Mar 22, 2009

An Answer To A Mother's Prayers

My minister always says if you passed a test then you have a testimony. I am sharing this very personal story because recently I passed a test. One of my favorite biblical passages is aptly titled "For Everything There Is A Season." I have written about it here on my blog before. I hope that none of you will comment negatively on my blog this morning because today I am celebrating . Today is my season, my little boy, Blake (now five years older and a grown young man of 19 years) returned back home to his family of origin.

Blake was abducted from me almost five years ago this year. Many lies were told by a vindictive ex which propelled me into a legal court battle that defied reason. To fight this battle in court it cost me thousands and thousands of dollars and appearances before more than 12 judges . I was willing to pay whatever the cost so that I could continue to have a relationship with my son. Every legal door I opened somehow was closed on me despite the obvious evidence. In one instant of a judge's ruling- it felt like I had lost everything. I remember thinking in the parking lot that day- what is to become of me ? After all I had a full-time job but I also had spent the last 15 years being someones mommy. I imagined- what will I do now ?

I vowed to never become bitter or take out my anger on anyone because of what happened to me. I turned to God for guidance even though I didn't have a strong spiritual connection. I asked the question if not be a mother, what is it that you would have me do ? The answer to this question became my quest. I read the bible over and over again and even purchased many soul searching books. The answer eventually became clear to me symbolically. I was to use my talents to help others in need . I also developed a closer spiritual connection and joined a church.

Somehow many problems have landed conveniently at my doorstep. I use to say out loud- nobody's home, my plate is full, can't you see I 'm busy God ?

I remember thinking, what next? First my cousin Brice asked me to sign legal papers to be his medical power of attorney (MOA). I thought why not, we aren't going to get really sick before we are at least 90. Little did I know within 6 months, Brice was in a coma. Had I really took the time to understand my role as a MOA- I would have never signed onto this job at least not in my right state of mind. I made the decision that Brice would not be taken off a ventilator when the hospital and his grown daughters urged me regularly to pull the plug. I vowed to the hospital that like the legal agreement I signed, they would have to kill me or die trying to prove to me that there is not even a remote chance that Brice could regain consciousness ever. I studied the Internet on ventilator statistics . I became a resident expert on Brice's condition and questioned many of the doctors' questionable practices. They hated me but eventually came around to my way of thinking that there was a possibility that Brice would wake up. I think the medical staff only tolerated me really until one day I came to visit and there Brice was sitting up in bed. He winked at me and mouthed the words I love you. Later he told me this is why I picked you to be the MOA- you are fanatical in everything you do. I responded - I am, I didn't know that. I reasoned had I been a parent I would not been able to assume such a responsibility and help save Brice's life or develop a much closer relationship with him.

Even though I worked with Brice until he got released back home, the sad news is that Brice decided to give up on life without even telling me. He stopped taking his medication and all therapies unbeknownst to me, even though he had come such a long way. I was Brice's biggest cheerleader and he was mine. When I doubted my son would return home, Brice would light into me like I into him when he tried to stop believing that he would get better. I hope Brice is smiling down on me this morning. My only regret is he didn't live to see what he already knew would be.

Next came another challenge, I was asked to run on the union executive board slate on the Hicks/Nicholson campaign. Actually the race was quite close and we lost. I thought that was probably it for me as far as being a union officer. I convinced myself to believe I tried my best and it didn't work out. I had planned to spend some more time being a long earned couch potato. That didn't happen.

Challenge number 3- a colleague asked me to become the WTU Building representative after all she was retiring. I thought- hmmf are you kidding me ? She gave me a litany of reasons why I was the only one and I would be good for this job. At the time we had a lot of issues with one crazy, crazy boss. I knew that it could easily become another full time job. I longed for something to do while I mourned losing Brice. I was swamped with complaints from our members. I wrote emails into the night on members behalf. While I was burning the midnight oil, I enjoyed it immensely and ran 2 more times successfully. I was quite content just being a building rep. Then I was approached about running on another union slate as a board of trustee. I thought perhaps this would be a great opportunity to help our union, teachers and school related staff in a broader capacity. Of course we won and the rest is history. It lead to me writing this blog. Destiny ?

This past Friday, I was given an award titled 'Visionary' by my colleagues and program managers. While some other colleagues were given other awards- somehow the distinction of being a visionary humbled me. I was touched because I think that all that I have done for others was not of my own doing. I truly believe I was destined to be just who I have become. I had to lose my son for a reason so that I could be in this place. What's odd is that while I was just passing time awaiting Blake's return- I really wasn't waiting because I embraced my role and accepted my lot telling myself- it's not your season to be a mother. Time has really flown by fast. I cried through my pain the first 3 years of this ordeal. Sometimes, I didn't know if I was crying for Brice, crying for Blake or crying for myself. Heaven has many of my tears in a bottle to prove this. Little did I know while-I became engrossed in order to save my own sanity I found my true passion- the labor movement, albeit late.

This Saturday night I got a call from my aunt. Blake left of his own volition on Wednesday night from the controlling imprisonment of an alienating father. For those of you who don't know- there is a syndrome called parental alienation syndrome known as PAS where one parent tries to erase the other parent from a child's life by denigrating the other parent and brainwashing the child into a spiral of hatred against the targeted parent. In studies of thousands of custody cases, psychiatrists and psychologists have compared this syndrome to being in a cult. What we know about cults is that the cult leader (the father in this case) tries to deny contact from almost anyone from the outside world. The child complies in order to survive as well as others who reside with the cult leader. It leads to the child's virtual imprisonment and ultimate control by the leader or father in this case. This is what happened to us. After extensive research, PAS support groups, my participation in clinical studies , talks with my lawyers, I have better come to understand this syndrome.

I did not sleep at all last night. In fact I am still up and its 5:30 in the morning. I am not losing sleep for the same reasons that I did in the past. Tonight is the answer to a mother's long awaited prayers. Welcome home Blake! Thank you God- you're awesome ! I love and miss you too Brice- you will always be in my heart. For all of you who stood by me during these difficult times you know who you are and what you have meant to my survival. A 'special thanks' to my family. I thank you for all the times you listened and encouraged me to persevere. The names of my family members have been changed to protect them. (Posted by The Washington Teacher).

13 comments:

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

tauna said...

I celebrate with you! Enjoy your son Candi and thank you for sharing. Wishing you both much joy.

Jeff Canady said...

I'm extremely happy for you. God does answer prayers

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Old School DCPS said...

Thanks for sharing this moving story of your blessings with us.

Anonymous said...

Candi, I just read on the District Line blog of WaPo that the principal of Cooledge HS, Mr. Burton, is leaving. I read earlier this year that he said that less than 50% of his teachers (I think the fugure was even lower) were not up to the job of teaching there. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Candi... although I am not always on the same team or believe in the same things that you post as a union member... I am a mother and today I celebrate with you and I am very happy that your son is back in your life! Enjoy, smile and continue praying. There is power in prayer!

The Washington Teacher said...

Thanks for all of your kind words. I have enjoyed these last few days immensely. It is wonderful that it coincided with my spring break too.

I won't take family for granted ever again.

Heather said...

I am so happy for you!!

You know who this is, even though I won't say it here.

:-) Keep Your Head Up!

ed notes online said...

WOW! Congratulations on everything.
Norm

The Washington Teacher said...

I feel like a kid in a candy store this week. My week has been so totally awesome. I have heard about many family re-integration stories from others but I never in my wildest dreams imagined it could be this great. All the mundane things that we have to do as parents- I haven't been able to do for 5 years. Now just going out to the store with your child is a real treat. I remember when I use to think it wasn't ;-).

I no longer have to send him kisses on the wind. Thank you all for your kind words.

jmannii said...

Wow, Candi, I want to cry...

I am soooo happy for you, and Blake is just as blessed to have you back as you are to have him.

Howard said...

Candi,

What a moving saga. As a new visitor to your weblog, I congratulate on your perseverance and triumph over tragedy. Your prayers were answered. Every child deserves a mother like you. I hope that all of your future days with your son are filled with much love, laughter and happiness. Your new friend, HR