Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When Your Soul Feels Threadbare

I'm in the mood to bare my soul.
I'm not sure why.
Perhaps it's the Mucinex, perhaps it's the Dayquil, perhaps it's the low grade fever.
Perhaps, I just need a soul cleansing.

The sun is shining outside in a most deceptive way - you'd think it's almost nice out.
Step outside and the cold will take your breath away!
Nearly single digits.
Glen's napping after getting up at 3am, the cat is on my lap kneading my upper arm and purring loudly.

I'm sick.
I'm disappointed that the workout with my Coach that was scheduled for tomorrow will
probably most likely be postponed.

I have a few friends in a really hard spot right now.
It reminded me of the times, that I too was in a really hard spot - and how you tend to feel when you are in that spot.


We've all been in them - some in deeper, darker places than others.
But you know - you can't judge anyone - or tell someone in a dark hole that your hole is deeper.
It just doesn't work that way.

Today - I want to tell you about why I never had children.
I want to tell you about my father.

Reheat your tea girls - this might be drively.

I was born in 1962 - the fourth and last child.
Four girls.
My eldest sister is mentally handicapped and 14 years older than me.
My next sister lives in Chicago and is 4 years older than me -
my next sister, Aaron's mom - is two years older than me.
Thinking for sure that I'd be a boy - my mom had the name James picked out - hence - I'm Jayme.

I grew up with no other younger children around me.
I babysat in my teen years - not much - but enough to know that I didn't feel that children were
 'my thing'.
By the time I was 18/19 years old, the neighborhood I grew up in had changed dramatically, and most, if not all of our neighbors were now broken homes. 
 Mainly - single moms raising what I will just call 'hooligans'.

You have to realize that this was my perception at 18 years old.
I felt like I never saw a 'whole' family.
Children seemed to be a burden.

Couple this observation with my mother - since I was 13, begging me not to have children.

She begged us all not to have children because my father was mentally ill.
Apparently, and I shan't divulge much, because I have great respect and love for my father - but apparently his illness had become so great that he attempted to kill my mother while she was breastfeeding me as a new baby.
I was told that he had a nervous breakdown when I was born.

It was at this time, he committed himself to an institution.
He was there six months.
He remained on Thorazine my entire childhood and well into my adulthood.
When ever I'm tempted to think "I have it so hard" - I remember my mother - living in Chicago with a 14 year old mentally handicapped daughter, a four year old, a two year old, and me, a newborn - with a husband in a mental institution.
No family anywhere to help.
That's a hard time.

I never knew my father to be anything but loving and kind.
In fact, I never ever once heard my parents argue.
He never missed a day's work at the mill in 40 years.
When I think of the fortitude that took, I have the utmost respect for him.

My father's father committed suicide.
My father's twin brother committed suicide.
There have been numerous nervous breakdowns in the family.

And this is why my mother begged us all not to have children.

I obliged willingly - and thankfully Glen was on board.
Bless his heart - he said he'd like to have kids, but he was OK with not having them.
Bless him.

Fast forward to 1988.
We moved out here to Crown Point, Indiana and began friending people that had children.
You have to imagine me like the Grinch on the morning that he realized that Christmas came after all - without presents and decorations...
I was puzzled.
"These people enjoy their children!"
"So THIS is what a family is like!"
"These children weren't 'accidents' - they were wanted!"

I was too busy making this dilapidated old farmhouse a home to really give it all much thought.

It was also the year that my father had a heart attack and took himself off of his Thorazine.

Things steadily went downhill from there with him - as his illness came back with a vengeance.
I can tell you gals that I've seen things a daughter should never see.

I've seen my father completely out of his mind - pacing in a mental institution in his underwear.

I've seen him sit catatonic as I struggled to stay and visit him in the hospital as he never said a word for days - weeks.

I've seen the paramedics come to our house and physically remove him as he tried to hold on to the door jambs crying, begging to stay.

When you are in the throes of that - you feel that it's your only reality - and actually - now that I think of it - when I think back to the times I sat in the car at numerous hospitals and institutions, mustering the courage to start the car and drive home - perhaps it is. 
Perhaps it just is something that overtakes your own life.

In the midst of all of this - which went on for over a good ten years - I was mourning my barren womb.

We considered adoption.
We considered surgical reversal of measures we'd taken to never have children.
Glenco felt that he was too old to start a family at 42.
I tried to be understanding.

Also during this time, my mother was gravely ill with emphysema.

My eldest sister was having a lot of gynecological issues at that time that I had to address - and I oftentimes had to take her to the Dr.

I remember at one time having to sit in the doctor's office and talk to her doctor about her vagina.
Oh girls - let me just tell you - where I was mentally and emotionally at the time - weighing nearly 300lbs - between my sister, my mom and dad - I felt like I lived at doctor's offices.
My life really wasn't my own.

I clearly remember being really 'mad at the world' that this was my lot in life.
I myself visited the doctor often to get reassurance that I wasn't crazy - or bi-polar.
I was on and off of Prozac for several years.

Then I had 'the dream'.
The dream is still as vivid today as it was the night I dreamt it some 20 years ago.
I was in heaven.
My sister approached me - completely normal, and thanked me for helping to take care of her.
Moments later - my father - with complete mental clarity and a peace in his eyes I had never seen before - thanked me for helping him.

It was at that moment when I realized - there would be a time when it was all over.
There would be a time when my mother and father were gone, as they are now.

 I still sometimes mourn not having children.
I think it's only natural and normal. 
Yesterday, having my hair cut - in the chair next to me a girl was announcing that she was seven weeks pregnant and talking about ultrasounds.
It stings.
I'll never be a grandmother.
I'll never have a 'houseful' of kids around the Christmas tree.
I'll never know what it's like to have a daughter that looks like me - or has some of my personality quirks.

But I have Aaron.
And that's a 'whole notha story' of love, redemption and goodness.
I also realized that I would have made a fabulous mother!
Well, actually I am a fabulous mother.
Ain't no tellin' me that baby ain't mine.

One thing that my Coach teaches me is 'that it's all happening perfectly'.
Today - looking back at my life - I have to agree that it has.
It was complete madness for nearly 15 years.
It was illness, mania, mourning, no time of my own, and feeling that it would never end.

Perhaps that's why now - now that my life is quiet, and my mind is calm - that I'm so very extra grateful for it.
So. very. grateful.

I wish I could have heeded some advice 'back then'.
It's hard to heed advice when you are knee deep in the muck of it all.

I wish someone would have put their arms around me and said -
"Jayme - make time for you.  You will still be here when it's all over."
"It's OK to cry."
"It's OK to be weak."
"Yes, this sucks."
"There will be an end."

I wish so hard.
I wonder if I could have heeded it?

Please know that I'm not dwelling in the past.
Au contrare - I'm embracing the future, big time.
I'm just hoping my journey can help someone else.


  1. oh my darling- the things youve been through- i have ben through so many of them. being told at a young age i would never carry a child and if i managed to coneive it would surely end in a painful miscarraige. my oldest brother and his illness that so deeply resembles your dads and the exact story of begging not to go to the hospital- akward visits that tare you apart. helping tend to my grandfathers bed sores in my pre teen years- thinking children would never do anything but irritatae me- but by the grace of god i was graced with 3 beautiful children and a mother as strong and steady as they come. and firends that are there no matter what. im always here for you. even if you dont need me. hugs!

  2. ps, please ignore my spelling. i type faster than i should.

  3. Bless you for your sharing the troubles in your life. It makes me feel that I am not on my own, that someone else has had a difficult time as well, and who, like me, has come through to happier times even though sometimes, just sometimes, that past revisits the present and makes our smiles slip just a little bit.

  4. I believe that saying "we are where we are supposed to be at this moment." We all look back and wonder, and some of us with a sigh of relief. Aaron was put in your life for a reason and that was because He knew you would be able to give him so much love. You write this blog and it brings so many smiles and chuckles, we are what we are because of where we've been. You are right now where you need to be. I don't know you but I look forward to your words and videos. I found your blog because I was supposed to and how glad I am! Take care and God bless.

  5. What I have learned through my own trials is that there is no point in looking back, pondering the "what ifs".. because we can't change it. And.. we made those decisions based on feelings we had, the tools we had at the time we had to deal with them. Looking forward and living a good life is the best course of action, and look how far you've come.

    As for children, you are a WONDERFUL influence in Aaron's life. What a great relationship you have together. You know the love a mother has for a child, and a child for a mother. Just a thought, have you considered possibly fostering a young child?

  6. Again you astound me. You have had more than your fair share of hard times, but they have made you the wonderful Jamie that we just love to hear from. How lucky you are that your sister shares Aaron with you.
    You certainly are not weak-you are one of the strongest people I know.
    Enjoy your days-don't delve so deep into the past. To us your life looks really good.

  7. Probably not.
    My father had a mental breakdown at 60. He spent the last 23 years of his life fighting his depression and anxiety.
    I signed him into the mental health unit more than once.
    More than once, on the way home from the hospital, I totally missed the exit we needed to take, went miles and miles out of our way. Crying, lost.
    I so know what you are talking about.

  8. I have to tell you- reading your blog had a profound effect on me. I just reconnected with a girlfriend after searching for her for 30 years. It is a good feeling. Her father was in and out of the mental institution in the 1960's. Back then there was SO MUCH shame attached to that. Kids avoided it was something they would "catch". I had a father that had Parkinsons...and the kids at school thought he was a drunk because he staggered. We were two of a kind; outsiders in many ways. She got married to a "city boy" and was gone..and divorced...and moved...but...I finally found her. Her father committed suicide soon after we were out of high school. There were 5 kids in the family and the Mom had never worked a day in her life. Looking back, I have no idea how they got by. As a kid you don't think of those things. One of the things I just found out is that she opted to adopt her children rather than pass on something genetic.

    My heart aches for you, Jayme, but the truth is that it has made you the caring, loving, dear person you are today. God don't make no junk, baby! AND he gave you Aaron so that you would have the fulfillment of a child- just in a different way than you thought. And guess what? If that man-child has babies someday you WILL be a Gramma...and have kids round about your feet. I can feel it in my bones! xo Diana

  9. Bless your heart Jayme, I think we all have a story to tell. Thank you for the grace and courage it took to tell yours so well.

  10. Jayme, I wish I could come and give you a great big hug...since we have never might knock me out...but that's ok...I'd do it anyway!
    I just want to say Thank you for posting this...I can't say that I have experienced any of what you have...but we all have our cross to bear...and I am sure that God has his hand in it...and you may or may not ever directly know...but I am sure your post is meant for someone...someone who is hurting... someone who is needing it now...and that's awesome to be used by God like that!
    So you embrace your future...and might I'll be embracing it in that new skinny bod of yours!
    God Bless you!

  11. have i ever mentioned i love you. you are awesome. like so many others i have been so thankful for finding your blog. i love your humor. i love your honesty. you are strong & you are determined. big hugs for being so brave to share all of this today. i've been dealing wish a lot on my heart & trying to find a way to share it with my blog friends ... but it is tough to make sure it will make sense & come across the way you hope it will. keep the faith. you walk with that head held high my friend. you rock!! (:

  12. Jayme, you can still adopt! Or become a foster mother. There are many wonderful children waiting for a safe place to call home, even if the end goal is reuniting. Any child would be proud to call you mom.

  13. I'm not sure what to say... I feel so privileged that you have shared your life with us. As I was reading it I was so torn between tears for all you had to bear in your life and thanksgiving for the woman you are today. You are so special to me and so many others!!

  14. I, too, decided in my early years not to have children. At times I'm in the doldrums because of this and then I look at my classmates raising their grandchildren and I reaffirm that God knew exactly what he was doing with me. Life has not been easy for me but I'm turning 65 next month and I never thought I'd make it here and low and behold I have. My younger sister died in a car wreck years ago...we were not close. I have a half sister but, of course, we are not close either. Thank you for sharing. You have come a long way and you have a long way to go and with all the good people in your world, I have no doubt that you will achieve your goals one by one. Hugs.

  15. Congratulations on being a survivor! I want to jump up on the sofa and belt out Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive".... just for you, and I just might!!!! Peace!

  16. Dear Jayme, I am blessed to call you friend. Oh girl you are a mother to that boy-child. He just has two mamas. You will be Grandma to his babies one day.
    Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:28

  17. I love that scripture that Janie just quoted to you. My favorite line in all of this is:
    "You will still be here when it's all over."
    That just gives me cold chills because I think it is something anyone who has come out on the other side has to learn.
    You are still here and we are sitting here, reading your stories and loving you oh so much for how open and real you are. I know you help others and lift them up and encourage them. I know you do.
    Love you! xo, Cheryl

  18. You are a very strong woman to go through all of that, and be a survivor.
    I admire you. Thank you for sharing your soul.

  19. You are so brave for telling it, Jayme. It's hard to bare your soul, cause I've done it on my blog for sure. But I have the utmost respect for you. I now know you better. And yes, you're one fantastic mother to Aaron!

  20. You are one grand lady. I will try not to complain about anything ever again. You have so much love in you and Aaron is so blessed to have you in his life. Through him, you will have grandchildren. Just know that having children is wonderful, but they come with their own griefs.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing your story Coop. I want to reach over and give you a hug. I love thee.


  22. Oh, dear Jayme, thank you so much for sharing your life.

  23. To JoAnn Ostrich: I love her more. Step off!

    To Aibilene: Thank you for sharing this. How have I never heard this story? It's beautiful in that way that hard things often are.

    ps - Shantel? Shantel?... (Have Aaron video that for me for future needs that may arise. Please and thank you.)

  24. Dearest Jayme-
    Truth teller and friend -
    You are so beloved.

    It is all going to be OK.
    On the mountaintop you are on right now, feelings whirl.

    It is all OK.

    Love, Laura

  25. Whoa, Jayme. You don't know me from Adam, but I just had to tell you that I would like to give you a big hug right now. Life is just so hard sometimes, and I KNOW your story has already helped someone today. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Jayme,

    Wow, what a life and what adversity you have overcome! Thank you for telling your story in a way only you can.
    I don't know if you've ever seen this before, but it's one of the most powerful messages I've ever come across on the web. I think you'd appreciate it, especially given what you've shared with us today:

  27. Well, this post was just too deep to not leave a comment. So here I am...unsure of what to say. You have been through so much, and it's just encouraging, I know, to other people out there. That you do get through the muck. And you have! You're amazing.

  28. Oh Jayme . . . it is sad to think of you experiencing such painful days as a young girl and woman . . . your transparency and wisdom . . . has given us who read you, a glimpse of the true you, a beautiful woman. We have trust in you and your words because you are so authentic. And it encourages us to be free and open about who we are.

    I still feel sad for what you have endured . . .

  29. Wow Jayme,
    Just like your own mother you have shown how strong and resilient you are!But it is because of these trials and sorrows that you are the caring, kind and genuine person that you are. And you are perfectly entitled to grieve. Sometimes grief can creep up on us when we least expect it!

    Kathy from Tasmania

  30. Jayme you are such a amazing strong woman! Thank you for sharing your story. When caring for family we often forget about ourselves. Thank you for reminding me to take care of me :)
    ps, Im painting my nails today :)

  31. Bless you Jayme! You are a poster child for hope and I wish everyone who needs it could read your story. I am so glad you are able to look back with GRATITUDE on these trials. Your love pours out to those cats and even the chickens, and Aaron is the child you were meant to have. You can do anything! Keep on keeping on!

  32. Courageous and brave
    Thanks for sharing, Anne

  33. Jayme, I don't remember how I first became aware of your blog, but since then, I've never looked back and have enjoyed reading your "sharings" so very much! I am sitting in my kitchen and surrounded by moving boxes and should be packing, but can't help myself, I must read what you have posted and I don't comment much but I wanted to say, that you do absolutely help others when you share yourself! I am grateful that you take the time to write down what is happening in your life and it reminds me that none of us have a clue what it is like to experience something, when we have not gone through it ourselves, but perseverance is key...I have had very discouraging times in the past two years, but I am not alone and I say THANK YOU for your blog and your courage! God bless...

  34. I've never commented on your blog before, but I do read it quite frequently. I wanted to say thank you for sharing the depths of yourself today. You know... we are NOT ALONE in our suffering and anguish. I hope that your reaching out like this will help someone else who is "in the midst" to know that they are not walking this journey alone and that there is hope!!! Thanks for giving me HOPE today.

  35. It took a lot to share that story Jayme. What a fabulous dream that God allowed you to have to help your perspective. You have been a wonderful aunt (mother) to Aaron and hopefully he will have lots of kiddos to run around your house. ;)

  36. Thank you for sharing, Jayme. My prayers are with all of us who struggle!

  37. Thanks for sharing Jayme. We have mental illness in my family but nothing as close as you. Maybe the decision you made way back was something you needed to do for your sanity and peace of mind. Maybe God knew Arron would benefit from having 2 moms. Anyway I really enjoy your blog.

  38. Bless your little pea-picking heart for being so open and honest! Thank you for sharing such private things about your life. You help those of us who read your blog everyday, more than you will ever know. Peace to you, dear Jayme!

  39. Jayme -- thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us -- I know you encourage me -- and I KNOW your story will encourage others. I always try to remember when I am encountering other people, that I have NO IDEA the trials that person faces daily - your story is a great reminder of that.

    Take care friend and know that others are praying for you :)


  40. Funny how we look at a person or those around us and not have an inkling of the hurts or sorrows in they're heart. Sometimes on the outside looking in others appear to be living a charmed life. Thank you for your bravery in sharing your story! I agree with all the comments concerning you being a Momma to the adorable nephew.

    By the way my kids and I are all adoptable if you need a fix for cuteness (Mini Man, Terry and I) and disobedient teens (Jess for sure. Alex is a nut)!

    Many blessings to you and keep sharing your story. It sounds like there are many that need to talk about this!

  41. Agreed. This is one of those posts that you can't ignore. I know I was encouraged reading this... because, I can so relate. My daddy too, had mental health issues and at the young age of 43 left nine children and my momma to go home to be with the Lord. HE's HOMEFREE and healed of all his diseases. I was 23 when he died - my youngest brother was three. I'm the oldest and so often felt like I "helped" to raise the family...and thought I still wanted to be the best wife and mother I could possibly be and now that I have this dream come true... I struggle to accept it and oft times fully appreciate it like I should. Many days I want out. You know? It's not what I expected, etc.

    I so appreciate your sincerity and honesty about the desire of being a mom and I think this is the part of your post that blessed/challenged me the most. To stop and cherish the blessing(s) that I have... because I am BLESSED. I really, really am.

    Many days... I think of my mamma, too. In it all, she never complained.

    And... now I'm the one drivling. ;)

    Thank you for sharing your heart today. ((hugs))

  42. My, beauty full friend, I love you, I really do! Thank you for sharing, it makes me stronger, and braver. I have gone down that dark scarey road, that made me want to simply stop and not go another step. I am blessed to know you, your heart puts a smile on my face, and often I simply forget to smile. It takes courage to step out of the pretend and be real, but oh, how good it feels. I will come back to this posts often. And each and every time I will hug you in my heart, and say a pray of thanks for letting me hug you in person.

  43. Thanks so much I needed to hear that today.Blessing Cheri

  44. Jaymee, your story is one I'll never forget. Very helpful to put things into perspective in life. I often tell myself that others have a heavier cross to bear, and this sure is heavy. Don't know many who could have come out of it the way you did. Kudos to you.

    Your life could have been a disaster, you changed your sorrow into a positive reality, your dream said it all, they were thankful for your caring, . . . till this day, you are such a giving, warm, loving, compassionate, funny person, o.k. a little demented at times Ü Instead of being bitter you got better, instead of sinking you decided to swim, and you Ester Williams are one great swimmer. . .

    I"m sure the food comforted those emotions for years and you conquered that too, and with the grace of God, you will continue to. God love you Jaymee, none of it was easy then, and I know it's not easy today, you're my idol.

    Did you hear the one about the horse in the hole, they couldn't lift him out, the only choice was to bury him alive(it's a happy ending, I swear ) as they started shoveling dirt on top of him he shook it off and stepped up, and saved himself. love that one. Shake it off and step up, a favorite one for me. . .

    Today, your Mom is my new hero, as are you, (((((Jaymee)))))
    And the kid thing. . . they're not all their cracked up to be Ü

  45. Through my tears I thank you for sharing your dream, because it is an answer to my prayers and doubts today. You are such a precious soul Jayme.

  46. Jaime ,thank you for sharing your story, you truly are one of the most giving people in life.You deserve all the happiness in life

  47. oh, Jayme. good, cleansing tears here, girl.

  48. Love you. Love the humor, love the chickens n coons, love the weight loss but especially love your "layin' it bare" posts... You inspire always. God bless you!

  49. I never got pregnant either. I know the ache, but I also know that once you get to a certain age the ache becomes a bit softer. I don't know about you, but now that I'm seemingly too old to get pregnant, my ache is more of a "what if" ache instead of an "I want" ache. You know what? When I dried that last infertility tear I realized that there were MANY things in life I have wanted but never attained ~ things I wanted to be, places I wanted to go, etc... life is full of them. We all have those "unplayed cards" we hold in our hands and heart. They're still painful to hold, but they're perfectly normal. You've done things, however, that many people could and would never have the capability to do. It's a gift!

    You, Jayme, are a nurturer. Any woman with a uterus and one egg can birth a child, but it doesn't automatically make her a nurturer ~ but you ARE a NURTURER. IT'S A MUCH HIGHER CALLING!! You have nurtured and cared for everyone of every age and every furry/feathered little thing God brought your way. You are an amazing inspiration!
    God bless you and all the lives you have touched for the better.


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