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Shellon

Expressions of Freedom

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Shellon, whew that was well written, so expressive of the difficulties endured. The control that they assumed over our lives, is simply astonishing.

You bring back the frustration and questions about why we submitted, why we allowed ourselves to be silenced, why we complied with insane edicts...sigh

It is un imaginable that they made our basic choices, even down to deciding whether we were allowed to produce children at a given time.

The demands that you submit to all of those guys, opening your home and check book at all hours of the night....geemany...That leader saying that about your sweet teenaged daughter, demonstrates how completely insane they were in just assuming that this was an acceptable thing to tell a 16 yr olds mother....

Wow, what lunatics. Thank God that you are free, that your children had such a fiercely tough and independent mama that would fight so selflessly for their safety and freedom....

It frightens me how much easier that it would have been to just turn off your heart, shut out that inner voice and submit brokenly...to be swallowed up by twi.

You are a strong woman.

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This story takes some twists and turns as I follow a new path of what I hope is self discovery. It's not without pains and, finally, the release of tears, the acceptance of what is mine and what I can give to others. A lot of admitting that I did the best I could, my husband did his best, our children have much to be proud of and it's going to be alright.

Someday.

I have to believe that this will eventually prove to be a good thing and I'll see my way out the other end stronger and better.

I'm mostly happy and proud to announce a book being written telling the story of how two people wandered into an abusive, manipulative, oppresive religious organization and only one of them made it out and what it cost. And what it still costs today, every day.

I've been considering that price recently and it's been mostly brutal and painful as I look at the heart and realize (or admit) that.

The support of a few who hang in there no matter how rough the road gets or how many times they have to hear the story has been priceless and there will never be thanks proper.

With tears I can only say that it's not been on purpose that I journey that trail, but of necessity, for life, to get to the place of understanding that continued breath is the right thing. God knows I'd rather do something else.

My 14 year old, who didn't know I was listening : "It's been almost 13 years daddy"

Oh Amazing, Amazing Grace

Edited by Shellon
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Imagine, if you can, the ability to crush a person. Take her will to live. Remove all joy from her life until she's a hollow shell of a human being whose only thought is "Dear, God. Why haven't you killed me yet?"

That might be the best way to describe losing my husband and trying to understand where a f'ing religious organization might have played a part, where the man was his own enemy, where I "missed it", where the he!! we go from there and seriously looking at my kids and knowing that I have to get up, I have to breath, especially breath out.

The human spirit is a fragile thing.

A friend of mine on the phone last evening said "I wish my man would die like yours; it has to be easier than this bullshi+ I'm living with now. My answer was for her to look in the faces of her children as they lay sleeping and ask herself some serious questions.

I am a strong woman, I am a fierce scrapper and I'm still very pizsed off but my babies needed their mama, my babies needed some solid something, my babies needed to know that even though daddy was dead, mama was not going to die too.

It's a daily thing when you're that low and breathing isn't always the better choice. I didn't want to consider that my breathing was only contigent on my man being alive, but when one speaks vows to another, at least for me, I was serious; I meant every word and I fully joined my heart with his so what was I to do with this half of a heart now.

It sure didn't beat in any pattern that was compatible with life.

I keep trying to find an end to this story and there just doesn't seem to be one. This morning as I watched my 14 year old walk from my car to her school, I remembered her at 23 months old when daddy died. She had no idea what was going on, she played, she sang to herself, she stuffed strawberries up her nose while I was on the phone with a Coroner deciding the disposal of her fathers remains. Now she's this amazing, beautiful, hysterical teenager and I decided that's what this life is about, we're ok, we're strong and most days are really really good.

Before becoming a widow at 36 years old, I only knew aged widows, you know, grandma. There aren't a lot of resources for young widows and people didn't really know what to do with me, how to speak to me, what direction to place their eyeballs when I was in front of them, what to say.

Sadness, pity, sorrow, fear, confusion, awkward, unsteady, scared, speechless. Those are descriptions of how others behaved with "her and those two daughters".

I felt if I stopped putting them in such uncomfortable situations that I could help them. So I stayed home. There's not much call for a single woman at weddings and somehow worse if she's a young widow. The tables at functions are mostly set for an even number of diners; couples. I was even uncomfortable at funerals ! 'cuz my presence somehow drew from that widow or widower into "oh, you must be in such pain being here". I often felt like I'd worn white to a wedding and distracted from the bride.

Life is so odd.

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And today I'm struck more than in a very long time with how very alone it is to parent after a spouse has died. I have decisions to make regarding my child, very important ones that will shape her future, maybe, and I have to do them without the bounce of the other person.

Pay the bills. Alone

Mess up the plumbing by thinking it can be done without a professional. Alone

Decide what car to buy, is it the best buy. Alone

Deal with teachers, school boards, bully's. Alone

Take on major decisions that might very well alter our lives. Alone

Death of loved ones. No one but me.

Our oldest child's high school graduation. Yup, just me

Our youngest's first day of school. Ditto

Our oldest's drug problem. Solo

Our youngest's current health issue. I'm it

our oldest's recent hospitalization, almost bleeding to death and then her surgery after. uhhuh you guessed it.

Life

Alone

Edited by Shellon
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Words fail me, your story moves me, my heart aches for you. You will find the right ending to this. You are strong & courageous.

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I sorta hate to have this end on some morose sad place.

This last week, for me, has been one of great loss and great understanding and great reckoning; none of it fun, none of it holding the humor that I usually search for and cherish.

In five short and fast paced days, a family member has acted in such a way as to make us understand cruel and sick, I've lost a dear and loved person, I heard both my daughters say things to me that no mama wants to hear but has to if she's worth a shi+ as their mother. I've journed on into territories that are scarey and exciting and containing a whole bunch of 'oh crap what am I doing'. I am house hunting, I am starting my business finally, I have let go of some heavy duty crap and I've come to a renewed understanding of friendship and never want to take that for granted again. Tomorrow.....we'll see. Alot of the time I even get it right.

I sometimes forget to breath out.

In so doing the last couple of days I have had to admit things to myself that I've avoided, I've looked in the reflective thing and finally saw that I'm not one of the shiny happy people that I think is required of me.

The point is that it doesn't matter what others require of me; I get it again. What matters is what I require of me and whether or not I deliver. At the end of the day when I put head to pillow, can I say I did my best, can I feel like my kids are proud of their mama, can I say my actions today were honorable, just?

If either of those is a 'no' answer, then I pray for tomorrow to try again, to ask for forgiveness, to accept my faults as simply that, nothing bigger or worse.

I have forgiven myself and that's a very welcoming, comforting place of the best acceptance and willingness to learn and grow and listen and hear and follow and keep understanding.

It is well.

Edited by Shellon
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Shellon,

I can only imagine the things you're dealing with right now. I don't even know how to express my support of you and your family during these trying times.

People aren't always their best during difficult times. It seems that the crap that life deals out has a way of making us see not only our strengths but also our weaknesses. The point is never that we are perfect - only that we seek the most perfect solution - or to at least recognize the best solution when it comes along.

You know... I hate to point out something trivial, but for some strange reason, someone reading this thread feels it necessary to "mark you down" each time you post. I find myself marking you "up" to counteract that silly little red "1" in the lower right hand of your posts. (I didn't do it yet just to make my point.)

I have never seen you as a whiner or one who seeks attention. You don't use your family issues to garner some kind of notoriety for yourself. I have always viewed your posts about your girls as a way to let a bunch of people know what is happening. You have not spoken badly about folks publicly. So I don't quite get what the the issue can be that someone has with you on this point. I know you can't comment - and won't comment - but it seems to me a cowardly thing to simply put that mark of disapproval. There's no accountability to that mark - all it says is that someone doesn't like what you've said.

I know that in addressing this to you I'm writing to the wrong person, but I guess that somehow I wanted you to realize that if I noticed it then surely there are many more folks who noticed it.

I find nothing offensive in the posts on this thread. Even if I didn't agree with some of the decisions you've made - you've always been an introspective and honest poster. I'm glad for your insight and strength.

Perhaps we should all learn to walk in someone else's shoes before we come reigning down with judgement. And I say that with a lot of perspective on being wrongly judged as well as judging wrongly.

Keep on being there for your girls and let them be there for you.

Edited by doojable

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Hi Shellon and Doojable,

Yeah, that consistently irratating "-1" on Shellon's posts has been bugging me for a while too.

I've said that it's the kind of thing where this web format gives us the right to do, but when that first became possible here at GSC I said right away that what I didn't like about the "vote" system because it seemed all to likely to me that it would be used in a petty or counterproductive fashion. Except for the irratating -1's on Shellons post I think folks have been not too petty or annoying though.

I am glad "it is well" for you right now Shellon.

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Well, I just gave an extra vote to that last post of Shellon's.

You have a number should you ever want to talk, Shellon.

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Hello Jeff and Doojable

Your concerns and encouragements are welcome and appreciated; thank you.

I guess it doesn't bother me much, I knew when I started telling this story that it might ruffle some feathers, it might pi$s some off or minimally generate some hurumphs!

I'm ok with that, thanks to the great support and encouragement to even TELL the damn story in the first place, after so many years of just sitting on it. Thanks, Jeff.

Even in the prayer forum, sadly not everyone is supportive and/or encouraging and while that's sad, I am not altogether shocked, even if disappointed.

I determine that I'm not going to shut up anymore, regardless. Not even with -1's all the day long.

That is not to be confused with never considering that I'd made a huge error in putting this out there. It's my life and my children's lives and the life of a man who can not speak for himself. I'm not necessarily proud of that, all the time.

Most of the time I wish I didn't even have a story to tell !

As my life unfolds and I understand more and more of my own strengths and places where I have weakness or fault, I also understand that the strengths far outweigh the others and it's ok.

Edited by Shellon

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Hey shellon. You've got my support. Don't know what's going on but you have my prayers. You've told your story & have done a tremendous job with it. Hold hour head high. Keep on keeping on. You are a tough cookie!! God bless you & your family.

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Hey shellon. You've got my support. Don't know what's going on but you have my prayers. You've told your story & have done a tremendous job with it. Hold hour head high. Keep on keeping on. You are a tough cookie!! God bless you & your family.

Thinking about your post more, wanted to answer more properly. There isn't really anything 'going on' but I am learning so much about myself and trying to understand how/why things happen, seeking answers and understanding that I'm likely not going to get answers and that pi$$es me off more than anything else. I'm the 'just tell me straight' girl and I'm learning that being that girl is a bad thing; I just haven't figured out where to put that and still be me. Clear as mud huh?

But life is like that, isn't it? We have to keep breathing and not forget to breath out! doh.gif oh yeah, that!

As dynamics of life unfold and change and shift and stuff gets altered or good 'ol phucked up, we have to roll and bob and weave, huh? I can do that. I'm in a, hopefully, exciting place of wanting the old fashioned stuff, the traditional stuff, the american dream.

Bob has been dead almost 13 years, my children are 28 and almost 15, it's time to do other things and explore, look for support and seek love.

I grieve and I mourne and I learn that little is really known, little is honest and even less is revealed at the end of the day. To couple that with celebration of a new stage of life is major trippy.

I've stated in this story that I seek the final chapter of it, I want to find an ending to this one, that I want to understand where I can learn and where I can teach and then I find that most days it's ok to understand that there really is no 'The End' to ones story; or I guess I hope so anyway.

I struggle with how much of our lives I've puked out here and whether or not it will bite me in the a$$ and whether or not the cost will have been worth that loss. It's so easy for any of us to say "thank you for telling your story, it helped me more than you know" but I'm finally getting that those who say that are no where to be found tomorrow.

Real life is real weird.

I keep hanging on to such a pride in my daughters that yet remains unfathomable and makes the heart in my chest swell. I am so damn proud of their tenacity and strength and so thankful for their laughter and their genius, their grace under their mothers need and their generosity to me. I'm so thankful they were given to me to take care of and love. I'm beyond grateful for their story of love and their own personal journey that I get to be a part of.

I regret hurts and I am sorry for my part in them and yet I understand they, too, are a part of this; my own journey.

I've decided to try to finish my degree but will never again promise.

I've chosen to start my business but will no longer explain why to those that don't get it.

I've come full circle in appreciation for those that get my honesty and can hack it but understand those that are scared.

I've realized that I know nothing in my curiosity to learn everything.

I am now comfortable with the strengths of those that can ask and hear me when I answer.

My grandfather told me so many wonderful and helpful things as I was growing up and I listened very closely with powerful love for the man; I have many favorites. He told me to not fear change, to not run from loss, to stick it out no matter how bumpy it might get, he told me to keep my word no matter who else kept theirs, he told me to never take what was not mine and to have the courage to remember.

Smart man, I wish I could thank him again and I even more wish he knew my children and was still here to give me more of his sage wisdom earned from hard fought experience under sometimes vile and ugly conditions. He would understand like no one can now be willing.

Put one foot in front of the other even if you have to literally grab your pants leg to do it.

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Shellon,

Wow!!! I think you have found the end of a chapter here!! As we both realize, 'The End' is far off; at least, we hope it is!! (Unless you are talking about a certain book.)

Your grandfather was indeed a wise man. I don't remember having conversations like that with my granddads, only with my paternal grandmother.

Good luck with your classes. I've got about 5 weeks then I will have a short break before summer session.

Becky

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Shellon,

Wow!!! I think you have found the end of a chapter here!! As we both realize, 'The End' is far off; at least, we hope it is!! (Unless you are talking about a certain book.)

Your grandfather was indeed a wise man. I don't remember having conversations like that with my granddads, only with my paternal grandmother.

Good luck with your classes. I've got about 5 weeks then I will have a short break before summer session.

Becky

Yeah, another book definately, maybe more than that; we'll see if they sell or not. Might just be the longest therapy I've ever done and nothing more. I meant for this story (and the book) to be only about TWI but as you know from writing, things sort of..........grow. :-)

Just when I think I've come full circle on something, there seems to be another beginning and I'm learning to embrace that. Those seasons and stages of ones life are clearer to me now. I'm ready for home, love, together with someone kind of family again, companionship, a hand to hold, grandma/grandpa stage of life. (eeeekk)

A year ago I would have never ! said I was ready for those things, no way, ever.

Kelly is only in my house another 3 years as far as high school, Samantha is grown up and doing very well, I am essentially alone in my plans and it's weird and I get it. So, there are some endings, some beginnings, some middle stuff that just won't go away no matter what I do and maybe it's supposed to be that way too, huh?

For 28 years I've been a mama with no major health problems for my kids until now. So that's a new and very frightening reality as we journey through that one and I have to stay back a little so that she can learn the skills to cope with her new lifestyle in her own strengths and only my oversight.

My parents have reached that stage of life where their needs from me are changing and it requires a renewed dynamic with my brothers and my step parents.

The college degree that I need the most is within reach and I've shoved it back over and over simply out of not knowing what I want to do with it even if I got it. That one will have (and has been) the most expensive therapy, and almost as lengthy in time as the book(s).

I struggle with finding a voice and puzzle at having to use it so loudly when I do find it. Life is full of respect and lack thereof and I understand that particular circle too.

I seek whatever spiritual needs there are for me and of course deal with the clouds of trust that haven't cleared. I have come to understand in this adventure that if I never find that, I already have everything I need so it's not like it's a thirst for God to fill me with something.

I enjoy that in this life we get to seek, we get to listen, we get to look upon those things and we get to ask. I'm learning that most don't like me asking and therefore finding new ways to decide if I care.

I'm curious about everything and I want to know, but I am finding that those that say they love that, don't. Those that offer to encourage that, won't. Those that push me in the ways they think I should go really didn't listen to the directions I gave or give me the value of the plan being mine.

It's good and it's ok. I'm rich with a couple of really great and honest friends, I'm blessed with amazing daughters, I'm not shutting my eyes to better, I'm not closing off the door to understanding.

As the 13th anniversary of Bob's death approaches, this is the first year it's been so painful while at the same time Samantha is doing mostly ok with all that now and Kelly is just beginning her grief; so again our stages of grief and loss and acceptance are at completely different places. We love each other; it's all we've got.

Life or death is unique and there is no handbook on this stuff, there is no way to know if I'm doing it right until it shows itself and often then it's too late to stop people getting hurt and I pray for what I need for that.

This story has been me telling our private story, our personal good and not so much, me blabbing things and trusting. Not a small deal for me. Some have taken advantage of that but I expected it and the cost to them will be evident. I don't worry too much about that as I come to understand it's not mine.

It's a process and I'm ok with being there.

Edited by Shellon
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This story has been me telling our private story, our personal good and not so much, me blabbing things and trusting. Not a small deal for me. Some have taken advantage of that but I expected it and the cost to them will be evident. I don't worry too much about that as I come to understand it's not mine.

And on that note, I end this here.

And........the 10th Anniversary of Greasespot Cafe?! Wow, I've been here from the beginning of that and before. Yikes. There were MANY a night when Samantha was MIA or Kelly was sick or I was trying to remember why I was in school that I could come into chat and hang out and have something in common with you all. The laughs, I miss that very much ! Thank you Paw for the laughs around here and allowing me such freedom to do whatever it is I do here.

I don't have a crystal ball and can't say for sure where our journey will take us now. We've had some recent significant losses in our family that have caused me to stop and be sure I'm where I'm supposed to be and I find that I'm not. So, therein lies the next part of life that involves re-grouping and taking with me what I need from mistakes; some bigger than others and some more painful than others.

Alot of this life, I understand now, isn't mine to claim as fault(s) and I like being there, too. I don't have to accept things just because someone said "it is what it is".

Not to me it's not and that's my choice and thank God I get to have those options.

Kelly is almost a Sophomore in High School, I'm starting my little Advocacy business, Samantha is doing very well in her own life. Things are moving forward just like they're supposed to be and I'm proud of that in our little family. Kailin is 5 years old and about to start Kindergarten; amazing. My son in law and I are finding a place where we can love each other for the sake of those we love in common.

I'm kicking around the idea of adding a partner in my life so I'm looking at that with the lens of alot of 'hmmmmm' and trying to figure out how that works in this journey and if I truly want it to. We'll see, as it goes.

Those of you who have supported this story, I heartily thank you.

copyright Shellon R North April 20, 2010

Edited by Shellon

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Shellon,i can only say,You are never alone,There will always be at least one person,one christian,

from gods amazing family to be there for you.Who,why or when is gods buisness.

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Who,why or when is gods buisness.

I'm finally understanding that, Frank, thank you.

Sometimes I wanna bi+ch about the painful journey to get to that but then I must remember that's it's all part of that journey.

And to let God do God's thing and to stay out of his way........

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