Do you have a best day? Well, I have two. The first best day of my life was when Cole was born and the second was when his sister, Emma came along almost three years later. Sure there’s other great days thrown in there but my kids are it for me. They are the best I have to offer this world. I never knew what true love was until them. I can tell you true love is unconditional, unending, powerful and pure. My children are my heart and my soul. Every year on birthdays I tell them all about the day they were born. It’s great for me. My heart smiles each time I relive their entrance into the world. Cole and Emma know each of the stories inside and out by now but they listen to my retelling every year. If I forget anything they interject it into the story. Today I’m not thinking of the beginning of our lives together, I’ve been thinking back to last October when they were taken away from me.
With the sweet there is also the bitter. This week marked the anniversary of my worst day.
October 28, 2014, I woke up, went to work and all was well. By the end of the day, my life was forever altered and still isn’t the same. By the end of that day, my kids were not longer living with me. They were given to their dad per a court document with the words Emergency Ex Parte written boldly across the top. At the end of my work day, I had gone to pick the kids up from a long weekend with their father, and I knew something was wrong. For starters, he had asked me to come to his house to pick up the kids. They should have gone home from school on the bus. When I arrived, #1 had his mother usher them out of the house all while I was asking what was going on. My kids wouldn’t even look at me or acknowledge I was there. Then #1 handed me an official looking document, and although I didn’t know what I was looking at, I was able to piece together this: My children weren’t coming home with me. I hadn’t done anything wrong, and my children were being taken away from me. I’ve shared with you in an earlier post how my life was torn apart by the actions of others. This day was my ground zero. Dear reader, I’m not able to share with you the details of why all this happened for so many reasons. However, I can tell you this. My kids were not harmed in any way, not physically ever and not emotionally up until this point.
For a month I wasn’t allowed to see my kids. The court order left it up to their father if I had any visitation and he didn’t allow it. So from the time the kids grandmother took them from #1 house on October 28, 2014 until an emergency hearing in court the week of Thanks Giving I wasn’t allowed to see my kids. (Apparently an emergency in the court systems equals a month.) I went from being a total hands-on mom to not being allowed to be one at all. I couldn’t breath, I was numb, my heart had been excised from my chest. I couldn’t still be alive, could I? I was hollow. How do you live without your heart? The freaking world kept going though. How could it? My soul was broken. I now know you can physically live without it. The sun still came up everyday, I still had to work, I had another child at home to take care of, ballgames to attend, lawyers to hire in order to get the kids home. I did keep breathing even though I no longer cared if there another breath entering my body. I know during that month I had a birthday but I don’t think I acknowledged it. I dropped off social media. I forgot about it. There were days I couldn’t function and I didn’t go to work. I quit sleeping. I know I had to have eaten but food didn’t have any taste. I had no happiness left in me. I lived for the occasional phone call or text from the kids. I asked their father everyday if I could see them without an answer. I begged, pleaded and cried for my kids. Eventually I quit crying and I quit existing.
Finally the hearing day arrived and I relief was in sight. A ‘guilty party’ had came forward on my side (see I was the one being tried even though I wasn’t under suspision) and my attorney thought the whole thing would be dismissed based on what was to be presented to the judge. Then the bottom fell out because the ‘guilty party’ skipped town. There was no one to take the blame, to own up to what was being posted on the internet. I told you I didn’t do anything wrong and you probably guessed it was all related to #3 and his doings. I am guilty though. I marrying a bad person, allowed him into our lives, and allowed myself to be manipulated by him. I always have been the type of person to believe the best of people. Yes, I was naive, but I wasn’t the only one. #3 was so convincing of his innocence he was able to pass a voice stress test with flying colors. He was able to lie in court, to everyone he knew, not just me. I prayed for the truth to be revealed and I pursued it. It was all I thought about. I interviewed the ‘guilty party’ and he knew intimate details of what had been going on. Still I couldn’t leave it to any chance, not where my kids were concerned. I researched lie detector test and found a local detective to do one. He was qualified in the best way I could hope for. He had been appointed to this position within his department and had been backed with funding for training and equipment by the judge assigned to our case. #3 took the test and was one of only six people in the detectives 7-year history of delivering the test to pass 100%. Lie detector test results aren’t submissable in court. I knew that. I just wanted the truth. I thought I had it too. Like most lies, eventually the number you have to tell gets staggering since you have to continually cover yourself. It took time a few more months, but the truth came out. It wasn’t in my time but in God’s time. That’s how he works. My prayers were heard, and they were answered eventually.
Since things didn’t go well at the hearing I didn’t get my kids back. I was granted visitation with my children only two days a week, and #3 couldn’t be present. I didn’t care, though. It would have to work until a formal hearing could be arranged. I just wanted my heart back in my chest even if it was for a couple days a week. I was like the man dying of thirst in the desert. A tiny bit of water revived me. At this point I still thought I knew the truth. You stand up for what it the truth, right? That’s what I did.
I feel judged. I should. I feel shame. I should.
A year has passed. Today as I write the scar feels like a gaping wound, as fresh as it did at my ground zero. The tears still sting my eyes just as they did in 2014. I’m no longer hollow, though. My heart is beating in my chest. My kids are with me again about half the time. We are good. We’re changed, but we are good. My psychologist says my writing is helping me to move on. He thinks I get more from it than through anything we discuss in my sessions. I’ve carried this burden for a year. Only those closest to me have heard this part of my story. I never thought I’d be able to write about it. It’s the kind of pain you don’t want to relive ever. Here’s the deal, I don’t want to forget what happened, but I want to move on from it. My hope today is in writing this I’ll be able to let it go like so many of the other things I’ve written about. I have to forgive myself at some point. I can’t yet. But it’s time to heal.