Happy Birthday to me?

TimeHealsKennedy

April 14: My birthday.

At this time last year I was in Minneapolis, on a trip that we had originally planned to take with our two sons.  Instead, they were in a residential therapy facility, and I was spending my week furiously journaling, thinking, and trying to come to terms with the decision that my husband had already made and was patiently awaiting me to come to as well.

Disrupting our adoption.

My PTSD was in high gear.  My blood pressure – normally super low – was through the roof.  I slept no more than an hour or two at a time.  Just before the boys went into residential treatment, I had caught them trying to drown one of our cats.  They had been abusive in the past; to the animals, to me, to one another, but that was just one step too far for me.  I had dealt with poop smeared on the walls and pee on everything they could manage to pee on.  I had dealt with screaming rages and false accusations and manipulative triangulation that left us with still torn-apart familial relations.

And now?

Well, my PTSD and it’s associated depression and anxiety have taken a toll, but the effects are starting to lessen, slowly. What I wanted so desperately last year, was to feel like I was myself again.  I wanted to recapture what I had lost.

I’ve learned that it isn’t that simple.  I will never be the same, now that I have lived through what I have lived through.  There are certain things that I will never look at the same way.  There are certain people I will never look at the same way.  I’ve learned so much, and it would be a disservice to myself and wouldn’t be honoring the experience I’ve had if I did put it in a lockbox and hide it away.  Not that I’m able to do that (it would be awfully tempting, though).

We started this blog when we came back from that trip, transferring entries over from our (several!) separate blogs to create one site that looked forward.  One site that spoke of our hopes and dreams.  One site that we hoped would help heal us.

And it has.

I haven’t always been consistent in my updates, but having this space to express myself helps.  I know there are readers out there too – I can see our stats!  And I’d like to encourage more of you to comment and share your thoughts with us.  We would both love to hear from you.

But back to my original point – my birthday.

It’s my birthday, and I’m grateful that I’ve had the last year to become a new person.  I’m grateful that I’m still here – breathing in and out, even if that’s all I was able to manage some days.  I’m grateful that I’ve gotten to read all kinds of wonderful books since my last birthday, and have gotten to see Washington state, Oregon, and California for the first time.  I got to hang in San Francisco, and drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, and ride and honest-to-god trolley.

I got to go back to Chicago and see my family and spend time hanging out with my amazing Aunt Catherine and Uncle Jerry.  I got to spend Thanksgiving with my parents as they visited, and got to spend lots of time with my friends.

There were sad parts too.  We said goodbye to some amazing friends that moved out-of-province (and are now living like the Ingalls-Wilder’s in this glorious little house on an island in BC).  We said goodbye to our beautiful little Nala cat, who passed away last November.

There are parts that didn’t move as fast as they should have.  We didn’t get all the repairs we needed to do on our house done, so we haven’t been able to get it up on the market yet.  I didn’t finish the novel I started writing, that I hoped to have done by now, though I am making steady progress… it’s just slow.

But overall.. I’m just grateful that I’m still here.  I’m here for another spring, and I’m finally living life again.  And loving life.  The scars are still there, and I’ve had to re-write my dreams a few times in the interim, but I’m still here.

Happy birthday to me.

6 Comments for “Happy Birthday to me?”

Patt O'Connor

says:

Happy Birthday, Katie. Sorry we can’t spend it with you like we did last year. Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas in the fall. Well written memoir!

says:

I hope it is a happy birthday, Katie! Happiness tinged with sadness. Sorry to be a sad part of your year:(. Good idea to let yourself rewrite your dreams. Goals are great, but it’s even more important to persevere and stick to things, like your novel, than to achieve goals at a designated time. Glad you are healing.

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