I've never been shy about struggles in my life. It hasn't been a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. But then again, who's life is? My father was an absent alcoholic for most of my life. He was an addict with an uncontrollable temper when he drank. My first significant memories around age 3 & 4 were of my dad beating my mom during heated late night arguments. She used to climb into bed with my sister and I afterwards, because she knew he wouldn't come after her there.
When there was an argument downstairs which escalated into violence, my sister and I would watch him beat her from the top of the staircase through the rungs on the banister, frightened for my mom's life. I will never forget the time he was in a complete rage, ripped the downstairs toilet right out of the floor and hurled it across the living room at her. I remember my mom calling the police, who proceeded to arrest him. I cried the whole time pleading with them "Don't take my daddy!" As much as he hurt my mom, I didn't want my dad to be taken away.
Needless to say, the upstairs bathroom was off limits, because he grew pot in there, and now no toilet downstairs either. Fun stuff. I was witness to more drug deals (pot & cocaine), smoke sessions, beer runs and nights at the bar by the age of 4 than some people experience in their college years. Eventually, my mom had enough and divorced my dad. I would not see my father again until age 9, and didn't even know where he lived. He later told me he became homeless during this time.
At age 6, my mom remarried; She was a bartender (going to college at the time) and married one of her customers. He was a much better provider, a Chief Master Sargeant Air Force, and basically whisked us away to live in Florida where things were less chaotic. However, he was also an alcoholic. As the first couple years went by, the honeymoon period dwindled and the arguments became more regular. Once again, the black cloud of fear was back and seemed never to leave. I will never forget the time my step-dad threw a chair right through our giant kitchen window and shattered it into a million pieces. Rules were a plenty and I was constantly walking on eggshells, scared of making one false move in that house, or asking for anything that required $$. I didn't want to be the cause of a fight about credit cards.
By age 13, I was so miserable at home, that my sister and I tried living with my real father back in St. Louis. At the time, he and his new wife had one toddler and announced a couple months after we had moved in that they were expecting #2. I should add that it was already 5 of us living in a converted apartment with 1 bathroom, built on top of an old barn. Yes, a barn! My sister and I shared a "bedroom", which was basically drywall with tape and mud (no paint) and no ceiling. Let's just say I never felt completely welcome and it lasted less than 1 year before I moved back to FL with my mom and step-dad.
During HS, my real father was diagnosed with MDS (myelodisplastic syndrome) and cancer. He underwent treatment for 7 years and passed away in 2001, 1 semester before I graduated college. By then my mom had been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and was battling cancer as well. She also fought it for seven years before losing her battle. Unbelievably, my step-father was also diagnosed with colon cancer during the last year of my mom's life and never recovered fully from surgery to remove it (his liver and bodily systems were totally diseased from so much alcohol and poor lifestyle habits). My step-father passed first and then my mom 6 months later in 2005.
Of course I did have plenty of happy memories. There were A LOT of things my mom did for us as kids that proved what a spirited, creative, caring, and loving mom she truly was. I think she just had a knack for picking bad mates and might have had an undiagnosed mental issue, but besides that she was a great mom. She didn't have the easiest start to life either, but more on that later.
If you are still reading GOD BLESS YOU! I wasn't intending to pour out the condensed biography of Emily, but I warned you early on my blog is my free form of therapy! Things got much better once the grief of losing my mom subsided slightly. I married the most amazing man in the world, and we started a new life together. It really has been the best time of my life since then, up until the point I was diagnosed with infertility about 2 years ago and this whole ridiculous TTC journey started.
One of the reasons I so desperately want to start a family is that I don't have much family left. The other is that I want a chance to raise my own children the way they are supposed to be raised, in a safe, loving, open and fun environment. I want to feel the joy of a having my own children and give them the love they deserve in a family they are proud to be part of. Of course, there is also that innate desire to have children that billions of people over the past countless number of centuries have been born with... I guess I was just born with the desire to have children like everyone else.
Why then must it be so damn hard? Through each pregnancy loss, I have begged the question of God "WHY???" Through every invasive appointment, every painful shot, and every hard earned dollar spent, I've asked "WHY???" And when I don't seem to get an answer my questions turn into, "Is there really a God at all? Do I even believe in God (as described in the Bible) anymore?" Some days I seriously doubt my faith.
I mean, I have come to terms with the fact that I had a shitty family life growing up, but will it ever truly be "happily ever after?" Ok, forget happily ever after. I don't even believe in that, but how about just NORMAL? I would give anything for normal, average, or anything not involving medical treatments. It just feels like STRUGGLE has been such a common theme for way too long. When you feel like you are doing everything right, yet you're being punished or tested for no reason day in and day out...when you can't seem to be blessed with the one thing in life you want and everyone else has, WHY???
As you know, I've been doing my best not to be soooo focused on fertility things recently. I haven't been on infertility forums for days and I'm trying to make it more than 24 hours without discussing treatment with my husband. Yes, that is actually progress. Yesterday, I was in search of a book to distract me and to give me some hope that I AM still in God's hands and that He hasn't totally forsaken me...or at minimum that He really exists. Sorry, but I was just needing something other than reading a bunch of Bible verses.
I came upon Proof of Heaven and am so glad I did...
Dr. Alexander gives one of the most unique perspectives I have ever read, outlining the most descriptive account of what Heaven really looks and feels like from someone who's actually been there, along with plenty of evidence for why this couldn't just be his brain playing tricks on him while he was "asleep." He should not have survived the coma at all, and telling this story became his life's mission after his recovery.
He speaks of the opportunity to actually ask God himself why there is evil in the world. God's response?
That Evil is necessary because without it free will is impossible, and without free will there could be no growth-no forward movement, no chance for us to become what God longs for us to be. Horrible and all powerful as evil sometimes seems to be in a world like ours, in the larger picture love is overwhelmingly dominant, and it would ultimately be triumphant.
I know a few people might be rolling their eyes out there. For me though, there were just a lot of messages like this I needed to hear. Some messages I've heard before, but hearing them in a different way was helpful...as a reminder if nothing else that God is real and that struggle happens for a reason. That life does exist after our life here on Earth. That our loved ones are watching from above and helping to protect us. That everything we are going through here on Earth is for a reason, even if we don't understand it at the time. It's part of the growing process. It makes us who we are and what we're meant to become.