Thursday, December 12, 2013

Test of Faith

So since we found out about the possibility of "restrictive custody" I have spent a lot more time in Mass.  Honestly, I'd love to tell you that it is because I am so holy.
Actually, it is because I was scared
and felt helpless and guilty
and like I had totally failed my son.

not good emotions.
and not something I could carry alone
so I turned to the Solution that has always helped

So in Mass, I can just talk to God about it without the distraction, letting the tears fall and allowing Him to see the pain in my heart.

My house is on the market, I have turned in my resignation, I have already started the wheels rolling- and now Jake is in this situation and it looks like he can't come with me.

I've been trying to listen very very carefully.
and I thought what I would hear is that I need to stay put.

But I heard: you are not home yet.

I am resolute about moving home to Indianapolis.  I want to be back where my family and my close friends are because right now, I need the support. But I also feel like there is something that God wants me to do there.  I don't know what. Jake said I need to get a place ready for him - so that when he comes home, there will be a home for him to start over.

This feels like going to the precipice - looking right over the edge and deciding to walk across the canyon on an invisible bridge.

14 months and counting teh days for Jacob

It has been 14 months since they took Jake into custody.  I can hardly remember a night that wasn't bourbon-laced that I have not fallen asleep thinking about him and wondering if he was okay. I think of him in that cell with the plexiglass wall, under the watchful eye of hte guards waiting with bated breath for another seizure. Every time we talk, which currently is once a week for 10 minutes via phone, he assures me that he is fine.  He is a courageous soul, always has been, and he doesn't complain to me. Bless him - he is more worried about how I am doing that he is about himself.

I have talked to parents who have lost children - and I have always marveled at their strength and peace - and I strive to have that same demeanor. I have teh knowledge that someday this will all be done and he will be back home - so it is nowhere near the pain of knowing that your child is lost forever.   But a part of me is so restless knowing that he isn't safe, knowing that at any moment, another kid could decide to hit him or hurt him....That fear is based in the reality that he has been attacked several times, apparently when you are supervised by the Department of Justice, you are allowed to watch all the R rated movies your parents wouldn't let you watch, you are allowed to swear like a sailor and if you hit someone and cause physical damage, both of you get put in solitary confinement.  Fine parenting that goes on there.  Super impressed that he has been taken away for rehabilitation only to be exposed to things I never would have let him do.

There are days that I struggle with they why of all this - and yet, I know that God is faithful and that He will use this for something good for Jake. That is the beginning of the miracle in this - his seizures and most likely his growth spurt have stopped.  He is towering at 6'5" and his last seizure was in May back when he was still at the Columbus detention center.

He is going to school and he has learned some tough lessons about the dangers of the world and that not everyone who says they are your friend is really your friend. I am sad that he has lost that innocence, but we are called to be in the midst of broken people and he'll need these skills as he gets older. So maybe that is miracle two - he is much more mature and acts more like a man of his age should act- and yet he still has that bright smile, he still says hello to all of teh guards when we are at visitation, he still teases and has that beautiful spirit.

And that thought gives me peace - there can be turmoil and drama and injustice, and yet, still within our hearts, our joy cannot be taken.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We should not create one set of victims to protect another set.

Back in August, I thought the moving home and starting over again was all going to be wonderful.
It has proven to be quite the challenge. We got some news in September, that what we thought would be a little problem, was going to change things dramatically.

You see, it's about Jake- my dear sweet son who wouldn't hurt a fly.  Over the years, I have written about dozens of his adventures and his trials.  But I didn't know that the worst one was yet to come.

About 2 years ago a police officer kept coming to the house asking to talk to him, but refusing to tell me what it was about.  Then after 5 months of this, he finally told me that a neighbor kid had accused Jake of molesting her.  No witnesses, no specific date, vague details. I was floored and hired an attorney. Because of the seizures, he isn't alone or without adult supervision, so the likelihood of this having happened is really slim.

The day I gave him the retainer and asked that he work something out with the officer to allay his fears, the lawyer was in a car accident. Unfortunately, the lady at his office thought we didn't need that information. Two weeks went by and I didn't hear anything from either the officer or the lawyer.

Then I got a call from the YDC nursing department saying that Jake had been arrested and that they needed his medications.

I think my heart stopped.
even writing it again it makes my heart stop.

He was charged as an adult, despite the fact that he was 15 when this allegedly happened and that his mental age is a couple years younger than that.  Without a witness, a date, or any collaboration, one person saying he did something without any corroboration or physical evidence had put Jake in jail.

I called the lawyers office, only to find that he had been in a car accident and had not been back to work - something I was not made aware of -  and had not called the officer.  Great, so the officer moved forward thinking that we were just ignoring him.  Not good.

I had to scramble to find another lawyer and work to get Jake released.
The guilt was overwhelming.  While this is not normal stuff to deal with, I thought I should have been able to protect him from this.  I didn't sleep, I forgot to eat and I felt like a zombie version of myself.  It wasn't good for either of us.  Jake looked awful and there was a darkness in his eyes that I had never seen before.

On his 17th birthday,  still being held without a bail agreement, they sent him to the adult county lockup. He was strip searched and put into the showers with a dozen other grown men.  I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it is to forgive the people who did this to him - but I have to.

Our lawyer was able to get a bond agreement, but it eliminated his ability to do anything social- no youth group, no going to school, nothing where he might be around anyone under 16.

Keep in mind, that the prosecution still only has one witness and then, in the police report, there are three other conflicting testimonies of hearing about the incident.
These people were supposed to be our friends - they are our backyard neighbors, their kids played at my house - and yet, they went to the police first and NEVER said anything to me about this.

So in this county, if someone is convicted of child molestation there is a mandatory 25 year sentence. No early parole, no negotiation, just the sentence in prison.

We talked at length to our lawyer - then to be sure, talked to four other lawyers who handled these types of cases - all said the same thing: that there was absolutely no way they take these to trial and the the accused has to agree to a plea deal.  Jake would be going to jail despite the fact that he is innocent and did not have a fair trial.

Frankly, even if it wasn't my son we were talking about, I'd tell you that was bullshit.
I have friends, dear friends, who have suffered at the hands of a sexual molester - I know what it can do to someone.  But to condone this witchhunt where people are forced to go to jail without evidence - just on one person's word  - is perilous at best.  It is a sad commentary on where we are as a society that this is just accepted by the legal system. I was told by a prominent lawyer that "there is no movement to change the way this works."

And on the the real question: On October 10th, Jake agreed to a plea deal that would allow him to serve his time in a youth detention center - a Juvenile center, not prison.  He could be there for up to 2 years. And he didn't do this. He spent his 18th birthday in jail and without family.

His attitude is good - we had a long time to prepare for this possibility and he is looking at it like military school.  He is back in classes which the bond agreement denied him - and despite the kids and the problems that brought them there - he has found some guys to buddy up with and for the most part, it has been a reasonable experience for him. After a year of being surrounded by just his immediate family, he was ready for some socialization that didn't include us. Oh, and the food is good. For a guy who is 6'4" 270# that is a good thing. We are able to go see him twice a week and he is able to call at least once a week.  We are sending letters and I have had a number of friends send them as well.

To be honest, I know that God will make this situation work out for the good for Jake.  His heart is in the right place and he expressed more worry about how I am doing than about himself. He is a strong kid, he does well with structure and he is still allowed to contact his family - and we know he is innocent.

What I don't know is if there is a way to protect other families from what happened to us.  This happened over a month ago and I am just now able to write about it.  What forced me to make this public, though, is that the parole officer I talked to, who only handles kids who have been accused of molestation, said that this happens all the time - that it only takes on person with a convincing story to put some kid in jail. That just is not right.

But the bottom line is: protecting our kids should not mean that we allow a miscarraige of justice - how do we teach our children that the law is to be respected and that the justice system works when people are railroaded through like this?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fairy Tales

You know what I just realized this weekend after watching yet another fairy tale- Snow White and the Huntsman? In fairy tales, the hero - or heroine - EXPECT to go through adversity and then when they get to the happily ever after part, they don't sign up to see a counselor or have "issues" because the big bad wolf swallowed their grandmother. They are sad, they mourn the loss of whatever it is they lost, and they move forward.
Those heroes get on with their lives and move past it - leaving history where it belongs - safely behind them and the future securely ahead of them.

The adversity makes them stronger - tests their resolve, steels theit will.  But it doesn't break them, even when it seems hopeless.

I seem to be having a lot of conversations these days with people who are letting the demons and monsters of their past trials still impact who they are today - allowing fear to dominate their lives rather than hope. If you are going to continue to let those monsters rule your life, then why escape from them in the first place?

We have had our share of adversity - but I will not let it define my future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Leap of Faith

It has been said that to act on something without tangible proof and very little direction is foolish - even reckless.  But I know better.  I remember clearly praying that I would get some direction about staying or moving 8 years ago- and the direction was super clear.
I believe that there are signs and indications that things are headed a certain way - little coincidences that are difficult to ignore and when added up together give rise to the hope of something marvelous on the horizon.
It was those little coincidences  - that little nudge - that started this path and allowed me to find the person I have been looking for - the one I will spend the rest of my days with.
So four months ago I made the declaration that I was going to move home, marry my love and live happily ever after. Faith has guided me through.

Step one happens this weekend - all my things are packed and awaiting the truck to take them home. I am moving my things into his home with nothing more than a verbal committment on his part - and the knowledge that moving home is where I have been destined for a long time.  I should be nervous about this - but instead, there is a peace and calm like this was totally the Plan the whole time.

My things are packed, truck reservations made, vacation scheduled and now all that stands between me and a move home are the hours of the next few days.

When I come home I will put my house on the market and take another step toward home.

Gotta say that standing on the precipice is thrilling- I am so excited about what this future holds.
Stay tuned - I'm sure there will be an adventure in this move process!

Five Years and Counting

It seems like just the other day that my Dad would call me and tell me things were going to be alright - or that I didn't have the luxury of falling apart so I had better figure something out.  I'd be happy to hear either from him these days.

I miss him.

Five years ago we were getting ready for his funeral and I couldn't have predicted the way things would turn out.  I remember when I got married that I had hoped that when the day came, my partner would be able to stand beside me and I could fall apart. Eh, that didn't exactly happen- instead it became the pivotal moment when the love I had for him stopped and I knew it was over.  I still think Dad had a hand in that - I would have tortured myself for years trying to make something work out of all those pieces.

The funny thing is that we use Dad as a reference point - when things are going well or the kids do something particularly ingenious, I will tell them: well of course you can do that, You are Dave Loner's grandchild.  It's in your nature. And they just beam because there is no greater compliment in this house.

We are headed back to Logansport on Monday for a family gathering, and for the first time in a couple years, I'll go back to where his gravesite is.  He made the wooden crosses out of cedar, and we put a plaque on them - I think Mom has since gotten something a little bolder - but personally, I like the cedar crosses.

I was thinking today that I hope he is looking down and saying that he thinks we are doing a pretty good job considering the information we are working with and that he'd be proud of us.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Threads of my Old Life

I liked living in Indiana - loved the winters when the ground was covered in snow, even when I had to shovel it, loved going to the zoo with my kids as babies and talking to the bears and the penguins, loved watching the Indians play and the decadence of beer and hot dogs as dinner, loved the buzz of Broad Ripple on a Friday night and the comfort of driving into Logansport crossing the Eel River and feeling like somehow the core of being home was just over that bridge.

I knew good people when I lived there - giving back to the community was a way of life - and I have been blessed by some friends here who have that same attitude.  But I have always liked how we take care of each other back home. I have friends who have gone to the same parish since they were kids and don't think twice about getting out their checkbook or opening up their calendar to pitch in. I like that - because that is the way I am too.

I remember when we came here and then when Mom sold the lake house in Buffalo, that I thought there would never be a day that I would go back to Indiana. Shows what I know.

And now I find myself putting together the threads of my old life - old friends contacted through the magic of Facebook make it seem so much closer to my old life than it had ever been before. I realize that I cut those threads, though, all by myself.  I have a bit of wanderlust, but that wasn't the whole thing.  Once I had kids in my early 20s and all of my schoolmates did not, I felt like a third wheel and just stopped hanging out with the people I can't wait to see now. I cut those ties by not returning calls and not going to events that I know now I should have attended - those ties are important. What do we know when we are that young - not as much as we should!

I am so excited because I have cousins who are just a couple years older than my kids who are having babies themselves - our reunion over Labor Day will be chock full of babies - can hardly wait! I've missed out and I don't want to miss out any more.

Which leads me to the point of all this - the waiting.
There are a number of threads which have not just wound neatly to form the rope to pull me home.  A couple of legal entanglements, a house to sell, a transfer to acquire- these seem like such big items.  But I realized this weekend that fussing over these is a matter of Faith.  If I really believe that God watches over me and that this is His Plan for my life, can I also believe that He would leave me hanging to just trudge through this alone?  Um, no. I hate the waiting, but I know that sometimes navigating sticky situations requires a patience that I don't have inherently, so I have to squint my eyes and concentrate on being patient and trudging along. I am determined to keep packing, keep pushing forward, keep listening until it is truly time to go. 

And that is where I find myself right now: with a distant view of a new life that will incorporate the most beautiful aspects of my old life. One that will require me to stay the course and keep getting my house ready to sell, my kids ready to be on their own and my heart ready to live with the love of my life.  No small tasks - but since God will help me because I am helping myself, I know that it will be okay.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Storm Clouds

Today as I was driving along with Jake in the van, the sun was out and we were remarking that at 108 degrees, it was like a sauna even inside the van.
I have a friend who is saving moving boxes for me, so we stopped to organize the van, then to move the boxes and we were on our way.
About ten minutes toward home, we noticed that there were some low dark clouds coming over the passenger side.  The radio was off because we were talking and as we continued we could see the line on the horizon where the rain was obviously pouring down- it looked like there was no where we could turn to avoid it, so we kept going forward and prepared for the storm. I need new tires, so I scooted over into the right lane and slowed down, trying to be cognizant of my limitations. Then we turned on the lights and the fog lights just in case.  
First came the wind which seemed to be coming from every direction, and the swirling clouds overhead which were so distracting because I kept waiting for them to turn into a tornado any minute- they were so low it seemed I could touch them through the sunroof. 
The temperature dropped 40 degrees and the rain started in fat drops on the windshield.  Funny thing about being in a storm - you are so preoccupied with handling the storm and what is immediately in front of you that you can miss out on everything else surrounding you.  A big twister could have come through a stand of trees and I would have missed it - because I was busy trying to stay on the road and manage the rain. Lightning was everywhere in blue blazes cutting across the gray sky - visible even through my mottled windshield.
We made it home in one piece - no more worse for wear adn with a great story to tell about how the wind whipped us around and the rain pounded the car.

But the point of this really isn't about the rain- it is about those low dark storm clouds which stirred up fear - to the point that I finally asked Jake to stop talking about them.
That fear and the concentratio on the clouds was distracting - and kept me from focusing my full attention on the road in front of me as I kept trying to steal a glimpse of what he was talking about and plan for a possibility that was improbable.
We had some other storm clouds this morning - of an entirely different nature - and they are threatening to bring twisters and wind which could throw us off coarse.
I learned something today: keep focused on what is most important, keep moving forward, and stop trying to glimpse at something that is a possibility rather than the absolute that is right in front of me. If I keep looking over my shoulder, I will end up missing the hazards in front of me - and I have to pay attention.  Just because it is noisy and full of threats, doesn't mean it is really any danger.
I needed that lesson today - Thanks for that.

Monday, July 16, 2012

So lets get on with the Blessings part, shall we?

Nicole, of Nicole and Charlie fame, was here yesterday - she looks great, she sounds great, she has found her purpose and her life by ministering to the very people who are in a spot like the one she found herself in.  Forget business school, she is becoming a social worker when she starts classes in the fall.  And how cool is it that she is a teacher's assistant in a school system in Albquerque which can really use her compassion.  Charlie is thriving - and all in all her story has a happy ending. How incredibly cool is it when God puts us in the right place at the right time and says: hey step up and this will be good?  It is way past good -and I feel blessed that we were able to be a part of that story.

Jake had a medication increase - and we are now at 3 weeks of seizure-free-ness.  Hoping for a lot more- but thankful for what we have so far.  The timing for a move couldn't be better because he is due to see an adult neuro- so we'll find one in Indy.  Also in the blessing column, the ability for him to spend time with his other brother and sister who are now old enough to help drive him about.  This will be a great opportunity for him to start over - and honestly, that is what a good mother does: give your kid the best shot at a happy life he can have. 

My daughter and son are showing what they are really made of - looking at apartment and housing options, working extra hours, helping watch Jake so I can work.  It is no surprise, they are of course, Dave Loner's grandkids so what else would we expect, but it is wonderful to see it come to fruition. They are gonna do great and when the apron-strings are cut- look out 'cause they are gonna fly!

Things are really coming together in the house and I should be ready to list it in just a couple more weeks - just in time!

and I humbled to tell you the last blessing- something I had only hoped for in the secret places of my heart - I am in love with a man that I trust to be true to me.   And for the first time in forever, I have someone that is willing to dedicate himself to me and to our life - you know what, every evening he takes the time to talk to me and go over a devotional we are using for couples to strengthen their relationships.  He is in effect doing the counseling before there is ever a problem, forming a strong foundation and if I knew nothing else about him, I would love him for being dedicated enough to me to share his thoughts and his faith with me.  What a blessing it is to have a Godly man. I am truly humbled and still blush when I tell people about him. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This is what happy looks like

I look like myself
I feel like myself
And finally I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Both of my older kids are moving to their own places when I sell the house.  For the first time in 21 years I will be down to just one child in the house and he is pretty self-sufficient.
I love being a mother- it is a huge part of my identity, but I am ready for some freedom and more ready to stop cleaning up after other people.
Don't get me wrong, they are great about helping out, but the baseline household responsibility is mine- if I don't ask, it doesn't get done  and ghosts fill up the sink and use the last bit of cheese.
LOOK OUT LIFE- I'm coming at you with guns blazing and it is gonna be fun!!