All I could think about, as she reasoned, and I came out with wilder and yet wilder excuses, was how Cory's separation anxiety had been- as a child, and again during her mental illness.

I nodded in all the right places to my kind lady's logic, but refused to agree. "I left her!"  I insisted, tears hot on my face.  "Wasn't it bad enough that I left her to die on the road?"  I cried, the sobs coming from deep within my chest.  My therapist has now seen me in every sort of condition; all formalities have been waved.

"But you didn't.  You didn't leave her to die on the road.  You would never have done that."  she said calmly, oozing of logic and objectivity.

"Why does it make you feel so guilty to have shared the holiday with your family?"  she asked again.

I took a deep breath and said this,
"I showed her my back."

I'm not sure if anyone besides Cory and I know just how significant that one action can be.  It is the reason I nearly killed myself working forty hours and driving to Grand Rapids every single night she was hospitalized.  I would never let her feel abandoned by me.  Never.  To be someone's rock, you have to stay.

By now, my therapist was more than a little misty-eyed herself.  She, too, took a deep breath, and said this,
"Maybe instead of you showing her your back, she could be hugging you from behind and looking over your shoulder."

I burst into tears.
Maybe she could.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gettin Muh Girl's Hair Did

I have to tell you this before I forget.

Just now I was raiding the bathroom for cosmetics as I packed for my trip.  Tim was in the shower, and we were trying to name the colors of each of Cory's winter coats from grade school.  From there, we came up with the cartoons she watched in the morning as she got ready for school, and Tim shared this unexpected treasure:

"You know I curled her hair for her, right?"  he asked.

"Curled her hair?  With a curling iron?"  I said in disbelief.

"Yes, with a curling iron!"  he answered back.  "You had to be at work at the same she had to be at school, remember?  You didn't have time to do it, so I did it."

I giggled, delighted at the picture of Tim laboring over a second or third grader's curls.  "Did she stand still?"

"Well, yeah, she did.  She wanted it done, and you weren't here.  What was the girl supposed to do?  I told her, 'I can do it', and I did."