The closing of a saga
I never imagined it would take a year to write this post. If I have talked to you amidst the chaos the last month, then you are the rare exception. I’ve avoided a lot and secluded myself quite a bit. Hopefully, we can all heal from this, in time.
Out of all the twists and turns that have taken me by surprise in life, the winding road of the past year ranks up there as number 1. If you had ever told me that I would lose custody of a child, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. If you had told me it would be because that child hurt another one of my children, I would’ve said, “not on my watch.” And then to tell me that would land us all in court for the next year, and I would be fighting for my ex to actually get custody of our son... Woo. I probably would’ve asked what you were on.
As shocking as all of that was when it happened, it took a back seat to my parents’ reaction. I never saw them using the private bedroom details of my former marriage to their own benefit, blasting them publicly to the judge, the courts, and anyone who would listen, asking the court to give my ex a felony for the things that happened between us…all so they would then have grandparent rights in Florida and be able to take custody of my child. To add insult to injury, they then asked the court to give me a misdemeanor for writing through my feelings on things, claiming I was illegally naming the victim of a sexual assault…as if I was a reporter or something. It was a betrayal of the worst kind. One that I am trying to forgive for my own heart. But it was a boundary that can’t be uncrossed.
All of that would have made for a great book and lifetime movie script. If only that was where it stopped. Things took a weeknight family tv turn when my child went against the advice of his attorney, and chose this particular opportunity to finally take accountability for his mistakes. He plead guilty in court, all on his own. It was such a heartbreaking and yet pride-filled moment. And yes, the evidence was stacked against him, but that never stopped him from maddeningly denying things in the past. It was an incredible growth in maturity.
Once again, my parents tried to use this for their own personal gain and claim that his guilty plea was evidence of inadequate legal counsel, therefore violating his legal rights and requiring immediate emergency custody go to them.
And then at the end of it all, with the state attorney fighting one way, djj fighting the opposite, and the judge bound by the ridiculous law that would not allow him to put my son inpatient without putting him on a national registry for life, my child got probation. He was illegally enrolled in school, and had admitted to recently watching porn...even though his terms of release from djj said no unsupervised contact with anyone under 15, (we all know kids have chances to be alone in school) and no internet access. And because the judge did not want him to be come a self-fulfilling prophecy and ruin his entire life by having him register, the only option the judge saw was probation. I pray it is enough.
Part of the terms of his probation were both sexual offender, and anger management therapies. He had numerous other requirements, but those were the main ones. His probation lasts until he completes all terms, and his dad and I both agree that he needs to sit with this for a while and really earn that release from probation with an appreciation and accountability for what he did. So he isn’t in any rush to complete it all.
After the fact, the grief has set in for all of us, in numerous ways. This is a road I was completely unprepared to navigate, but I’m doing the best I can. We are all learning that you can feel two completely opposite emotions at one time, and somehow that’s completely normal after trauma. We are all learning what it means to lose a family member forever even though they are still alive. And honestly, we are all still trying to find each other again in the muddy waters. Hopefully, we all come out together on the other side, stronger from being broken.