Creating Brick Walls
In March of 2010, I was admitted into the hospital located in Saint Petersburg, FL for major surgery. Of course no one knows what the outcome is going to be when something of this nature happens…ended up having a cist clear back to the chest wall. The doctors are obligated to follow legalities and give you the speech about all the “what ifs”. So when I awoke, I looked down at myself and realized wow, one of the “what ifs” didn’t happen. Thank God it was not cancerous! Ok, good enough. I’m alive, thankful and winning. End of story? No way…that would be too easy. Not to take away the physical and emotional impact that a major surgery like this would have, my nightmare didn’t begin until I woke up and realized this was the easy part. Before I went into surgery, I thought it to be wise to place my daughter and grandbaby, both minor children, in a shelter whose announced purpose was to assist young mothers with education and parenting skills to raise their young successfully; my younger son and my dog went to live with my older son in Tampa, FL. This is the best I could come up with having been thrown into an emergency situation like this.
On about day number two or three in the hospital, I started to receive calls from my fifteen year old as well as from Child Protective Investigators at the nurses’ station claiming that my younger son was being left unattended. I could hear the worker banging on my efficiency door while my son was on the phone as if she were trying to break the door down; my son was really waiting to see whether or not his mother was dead or alive while she was lying in the hospital with a wound full of packing and tied to an I.V. with a ten foot radius. He was age fifteen, not a toddler, with food fully stocked in the refrigerator. In addition to this, my landlord was well aware of the situation. Finally, the nurse connected me to the worker who called on another line and I had to throw certain legalities her way before she would leave my efficiency door. She finally did. My nurses took messages from that point forward and I tried to recover. I know…sounds like I’m not giving all of the details…doesn’t it! At that time, those were all of the details. This didn’t make any sense to me either. When discharged from the hospital, I started two months of wound care and the final recovery stages. My daughter didn’t get in touch with me while in the hospital until almost at the time of discharge. You talk about not making any sense! The phone call I remember having with her was begging me to get her out of the shelter she was in. Of course, when in this physical predicament, I had to ask her to please wait till I was released from the hospital.
When I arrived at home, my fifteen year old was pleased to see me and I him. I continued my two months of wound care with the assistance of the wound care center at the same hospital. Out of desperation, and without my knowledge of the negative impact this shelter was having on her, my daughter ended up having to figure out a way to survive. She and I were finally able to communicate and she told my how the baby kept getting sick and that the shelter was penalized with a health code violation; since she completed her GED as she and I agreed could I please get her out of there. I signed the papers and did so. When the shelter realized that I discharged the two girls, all hell broke loose. (They were voluntarily there temporarily and not permanently to begin with.) Then I received another phone call from a police officer claiming that my daughter was neglecting her baby and was out in the rain with no place to go. I explained to him that she was just recently discharged from the shelter and had no way to get to me. The phone disconnected. My daughter told me later that he hung up on me. Had I been speaking to the officer rudely that would make sense. But then I would have been arrested and neither one of those happened. He truly hung up on me. My daughter was eventually able to get to where I lived with the grandbaby and a boyfriend. I instructed the boyfriend that he must enter into a program of sorts before I would help him since he was not my family and I did not know who he was. I felt this was the safest way to go considering he was backing me into a corner by telling me he had no place to go. I will only help someone if they help themselves. That turned into a story within itself! His bitter response resulted in persuading my daughter to go back to the same location where coincidently enough, the aforementioned officer was located.
The next phone call I received was from another Child Protective Investigator informing me that my grandbaby had been taken away from my daughter and that they were going to bring my grandbaby to me. The worker arrived without baby, without daughter, and the accusation that my grandbaby had abrasions on her and was being examined by her office as to what to do next. She told me my daughter was probably not going to return and that it would be in my best interest to report her as a runaway. Wait a minute! Something doesn’t sound right here either. In this short time, was I to believe that my beautiful A-B student daughter was an abusive, neglectful individual who had attracted all of this mess and then ran away? Out of cooperation, I picked up the phone and called the police. While in the middle of the report, I heard the Child Protective Investigator on her cell phone saying words that sounded like my daughter was on the other end of her phone. Sure enough, I was right. When I confronted her, and continued to tell her if she knew the whereabouts of my daughter, then why was I making a report, she figured out a way to get my daughter off of the phone, and told me she is not coming home. Upon exit of this worker from my efficiency, I immediately called the police department back and cancelled that runaway report. Before she left, I insisted she tell me the whereabouts of my grandbaby. She said that a home study was now going to be done to see if the grandbaby could stay with me. She inspected my home without warning, without knowledge of my daughter and grandbaby’s whereabouts, and two weeks into wound care. I was left with a pamphlet and a court date instead.
It wasn’t until the month of April that it became clear to me that my grandbaby and daughter had been set up and we were an easy target. This is too much for my sixteen year old to go through. When I read the summons of accusations against her, she was made out to be a neglectful, drug addictive, abusive whore. What did that shelter do to my babies? My daughter panicked and then really did run away between the months of June and July. Though three police departments, and two runaway agencies involved could not find my daughter, eventually some of the good workers in the system found her. When I met up with her, she ran in the parking lot. Oh yes, It was obvious she was running from something. Was it me? Am I that treacherous? All manner of thought was going through my mind. My wound therapy, both boys, and my dog were doing great. After the hiring of a Private Investigator, he found my daughter and we were able to talk to find out that there were definitely very powerful influences other than a bad news boyfriend who were negatively influencing my daughter. It wasn’t me or my accused neglectful, drug addictive, abusive, whore daughter. Oh, I also wanted to clarify something. Remember the abrasions? In their own hospital records it is indicated that it was eczema, not abuse! My grandbaby stayed in this mess medicated on six different medications at age two and a half for nine months in foster care! After wound care, I immediately hired an attorney as instructed by the Judge who said that I needed one to become an interested party in the case. This battle has now gone on for almost two years. Now, I have my grandbaby, my health, my daughter, my sons, my dog and a lot of attorney’s fees! My daughter and I have taken on a civil attorney which is in the works. She was appointed her own family law attorney, fighting the baby’s father who is a felon, for custody along with all of the consequences this mess has started and not because of her. The grandbaby’s father is four to five years older than my daughter who is just now eighteen…getting the picture yet?
At one given point, I couldn’t tell if I was really alive from surgery, or died and went to hell. After it became apparent that this was real, then I had to realize what and whom to fight as well as when to fight it…timing. Yeah, right! Figure that one out. Then finally, after gaining some control of the situation, getting by grandbaby out of foster care, making sure my daughter had access to counsel and legal protection, supporting my older son periodically who was a champ through the whole thing, as well as my younger son sticking by my side to the end, when is it time to let someone else take over? Though this nightmare was hard, it was even more difficult to know when to stop. Adrenalin, bitterness and fear sometimes are consuming like an inferno. I came to grips with the fact that my whole family was safe and a civil attorney would be able to assist me with the case from this point forward. The only fear left was the fight with the grandbaby’s daddy and that family who was a part of the negative influence while I was in the hospital. Is this my fight? No. It is now my daughter’s. She is eighteen and when her attorney gets this turned around, I can be just grandma.
Along with being a grandma and a mom, I am also a writer of poetry. The following poem portrays the mindset I went through to know how and when to let go:
Creating Brick Walls
The weight in my mind has been lifted
No need for prayer or vision.
Not with violent force or vengeance,
But through acceptance of decision.
What is it to convince myself
That blow after blow will make me strong?
With twisted mind I mold myself
Though the pain should not belong.
For a greater cause…the innocent
They know not how to defend.
I step down as their protective shield
Regardless of the message it sends.
How can the creator create
A creation that dominates all?
Loss of control and without respect
Though abuse did not build the brick wall.
God and man, parent and child,
Written music and musicians;
The artist and the picture,
Poets, poems, magic and magicians.
I now decide as a creator
To rid myself of this prey.
Destroy the creation, I will not
It will reveal itself anyway.
When do you fight and when do you not?
No need for prayer of vision.
Not with violent force or vengeance;
Rather, acceptance of decision.