Focusing On Happiness In The Midst Of Chaos
Mothers have a primal urge to protect their children. It’s part of our DNA and unless your maternal instinct isn’t working properly, it is impossible to turn it off.
The first time I walked into my attorney’s office, I have no doubt in my mind that all the attorneys in that office believed I was bat shit crazy. To some degree, I probably was. While an attorney likely expects his/her client to calmly explain their situation, I hadn’t been living anything close to a normal or calm situation. In fact, I had been at war and was ready to throw myself in front of a moving train if it meant saving my son’s life. From the perspective of the attorney’s, however, they were looking at a woman who was hysterical and they likely assumed that it was my intent to block Luc’s access to Prince out of anger or spite.
While I understand that many cases that come through Family Court are not as extreme as mine was, there are many other women who feel just as desperate to save their children as I was. This fear is often very real and very legitimate. Asking a mother to turn her child over to someone she believes is dangerous (i.e. if the person has a history of abuse and/or people keep violently dying around this person), can be compared to asking her to send her defenseless child walking across a battle field in the middle of bombs and gunfire – and just hoping that the child will make it to the other side alive.
Each week during the unsupervised visitation period, I felt as though the court ripped my son from my arms and sent him across the battlefield. As the court held me back from wrapping my arms around him to take the bullets for him, I slowly felt as though I was dying too. I am a mother, but I was not legally allowed to protect my own son. If I am honest, the terror and pain I felt knowing that he was in danger and not being able to protect him felt as bad as the death itself. It is a different pain, but its terrible and I lived that pain for nearly Prince’s entire life.
Since my son was killed, I have received hundreds of emails from women who are trying to protect their children from someone whom they have reason to believe is dangerous. Many people have asked me how I am still standing. Knowing how I felt as I was trying to save my son’s life from a man I knew was dangerous, I am often more baffled at how I was able to remain standing then.
Many of these letters are from women asking me for advise on how to survive a custody war or how to save their children. Sadly, I cannot give the best advice on how to save their children, as I was unable to save my own. I can, however, explain how I survived and how I continue to survive.
Life isn’t always pleasant. We all get thrown curve balls and some of us are unfortunate enough to step into a pile of crazy that can put a damper on life. While there are many things that are out of your control, you do have the ability to control how you look at the positive things in your life. There are ALWAYS positive things, even if they seem a bit buried in the negative. When my son was killed, my first thought was that I wanted to die too. Then, I realized that I have a lot of things to still live for; I have had many blessings in my life, and would inevitably have many more.
To all of my readers who are being forced to send their children across that battlefield, understand that you are not alone. It is normal to feel crazy because you are being asked to turn off something that is impossible to turn off – maternal instinct. While you are going through the battle, never forget to take care of yourself. Go to a therapist and get help so that when you walk into that attorney’s office you can do so with as clear a mind as possible. And never forget to enjoy your child. Don’t let the battlefield continue in your home because of your stress about the situation.
A week ago, my sister was in a terrible car accident on the Pennsylvania turnpike after being run off the road by a massive truck. When I first heard about it, all I received was a text from my mother telling me that my sister had been taken to the hospital after an accident. The last time I was told that someone I loved had been taken to the hospital, I arrived to find out that my son was dead. So, when I heard this news I immediately panicked. ‘This cannot be happening again,’ I thought as I drove like a maniac toward the hospital.
My sister’s car was found completely flipped over and crushed pretty bad. She walked away with a bad headache and some bumps and bruises. The next day she said to me, “Why do we have this black cloud over us?” I responded by saying, “We don’t. If we had a black cloud, you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation because you wouldn’t have survived that accident.”
Life is full of bad things, but its also full of joy and happiness. Before the demon walked into my life, I admit that I had a tendency to stress over the bad without recognizing the good. If there is one thing that this situation has taught me, it’s to enjoy the good things life has to offer. If you don’t take the time to be thankful about the good, the insanity will drive you crazy and the Luc’s of the world will win.
Thank you for being so frank and honest as always, I have my first divorce hearing next week and ive been petrified tbh but you have given me courage and strength xx
Good Luck Lisa! I will pray that your court experience is not as traumatic as many.
I needed to hear this tonight. Sometimes I get so wrapped up with the worry of what he will do next. I’m trying to find happiness in every day no matter how bad the day goes. This was a very inspiring blog. You are amazing and always write some words of wisdom I can apply in my life.
Thanks D. Hang in there. I know how terrible it can feel when you are going through this.
Hera, your words are truly amazing, and my heart goes out to you, even more, when I read that Prince’s death was almost the same as every agonized terrifying visit. Please know we continue to do all we can to change the courts’ disastrous failures. The degree of resistance is becoming more explicit – and the need for nationwide, in-depth investigative journalism about this is increasingly clear. Thank you for being such a sane, whole, person, in the face of such enormous pain.
Thanks Joan. I truly appreciate all the work that your organization is doing and I hope that progress continues. I don’t want anyone to have to live through the terror that I have had to live through. I certainly don’t want any more children to have to face the terror my son had to face in his short life. It should never have happened and if the system changes, it won’t have to happen again to someone else.
I am so touched by reading about your story. I am in the same situation and my son is 2. Sometimes I am just so sickened thinking that there is no one smart enough to help me.
But you are so right when you say enjoy your happiness. Don’t get lost in the chaos or it will take you down.
You are such an inspiration and amazing strong and courageously powerful women. I love this speak your mind section because there are some places where speaking your own mind causes you harm.
I wish I could meet you and I pray for you and your son. Now your son has true peace and was returned to his creator so your mind can finally be at ease. I pray for the day when my mind can also be at ease and I realized that if I can master my self, then I can have true peace every day regardless of what is going on around me.
Be well 🙂
I am so thankful for your writing. It is so freeing to read your perspective from the other side. My children will probably never die from my abusive x husband because he knows he can use them for the rest of his mortal existance to continue to hurt me through them. It is horrible, a slightly different kind of battle, but somehow still the same. As long as he is protected from continuing to physically harm me he will do all in his power to mentally or emotionally stab shoot, or kill me in any way he thinks he can, and my daughters is his best ammunition. I understand the pain you speak of, every time my girls would go to their dad’s that is exactly how I felt. And the pain and suffering gets deeper when I let it, it has gone on so long and gotten so deep, I have no choice but to do as you say in this article and find the joys in life outside of the things I cannot control. Finding God and trusting in Him and His eternal plan is paramount in my life. I am fighting very hard for my girls right now and have done so for many years and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. I have nothing materialistic to show for all my hard work, I hope someday I will be able to recapture the loving hearts of my children and have it recriprocated.
Hera, I urge you to keep speaking up-and throwing this horrific truth in our faces. It is typical of how the nation’s judges handle abuse cases.
[In our case] father was awarded sole custody-and maintained custody until [son was 18, daughter was 16]. Court finding: The court found that the children’s father sexually abused including but not limited to repeatedly sodomizing and forcing son and daughter to orally copulate him.
Judge Di Mazio-court transcript: In the case at bar the danger is extraordinarily disturbing sexual assaults perpetrated by the children’s father, the perceived harm was specific horrific sexual assaults, perpetrated many times over an extended period of time-skillfully concealed from authorities.