Thursday, December 19, 2019

Happy Holidays

To anyone who happens to stop by, hope you have a good holiday season. 

I'm doing my best to remain calm and stress free.  We don't do a whole lot for Christmas, but the family dynamics do get kind of stressful.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

I'm not the me I used to be.
The old me was positive, friendly, even kinda fun.
The me of today struggles to get out of bed every day because I know it will be one more day of heartache, fear, and depression.

Some days I feel hopeful, someday I wonder if life is even worth living.
Lately I actually do stay in bed a lot Its my coping mechanism.
But you can only hide from reality for so long.

I had four days alone from my sister and son and it ruined me. It was the best four days I've had in my life in at least 12 years...but even then I got stressful phone calls and their 6 day trip ended 2 days early.

To live alone, to not have to deal with anyone else's moods, problems, depression, illness, would be Heavenly. But I don't see how it can happen because I refuse to abandon my son. My sister, I could leave, but not Keven.

He has too many issues. He's paranoid, he sees things, he's extremely depressed, he's anxious and he can't stop using. He has terrible nightmares and feels people touching him when he sleeps. He comes into my room after a nightmare, just like a child would. He has no friends, no social life, no physical activity. He barely leaves his room.

My boyfriend is supportive, but he lives 7 hours away. And when he comes to visit Keven isolates even more, not because he doesn't like Peter, he just feels uncomfortable with someone else in the house.

Now he has an idea for starting his own business and feels like people will discourage him because he's an addict. He knows he has to stop using before he can run a business....and of course there are a few other minor things to consider: money! etc. etc. etc.

As Bruce says in one of his songs: "I ain't lookin for praise or pity". I'm just sharing this here to get it out of my system. It helps, a little.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Hope Again

My sister and Keven just left for a cabin in the mountains, they will be gone a week. The point of the trip is for Kev to detox in a safe environment away from home but not in a detox house. The last time I paid for him to go to a detox he had a roommate who made sexual advances toward him, burned him with a lighter, and other inappropriate behavior. I should have sued them to get my money back.

He went to his dr. yesterday and got all the withdrawl meds. Now I just have to hope that my sister can keep she shit together and take care of him. We all agreed that it would be better for her to go than me because of the family dynamics we all share. She is not as nurturing, which in this case is good because he basically just wants to suffer alone. And suffer he will.

For those of you lucky enough to never watch someone you love go through an opiate detox, here are the symptoms:


Early symptoms of withdrawal include:

Muscle aches
Increased tearing
Runny nose

Late symptoms of withdrawal include:

Abdominal cramping
Dilated pupils
Goose bumps

Its so hard to watch him suffer. Thankfully the cabin has a washer/dryer so they can wash the sheets as needed, he will drench them with sweat.
Once he gets back he is going straight to his dr. for a Suboxone Shot (an injection that blocks opiates for 30 days). We have the appt. set up, he's not even coming home first.

This is truly the most hope I have EVER had because the whole thing was his idea. He HATES having to use heroin to survive. He was on the brink of suicide the other night but couldn't do it because of my sis and me. He has a huge emotional breakdown and the next day came up with this plan.

Once he gets home a lot of things will have to change, he will need to get active and leave the house (a rare occurrence when he's using), he will need to find things to do that interest him. And HOPEFULLY make a friend or two. Maybe even meet a nice girl eventually? I've given up my dream of being a grandparent because he doesn't think he should be a dad...but who knows.

In other news, my sister's disease has a new twist which is scary as hell. I'll spare you all the details but the gist of it is she goes bat shit crazy. I'm not kidding, She had to be hospitalized three times for it and it can kill you if you don't get treated immediately, Its because of the cirrhosis she has. Its called Hepatic Encephalopathy.   She HAS to take her medication or it can come back with one missed dose.

As for me - I am so happy to be alone for a week.  No one constantly asking me questions, asking me to do things for them, no one to clean up after or cook for.  No one being bitchy or depressed or whiny or annoying in any way,  Just me, Ivy, Sugar, Atticus and Tortie.  Ivy will miss Therese a lot, but I will take good care of her.  She's already sad that her mama is gone:

I'm still with Peter, its been almost 3 years with one break-up a year ago.  

I hope my faithful readers out there are doing well.  I'd love to hear what's new with you so please leave a comment!  Thanks.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara
I wrote this after a trip to Ralph's (grocery store) and Walgreens where I observed people giving Keven the evil eye:

He’s my son, I love him.

I see the stares and hear the whispers behind my back.
I’m aware of the opinions of people that know us.
I can imagine the conversations about enabling, tough love and the list of ways my parenting is faulting.
Yes, he’s a grown man - on the outside.
Yes, he looks different - the way he walks, the glaze in his half closed eyes, unkempt appearance, stained fingers.
Yes, he sounds different, he even smells different.
He’s not “slow”, he’s not “a slob”, he does have access to clean clothes and a shower.
He’s intelligent, kind, thoughtful, loving.
His pain is deep, his anxiety debilitating.
He’s not a criminal, but he is a felon.
He’s not allowed at family events.
He has no friends or social life.
His guilt at what’s he’s put me through overwhelms him at times.
He’s aware of how judged he is by society, by neighbors, by most people who know us.
He still holds open doors, is polite, would give you his last dollar.
He loves his family and his pets and has a very tender heart.
He does everything he is capable of to make himself less of a “burden” to me.
I try not to think about the thousands upon thousands of dollars I’ve spent to help him.
I try not to relive the moments of terror when I almost lost him.
I stay positive and encouraging and loving on the outside because if he knew the depth of my suffering he would never get over it.
I don’t pray for him anymore because my prayers have gone unanswered year after year.
I still ask others to pray on the slim chance it may help.
He still has a strong Christian faith.
I lost mine years ago.
He is my son.  I love him with all my heart.  I’m proud of him, even though no one else may understand why.
I’ve accepted the way things are, but hope they don’t stay this way much longer.
I know I may lose him, but he will never lose me as long as I’m breathing I’ll be here for him.
I don’t make sacrifices for him - I willingly do what I need to do to ease his suffering and encourage him.
I get mad, tired, scared, frustrated and stressed out, but I will never lose hope.
He’s my son - the little boy who crawled in my lap to snuggle, who brought me joy I didn’t know existed.
He also brought me a level of pain I never knew existed - I hurt for him, not because of him.
I politely smile as I listen to your “issues” with your children, your life and secretly think you have no idea how lucky you are
Yes, I saw that look you gave us today at the store, your face said it all.  He didn’t notice...this time.
He is my son.  
I love him.
I accept him.
I understand him.
If you’ve never walked in my shoes - shame on you for thinking your children are better than mine.  
If you are thankful you’re not in my shoes - good, you should be.
If you are disgusted by the shoes he and I wear - I don’t care.  I don’t waste my time caring what you think, but I do see it, I feel it, I am aware of it.
I rather be judged than judge any day.  
Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Saturday, March 9, 2019

I think he's ready

People like to use the term "hitting rock bottom" when referring to a heroin addict getting so low that they are ready to stop using.  But sadly, "bottom" for many heroin addicts is death.

I think, I HOPE, Keven has reached his "bottom".  He's in the hospital with sepsis which is life threatening but hopefully they caught it soon enough.  It started in a deep abscess in his upper thigh (from shooting up there).  They operated on it but could not get all the infection out so for now they have a drain in it, but on Tuesday they will go in again to try and get the rest.

In the meantime, they are waiting for the bacteria culture to be identified and we are hoping and praying its not necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria) because that would mean he may need his leg amputated.

I can't think about that.  I have one nurse telling me how sick he is and another saying "he'll be okay" so I go with nurse two.

For those kind souls who still read here - things with my brother have gotten even worse since last time I wrote.  So live is a bit of a challenge these days.

How are YOU doing??????

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Sunday, February 3, 2019

My Brother

I just need to get this off my chest.  I am so sad.  My brother and I used to be close but over the last few years (mostly the last few months) I've seen a mean streak in's putting it nicely.  He is abusive toward me, verbally.  He lashes out and makes me feel stupid and yells and throws things and breaks things (fortunately many of this conversations are on the phone so I not present for all the breaking, but I hear it and then see the aftermath).

He is depressed.  He drinks too much.  He has COPD and possibly lung cancer.  He has about 5 years left to live (according to his doctor).  So is he alienating us (he treats my sister this way also) so it won't hurt so bad when he dies?  The way things are now, he's right, I will be sad but I won't miss the person he has become. 

I fear he will commit suicide.  He HATES Keven, has told me that if Keven ever shows up at his house he will kill him.  (He and Keven had it out once and Keven was high and pulled a knife...Lord, the shit I've been through).

We are in the middle of probate on on TWO houses and in the middle of selling one.  Once all that is done I won't have to take his abuse because its always related to something having to do with legal stuff that I don't understand.  That's why we have a lawyer (a friend of mine).  SHE knows what she's doing and I trust her, he doesn't trust anyone.

Most of my life is all about other people.  I fantasize about the day I can move with Peter and live in peace with one small well behaved dog.  BUT, I can't leave Keven on his own at this point.  So I don't know when or if I will ever see that dream, but I think I will.  I deserve it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Grieving My Living Son

I wrote this somewhere else but decided to share it here:

Twenty eight years ago on 12/7/90 my surprise baby arrived. I was 30 years old, single and had decided I did not want children. But hey, things happen and I got pregnant by an ex-boyfriend. I chose to have the baby even though I cried daily for the first three months of pregnancy.

Then one day something happened, I felt the little intruder rolling around inside me. I fell in love. I fell even more in love when I finally held him in my arms. The feelings I had for this child, shocked me and changed me. No one had ever explained what a powerful love a mother has for her child. My life revolved around him — keeping him safe and healthy, raising him to be a man of integrity, compassion and curiosity, those were my new priorities.

He was, for the most part, a happy little boy who loved Legos, playing outside with friends and dressing up as pirates, cowboys and super heroes. Even though I was a single mom, with the help of my sister and my mom, I was able to provide him a very stable loving home, fun vacations, and new experiences. As he grew older he had good friends who loved him for who he was, yet he never felt worthy. That became an indication that something was not quite right. Counseling, love, encouragement, nothing helped. He didn’t feel good about his tall, handsome, intelligent self. I always wonder if that had anything to do with it…

Late on an August night in 2007, my son and his girlfriend came in and sat on my bed. The girlfriend forced him to tell me that he had been using heroin. He was 17 and had “shot up” his first time with some older guys he knew. He’d been using for about 2 months. At the time, the opiate epidemic was not public knowledge and I couldn’t understand where, how or why he got his hands on such a vile drug. He promised me he’d stop and I believed him. Oh — the bliss of ignorance!

My son is still using today. He’s been through 12 drug treatment programs, the mental hospital at least 6 times (lost count) for suicide attempts, he’s been on life support twice (once as a John Doe until he finally woke up and gave them my number), he’s been in and out of jail for the last eleven years and he spent 16 months in state prison. He’s watched so many of his friends die, including one that I adopted as a second son.

What many people don’t seem to grasp about heroin is that its unlike any other addictive substance. You need more and more each day just to “not feel sick”. Its an insidious disease that affects the mind, body and soul. It controls every thought, motive and action. My son has committed acts (both illegal and immoral) that make my stomach turn. Things I wish I didn’t know.

We’ve all heard that “addiction is a family disease”, that statement is pure truth. My life as I once knew it, like my son’s, is a distant memory. I’ve lost friendships, gained weight, lost jobs, gained debt, lost laughter and peace and gained fear, and stress. I’ve become an expert on addiction — something no parent wants to be. Sadly my only piece of advise is: There is nothing we can do to stop them from using. Its no longer a choice for them, its a need. Many do get to the point where they are literally so sick and tired that they are ready, only to relapse years later. Its never completely over, although there are many success stories.

So today on his birthday, I grieve the loss of who he was and can only hope that someday, my real son will return to me. I miss the smile that is so rare these days. I miss being able to trust him. I miss setting my purse down when I enter the house instead of locking it away the second I’m home. I miss the laughs we used to share. I miss the real hugs. I miss his hopes and dreams.

The hardest part of this tragedy is not grieving over who he was, but grieving who he is today. He is paranoid, stressed out, anxious. His only goal in life is to find ways to stay high and to pass drug tests for his parole officer. He hates himself. He is filled with guilt, remorse and disgust for all the things he’s put me through. He’s lonely with no real friends. He’s a tortured soul who feels completely hopeless about his future.

My love for him hasn’t lessened, in fact its grown. Too bad love doesn’t conquer all. He’s been on this earth for 28 years as of today, but only 17 years of actually living. The rest have been years of survival and devastation because of a poor choice he made 11 years ago. Just one time of using is was all it took.

So today I grieve instead of celebrate. I would do anything to save him, to help him. ANYTHING. But there is nothing I can do other than take a lot of deep breathes, continue to love and encourage him and force myself not to think too much about the possibility that he may not be around to turn 29. Happy Birthday, dear son, your mother loves you and will never lose hope no matter how dark the days have become.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara