My girls do have a Stepdad. Their Dad, my husband of almost 13 yrs. was taken from us in a vehicle accident in July 17,2006.
My girls have sort of dealt with a triple loss, I suppose.
1) Dad - He was such a family man with a wonderful, casual personality. He was bipolar, but other than that, and the occasional problems it caused, my girls' father was my soulmate and their best playmate and protector.
2) My health - Mom, as they knew her prior to approx. 2007-2009, was a vivacious, ambitious, primary breadwinner who had never let them down, was a bold person with a fairly good head on her shoulders (or so I've been told). She was very responsive and loving to them.
3) The Dad's parents - They were the closest people to them prior to their Dad's death. Due to their Uncle's selfishness and jealousy of my close relationship with them (they treated me like a daughter, and had my picture up alongside their own children's childhood pictures). My girls relied on this family unit dynamic between myself and my late husband's parents for their wellbeing. However, whenever their other son basically said, "it's her or me", they chose their only remaining biological child. This hurt my girls badly. Before their Dad's death, they barely knew their Uncle. He was not particularly close to our family. For all they knew, he barely knew their father. Their closeness had diminished after they had children and married. After he divorced his wife (I think, because she was a burden of being a chronic pain patient), he went about cutting me and his two sisters out of his parent's lives by making us feel uncomfortable around them.
So, needless to say, it's been tough.
When I think of my Type II TN, I do not fear the pain as much as I fear my pain's effects upon my children.
They pray hard for me, once a month, the day that I visit the pain clinic. They know. They've seen me go to doctor after doctor, of varying specialty, including an Acupuncturist, a Physical Therapist, a Psychiatrist and a Chiropractor in vain efforts to escape this pain. The only success I've had is, unfortunately, some of the prescriptions I've received from Pain Management. The girls pray that I will have a successful visit with no surprises. They have had to learn far too young how scary the world can be, that a doctor can hold your entire existence of well-being given his mood of the day and the stroke of his pen on the prescription pad. Then, there is the pharmacies interpretation of whether they believe that, with prescriptions like I require to stay fairly out of pain, I am not a "drug seeker", and find some way to delay my getting my prescriptions. They seem to take some sort of sarcastic glee in it! (Example: My doctor writes BID-TID on my PRN pain med. Pharmacists may use this as an excuse to pick apart a prescription my doctor has written dated the exact day of my appointment and for a precise amount. I mean, he actually types the words: "FILL ON xx/xx/12", and they find a problem with it?!?!?!?!
Things like what I have elaborated on above, my girls fear them! Not only does it kill them to see me in pain, without my proper prescriptions, I am only able to do the bare minimum for them. I barely get through the day, really needing to be in the ER, not trying to raise two children and keep a home.
My husband works ALL THE TIME, or so it seems. We see him very little right now, although he is great with my girls, most of the time, when he is home. A typical work day for him begins at 5 p.m. and ends at 3:30 a.m.
My parents are divorced. Mama lives two cities away, and Daddy lives a good 1.5 hours away from us.
You get the picture. I have two children, one in her difficult teen years, and one in her very formative years, 16, and 9, respectively, a disease which can cause Lvl 9-10 pain if unmedicated, and virtually no back up.
This has been cathartic. Reading your story has made me realize, more than ever, that there is a need to revitalize this group, so I shared my story as well here.
I know that you know how much I wish I could give them their Mom back, the way she was. At times, I feel I've failed them. Sometimes, I think of all the things I would be doing with them if I were my old self, and I want to cry.
Just the other morning, I was lying on my couch in the early morning, after dropping them off at school. I drifted in and out of a fitful sleep, for if I wake too early and stay awake, my medication will not last the day. During the course of the morning, I had a nightmare. I do not remember why I was crying, but I was crying a fitful, soul-wrenching cry, seemingly for everything I'll never be for them, a good provider, a successful role model and as full of life as I used to be. At 10:30 a.m., before this disease, and before the medications I need to control the pain, I had already awoke, showered, helped them get ready, gotten them off to school and daycare, driven an hour and a half commute to my desk job downtown, and would have been pondering where my coworkers and I would be having lunch, and what my family would be having for dinner would be in the back of my mind. But, when I awoke, as I usually do, it was instead around 11 a.m. and I felt a mess, delayed a few moments staring into space, analyzing my dream, or trying to, and procrastinating getting my feet and ankles, which feel welded together, moving towards the kitchen to get liquid to take my medications with, and hoping in vain, as usual, that m my bowels may move on their own without chemical help. I'M ONLY 39 YEARS OLD!!!!
I eat healthy. I'm trying to get more rest. I want to live for them, and for my hopefully hubby.
This is not what I imagined motherhood would be like. But, I have two beautiful girls. God did bless ME, a Type II TN patient, who only seems to respond to strong opoids, (they know I'm no pillhead, as they watched me run the gammut of taking medicines which are usually helpful for TN) with them for some reason. They know the condition is real (although my teenager was in denial when she was in her "bitterness" phase regarding the fact), as they have read the diagnostic sheet clearly reading: ATYPICAL TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA , from the office of a Neurologist specializing in Head and Facial Pain.
I've come to grips with the fact that my life will not be what I had envisioned. The thing I am psychologically still having a problem with, to this day, is that I will never be the type of mother I always wanted to be. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having little girls. Now, I have two, and they are the light of my life. From behind my veil of pain and medication, I give them my best, hoping each month that I will not be denied the only thing which has brought me relief enough to be even a "good" Mother, much less the exceptional one I dreamed of being. I can't help but believe that these two angels deserve better than a Father dead at 31, and a Mother disabled at 37 (now 39).
So, there it is, my guts poured out and on display, and at the center of my heart, my babies.
Thank you for sharing your story, Lisa. I will never understand the parent, mother or father, who wants nothing to do with their children. The idea is as alien to me as anything can possibly be. Sometimes, I think situations like your daughter/her Father and my girls/their paternal Grandparents, hurt the Mother as much, if not more, than it hurts the children.
I hope your Mom has time to be adequately there for you, although it seems though you are understanding of her situation. I hope that your Dad heals well from his knee replacement. I am sure you are very proud of what your daughter is accomplishing! How exciting! My youngest, I believe to be a possible budding singer and dancer. She is very dedicated to practice in both. I believe it is a way she works out a bit of her grief and disappointment. She has goals and discipline! I wish that my eldest had something as inspirational in her life. Right now, it's just, unfortunately, a bad relationship, the wrong crowd seemingly, and promoting an image which won't matter years from now. Ehh . . . .maybe she's just being a typical teen. Her grades MUST come up, though! My youngest is almost a straight A student who hates to miss school!
Best wishes you and all of the rest of our members in the group, and the children who depend on us!