Sunday, May 01, 2011

The scars of the storms

As you all know, on Wednesday April 27, Alabama was raped and ravaged, chewed up and spit out, by storms that would challenge a Hollywood special effects department. This isn’t just high winds and thunder storms folks…this is houses, neighborhoods, communities that have been put through a blender and chopped to bits and spewed out again. It is horrific and those who lived through it and are living in it still will never forget or erase the scars it will leave on their memories and souls.

Less than a week later this historical event has begun to fall from the headlines and other events and daily life has seeped in to replace it, but in Alabama the destroyed communities are still in search and rescue mode. They are still tallying the dead and retrieving personal property and seeking a place to stay until they have a home again. In time more of life will push this tragedy farther and farther away from the thoughts of those who are not affected. They will forget. Not so for the victims. The survivors will never forget.

It is the same for families of children with severe emotional disturbances. Especially for those families who suffer violence, and loss at the hands of their children. To have to call the police on your child, or see a child arrested or place a child in a hospital or a residential facility, or lose a child to the system… it crushes your heart and saps your soul of life. It rips apart your dreams and hopes. As a parent you realize how short and precious a childhood is and your heart screams at the child…at God… to please stop! Just trust…please just listen… please believe that I love you and will never leave. Relax and enjoy these few years that you have. Heal and rebuild your foundation so that you can step out into the world and be a happy, responsible and functional adult.

The day after the storms Bright-Eyes ran away. It was the third time within a couple weeks. We have had to call the police on him. He says he wants to die. He claims he does not want to be here with us. We are broken and shattered beyond comprehension. His psychiatrist and therapist are seeing him with new eyes and asking if there is some attachment issue that has been hidden.

My soul screams “NO!” Not this child…not the one adopted as a newborn. I set out to build bonds with this one. I carried him, not in my belly but in a sling throughout his infancy. I made eye contact and built trust; I played with him and bounced him laughing and singing. He was attached… I know it…I want to believe it. He hugged us and cuddled, he sought us out when he was afraid…didn’t he? I am having trouble remembering now.

As a toddler he always ran away. He was never bothered by our absence. He would race off in stores and playgrounds while other children clung to their parents and stayed close. As a preschooler however, he became clingy…very clingy. Was he too clingy? Throughout his childhood he had to live in the trauma-filled warzone that was created by his brothers’ struggles with their own demons. I tried to protect him, but standing in the way of flying chairs, Tonka trucks and legos is a war zone still. Either the child is the target of their mother is.

So much anger at the older boys for harming their brother… so much guilt for even adopting him. So many questions about why God allowed this when HE knew what would happen.

How much of this is the fault of my choice?

Would he have been ok in another home?

Will he be ok now?

Will he grow up and have a life, or will he bounce in and out of hospitals trying to find help and stability?

Like the storm victims (and forgive me for the comparison) many don’t see our loss. Most don’t acknowledge it…a few say they are sorry and offer help, but as time goes by daily life fills their thoughts and they forget.

For a few, they don't even understand why we would be in pain and our saddness disturbs them. They find it dramatic and irritating.

For us, this is our life. The pain is in our faces from the moment we wake up. The empty rooms and empty beds are tombstones in the graveyard of our hopes. The empty chairs at the table make us retreat to the living room to eat our meals in front of a TV that can distract us from our pain.

We cannot forget. The tornado victims cannot forget. Loss brands the soul and marks each person as altered and different than they were. It’s a secret scar that others cannot see unless they choose to open the eyes of their hearts.

To help the Alabama storm victims go here


mamatomany said...

My heart cries with yours... Praying for all of you - and for miraculous healing for your son...
Remember what Corrie ten Boom said, "There are no ifs in God's kingdom". God placed all three of your boys in your home - and He had a reason for doing it. Your son would not have been better in another home, with another family - because that was not God's plan for him...

Love you, my friend!


Robin said...

Oh Tammy, my heart breaks for you. I feel your pain, not in the same way but I know the heartache and the constant questions of "why" God.
Both of my boys have ADD. I struggle with that on a daily basis. People scold me for using medication but they don't understand that they need it, it's not done for me, but for them. They don't know what it's like to be missing a piece of the puzzle.
God placed all of your boys with you for a reason, and He doesn't make mistakes. We don't understand why He takes us down the paths we have to go sometimes, but He went before us and knows what is ahead. But He promised to never leave us, He promised rainbows after the storms, it doesn't matter the storm, the devastation is still the same but when we rest in His arms, He carries us to where we never thought we could go. I pray that God reveals His plan for your family and brings healing, peace and comfort. Drop anchor in His promises and hold on...He is still in control. ((((Tammy))))
I found Isaiah 43 very comforting to me when Tony passed away...

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through the deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
You will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
You will not be burned up;
The flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
The Holy one of Israel, your Savior.

My love, thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Tishipoo2001 said...

The tears just spill out, and my spiritual hand reaches for yours....ah, yes, my heart cries with you...for I too know that pain!

Do I have advice? Do I have answers? Can I judge?

As I also, so far away, walk this stormy path...I can sense what the apostles in the boat were going through when they saw the Lord asleep...and woke Him up...WE ARE PERISHING...but He was there with them...He silenced the storm...and that is where my anchor is----for my God and your God will NEVER leave us or forsake us....He sees the end from the beginning! I only have to trust in Him...He will make a way.

And along this very lonely path we walk, He has graciously brought others into my life--like you precious one--to hold my hand when I am worn & thin...fragile....exhausted...and I hear again that still small voice...and hope springs a beacon on a far mountain...

Sending you my supportive love & prayers.....


not available said...

Thank you to you all for your encouraging words ~ Mr. T

Diana said...

no words...just hugs! I can only pray the storm clouds are starting to break.

Lindy said...

I am so sorry. I do understand.The pain is nearly physical. I have no wisdom. I cannot even offer you much comfort. Too many of us are walking this road. Know you are not alone.I continue to pray for you and your family.

waldenbunch said...

As a family ravaged by adopted children with RAD, PTSD, sexual abuse, etc., I understand your pain. It is lonely place filled with questions and fears and what ifs. Just remember the only person you can change is yourself. You may never know the difference you've made. But it is there, maybe only little ways, but I guarantee it is there. To love someone is never without pain but there is a great reward in the gift. Don't give up.