Many of you might be wondering what happened after my big JACK epiphany at a funeral.
I am going to be brutally honest in my answer.
But first you should know, that for the first time in almost two years I am completely unmedicated.
I’ll give you a moment to digest that.
I’m going to warn you now. This post is going to be scattered. It might be hard to follow, I will jump from topic to topic, and…well, welcome to my head 24/7.
Being unmedicated is the HARDEST thing I’ve done in my life. When you are on anti-depressents and antipsychotics, you quickly forget what life off of them was like. Let me tell you.
IT REALLY FUCKING SUCKS.
I can’t sleep anymore because my head is back to racing a thousand miles a moment. I cry any time I am along in the car. I am horrible at being a mom. I’m over eating to the point that the number on the scale has moved from, “damn that sucks,” to “this is serious.” I hear constant noise in my head. I shake often. I don’t feel like I have a place in this world, and I feel alone in every single inch of it because not one REAL LIFE person I know has what I have.
One thing that kept me going through all of this was Jack. I’ve steadily worn my WWJD bracelet. Never removing it, (okay once, but dude I wasn’t sticking my bracelet inside a turkey ass on thanksgiving to dig out the giblets).
But then something happened.
I heard things about Jack that I didn’t like. I take being a parent seriously. I became medicated because I wanted to be a better mom. A mom who yelled less. Who was nicer to my kids. I just wanted to be the best mom I could be. So hearing one day that my HERO had done things as a father that I didn’t agree with deflated me. It literally sucked the life out of me. I wanted to rip the bracelet off. Who was this man. This hero. How could I follow him anymore?
But I made a deal with myself to think it through before taking the bracelet off.
Insert drastic subject change here.
I’ve been noticing things were wrong in my life for a while now. I’m not happy in my house. I’m not happy with my body. I’m not happy with who I am as a parent.
I couldn’t place it. None of it. I knew there was something there but what? Then two nights ago while going through the 14,000 pictures on my computer I came to the set of pictures from the last house we lived in. I started crying immediately. There, were probably 10,000 pictures of things I had forgotten. How often I took Brandon outside to run in the sprinkler. How many times we sat out back and chalked. How often I had my camera with me capturing my kids smile. Playing with them in the sand. I saw pictures of walks to the park, while I walked and Brandon rode his first bike there. I was crushed. Where did this mother go? What happened to me? How had I become so shitty?
I reflected on my life now. My kids come home and I often find myself telling them to go in the play room while I read a book. Why? Because I need me time right? I just could not figure out what changed. And then I had a Bob Harper moment (the hottie trainer from Biggest loser).
How did I get to that Bob Harper moment? I reflected back on Jack. I looked at my bracelet and then I stopped and looked at his kids. I only know one of his kids well but Rick, the son I do know blows my mind. He is amazing. He is happy. Energetic. He gives off positive vibes like no other. He jumps at the chance to help people. He stops and takes 20 minutes out of his day to listen to a messed up girl (me) and then takes the time to advise me. Not only advise me, but leave me with quotes. Tell me examples of his own life. EMPATHISE with me. Rick, this crazy busy man took the time out of his day to help a person. He told me that everything happens for a reason. That there is a bigger plan for me. That I AM GOING TO BE OKAY. It is impossible to think of Rick without smiling. You cannot mention Rick or his brother Ted without eliciting a smile from the other person. And then it hit me. Rick, this wonderful, amazing, heartfelt, enlightened, passionate person was who he was because of Jack.
Sitting here in bed with my husband tonight it all became clear. Jack was teaching me a lesson again. Jack was teaching me that it is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to do things that aren’t great. It is okay as long as you do more good then you do bad. Suddenly in those 2 minutes of talking to my husband I realized so much. I need to let go of the past parenting mistakes I’ve made. I need to stop holding on to them. Stop worrying that my kids will have residual effects of me yelling and instead concentrate on becoming not only the best mom that I can be but the best teacher I can be. Everything Rick and his family are, is because of their parents. BOTH PARENTS (Yes Roe, you too, you held their crazy asses together). Suddenly I understood that this bracelet was here to remind me every day of a few things: To take it easy on myself, to remember to teach my children to be men, to remember to teach them to be positive, to remember to teach them to do good for others, to teach them to have kind hearts, to teach them to be full of energy and laughter so contagious that when other people meet my children they can’t help but smile too. It was time to stop dwelling on what I’d done and start concentrating on what I needed to do.
It’s been almost 7 months since Jack left and he’s still teaching me things. He’s teaching me so much. He’s teaching me that my biggest job in life is to create children who will someday stand at my funeral and not only have good things to say about me, but to have wisdom to pass on. To create children that the rest of the world looks up to.
You guessed it. That bracelet is still firmly planted on my wrist. It’s now there to remind me to teach my boys integrity. To teach them selflessness. To teach them to truly enjoy life. To teach them the meaning of living like God, and doing for others not based on what they will get out of it, but based simply on what the other person will.
That sneaky Jack, all this time later and he’s still teaching me….without even knowing it.
So back to my Bob Harper moment. While talking all of this through with my husband I said, you know one thing I noticed in all those pictures was that we only had one living room. I was forced to be with my kids. I didn’t have the option of sending them in a play room, and at that point that was normal. So last night when I sat down to read, I reflected on that and instead got up, went in the playroom with them and we all snuggled on the couch reading together until they both fell asleep.
But I still struggled with something. Something wasn’t right. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. The thing Bob always talks about .
In the old house I used to scrapbook often. But not at home. I actually left the house for about two hours, once a week and went to the scrapbooking store and buried myself in that for what felt like a hundred hours. I came home refreshed, happy, and thrilled to see my kids.
It occurred to me that I was mistaking spending time in my own living room while my kids spent time in the play room as ME TIME. My therapists have been saying for two years I need to set aside me time. I just couldn’t do it. That is selfish. What kind of mom does that?
A GOOD ONE!
My husband goes to the gym right now. Three times a week ALL BY HIMSELF. He has HIM TIME. But what do I do? I sit in a room 20 feet from my kids trying to concentrate on a book or TV show all the while still hearing them scream and fight and hit each other and throw fits. It isn’t ME TIME If I am close enough for them to come complaining to me when one of them stole the other ones blue cup and THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD WAS ENDING. I told my husband tonight that I’m going to start scheduling real life me time. A pedicure. A trip to Starbucks to read Steve Jobs bio in peace and quiet (not with the noise of my husbands video game in the background, or kids screaming or a dog itching). I am going to do what Bob says and finally find time for me. That way when I’m home with the kids I’ll want to be with them. I won’t feel so starved for time away .
Being off medication is hard. It’s taking a lot of faith. A lot of tears. A lot of understanding from my husband. But it’s teaching me. It’s teaching me who I want to be. It’s teaching me to find the JACK in myself. Teaching me to find out who I really want to be. What kind of mom and wife and friend I want to be. What kind of human I want to be. I’m learning to look at everything different.
A few weeks ago I would have heard the things I did about Jack and the old Shannon would have just given up on it all and walked away. But I didn’t. I told myself I would give myself the time to think it through. To search for the meaning in it. I found meaning. The most profound meaning of all. To let go of the past and realize that just like Jack, even with my faults I too am capable of doing great things. It’s possible for me to have a funeral with a 1000 people who love me. It’s possible to leave my mark on this world in a good way. To teach other people to find the good in themselves. To find their strength. To find out how to forgive themselves. To become the EVERYTHING they ever wanted to be.
When all of this started I never expected for Jack to stick with me so long. I never expected for him to cross my mind daily. I never expected to find a confidant in his son. I never for a moment expected that he would teach me to love myself again. I tend to start things a lot without finishing them. I’m going to work out, 6 months later it’s done. I’m going to run, 7 months later it’s done. But this time, making me the best I can be…..It’s never going to be done. Because I’m going to keep Jack in my heart. I’m going to keep this bracelet on my wrist every day of my life. I’m going to remember that I have the ability to raise two little humans to be men like Jacks son. Men who will stop everything to listen to a girl who needs to talk. Men who will never give up on anything (even when they probably should), men who will give their shirt off their back wanting nothing in return. Jack has given me the greatest ability of all, the ability to create my own family legacy, the ability to be stronger then I knew possible. The ability to forgive myself. To let it go, and move on. The ability to remember what kind of mom I really want to be. Jack is reminding me it’s okay to do for me too. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fall once in a while. As long as even while I’m falling I never forget that I have the power to get back up.
I’m going to do this all. I’m going to get past being off medication. I’m going to somehow learn to release the demons in my head about my past parenting mistakes. I’m going to learn to be strong. I’m going to learn to believe in myself. And most of all, I’m going to remember to look for the good in every situation. To look for the lesson. To not give up because I hear something I don’t like. WWJD? Jack would stop, and find the silver lining in the situation, he would smother the world with the same infectious smile he passed on to his kids and he would persevere, get stronger, and become someone’s hero without even knowing it.
That’s what I intend to do, only my goal, in the end is to wear a bracelet that says WWSD. Become my own hero.
I realize it is easier to write all of this then to do it, but I believe that if I keep Jack in my heart, and I continue to see the beauty he created in his children even with his own flaws, then I have to believe that I can create beauty too right?