You did your best Jenna

I’ve buried the truth of this story deep down for almost three decades and now know that in order to finally let it go I have to tell the world what happened to me.

To people embroiled in personal tragedy or family breakdown I urge you to stay strong and believe that things can get better. No matter what happens I want you to know that you are a good person who is trying your best to overcome adversity.

My story is sad and it hurts to write about but it has to be told to set me free and because it may help others going through similar circumstances. Everybody hurts sometime.

My unhappy marriage unraveled in 1984 which filled my life with misery and insecurity. My husband was cruel and manipulative and blamed me for everything.

Maybe he felt trapped by my pregnancy even though we chose to have a baby after six years of marriage. He was spiteful and ignored me by staying out late most nights. My self-confidence was so low I felt powerless.

I was scared of being pregnant and alone so I put up with his bully behaviour hoping that when the baby was born he would change and our life together would flourish.

I was timid and naïve and didn’t share my pain with anyone because I felt like I had failed in my marriage. Even my mother or best friend didn’t know what I was going through because I was ashamed to admit it.

Being pregnant with my first child should have been one of the happiest times of my life but it was intolerable and for this I felt cheated.

When our baby boy was born I was overjoyed even though my husband continued his disinterest. I was terrified of being able to care for the baby while coping with my husband’s unpredictable moods.

My husband walked out of our life when our baby was seven months old. We had built a new house and he lived in it for three months before leaving. Even though I felt relief I also felt cheated out of the delight of sharing a baby and a new house together. There was no joy only pain.

My baby was beautiful and continued to thrive each day. In the early days I put all my energy into loving and caring for him during the day and then lay in bed at night sobbing because I felt like a failure.

Slowly my life began to recover and I discovered I was a much stronger person when I was away from my husband’s cruel comments. My self-confidence improved, my baby was thriving, I found a part-time job and I was re-acquainted with an old friend.

I was happy planning for a special family party for my son’s second birthday when my world fell apart again

After showing no interest in our baby boy for the first two years of his life my husband sent me a letter via his lawyer demanding weekend access rights to our son.

This was followed by several stressful family court hearings and eventuated in having to send my two-year-old boy to stay with his father every fortnight. Nothing can erase the sadness I felt when I handed my baby to his father, who he didn’t know, for the first time.

This was the start of 16 years of disruption and turmoil in my son’s life.

As a teenager my son started playing up as most teenagers do but because he lived in two houses with two different sets of rules he began telling lies about his whereabouts.  He disregarded his private school education and left soon after high school.

The years that followed were dark and scary; I lost my son to drugs. I bailed him out so many times by paying money to people he owed. Each time he promised it wouldn’t happen again and said he would learn from it and turn his life around, but he never did.

I loved my son but I couldn’t live with him anymore and watch him destroy his life as well as that of my family. He was angry, deceitful, uncommunicative and unreasonable. As much as it broke my heart I had to let him go when he was 18 to fend for himself.

It took almost ten years before seeing any signs of improvement. There were times of intermittent contact and periods of no contact mixed in with lots of tearful situations. I managed to carry on living my life but always thought about my son and continued to believe that he would one day find his way to a better life.

Every time he contacted me I told him how much I loved him, how I knew he could rise above his problems and create a better life for himself. He listened but counteracted everything I said with a negative response and my message never seemed to penetrate. This went on for many years.

On Mother’s Day 2013 my son came to visit and he seemed truly happy and he looked healthy. It gave me hope when he genuinely smiled. I hugged him and he hugged me back for the first time in years and it felt like I was holding my son again. I felt his warmth and thought we may be coming out at the end of a long, dark scary tunnel.

The next day I sent him this message

Thank you for visiting me yesterday, it made my mother’s day complete. I am so glad that you seem to be much happier these days in your personal life and in your work life. I knew things would turn around for you. You deserve every success and happiness. I love you forever from Mum

He responded

Thanks mum, couldn’t have done it without you
love you too

This was the first time he had said or written, “love you” in 16 years. His words and the warmth of his hug gave me hope that time can heal human suffering.

I’m not saying everything will be perfect now but it was so nice to feel a brief moment of genuine hope with my son.

That’s it; I am done with reliving the pain of my first marriage and past troubles with my son. I am ready to leave these hurts behind and from today I’ll only focus on the journey ahead in life.

After writing this blog I am metaphorically putting my words on a water-lily and floating it in the ocean to be consumed by the universe to set me free.

It’s time to forgive myself and say “Jenna you coped with adversity the best way you could and I am proud of you.”

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48 thoughts on “You did your best Jenna

  1. You did more than your best, you did the perfect thing as a parent. I have two kids, one almost 19 the other almost 21. I can’t believe your ex was given the right to see your son so easily, that just doesn’t sound right. But, you coped with it so well and you are so strong and you have the love AND the respect of your son now. More importantly, you should respect yourself. A JOB WELL DONE.

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  2. wow I really had tears in my eyes, you give me hope and encouragement to fight some more, so glad that you and your son reconnect again 😀 …thank you for sharing
    many blessings to you and your family

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    1. Hi Nicki, I am so glad I have given you encouragement to fight some more. There were times when I felt that the problems I was having with my son would never get better, in fact they continued to get worse for almost 10 years, but I never gave up hope.
      Just focus on doing what you can do and don’t dwell on what is out of your control. Have hope, there is always hope. Love Jenna 🙂

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  3. What a wonderful story to share – sometimes we find our strength in ourselves when the negativity ceases. I’m so happy that your son came to see you and I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful ‘friendship’.

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    1. Thank you for you kind wishes. I’m happy to say that I have seen my son a couple of times since I wrote this post and he is showing glimpses of the happy little boy he used to be. I am confident that our mother/son bond is getting stronger each day. Love Jenna 🙂

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    1. It was a very hard to put my experience into words but after I shared it I felt a lot better. It was very therapeutic for me to state the truth and not feel like I had failed or was being judged by others (which is how I had been feeling for many years). I appreciate your comment, love Jenna 🙂

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  4. Good for you. The best revenge is to be joyful and live a long and happy life, in spite of what happens to us. It’s not easy, but you did it. I hope you and your son have a wonderful time together from now on. Congratulations on being free.

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  5. Oh Jenna!!!! Bravo to you!!!! What a FABULOUS example of God’s Love! You did an awsome job with your son. Even through your pain, you KNEW with your Spirit, not mind, that you had to love him in a different way. We as parents/guides of these younger souls have to truly see the bigger picture of this life and accept each other’s path, even those who were sent through us. These younger souls are just as we older ones 🙂 I feel your love for him and know this, that IS enough. Now take that same love which you dedicated to him all these years and spread it all over yourself. Spread it in and through and over yourself and say “Yes!” to you! He has acknowledge your love for him and have given you the ‘OK’ to move on from him to you. Continue to feel Love and embrace his, and your own, acceptance of you and the choices you made. 🙂

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  6. My dear Jenna, I wish I knew what words to write to make you feel better. You are incredibly strong to be able to withstand all that has occurred in your life. Don’t ever let anyone let you think you are lesser than them. I am not a mother and I cannot begin to imagine what pain you have gone through. Please know that you will be able to fly high above all that seeks to destroy. Thinking of you and your bright spirit. Xx

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  7. Thank you Jenna for sharing your story and I can only agree with the comments above that you seem to have managed some of the most difficult and painful of circumstances with love, dignity and strength. It is very moving.I suffered from addictions and mental health issues and it pains me to know how much others suffered because of my suffering. My parents and I lived through some very dark days and now have a relationship that is strong and loving. We have all grown tremendously. I am always grateful that they never stopped loving me and that we are still in each others lives although we caused each other so much pain. I now realise that my health, my happiness, my presence and my love are the best thank you I could ever give them and fortunately I am in a position now to be able to do this. I hope your son stays strong and well. All the love to you for being so strong and so brave.

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  8. Oh Jenna, a big, warm HUG to you all the way from Canada. Thank you so much for sharing this story. As a single mom, too, who often feels like I have failed, I resonated with your story. But the truth is, we do the best we can do with what we have, and that’s all we can do! Kudos to you for forgiving yourself, and my prayers are with you and your son that maybe, just maybe, this is the year for you both!!! xxoo Chere

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  9. What a wonderful Mother’s Day gift! Thank you for sharing your difficult journey, and may God bless you in this renewed mother/son relationship.

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  10. Dear Jenna, thank you for joining me on Sending Joy. I hope we can continue our spiritual journey together. Thank you for your happy story. Happy? Yes! It is through our adversity that our most powerful healing happens. Everything happens for a reason. Powerful healing is happening now for you and your son. A painful relationship has become a healing one. That’s what A Course In Miracles calls a Holy Relationship. Forgive the past, Dear Heart, for your own peace of mind, and let the future be in God’s hands. Now is all there is and now is a beautiful place for you and for your son. Congratulations! I see your water lily heading this way. And it is filled with Light. Love, Sharie

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  11. Jenna, thank you so much for having the courage to share your journey here, and more importantly, thank you for being an amazing strong woman and mother, as the world needs more of both. You did your best, and it was more than enough.

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      1. Jenna, thank you for such a beautiful note and for being so brave and vulnerable. This truly touched my heart, and I am sending you much love and comfort. You are not alone, and you are more than enough!

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      1. Thanks again Jenna! I’ve just read the beautiful post. I’ve enjoyed reading all your posts and you have been an inspiration to me. Press on and keep smiling *(^___^)*

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  12. Wow, Jenna, that was an incredibly honest post. I admire your vulnerability and bravery to share this story. I celebrate with you the triumph of moving beyond regret and the pain of the past. It’s not an easy thing to do and there are times I still stumble over the pain of wishing I’d done things differently. But, as you said, we do the best we can in the situations we’re in.

    There is nothing so tender and fragile, yet so strong, as a mother’s love. I’m so happy your son is back in your life and you have the opportunity to continue healing.

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  13. thank you Jenna for sharing–as the mom of a 24 year old son, a mom who, myself, has made lots of mistakes, my heart can feel the pain of your heart. I have not lived your life and cannot say I know exactly how you feel—but just as a mom who has tried to be the best mom but who has had triumphs and the tragedies all along the way but who is always still trying—I know it hurts looking back. It sounds as if your son is on the right road and he, as he grows and matures, will only continue to appreciate you as his mom. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your story—blessings—Julie

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