Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stephanie Nicole Pavlichek (1/12/84) - (4/3/09)


Once There was a Girl
For my daughter
© 2008

Where has she gone,
the child spinning stories,
dressing up, singing off-key?
Have you seen her around?

A minute passed, a lifetime
formed, blonde hair now Black
as the Stone of Mecca. She sat
right there for suppertime.

Madness crept in,
I know not when.
It cast its thin
grey sheet within
her mind, frozen
in time she spins
into insanity.

Where has she gone,
my once innocent girl
Her skirts awhirl?
Have you seen her around?


My husband, Stephanie's father, pointed out today how ironic it was that my last post here in March had to do with describing the last day our daughter stayed with us. He encouraged me to come back and read it so that I would stop beating myself up about her death. I don't know if I will ever stop asking "what if" and saying "if only", but at least I know in my heart of hearts that I tried everything possible to help her, to reach her, and to heal her.

But her death is not likely the result of her own hand. We are still waiting on the autopsy results, but it appears she died because of several blows to the head during a robbery in the wee hours of Sunday morning, March 29. She died later in the week after complaining of nausea and headache, but she did not say any of this to us. She didn't reach out to us or anyone else for help or support. She just went to sleep and never woke up.

My world has fallen apart. She was my greatest challenge and my dearest girl. I wanted so badly for her to survive! Damn it all to hell!

D

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Business of Living


I've been sorely neglectful of this blog. Look how long it's been!

The follow-up to my last post is that the next day our daughter went out to a meeting but never made it there. She decided to go to a bar (or a liquor store) instead and came home so trashed she could not stand up. Yes, she was driving in that condition, which made me incredibly angry. My feeling is - if you're dumb enough to want to kill yourself, don't take innocent people with you. We would have picked her up or called a cab. There was no reason for her to drive in that state.

We told her to go sleep it off and we'd talk about it in the morning when she was sober. Around 1 a.m., the dog woke us up to go outside, and my husband noticed that she was gone. She had taken the car and left. I called the police, because she was endangering others. I gave them her name, description, license plate number, and description of the car. When we heard from her around 2 p.m. the next afternoon (after my stomach was tense with worry), she casually announced she was calling from her "new place." She knew she had crossed every line and would not be allowed to stay with us. I informed her that I had called the police on her, and she seemed appalled. It never occurs to her that she's doing anything wrong, I suppose.

Since then, she's been living elsewhere, and the house is much calmer. Our son had to move home again, though, because he lost his job Christmas week and had not found another one. He is 21 and is in college. That meant we had to help him pay his bills for February (especially because we co-signed on his car), but it's the first time he has ever asked for or needed help from us in the 3 years he's had the car. I raised him exactly the same way I raised his sister, but with him, he's made of a different substance. He is the child I expected; she is the child I did not.

Nevertheless, I love them both and worry over them like any mother.

For the most part, in spite of the drama with our daughter, we have had a pretty normal life - whatever normal really means. We have ups, downs, and everything in between. And for all this time, I have kept a huge part of me hidden away - not from those close to me, but certainly from anyone I know through church. Being in 12-step, going to therapy, and being in psychology courses in grad school has led to me having to get harsh and real with myself. So many aspects of my personality have been stifled and that has led to some anxiety, depression, and guilt.

On my other blog, Poetic License, I came out to my readers. It's only fair and right that I do the same thing here. This has meant that I also had to get real with my group leaders at church. I was given the information on the stance of the church, which is that "the marital relationship was designed by God to be between a man and a woman," meaning that I'm not okay.

Well, God and I have talked about this long and hard. He doesn't want me to live a life of sadness, guilt, and inauthenticity. He designed me to be happy in his Creation. I think after nearly 47 years of life, I deserve a little of that, don't I? It isn't that I haven't always loved my husband, but I have always felt that something major was missing. When I've gotten close to women (and I won't divulge how close), it's been incredibly different. There was a hole in my heart that was filled up. I felt complete.

God doesn't make mistakes, and there are plenty of churches out there that will be happy to have me as part of their congregation. I'm back in searching mode and will keep you posted of my progress.

Meanwhile, my entries here are still likely to be infrequent due to my course load at school. It's rewarding, though. It truly is. I know this is the right path for me.

Peace - D

[photo credit]

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Topographical


I have never liked rollercoasters. I prefer the smooth, evenness of wide expanses of ground, a low, wide hill breaking up the landscape now and again. Yet my life continues on this wild up-and-down swing that has me quite distraught.

Truly, I am doing much better than when I wrote the last post, but things are still very unsettled. The year has started out badly. My strength and my faith are being tested.

Since I came back to Our Lord in early 2008, my marriage has been rocky. I won't say more than that, but I think it's so hard when one believes and the other does not.

And since Christmas, when our daughter came home and started the business of getting sober, things have been even more rocky. Last night, we discovered that she had stolen something like 40-50 Xanax from our personal medication stash. For the record, it takes me about 6 months to go through a prescription for Xanax. Mostly they help me when my brain won't shut off from it's constant fretting at night. For my husband, he needs them when the panic attacks strike. We are each down to a mere handful, less than a dozen each. And with prescriptions that can't be filled again for a month, we're hoping for the best.

We confronted her around midnight last night, and she came clean. She said she was having a "bad time" and that she needed them. She admitted to rifling through our nightstands when we weren't home. All of my worries about her being here, all of my fears, had come home to roost. I thought she'd been doing so well. It explains a lot about her long hours in bed and her urging us to go out. I told her how disappointed I was and that I needed some time to think about what to do. My first impulse is to show her the door. After all, she's broken some clear rules here. But where will she go? I think I'm going to have to encourage her to find a place to go, though. I simply can't trust her under this roof. That's her fault, not mine.

What I can do is pray for her and about the situation. I said to a friend recently that it gives me comfort to be able to take my worries to God instead of handling them all on my own. That's just what I need to do. Daughter's problems go so much further than "simple" alcoholism. She is a crafty, street-wise girl who will do anything for her next fix. Kick the alcohol? No problem. Just let me find something to replace it. So much for her progress.

What my nearly-8-months of a 12-step program for codependency has done for me is to let me see the boundaries, to let me understand that this truly isn't something I created or am responsible for. I got mad at my sponsor for asking me whether or not I was doing the right thing letting our daughter move back in, whether or not our daughter could truly not take care of herself. Daughter has had so many chances to get her life together. She knows she really screwed up this time, yet she is sleeping like a baby.

She brought chaos to this house once again.

I am fighting hard to stay on track with my own recovery and with my path to God. I have been neglecting my prayer time, though, because of all the ruckus. I have to remember to give this to God. Only He can take care of this situation. I am only human, after all. I feel that I am constantly being tested, though. Not a day of my return to faith has been easy. Not a day of it has been without tests and pitfalls. It would be so much easier to go back to the way I was before, but I know how miserable I was then. That wasn't a good place to be.

So today... just for today...I'm going to remember who is the Divine Creator who knows the master plan. I'm going to remember to give him the glory, the honor, and the praise - and yes, even the worries, because His wisdom and strength are so much greater than mine.

This post may not make much sense to any of you out there, but it is my attempt to put a map down in front of my face, to see where I've been and where I have yet to go, to see that - though I'm stuck in the thickest, highest part of the mountains - there is a land of freedom on the other side. I shall endure.

Peace -D

[photo credit]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sanity

Today I am praying for God's mercy and peace. I am praying that He gives me the strength to get through one hour, and then the next and the next. The things I'm dealing with are very painful and are piling one on top of the other.

Let's say that my life is about to change drastically, and I am so afraid that the whole house of cards we've built is about to fall apart. And yet, could it be any worse than the life I've been living?

I've had thoughts of suicide. Thoughts of giving up. Thoughts of forgoing grad school - after all, what would it matter? I can't make as good a living with that degree as I make now. And yet, I still feel that God led me to take on this program. If I don't go, am I disobeying God? I feel like I'm in this stagnant place all of a sudden, like everything I've laid out for myself is going to fall apart because of one person's instability.

I'm about to deal with that.

God give me strength
Give me wisdom
Give me hope
But most of all, shower me with your divine love and peace.

D

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When the World Presses In


It's so hard to be a person of faith in this world sometimes, particularly when the people you love most cock a skeptical eyebrow at your faith or look askance at your invitation for them to join you at church for Christmas. Sometime those looks or the perceived thoughts and feelings behind the looks can really get you down -- at least they get me down. It isn't easy to swim upstream against the current.

And then I read this verse: "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first" - John 15:18 (NLT) (Jesus speaking to his disciples in the gospel of John).

I figure that if the world hated Jesus, who am I to think the world should love me? So I made that my Bible verse of the week, the one I would commit to memory and recall throughout my day. This verse will, I know, stick with me much longer than a week. It will be my touchstone for those moments in which I feel the world is coming down on me, when I feel alone in my faith and in my walk with God. It will remind me that Jesus faced the same challenges we all face because he was fully human in addition to being fully God.

Recently I read the book "The Shack" (Wm. Young) which presented the Holy Trinity in a unique and awe-inspiring way. I don't want to give anything away, but let me say that it was one of the most comforting books I've ever read. If you find yourself feeling distant from God or if you're feeling that if there was a God, He wouldn't let these bad things happen in the world, read this book. If you need a little boost to your faith, read this book. And if you're at the end of your rope, read this book.

The verse and the book have done more to bring God's love, faithfulness, and steadfastness home to me than anything I've encountered in a long time. My closer walk with God continues. He is more real to me than anything in this world, and I love Him.

Peace - D