It was a whimpering sound like a wounded animal would make. It was something in between a wail and a moan. It came from way down deep. I couldn’t not do it or suppress it. It was like an involuntary gag reflex. You don’t want to throw up and you try really hard not to, but it just comes rushing up to the top of your throat anyway.
I sat outside the courtroom on a wooden bench. The air became very thin. I couldn’t breathe and gasped as the pitiful sound continued to heave up from somewhere inside me. They told me to put my head between my knees. There was a very real, visceral sensation of pain somewhere in the depths of my gut. It was like the queasy, hollow feeling you have when you have drank too much the night before and you just feel all empty and inside out the morning after, but much more immediate and intense.
The judge had just announced his decision to take custody of my two sons away from me and give it to their father. Not only that, he had also decided that he was allowing my ex-husband, who lived in the same city at the time, to move out of state with them.
I had tried to commit suicide three months earlier and was brain damaged and still emotionally unstable even though I tried very hard, not at all convincingly unbeknownst to me at the time, to put on a charade of being neither. While I definitely did not think so then, it was absolutely best for the kids and myself.
I could not and would not have devoted the energy needed to heal from my brain injury or focused on my emotional healing had the kids stayed here…even living with their Dad. Being without the kids has allowed me to mature emotionally (about time), determine who I am and what I am about other than being a mother, find and develop strength I did not even know I had, and, among other things, learn to be comfortable with solitude. I even prefer it now. Go figure.
The children, on the other hand, have gained an invaluable opportunity they would not have had otherwise to get to know their Dad. Teenage boys need their Dad. I cannot teach them how to be a man. He has also modeled for them a whole different way of life than I would have and exposed them to a vast array of things. Great for them. They have even had the experience of gaining a younger brother. So, my youngest, has gotten to be both the youngest and the middle child. Interesting. I think he kinda likes being the older one now.
Funny, how what scares us the most and what we try to flee from like a bat out of hell, oftentimes, proves to be the most beneficial with the most growth and wisdom for us if we relax and allow ourselves to move through the experience, let things just unfold, and not tense up and resist.
Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, in her book When Things Fall Apart writes:
We regard discomfort in any form as bad news. ….feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy and fear instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we are stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s wherever we are.
When something “bad” happens, don’t be so quick to judge the situation. Nothing is good or bad in and of itself. “Good” and “bad” exist in your thoughts, in your perspective, in your brain, and you have the power to change and control this.