Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays

Well, managed to get through another Christmas reasonably unscathed! Went to Jim’s folks on Christmas Day and then to my Mom’s on Boxing Day. Both of us come from such small families that this season tends to be a fairly subdued one. Jim only has one sister while I just have one brother and a daughter of course. Jim’s sister just got married for the first time in the summer so her husband also joins us for the holidays. Jim and I and Sara and her boyfriend, Andre, spend all of Boxing Day with Mom especially as she has now been on her own since my Dad passed away in 2003. My brother and his wife now live in Halifax which is about 1424 km or 885 miles from me, and as they are expecting baby number five, they certainly can not afford to come home for the holidays. He has now been gone over a year and a half but it wasn’t until now that it has really hit me just how much I miss him. Hopefully, Jim and I will be flying out to Halifax in June of next year after the birth of the baby – due date is the first of May so this will give them a bit of time to get settled.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lean On Me

So I managed to get through Thanksgiving 2007 unscathed, and in fact, actually quite enjoyed myself. From here, my Mom and I started to meet every few weeks for coffee and a bit of a chat - always on neutral ground in a restaurant and in public. Initially it was a little bit awkward as it was just the two of us alone together without the benefit of others to insulate us. For me, the combination of this time apart plus close to two years successfully on MMT had mellowed me considerably so many of the things that seemed to irritate me so easily in the past no longer held the same importance or reaction for me.

Surprisingly, my Mother had become a very different person in the interim. Just prior to our reconciling, I had decided that being estranged from my Mother was not how I wanted to remember our relationship should anything end up happening to either one of us - heaven forbid. I didn't want to have regrets over something that could realistically be easily avoided not to mention repaired with not too much effort. I decided that there would be no point continuing to get annoyed with some of my Mother's traits never mind the fact that there was little hope of her changing her spots this late in her life. In my mind though there were a couple of things that I would not compromise on when it came to her treatment of me but I also was prepared to be honest with her and let her know exactly what I meant - no more passive aggressive behaviour on my part!

It seems that my Mom had missed me while we were estranged and must have made a decision herself to try to change her own behaviour. Just the fact that she would even attempt to do this for me was enough for me to now do everything in my power to ensure that our relationship would never derail again. Except for the rarest of rare bumps in the road, we have been rock steady ever since. I was also so glad that we ended up reconciling prior to the attack on Jim and I in May 2008 rather than after it. If we had been estranged at the time of our attack I suspect we both would have always wondered if this had been our only reason for reconciliation even if it wasn't at all. Now, though, we'll never be plagued with this question. Never mind the fact that since our attack my Mom has been a tremendous source of comfort, support and strength and everything else that goes with this whole ordeal. 

Couldn't or wouldn't ask for anything more now cause I don't need to. I've got it all.

peace, love and happiness...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

I guess I am long overdue to finish the story of my falling out with my Mom. Initially during the summer of 2005, when I severed all communication with my Mom, I was still very much in the middle of a very active opiate addiction, so I barely even noticed what was really going on. All that I knew was that I had one less complication to deal with in the pursuit of opiate bliss. It barely even registered, at least not at first anyway. It is truly amazing just how very fluid an opiate addict's moral compass is capable of becoming depending on the given situation. While there were a couple of lines I was never quite able to cross - I never, ever stole from anyone I knew or loved, or in fact, anyone at all, nor did I steal from businesses or stores, everything else was pretty much fair game. I was the master of rationalization as well, able to convince myself of almost anything as long as it aided me in my pursuit. I was my own worse enemy, nor had I any shame remaining.

Six months after my Mom and I stopped talking, I had started tentative steps towards MMT - Methadone Maintenance Treatment - but these were still early days in deed. For most of 2006, I concentrated on getting better. Even though I had no communication whatsoever with my Mom during this time, I did nothing at all to interfere with the extremely close relationship my daughter Sara had always had with her Granny. They talked regularly on the phone and got together for coffees and lunches. Their relationship continued on without interuption. I did my best to keep my distance so Sara could continue to enjoy this relationship without any feelings of guilt or betrayal. She responded in kind by mentioning any time she was meeting up with her Granny, but this was done under the spirit of our household rules - that is the girls always had to run anything by us before they were allowed to proceed - rather than making a big production waving it in my face!

Christmas 2006 was a bit strange even though it was really no different than the prior one except that I had been on MMT for eleven months and my head was no longer as cloudy as it had once been. Still, it was kind of nice to enjoy a quiet one with just the four of us. By this time, our bank balance was also considerably healthier after eleven months of saving money that used to be spent on our addiction so I had a Christmas to end all Christmases! Everyone was terribly spoilt for the first time in a very long time, plus I put up all new - matching - decorations all over which was something I had only really half heartedly done the prior five or six years. 

It wasn't long before 2006 turned into 2007, and before I had a chance to even blink, it seemed like we were midway through 2007 already. Around the summer of that year, Sara started dropping hints that Granny wouldn't mind getting together with me although initially I pretended not to hear or understand. That fall my brother started doing the same although not quite as subtley. He was much more direct with me when he asked me to make an effort and perhaps come over to have Thanksgiving Day with the family. Sara followed her Uncle's lead and started mentioning this more and more frequently. By now, any of my malice or bitterness or anger had pretty much subsided especially as I had been doing exceptionally well with my recovery. I hadn't used in eighteen months and it was apparent. We were both working full time - Jim and I - and had managed to get ourselves completely out of debt, plus had even managed to put some away into a savings account. We were the pictures of health and everything else that goes with that so I agreed we would come for dinner. I initially agreed for the sake of my daughter as I realized how very important it was to her and how much this had started to upset her. The longer the separation between my Mom and I continued the harder it was for Sara. I started to realize just how unfair I was being to her. 

So, in the late fall of 2007 the healing started to begin.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

It''s Like Christmas Early! - ALMOST

Finally after three years and almost eight months, we've received notification that we've got a hearing with our province's Victim's Compensation Tribunal, tentatively scheduled for February 9, 2012. Hopefully, this is nothing more than a formality although to be fair, I don't really know how the whole system works, and, in fact, their web site is not terribly forthcoming or informative. I certainly feel that we deserve some form of compensation considering everything that we went through and what we continue to go through. While we both now suffer from PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Jim also has to deal with numerous physical injuries as well as brain trauma due to their repeatedly kicking him in the head with their heavy boots. Fingers crossed that all goes smoothly. 

Seems like you can't get some good news without having to receive the opposite. One day last week while riding the bus, I picked up a copy of one of our local newspapers that had been left behind and as I browsed through it, I happened upon a story about a couple that had been attacked one night last summer while they were ordering some food from a street vendor. I remembered the original story from last August as I've become interested in others who are also innocent victims of violent crimes which this couple were. Completely unprovoked, a male and a female, both complete strangers to the victims, attacked them badly enough that the male suffered a broken jaw as well as other facial injuries and required hospitalization. The female was before the court last week where she plead guilty, while the male accused of this attack goes before the judge on January 4, 2012. Imagine my shock when I read his name. He was one of the three who had attacked us! The other two are still serving their sentences in a federal jail somewhere in Ontario. The third had sat twenty five months in our local jail and as he had been arrested prior to new legislation that removed the two for one credit that prisoners used to be able to claim, he ended up being released in May 2010 having "served" a sentence equal to 50 months. He had been under fairly strict probation conditions, plus he was to be under these conditions until May 2012, but I guess this is all relative. I plan on following up with his probation officer to see if I can get more detailed info about all of this. Right now, I am hoping to attend his trial next year but this will all depend how strong I feel emotionally. Will just have to wait and see. You can read about their attack and what they are trying to do to regain some form of peace via the link below.

Finding A Way To Fight Back