Grieving The Loss Of The Dream Child/Family

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Archives' started by EastCoastChris, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. EastCoastChris

    EastCoastChris New Member

    just kris
    Moderator

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    as i mentioned last week i thought we'd start posting topics to spur some discussions. you guys gave me some great ideas & i'm sure more will come up as we go along. kind of a one idea gives birth to another kind of thing. this topic wasn't suggested but it came to me after reading so many posts last week with-this common theme. so here it is:
    GRIEVING THE LOSS OF THE DREAM CHILD/FAMILY

    having difficult child's in our homes/lives really makes us rethink what parenting is, what kind of parent we are, what kind of parent we thought we'd be. doesn't much matter if it's our bio/adopted child, a step child who lives with-us full-time, or a step child who is with-us for briefer periods. they change our perceptions of ourselves & of our kids! with those changes in perception comes a grieving for that dream that was lost. so how do you cope with-that? where are you in this process? do you feel better or worse about your parenting skills?

    i think this will get us started. if you think of more topics just give me a holler. i'm going to do a separate post and talk about my situation.

    kris

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    just kris
    Moderator

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    believe it or not, i didn't spend a lot of time thinking about my response. i wanted it to be more spontaneous.
    for as long as i can remember i wanted to be a mom. had no desire whatsoever to have a career. just wanted a house full of kids. ended up with-only two for a variety of reasons.

    jarrod & sarah are two years apart....born when i was just shy of 36 & 38. they were both happy, healthy kids. jarrod showed few signs of being difficult child in his younger years. his problems didn't start until age 12 or so. he was always slightly more clingy & he did have a harder times with-transitions. he had an extremely difficult transition into middle school. in middle school he became lazy & non-complient about homework. no other actiing out. as i see it three things triggered all this. starting middle school, becoming much more aware of his father's alcoholism, and the potential move to florida.

    by the time the problem became really noticable we were on the verge of the move. i put off seeking treatment because of that in the hopes that a fresh start in a new school would turn the tide. nope, uh huh! he managed to struggle through sixth grade. started seventh with-the depression becoming major. ended up hospitalized. placed on medications which he then refused.

    major crisis occurred when he went to school one morning, walked into guidance counselor's office & said he wanted to kill himself. now, please keep in mind that jarrod has always had some degree of separation anxiety. anyway, it was determined that he needed to go to the hospital. however, rather than contact mom GC lied to resource officer (i found this out later) & jarrod ~~~~ she said she couldn't contact me to resource officer....and stalled on the issue with-jarrod. she called me after she got him to the hospital. i would never have refused admission for him.....not in 100 years. by the time i got to the hospital jarrod had convinced himself that i had not been called & that GC was trying to *take him away* from me.

    GC tactics caused jarrod's moderate school refusal to escalate to school phobia. we tried homeschooling & in home counseling. home schooling was a disaster.....counselling was pretty effective. seventh grade was a loss so he repeated and is graduating eighth grade in may. he will be attending a technology magnet high school.

    he has done pretty well in school tho his performance tends tobe inconsistant. his behaviors at home have improved tremendously. for awhile there he raged constantly.....day in & day out. we still have periods of time when he rages tho their intensity has decreased. he's been physically intimidating but has never struck me.

    needless to say, this is not what i envisioned when i held this child in my arms & nursed him. nor was it what i anticipated when he was a toddler or early elementary school. the family joke tho has always been that while sarah is our financially high maintainence child jarrod was our emotionally high maintainence child.

    there were many times when jarrod was in the worst of it when i doubted every action i tried. nothing, but nothing, seemed to work for him. i missed my son tremendously.

    i had been a foster parent and had always taken the more difficult children.....tho they were always under five. i was good with-them. when i worked in the school i was always given the toughest kids & i was able to reach them when no one else could. i *knew* i was good at this. BUT, i couldn't seem to help my own, dearest son! i grieved for the pain he was in & i grieved for the pain i was in. it was a very dark period in my life.

    there are a lot of things i did that were wrong. i did a lot of things that hurt my son.....mostly his feelings. we are working through it tho. we are healing our relationship. he still has bumps in the road.....i'm sure he will for quite some time. i'm one of the lucky ones....he has gotten better & continues to do so. doesn't mean i don't still doubt myself.......i do all the time.

    kris

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Harmaneejoe
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I also greived the loss of a quote unquote normal child for her as well as us a family in whole. They give you this beautiful baby in the hospital and she is screaming and doesn't stop for more than twenty min at a time until she is four months and they start to try different formulas then she learns to talk and tells you not to touch her she does not like to be touch get lost not only to us but to sister as well who is only eleven months older. she would lash out verbally as well as physically until she learned better coping skills.You manage fine with difficult child at home but public is a whole other story. People would comment on childs behaviour and you wish they would just mind their own bussiness.When other children can manage to succeed and at least try something new you grieve for the difficult child who would just rather stay home and be by herself because she is very uncomfortable in cetain situations.But on the other hand we are very blessed to be able to be a part of our gifts from GOD because they make you laugh aand think in a whole other way. We take nothing for granted each step is a milestone passed and each day is brand new because they come to you and say such the nicest things and you know they mean it because these kids are brutely honest to a fault at times. Life would not be the same if our kids were not who they are. It is not easy don't get me wrong but it is rewarding when we manage to stay one step ahead of our difficult child.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    moonglow
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I read this post this morning but had to think on it...which is hard for me today...my head is in such a fog and still is. Happens when my back is out really bad.

    Nate was a beautiful baby...one of those picture perfect babies. I had another baby before him that was not perfect in fact the OBYN that I went too called the first baby of mine an abonation...dont know if I spelled that right. My first baby had a fatal birth defect...the top of his skull did not form and most of his brain also did not fourm. These babies are usually miscarriaged in the first three months but not this one. It was a horrible situation.

    I was so relieved that Nate was whole and complete when he was born. Of course I had two sonagrams done with him because there was a risk that he could have the same birth defect.

    I guess because he looks so normal I still have a hard time seeing him as not normal. I kept hoping and praying he acts the way he does because of different factors in his life...first the food allergies, the constant illness due to the airborne allergies, his reaction to dyes, ect....and of course the biggie the abuse by his dad. I keep hoping and praying he will heal from the abuse and 'be normal'.

    Though part of me knows the chances of it going deeper then that is high. I guess for today I am in denial. Some days I am not other days I am. Especially when he is having a good day...and he is so much better with the medication...which then I tell myself most six year olds are not on medications like this...but its easier just some days to pretend you know?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    giella007
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm going to try not to say the same exact stuff...but this topic is *exactly* what my first post here was in regards to.
    Just like Kris, I *knew* I wanted to be a mother. I thought of girls names as a hobby. (this worried my mom on occasion, since it started at 11 I worked in daycare and my very favorite kid ever had a chromosome X disorder. He made me contemplate working with such children. I think that what happened, what I wasn't prepared for, was that instead of my childs *handicap* (if it can be called that at all) being something tangible, it was emotional. I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for how hard I've been on her because of all the dreams I had that she didn't fulfill. It makes me so angry at myself.

    Before baby #1 was born, I was blissfully happy. When she arrived, I was still feeling joyfull and capable (deluded). This lasted until 24 months later, upon the arrival of baby #2. up until then there were things that I noticed about my firstborn, like that when a crowd entered a room or someone flicked on a light nearby, she became unsettled, though this was not something audible. I just felt/saw it in her. but I really didn't think much of that stuff. Even when I couldn't get her to learn certain things- the Barney clean up song was useless to me, and she wouldn't stop throwing food on the floor, for instance- I just thought it was my failure. I was always reading and examining what I was doing that was ineffective. I realized early on that I had to spend LOTS of energy getting her to focus on my face and listen to me. I had a catch phrase: "I need your eyes here, please." Before this I thought I was going to partake in a wonderful adventure, parenting my kids with my instincts and always keeping my eyes peeled for ways to stimulate their little minds, so that I could shape their world into a fun place. Geesh. *naive*, huh? Now I'd just be thrilled for a day where no one screamed *I HATE YOU* at me. I thought this might happen in the teen years. It just hits me over and over like a ton of bricks that I was robbed of the fun part. It started with my first child, at age 2. That is hard. some days I just don't want to go at it again. In Frans words, I get tired of fighting the good fight sometimes. And you know what? If you ask me about a time in the last 4 years, I can reference it according to what she was acting like, and what level of depression I was in. I feel most sad for my 3 year old girl, who is just the funniest, most loving kid I've ever known. She deserves to have a sister that doesnt' maliciously annoy her and tell her horrible things. Like, "I don't love you." or "you don't look cute today". I can't alleviate this jealousy no matter what I try. Not to mention the physical aggression. I feel like a bouncer with her. I have to toss her out of the playroom every so often to cool her off. And my 3 year old keeps coming back for more, loyal thing that she is.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    bigbadmomma
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wow! where do I begin? I knew that something was wrong when Nick was about 2 1/2. I didn't want to face it then, and still don't, but I am learning to cope. It is SO hard to give up the illusion of the "perfect family." husband and I never thought that it would be like this! I'm sure that none of us did. Some days are so hard. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have an "easy" child like my friends do. I am getting a taste of it now with Hannah, but she is only 15 months old so the jury is still out on her. I am already daydreaming about enrolling her in gymboree and the like. We did all of those kinds of things with Nick and still do, but it is always a battle. I usually am too nervous to enjoy the experience! What will he do next? I can't wait to see how the other half lives You know what I mean. So yes, I guess I am mourning my lost dream, but at the same time I am trying to build a new one. It goes something like this; Nick and Hannah are two happy, healthy, good people with a mom and dad who love them unconditionally. We all have good and bad days, but we get through them together with love, respect, a sense of humor, and God's grace. Hey, got to be flexible!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wildflower
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, let's see. Grieving the loss of the dream ... how did the dream begin? Did I ever really have one? I don't know, it seems so lost in the mist that has overtaken my life since difficult child was born.

    I have one memory of that day that is etched in my mind forever. difficult child was born in late November and it had been dull and overcast for nearly a week straight. For one instant, the sun poked through the clouds and a ray of light came into my hospital room and lit upon difficult children tiny little face. At that some moment, he smiled in his sleep, and I noticed that he had dimples for the first time. It was an amazing, wonderous, Hallmark-Card moment for me. Probably the moment where I fell in love with him. Now, when he rages, spits, calls me stupid, hits me, and kicks me, that image of that sweet little baby floods my mind. Then it evaporates. Where is he? Where is that sweet little guy?

    For us, difficult child was a very mellow, laid-back, fun baby. Everybody wanted to be around him. I didn't have a care in the world about him. He was healthy, he was hitting all of his developmental milestones early or on-time, he was brighter than average (according to others -- I'm too biased to make that judgement!). He was just great. When we moved over here 2.5 years ago, that's when the trouble began. It has been downhill since. Now they are calling him special needs. I'm being told that the teachers at his nursery "have never seen a child like him before." I'm being warned to brace myself for the reality that he will likely be "asked to leave" schools because of his behavior. It is a hard reality to face. It is hard to be with someone that you love with all your heart; but you can't stand to be around sometimes.

    I worry about how his life will be. Will he ever have friends? Will he ever find a partner willing to put up with him? And most importantly, will he be happy? And what is happiness anyway? Does he even know what it is? Does he care?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fran
    Administrator

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sometimes, after spending so much time in warrior mom mode, getting difficult child the help and services he needs,plus fighting his own odd and resistance to parenting. I stop and look at difficult child from across the room and my heart skips. I look at him with such grief and fear. I don't know what the future holds for him and I don't know how to prepare for it or prepare him for it. I am full of self confidence of the things that I can do but the truth is I live in terror that I may be missing some key element to help him.

    Sometimes my heart skips because he is an incredible child who husband and I fell in love with because of his spirit and good humor.

    He has gifts I will never have, and in which I have always be in awe of but he is missing a key element to be whole.

    Yea! I grieve but it is hidden and protected in the little corner of my soul where I imagine the painting "The Scream". It is where the horror I feel for what the fates have dished to this innocent child are locked away. It is raw and it is painful. Every once in a while someone asks about that little room,and I open up to them,just a little bit, I can feel the tidal wave of despair just pushing to get out and overtake me. I don't go to that room very often and almost never when there is anyone around me.

    There isn't anyone in the world who knows this grief who hasn't walked in our shoes. It was painful just to write this.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Harmaneejoe
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thanks fran and the rest of you incredible Moms out there who will fight to the death for your difficult child. I find it treally tough to fight all the time for him when I am still not sure what it is that he has. I just know that there are some very major things going on with him anmdf I don't know how much more or where to go with all the issues surrounding my sweet little six yr ol;d who I can't leave with any-one because he seems to manage most of the time with my husband and I but left alone and he turns into a demon child who we just want to keep at home so he doesn't suffer from other people and their well meant advice. We cry for what the future holds for him and his other special brother and sister so this is really good to know that we are not alone in our fears and sorrow and God awful pain for what has been and what is to come for difficult children.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nancy
    Administrator

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Grieving the loss of a dream. Yes, that says it perfectly. I remember writing in my easy child's journal when she was about 4 1/2 that she was going to have a sister and she would never be alone in this world. I think it was probably about seven years later that the sadness of what I may have done to her life overwhelmed me.

    I had to grieve for that loss as much as I had to grieve for the loss of a perfect family growing up and as much as the loss of having another biological child. Until we can grieve for that loss we are not free to go forward because we are stuck looking back trying to make it happen instead of looking ahead to how we can live our lives to the fullest.

    I still have a great deal of sadness over what I wanted things to be like, how different I was going to be than my parents, how happy my kids would be. But I have put that dream behind me now and just work every day on helping my kids be the best they can be.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    just kris
    Moderator

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    nancy brings forward an excellent point.....once we hit the grieving we must find a way to move on. i think it's often easy to get stuck in one place. however, if we allow ourselves to get stuck by extention we keep our kids stuck as well. i think it's so important that we keep looking forward.....keep searching for newer/better ways to reach our kids......look under every rock for more help.

    i'm one of the extremely fortunate ones in that jarrod has improved tremendously over the last three years. he still, however, is capable of taking me out at the knees. sometimes i think if i get one more email from his math teacher about assignments not done i will end up in the looney bin. i spend hours soul searching about how did i fail this child i love so much because he us unable to be consistant. some days i just sit, paralyzed by it all.......but then i pick myself up, brush my sorry butt off and start the search again......always looking for that key that will unlock that door.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    transformtriumph
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This poem sums up my feelings. It also helped me deal with the grief. I love my sons but it is not the life I imagined.

    WELCOME TO HOLLAND

    By Emily Perl Kingsley

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

    When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

    "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

    But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    just kris
    Moderator

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    t-triumph, you just took my breath away & brought tears to my eyes!!!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    tonie
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I am still dealing with this one myself. My difficult child is making progress--but it is not easy.Some days we see our difficult child as acting "normal" and we start hoping things will turn around. But, then we go through another streak of a few bad days. My husband and I knew parenting could be tough--but not like this. Some days it feels like all I do is battle with our difficult child. Other times he can be so sweet, and I can really enjoy him. We see other kids--who are MELLOW and co-operative--and it is hard. But, we love our difficult child--he is special--and maybe just maybe some of those difficult child qualities may actually help him one day. We flirt with the idea of having another child--especially after visiting someone with a easy child--but I doubt if we would do it. First, it is tough enough financially--me not working--full time. Another thing is --I know I could end up with another difficult child--and I do not have that kind of energy! It would be nice to have a complacent child who just goes with the flow--listens--doesn't need 10 different techniques to get him to do something etc. etc.--after awhile--I forget that kids like that exist. My husband had caught me comparing difficult child to others--like "look so and so does this but not our difficult child--or so and so doesn't do that (of course I say this to husband not in front of difficult child)) and my husband tells me "get over it--that is not our kid--he is different--be happy that he is making progress--he is doing better--be proud of him for that" and that makes a lot of sense to me. I know it can be hard sometimes, but I need to focus on the positive aspects more.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    purplewine
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I don't know where to begin. Like many others I to have wanted to always wanted to be a mother.Now my decision would be hard to make. I love my children dearly and would do anything for them but these last few days have been a living hell.Justin has gotten so far out of control that I don't know how much longer that I'll be able to help him and make a difference. He tells me on a daily bases that he hates me and wants me dead. Where did I go wrong???? How can I help my kids when I failed them.If I was the mother I am supposed to be my child would not say this stuff. As I am writing this I'm trying to control myself from crying. It just hurts that I have failed him as a mother. Maybe it would be better if I gave into him and let him have his way and go live with someone else.I know I could never do that because I love him to much. I know I got of the subject but I needed to vent and I couldn't stop. Sorry.My family is far from what I expected it to be.I wanted that perfect family.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Susiesmiling
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi! I am new to your site, just found it today. I am the 34 year old stay at home mom of a 5 year old difficult child girl and a 2 1/2 year old not sure if he's a difficult child boy. husband is usually working, tries to be supportive, but 99% falls on me. Anybody relate to that? (ROFLMAOPMP!) I am partly sane but losing it daily as my difficult child's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) rituals increase in frequency and duration. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ODD, ADHD & Reactive attachment dis. I am DEFINITELY grieving the loss of a dream. I'm also grieving what "could have been" for my little girl. She is highly intellectually gifted and extremely charismatic, but what use are those gifts and talents when you spend half of your day counting squares in the kitchen floor tiles or re-tying your shoes? It is breaking my heart to watch her give in to the strange demands of her inflexible little mind, instead of playing happily like a "normal" child.
    I am feeling both thrilled to hear the stories of and communicate with others who have lived this kind of pain & sorrow & stress. How do we all do it? And how do you grieve? I had never thought of it in terms of grieving for the child that you'd hoped for, but it seems like a really wonderful exercise for moving forward & past regret & sorrow. Thank you for posting this idea!

    I would love to go on, but have to pick up difficult child at Special Education class. Looking forward to communicating with you all!!!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    nee
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There is this song that is popular right now that drums thru my head,"the future is coming on its coming on". This part is always sort of there for me to struggle with. The thought that I stuggle with is "How is he going to survive? I can just see all these things happen as a result of his naivete,his trusting sense,not taking his medications,what about marriage? somehow I feel I have to be in there too. If only I could figure it out. My difficult child had 1-b and that was his lowest grade as a 6th grader. And he is good in sports. There is his anger and not quite getting it in social skills and also the "I'm not going to do it". Right now he is in a structured situation all the time. He has all these great strenghts. But then there are the deficits-the anger,the stubborness.

    When he was little and he would insist on having the toy and would have these anger episodes I was told he would outgrow this. I was always waiting for things to get better. The thing is I have to work hard at us just having a semblance of normalcy.The only dream I really have for him is that he could survive(grow old) without any catastrophic things happening to him.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Martie
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This is a topic that hits adoptive families a bit differently in my opinion.
    There is usually already grief for the baby that couldn't be born--so when the long anticipated child turns out Occupational Therapist (OT) be a difficult child--it's a double whammy--unless of course, one intended to adopt a special needs child, but we didn't do that. Our first was easy child so that was a major boost to my self-efficacy as a parent. I would not want to be in the position of having difficult child first.

    Healthwise both my kids are physically outstanding--no problems associated with some international adoptions--so that was a good start in life. However, MrNo's emotional life is another story. I was moved by the analogy of going to Holland rather than Italy because, due to my temperment, I think I was planning on Holland (which is where husband and easy child are, for sure) and ended up in Italy--the land of the gifted and artistically talented and tempermented.

    I began to wonder where "gifted" "artistic temperment" and "ODDnes" diverged or converged when my difficult child was about 3. He is now 14. It's been quite an experience.

    I fear for his future. Will he ever stabize and realize his potential? Or will he self-destruct in ways that appear on the surface more functional that counting the floor tiles or re-tying shoes, but really aren't. With adolescence comes all sort of dangers and risks that aren't usually present for little difficult child's.

    Free piece of advice: you can never do too much or fight too hard for your little difficult child. Little difficult child's are defenseless in a world they are not ready to handle in my opinion. No one else cares as much as you do so do all you can NOW bec. when your difficult child is older, you'll be older, too, and it doesn't get easier as suddenly, you darling child can beat you up if he wants to. However, take care of yourself, too, because if you do too, too much, your kid won't have a functional Momma Bear--which all difficult child's need desperately!

    Take care all

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Suz
    Administrator

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I was still grieving the fact that I couldn't conceive when we decided to adopt. I had always imagined myself being an adoptive parent, even from the time I was a little girl...but I thought I'd have a birthchild or two along with an adoptive child.

    When we filled out the forms to become foster parents we answered yes to every single daggone question (except one) about "What type of child are you interested in?" We said yes to physically handicapped, Learning Disability (LD), different ethnicity, oh heck, I can't remember all of the questions but there were many. The only question we answered no to was "hyperactive."

    So naturally, what did we get? You guessed it. It is proof-positive that God has a great sense of humor.

    difficult child kept me so busy all of these years that I found that I have lost myself through the process. I seem to be going through a mid-life crisis ten years later than most people do. Mine is a cautionary tale to parents of younger difficult children. Do NOT lose yourself in this process. Do NOT lose your marriage in this process. Hold those things dear as they are your future.

    I am still grieving the family we weren't. I am still grieving the fact that I was so unprepared for the challenges in the past. I am still grieving the unexpected loss of my difficult child when he was sent to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) last summer. But I am on a journey and I am getting stronger....at last.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mary Jill
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My difficult child was our first son and very, very much wanted and planned. He was an easy baby. He slept good, he ate good, he developed what I thought normally. That is up until about pre-kindergarten age. His pre-k teacher told me that she thought he was learning disabled! The nerve! I was so angry! I called her supervisor and ranted and raved that she had no business calling my difficult child Learning Disability (LD)! Hindsight being 20/20 as they say, I think she was the first to see that there might be something going on with him.
    From that point on, it has been a learning and grieving process. Every day I am so proud of difficult child. He is compassionate and kind. He is so very funny. He's a really big guy and is a protector of me and our family.

    I am always so proud of him, but I cannot lie about it. Nearly every day, I feel sadness for him, for husband and I and for his easy child brother. I feel sadness for him because I worry about his future. I want him to have a wife and a family. A job that he loves and that will support him. I am sad for him now because he's not a typical 17 year old. He doesn't drive. He doesn't have a job yet. He doesn't have a girlfriend. He doesn't do the normal things a 17 year old guy does.

    I feel sad for easy child because his life up to this point has been, at times, extremely chaotic. I worry that I haven't given him the attention that I needed to.

    I feel sad and grieve for my marriage with husband. We have been married 20 years. We have a good marriage, I think, but there are times I wonder how it would have been different had there not been the DAILY struggles with difficult child.

    I pray each evening and thank God for difficult child and all my family. difficult child is the way he is for a reason. It's all for the greater good. Someday I will ask God why. But until then, I live one day at a time and put one foot in front of the other. That's the only way I can survive.

    Thanks for reading. I hope this helps someone.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    giella007
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I know, I already posted on this. What some of you have written is so touching, so near my heart...

    Wildflower, I feel exactly like that, so often. When I look at my difficult child and these images of her as that newborn flood my memory- and then she screams that she wants me to go away, it breaks my heart a little more each day. And she was my firstborn. Up until she was 2 I thought I had that perfect life. Perfect in the sense that I was a mom, and I thought I was doing well and I loved every minute of my life. I loved the nights of waking up 3 or 4 times to feed her, and everything that came with the package. I was living gratitude every day.
    As far as grieving, I still am stuck in that place where I wonder if the life I thought I had is still attainable. If I deny the differences in her well enough, maybe that moment in my life will return for good. Sure, that's not happening, but for the moment, this is where I am.
    And Fran, what you wrote was just incredible. I have never seen my feelings expressed so completely. I'm just... you should write. You are able to capture the essence of those fears, and it's worded so beautifully. I too am afraid of what is to come, afraid that I am not capable of finding the answers or helping her out of the dark hole I see around her, and our child is one of the most incredible, witty, awesome kids. She is just so consumed by this anger/sadness that she never gets to see what life is like when she is just being that great kid that she is. (Okay, it's something else that is at the root of it all-allergies, DNA-whatever. But because she LOOKS perfectly healthy and normal, my mind just has a hard time getting it.) My frustration is that I sometimes just convince myself that if I COULD REASON with her and convince her of how very much we love her, we could all have such an awesome life together. All the elements are here. Mommy, Daddy,adoring Sister, kitten, heck, we even live in Italy for goodness sakes!

    (But at this point I'd take Holland. For literal reasons, not metaphoric ones.) LOL

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EphChap
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Don't know if I can do this ... I'm a bit misty eyed reading everyone's posts. T-triumph - I absolutely loved the Italy/Holland story, and will remember it forever. Thank you for sharing it.

    My difficult child is my middle child - planned, wanted and loved. He was actually my easiest baby. When the "terrible 2's" came, they stayed. We often comment how he never grew out of those "terrible 2's". Oh, he was definitely the "charmer". He didn't begin speaking in baby talk - or even full sentences - he began talking in paragraphs.

    Here was this "gifted" child with an extremely high IQ who couldn't sit still in school, and was forever in trouble. Here was this child who would not turn in any homework - but ace the test. He totally frustrated the teachers by his lack of interest in school, and he totally frustrated the counselors and the principal with his totally inappropriate behavior.

    Here was this "gifted" athlete - who excelled in AAA hockey and travel baseball. He was one of the best, but it was never enough for him. He eventually quit sports because he felt "too much pressure" to always be the "best".

    Here was this teen who now suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as ADHD - and became severely depressed to the point he couldn't even get out of the bed in the morning to go to school. He would cry and say he wanted to go - but he "couldn't".

    I mourn for all the gifts my difficult child was truly given - yet he threw them all away. He chose drugs to help lessen the pain - but instead, the drugs inflicted more pain - on him and on his family.

    It is difficult sometimes to think about his future. It could have been so different. I mourn for what he has lived with - this self-destructive behavior.

    That song from Superman makes me think of my son, "It's not easy to be me".

    Deb

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    starborn64
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Star here.......being brief.....don't faint!
    Dear Lord, Thank you, for children who teach us and challenge us to be our best selves.

    Think about it...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    tryinghard
    Junior Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I've never thought of what I am doing as grieving, but I guess that description does fit. I walk into school everyday wondering which mom is thinking what a terrible mom I am for not controlling my child better. I walk into school everyday wondering which teacher/principal will come to me to tell me of the awful things my difficult child dared to say and do in their perfect school. I walk in from work every night wondering if it will be a good night or a bad night with my difficult child. I go to sleep each night wondering if my difficult child will find a friend at school who can tolerate her temper outbursts. I wake up each morning wondering if I can get my difficult child off to school without having ten things thrown at me. I go to work each day wondering if I will get a phone call telling me that my difficult child doesn't feel good and is asking to go home with me or telling me that my difficult child hit someone. I go to the store with my difficult child and wonder how long it will be before "shut-up" is screamed at me and I am hit just because I dare to reprimand her.I go to friend's houses wondering if my difficult child will keep from hitting other kids or calling other kids names or telling them she hates them. I often sit and wonder if I will make it through the teen years. If life is this bad now, what will it be like in 8 years? Was this part of my dream? It's been so long, I don't remember. Many days I am just too numb to feel much. I do feel sadness and guilt that there are times that I don't even like my difficult child.I will always love her, more than life itself. We have many good times. She is a delight when she is in a good mood. It's just that some days it feels that the bad is starting to outweigh the good. I do grieve for my easy child. He doesn't know what it's like to have a sister that doesn't break his things, scream at him, tease him and his friends at school to the point that he wants her gone. I do grieve for my difficult child for not knowing the wonder of having good friends that will call to talk, or have to their house or to be invited to a birthday party. I guess there is not time to grieve for me, or for what might have been. That won't do me any good. It will only make it worse. Like others have said, don't look back....look forward and be thankful for the good times.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    jennfromGA
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, this topic is quite long, but tonight I felt the need to let out some of my grief, so, here goes.

    Bradley (My difficult child) was born 3 mos early, and a fighter from the get go. He never needed any breathing machines or any of the other beepy little gadgets that all of the other tiny babies in the NICU had. Being that I was a very young mother, I was scared to death, but as amazed as the docs that this tiny little thing had so much fight!

    Well, over the years, the fight has NEVER left him! Only it went in a bit of a different direction that I'd hoped. On the one hand, he can be this oppositional kid who is screaming and spitting and cursing, to asking me for a hug and a kiss good night (yes, at 13 even!).

    I never could have imagined this tough road for him, and my heart breaks everytime I look at him. He has never been given a break from being "special". The last few days have been really hard for me, as the guilt of his situation has consumed me. He is in the detention center waiting for residential, which will be avail. in 2-3 wks. But he must stay locked up until that day comes. I sat in his room tonight and cried as I looked at this football trophy, knowing that it will probably be his one and only trophy, as he is looking at 2 years in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and never had good enough motor skills to participate in school try-outs for sports even when he does come home.

    Needless to say, I am in the grasps of the guilt phase, and want desperately to be able to just snap myself out of it. There is a song by a group called "Five for Fighting" and the song is called "Superman". Everytime I hear this song, I think of my Son, as it is his favorite song, and fits him to a tee.

    I am not sure I will ever be able to not feel a little guilt, as he is my child, and I love him more than the air I breathe, but I will be thankful everyday that God brought this lovely soul into my life and taught me more than I could have ever hoped to know.

    As for my parenting skills, I like many others, know that not everything I do is "right", but I try, and I learn, and I keep my eyes peeled for a "better" way of doing things. Parenting is a skill that is never perfected, and that is the 1 lesson I gladly attribute to my difficult child

    (PS) I sincerely hope this didn't come across as to weepy, my fingers just started flying, and I knew if I re-read it, I'd second guess myself

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    dannielle
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I am going try to post here. This is really hard for me. I was about to write a history of my son's behavior's. I guess so people wouldn't hate me for what I am about to say. I loved what Fran and so many of you have written. I'm just not there yet.

    I looked up the word "mourn" in the dictionary, unfortunatly that is not how i feel. I also looked up "resent" and saw my picture. I am so sad that I can't take my kid's on a trip. There are so many beautiful inexpensive place's to go here. They get lot's of long weekend's off school. But, because of the behavior of one child we must all be punished. I can't leave him with anyone including his father because no one can handle him. It is just so exhausting what I have to go through at home to keep him from having a melt down. To do this on vacation make's me so much more resentful since, I can't enjoy myself and the other kid's all have to go along with whatever Cody want's so they can't have fun either.

    I love my son very much but find it so unfair that all of our live's. Not just mine are affected by his disorder. I'm sad that my easy child's are constantly having to leave the room that difficult child is in to protect them from his violence. I will stop now and hope to find a place where we all can heal and be whole. Whatever, that is.

    Dannielle

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    KRice
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It took me a long time to identify my constant tears as grief. I cry. A lot. I finally discovered that it was a grief of sorts. (A duh moment) I have learned that grief encompasses not only the death of a person, but the death of a dream. As my difficult child grows, my grieving changes. As my easy child grows, my grieving changes. Through my easy child I see the things that come so naturally to her (and most of us) and that my son could not grasp. I grieve for the "normal" feelings my son will never fully understand. I have grieved over the life I dreamed for him. I grieve for my easy child who is so loving and loves her brother and for him who can't love her back.

    When my grief overwhelms me, I try to rejoice at the differences and the lessons this child has brought into my life. I am so thankful that this child is mine. I have learned so much about patience, kindness, compassion, understanding, gentleness and acceptance through raising this child.

    The other night I took my easy child out to watch the sunset. Not interested, but I was taken back to a time with my difficult child as we stood in the back yard; he was backed up against me with my arms around him and he holding them around him and he said, "I wish this moment could last forever". There are days I must make a conscious decision to put away the grief and find the joy that is uniquely ours to share.
     
  2. EastCoastChris

    EastCoastChris New Member

    Caleb

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fran,
    There isn't anyone in the world who knows this grief who hasn't walked in our shoes. It was painful just to write this.

    I feel you pain..I live it everyday.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ovrwhlmdma

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new to the group. And this question is right where my thoughts are. I always wanted to be a wife, mother, and have a middle class living. I didn't think I was asking to much, but I must have been. Because I am a complete failure at them all. And my difficult child suffers the most.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    sugaredout
    Junior Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I feel like I'm grieving for everything. Not only is my difficult child difficult to understand, but, she and I have both lost the family life we tried so hard to hang on to. I had to leave my husband last year because he refused to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. I was terrified to be a single mom, but, even more terrified about the consequences of staying in the marriage. My DEX has been very little support financially or emotionally. I'm just grateful for the time my difficult child gets to spend with her dad when he's "well."

    I had not really thought of my feelings towards/about my difficult child as related to grief, but, they probably are at least in part. Mild bipolar tendencies run in my family, but, nothing severe and of later age onset. My difficult child oftentimes seems completely alien to me. I want to understand, and I think I am getting a better picture.

    My girlhood dream was to have at least two children. Another child doesn't seem to be in the picture now. I have no SO, and am NOT looking. I'm just now getting out of my second marriage, and I don't feel I can go through this kind of pain again.

    There have been some good things come from the mess of it all: I'm a much more grateful person than before; my spiritual faith has increased; I've been forced to deal with my personal issues; etc...

    I think that facing and working through my grief issues will leave me a stronger, better person...some days it's just sooo hard to do.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    looking up

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It's true what someone who posted earlier said about adoptive families often having to go through the loss of their "dream child" already. I remember when I went to a pre-adoption seminar the social worker said that before you adopt you have to "kill your dream child". I thought that that was a very harsh way to phrase it, but I understood what she meant about letting go of the "dream child" so that there would be room for the real child. I was fortunate enough to adopt my baby as a single parent, and she was a great baby. It was only as she developed into a toddler and later a school child that the ADHD and Learning Disability (LD) and still-under-diagnosis other problems showed up. I love her immensely, but worry about her future, and mine, too. A scene from the movie "Dances With Wolves" really speaks to the idea of the loss of the dream child. In this movie, Kevin Kostner joins a Sioux tribe in the 1860's. He marries a widow in the tribe and becomes best friends with a man in the tribe who had been close to the widow's first husband, too. One night Kevin Kostner and his friend were talking, and the friend said, "When my friend died, I couldn't understand it. I pondered it and thought about it and I couldn't figure out why he had to die. Now I have met you and we have become friends, and I think I know why my friend died. My friend had to go away because you were coming." So as in the "Trip to Holland" piece, the loss of the dream child is a significant loss. But the dream child had to go away, because the real child was coming. And my real child, in spite of the problems, is still very much my miracle child.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    del

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    i have read all of your postings on this topic and there is something in each and every one that makes me sit up straight and say "wow, that's me!That's us!" when my son was born 7 yrs ago, we knew right away that something was different. first, we were told he was colicky, then a wakeful baby, then overly sensitive and on and on. by 4 yrs, we thought we were finally figuring him out, getting help for him and along comes baby . thinking that we had already done this once, this time we'll know more, it's got to be easier, we were blown away by this little guy. he was beautiful, everyone stopped to look at him. but he screamed and screamed and then screamed some more. at 4 months, we had to get older brothers head shaved because "baby" was pulling out hair by the roots. then came the biting and everything else. is this what i had envisioned, what i had hoped and dreamed for? what had i gotten myself into? I couldn't do this! i never once imagined that my 5 yo would tell me that he was going to stick a knife in my back, and throw me into the dumpster and leave me for the birds to pick my bones. no sir, didn't see that one coming. i have come to the realization that i will never have the family that we all hope for. my oldest will never play on a soccer team, or run around in the neighbourhood playing tag like all the other kids do. He may never be invited over to a school friend's house to play because he cannot tolerate the other kids. as for the 3yo, it's too early too tell. he's funny and charming and handsome in a devilish kinda way and i still hold on to that thread of hope. but yesterday, both my kids sat at the breakfast table and played silly with some little toys for 10 mins before the toast started flying, and to me, that was like they had just won the stanley cup, i was so proud of them, i cried right there in the kitchen(then of course i had to pull difficult child 1 off of difficult child 2 and clean up the pbj and fight them into their clothes and shoes and pin down the little one to brush his teeth and get out the door to school and, and, and....) but there was that few minutes where they were so perfect to me, just my little guys. so ya i grieve over the loss of the perfect family, the perfect kids, but i gotta live for the moments when they make my heart bust with love for them. if i didn't, i'd really go off the deep end.
     
Loading...