The Help of My Soul

I will not be commanded,
I will not be controlled
And I will not let my future go on,
Without the help of my soul

~Greg Holden, The Lost Boy

I hunkered down in my tunnel. I know there is a light and I know how to find it but I chose to sit in the darkness and wrap it around me like a comfortable blanket, oblivious to the shimmer I see out of the corner of my eye known as hope.

After all, everyone else is allowed. So why not me? Why can I not wallow in self pity and feel sorry for the fact that I have to do something I really don’t want to do and then let the guilt of that knowledge eat me alive from the inside out? Why should I not be able to blame everyone else in the world for my sadness, my anger, my stress, the unfair hand my family has been dealt?

I recently wrote about the fact that I am raising my grandson, have been for what will soon be four years. His mother is an addict, his formative years were chaotic and he has pieces missing that we may never be able to find.

His mother, my oldest daughter, recently came back into the picture and for the first time in a long time, I felt hope. I thought she had finally had enough and would slowly take the steps to heal herself and eventually be able to mother her son.

I no longer hold that hope.

I suppose when you step out of the prison yard and are just grateful to be free you will make promises to back up your foxhole prayers and put on the face you suspect everyone wants to see. Then the day will come when you feel a little more sure footed and small step by small step you will walk backward into old habits and behaviors, because trying to do things a different way will just be too fucking hard.

You will look at your own son, being raised by someone else but still accessible to you and you will think, NO. Too fucking hard.

You will make plans to spend time with him and tell him of these plans and when they fall into the hole that is the chaos you create, you will leave it to someone else to break his heart. Again.

What you don’t know is that his heart didn’t break. He took the news with the composure of a person much older than his seven years because he is used to being disappointed by you. He doesn’t expect anything from you. I bought him a sub and took him to the park. He swung like a madman and enjoyed every moment. Are you disappointed?


I wanted to tell you about the meeting I will have at the school on Monday, the day kids return from Spring Break. You see, I’ve had all of this week to think about it. To wonder and project how it will turn out.

This meeting is with his first grade teacher, the principal, and the guidance counselor. This boy has had so many possessions taken from him in the most important years of his life, material and otherwise, that when his teacher tried to take a beloved item from him that he was distracting the class with, he grabbed her hand and tried to twist it. As it turns out, her hand has a possible fracture.

He is seven.


In the end I won’t tell you because really it is not your business and it serves absolutely no purpose.

I haven’t always gotten and still don’t always get it right. I, like many other parents, get it wrong. Probably far more often than I care to admit. But I get up every day and I start over. I don’t take the easy way out.

And yes, I believe you are taking the easy way out. You are still blaming everyone for all the things wrong with your life, especially me. But guess what! I have made my amends and I have made my peace. This is all you.

In the past week, I sat in my car at a stoplight more than once and thought about driving away. I thought about leaving the car and walking away. I have contemplated throwing plates of food across the room. I have screamed into pillows in the privacy of my bedroom. I have cried in the shower. I have hidden in the closet with the kids blissfully unaware that my heart is racing, I cannot feel my hands and feet or catch my breath, and wondered how long it would take before someone found me because I knew I would die in that closet.

I cannot take it anymore. I will not do this anymore.

I don’t know what will happen at the meeting on Monday. I don’t know what I’m going to decide about you and the fact that J has taken three steps backward since you came back into the picture.

What I do know is that you aren’t coming back for him. I know this in the depths of my soul. It doesn’t matter if you do because soon enough the choice won’t be yours anymore. It will be his. And he will not choose you.

And so, I will now turn my head toward the light. I will walk to the light that symbolizes hope. With every step I will remember to be grateful that this is all I have been given to deal with, that I’m strong enough to do it, and that I am not alone in it.

You will have to find your way. I am tired and my rescuing days are over. Live your life how you wish. It is yours to piss away.

I still feel the remnants of the depression and anger right at the edges, but they are beginning to fray.

It is fucking hard.

But I’ve done it before. And I’ll do it again.



photo credit: The girl in the pink scarf…. via photopin (license)

49 thoughts on “The Help of My Soul”

    1. I know where my efforts need to be focused. I can’t help her anymore and I’ve shut down where she is concerned. That is a horrible feeling as a parent but J needs me. He wasn’t given choices. I’ve been through hard before and made it. I’ll make it this time too. Thank you for being here.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Unfortunately I get this…although, circumstances differ. Sands, you know that I am a man of action, yes (what little you know, right?) It is hard, much harder than ever expected, when taking action means doing little else than remaining the same…consistent…reliable. If it would suit your purposes then I would right now commit to being available for your grandson when the time cones, whatever that means. You will be fine. He will grow up. That is the way of things, beautiful Girl.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that is where my committment lies. It’s my daughter who is on her own. She’s grown. She knows what she should do and she’ll do it or she won’t. I made a decision almost four years ago and I will not abandon this boy. Never.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. This is very similar to the story of M and his biological father. I think the assumption that your kid will always default back to the “real” (not really) parent with no repercussions is more of their warped, narcissistic worldview. M is a person, he developed his own thoughts on being left and his own coping strategies. Most times he handled things better than me.

    And it worked so well, until the guy came traipsing back in the door. Then M went downhill…because the strength he showed with every disappointment or no-show couldn’t replace the overwhelmed feeling when he thought things would change now (consciously or not, for better or worse).

    Well, you know our story, and he got through but it takes time.

    So, all that to say: you are an amazing, strong person and he will be/is the same because of you. You are not alone, and there is hope ((hugs))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I know you can understand this. It takes much more than biology to be a parent but some people just don’t get that. I’m sending hugs right back to you…neither of us is alone.


  3. I wondered where you went, my DA. This is an awful piece to have written, and to take ownership of, but you do it with your shoulders braced, prepared to once again move mountains for your family.

    All I can do is be here on the sidelines and cheer you on, but I’ll do that willingly, and with love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really don’t know any other way to operate. I hate being away but sometimes real life must come first. It’s nice to know that you are always there. I know I’ve told you how much I appreciate it…but I’ll say it again just in case. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I know, and it’s okay that you operate that way. We’re all different. Mandi does the same kind of thing, on the whole – whereas I’ll come online and splurge everything to everyone – we all deal in our different ways, and they’re ways which (at times) equate to survival of the circumstances. Which is something I’d rather happened than not.

        And I really AM here. Always ❤


  4. You.

    You are amazing, and strong, and courageous beyond words. I have so much respect for you and the choices you make, and your humble, beautiful soul. I can’t imagine how hard this was to write, or maybe it was cathartic, but either way, the choices you had to make are the hardest in the world. You are a warrior and I mean that. xxoxo

    (btw, RED? with “drops to one knee”? I die. Love your face more than you know, dude)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, sweet Beth. I actually felt cleansed after writing it, if that makes sense. I want to say all of these things to her but I won’t. It would be a waste of time and energy and I need all I’ve got. I don’t know about warrior but I am still sometimes amazed at the strength I can gather when I need it.

      As for RED…isn’t that something? It brought tears to my eyes and I was so incredibly touched. He is an outstanding human and I adore him.


  5. Heartbreaking..and heartwarming all at the same time.

    An emotive, beautifully written piece.

    I’m so sorry for your own pain, struggles, (often times despair) but so so glad/relieved for your Grandson….he has you….That makes him, a very blessed little boy!

    Your strength and positivity shines through.

    All the best, Kimmie x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this amazing comment. I wrote this so quickly, it all kind of fell out of my head and I thought about deleting it because it sounded angry and maybe a little crazy. And then I thought that I am a little angry…and a little crazy. So, it’s honest and I left it. I’m glad I did and I thank you for reading it and being so kind.


  6. I can not begin to imagine, Sandy. Some choices are killer hard. Harder than anyone should have to make. You are brave and heroic and selfless…even in the moments you think you’ve had it… because you get up and keep going. I pray for all of you always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s okay, Lisa. Some days I have a hard time imagining this is all happening too. But it is. I don’t know about the heroic part. I freely admit this is harder than I like it to be and I wish it could be different. That is where the guilt comes in and I feel like a fraud. Thank you for the prayers. I’ll gladly take them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your courage amazes me. That you will continue to fight for your grandson even if that means battling your daughter is inspiring to all those who are in similar situations. You put their feelings into words and validate their struggles

    I wish you peace tonight and all tomorrow’s because your battle may seem overwhelming in the now. So I hope tonight you have a moment of quiet and joy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kerri. It helps to write this even if it feels weird to put it all out there in open space. I know how worth it this all is and we all have issues and struggles, even if we don’t choose to publicize them. I do hope someone reads this and feels less alone. I know when I read things like this it lightens my load just a little. Not that I like the idea of anyone else battling or enduring hardship. But since we all have to at some point, knowing we aren’t alone certainly helps.


  8. Such a very sad story/situation. You have made the very difficult decision to let your daughter fix her own life. I know that breaks your heart. You can’t save her, but you can parent and be the advocate for your Grandson. All the really good stuff is hard. Love, hugs and prayers for you in that school meeting. I have a feeling that is going to be really difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Val, for your kindness. It seems I’ve been making hard decisions about my daughter for years…probably because I have. Letting it go isn’t easy but is necessary.
      As for the meeting, it went better than I projected it would. Turns out the hand is just badly bruised so, while that’s still not a good thing, I’ve taken some comfort in knowing he didn’t actually break someone.
      Now we’ll just take it a day at a time and keep doing the next right thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is heartbreaking and I’m so sorry. My husband is an attorney and represents many grandparents in your situation so I’m familiar with the hard decisions you are having to make. Your grandson is lucky he ended up with you and not in foster care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In foster care or worse…those are my thoughts. I know the attorney we hired told us that this happens quite often and I was really surprised. I never realized. It’s guess I should just feel relief that more kids end up with family who love them instead of strangers who don’t even know them.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think those who need to go through enough hard choices for two lifetimes, should be blessed not only by twice the strength, but by angels always nearby to help lighten the load. I didn’t know any of this about you, and you have my sincerest admiration and respect. Prayers and hugs, my friend💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That certainly is a nice thought. From your lips to God’s ears, as they say. I think the little guy has a shot.
      Thank you for the prayers and hugs. I don’t think there is such a thing as too many.


  11. Bawling. I know that in part, it’s because this hits so close to home for me, but mostly, it’s your words and your courage and your hope and that you’re saying that you’re done and that J swung like a madman. Also for your meeting on Monday. Sending strength and hope and hugs and to the teachers – understanding and light. And of course, so much love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t the theme park he was promised but it was enough for him. It was a good day. I know you get this and I hope that whatever comes your way in your own situation you know I am here…whatever you need. Never hesitate. Okay? XX


  12. Sandy, you are so amazing . This post makes me want to hug you and cheer for you. Your honesty is only outshined by your beauty as a person. Love to you and that boy. Good luck monday!


  13. The power and strength in your words is astounding. They are palpable. If ever you feel at a loss, or that you can longer face what is before you, pull up your posts. Read them as an outsider would. Feel your strength, and be amazed at your courage, like the rest of us are.


  14. I commend you for recognizing the difference in the darkness and the light. I applaud you for looking toward the light, but I kind of think in this scenario, my dear, that you. You are the light.

    You will conquer this.


  15. Sandy, your grandson is so lucky to have you. I say this from the perspective of someone who watched her sister lose custody of all 5 of her children. No one in our family was able to take them in (I was a teenager at the time). My sister died 6 months ago and her circumstances and my love for her are so complicated but what stands out to me in reading your words is how resiliency is a choice. Getting back up is a choice. Loving through it all is a choice. Sometimes hope isn’t handed to us, we choose it. You are an inspiration.


  16. I cannot imagine how difficult this must have been to write, Sandy. Thank God there are people like you who stand up when others lie down. Your grandson is blessed to have access to the many rooms of your heart, lovely.

    Blessings to all of you,


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