THE ONCE A MONTH MOTHER : Grief, Loss, Motherhood & Injustice

 Grief is a voice forced into silence that is crying to be heard by those you cannot reach…

 I want you to understand what it is like to be a mother grieving for her children who are alive, and live within driving distance, but due to an unjust court order, your contact with the children is limited to just one visit a month. Even worse, the court gave the abuser the power to decide if you can see the children at any other time (the answer is no), and what information you can receive about their basic care (school, daycare, medical, etc)—and he refuses to communicate in any way or share any information. As a result, I am being alienated from my children with the court’s consent.

 It goes against everything that makes me a mother to stand by and watch this happen to my kids—I cannot protect them. Family Court will not protect them and is completely ignoring evidence. I have done NOTHING to deserve this—I am fit, loving mom who is successfully raising a third child, working two jobs in the healthcare field and have a stable home for my children to live in. I have a good relationship with my children; they look forward to our visits. I never have been charged with any crime—like the father. I have never abused drugs or alcohol—like the father. I have not been diagnosed with a “personality disorder” or serious mental illness–like the father. I was the primary parent for my children all of their lives until the court ripped by family apart, our lives have never been the same .

 **************

 Grief is a voice forced into silence that is crying to be heard by those you cannot reach…

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 The loss of my children is a constant. It never goes away. There are always painful reminders.

 I was shopping for clothing for my youngest when I felt an incredible sense of loss… I couldn’t help but to notice my cart seemed pretty empty without the additional purchases for my two oldest children. My eye wandered to a stretchy tee shirt decorated with a glittery peace sign I know my daughter JJ would love, or the striped tights that would be perfect with her ruffled jean skirt. JJ loves Justice; I avoid that store, seeing it makes me cry.

Or the fleece lined hoodie that would be perfect for my son DJ. I worry about DJ now that he is becoming a teenager; he hit a growth spurt and Mr. X will not share what his new size is so I cannot buy clothing that will fit him properly. It is painful to see DJ walking around in dirty or ill fitting clothing, often mismatched and several sizes too small. Or his pants falling down. Or wearing the wrong shoes for the weather (like swim shoes with a hole in the toe during the winter). DJ complained that clothing is laying in piles all over the house, and he can’t figure out what is clean or dirty so he just throws on whatever. I told DJ that Sadie Hawkins is coming up, that a girl may actually ask him to a dance. DJ could care less about girls but his sister and I had fun trying to guess what type of girl would ask him to the dance. DJ is a bit eccentric, I was imaging a Goth girl wearing an antique black lace dress from the thrift store, they would share a love for comic books, and it would be cool to dance the wrong way—like no one else. JJ thought maybe she would be a nerd, coming to the dance with a safari hat and magnifying glass, studying DNA left on the rims of punch glasses.  Or maybe DJ just wants to hang out…it’s so important to teenagers to be accepted, to have a group of friends. I was worried DJ would be judged on his appearance, when that would be so easy to fix…just get some clothes that fit.

 DJ does not know what size he wears. He has no style, or sense of what he likes to wear; it’s always “whatever”. DJ is getting picked on in school; some basic stylin’ would go a long way. I can guess what my DJ’s shirt size is but his pants size has been a problem… I have been buying a little bit of everything in various sizes. I am so grateful my brother bought DJ some new shoes, trimmed in his favorite color—orange.

 I remember once how JJ and I laid out all these pants and shirts across DJ’s bed, choosing an outfit for him.  DJ had to try on several pair of pants before we found what fit. JJ and I matched some loose fitting carpenter jeans with a brown polo then sprayed on some “Blue Jean” cologne. DJ was patient—a bit embarrassed but I promised hI was almost done until he believed me (!). Then I stood a tall mirror in front of DJ. I remember the wonder in his voice—it was as if he was looking at himself for the first time when he said, “I didn’t know pants fit this way. I look nice.”

Mitten Clip Art

 When my children talk about that it is like to live with their father, it seems the rules are very loose, there is no structure and expectations are unclear. Either Mr. X gets angry, explodes, and starts yelling at the children and threatening or throwing things to get them to do chores (I have seen this happen and it is very frightening). Or he bribes the children with money or expensive gifts to do chores (this usually happens when someone is coming to visit). 

 

The children report that they eat at all times of the day—sometimes they go without a meal if someone forgets to feed them, or they have to wait until 8 or 9 at night for dinner because Mr. X came home late. I know my kids are hungry when they call me and ask what I am having for dinner, or talk about the meals we shared together. During my one visit a month, I send my children home with snacks so they can fix something for themselves. Sometimes the children are left home alone or various people are left to care for them—often those people are unreliable or unsafe. The children are babysat by their computer games and by TV…some days they lay around the house all day. They don’t go to church anymore. They have lost all the friends they have made when they were in my care. Since Mr. X was given sole custody, my children have developed a spike in anxiety and fear that manifests at bedtime—I have seen DJ have panic attacks, and JJ becomes noticeably agitated, she has to know where I am and where I am going to sleep. These children have to be re-taught how to develop a regular bedtime schedule—much the same way you would work with a toddler. I am not allowed any overnight visits anymore, so this probably won’t happen. These children have lost so much, and in many ways have regressed, since family court awarded sole custody to the abuser.

 

These thoughts circle through my mind like a cyclone– the air rushes through the hole in my heart, a hole created by grief, with such force that I was almost knocked down. I was thinking of all this, turning over and over in my mind, when the image of my precious boy came to me…

Memories came to me of what it was like to hold DJ for the first time. I saw DJ’s heart shaped face, his soft brown eyes and the dimple in his cheek that reminds me of the grandmother he is named after. I remembered the warm, milky scent of babies. I remembered the powdery softness of his skin, as he lay against my chest. How DJ could fit in both my hands…and now he has grown so big that I would need a skid loader to lift him! I remembered how DJ hugs me so tight that I can barely breathe. And how he laughs—a slow giggle that moves like a wave, crumpling his mouth, shaking his shoulders.

 

I could not fill in so many of the gaps… the time stolen by the court, the days and days we spent apart, with contact … all I have is these memories. When I was a mother. When I tucked my children into bed, their own bed, at night and shared a story. When I made meals for them, how JJ would stand on a stool at the counter and help me cook. When we danced around the house on Saturdays doing our chores. When we did school work at the dining room table, and how I loved to teach them. I taught JJ to write poetry at 3 years old, and DJ loved doing science experiments. When we went on adventures exploring back roads and historical sites…climbing around waterfalls, and peeking inside the windows of an abandoned cook house. When we cuddled up watching a movie together, the car wash scene in “A Cinderella Story” a favorite. When… stand up straight. Steady myself on the metal rack holding the clothing. Force a smile. Smooth my hair. Time to focus on the present. I can’t remember anymore. It hurts too much. It can’t be changed.

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Family Court has wrongfully stolen my children, I have been forced into becoming someone else… someone I don’t recognize… the once a month mother.

 — M21

 

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About Emily Court

It takes "Just Us" To Fight Injustice in Family Court. I blog to raise awareness about problems existing in the family court system, and use my own story as a personal example of how the systemic failures in family court, and the Guardian ad Litem Program, affect families, in an effort to encourage needed reform. "Emily Court" is a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness working to create a better life for her children, in a stable home free of violence. In her efforts to rebuild her life, she has not only encountered harassment and intimidation from her alleged abuser but faced systematic failures in family court that have empowered her alleged abuser and put her children at risk. Emily is fighting to keep her kids safe, and bring them home. Through writing and blogging, Emily is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, and the urgent need for family court reform. She is currently working on a memoir titled "'Til Prayers Are Answered".
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7 Responses to THE ONCE A MONTH MOTHER : Grief, Loss, Motherhood & Injustice

  1. cindy says:

    I am crying reading your story. It is my story and the pain is unbearable,The sad thing is they don’t want the kids they want to control the woman and these are the little people they use. I wish you would e mail me. You are not alone. Why are abusers given so much control? I am on speakerphone so he can listen to me talk to my kids. Don’t the courts realize I left because I could not breathe without his permission and now the kids are being treated the same way and mine is even worse. God help the children who sort of deal as your children but they are sad and have given up.

  2. confused719 says:

    Hello,
    I couldn’t finish your post with out breaking down in tears) I share in your pain and will keep you in my prayers. I am in a similar situation that has me just so broken. I will be losing custody on October 8th to her mother who could care less about her and hasn’t even tried to exercise her one half parenting time since our divorce over over 2 years ago. It’s the mothers BOYFRIEND who has a special interest in our daughter and is having her mother battle me in court for full custody… The magistrate is biased and favors her mother. There has been so many lies it is unreal… however the magistrate will not consider not even a shred of evidence from me.

    and then this… our case was forward to a court appointed legal representative. A couple of weeks went by and I hadn’t heard anything so I decided to call the COR. The could not locate a file on the computer for us… I was then told that the file came in and was filed away with out a case being opened in the computer. If I hadn’t called, the would have never even been aware of the case.

    Ms. — filed a motion requesting that a(frivolous) temporary restraining order be dropped. The court dropped the restraining order and closed the entire file. UM, excuse me we still have the whole custody issue going on… The clerk apologized, said it was closed in error… She then informed me that she forgot to contact the CLR so she could schedule another hearing…

    There is so much more but I need to get back to work.

  3. Kay Y says:

    I no longer feel like a mother to them, but a long lost relative who visits only when allowed. They are now over 1000 miles away with their father. The lost time can never be regained they are only little once.

    • Emily Court says:

      Me too! The teachers in school spend more time with my kids than I do. The gamers on YouTube spend more time with my kids than I do. The cashier in the grocery store gets to see what they like to eat, and what they don’t. The librarian gets to read them stories. The school nurse gets to mend their boo-boo’s… All these people, strangers, get to do all the the little things that I should be doing as Mom, but can’t bc I am being forced out of their lives. So true Kay! ((Hugs))

  4. Jennifer f says:

    Exact thing happened to me. A few different details, but end was the same.
    My kids were wrongly taken, against the extreme protests of both, I spent the next years working counseling, AA voluntary drug testing at my own expense, parenting and traveling over 200 miles for court, visits mediation and counselingclasses…all unnessasary, in hopes court would let my babies return. THEY NEVER DID. Grown now, I am broken. I did everything right, and they blew my family apart, seperated kids with different dads…because they could. What can be done?told my sad story,heard yours. But there needs to be lobbys, media attention, a movement. ID MARCH, PICKET, SEND LETTERS, WRITE BOOKS, SAVE OTHER KIDS THIS LEGAL KIDNAPPING. #parental alienation#familycourt injustice#women and children first.

  5. Reblogged this on amississippimom and commented:
    Very moving, compelling. Thank you for articulating your experience. I know how painful it was to do, is to live with. Your effort is not in vain … this is the only way to spread awareness, garner the support, attention, empathy we all need to end all this needless suffering. It is truly a horrific tragedy. You are not alone.

    • Emily Court says:

      I agree Mississippi Mom! The Court does not allow video taping the hearings, and in my case the other party can object to any witnnesses I bring into court (he once tried to have my parents botted from a hearing because he does not like them!)… So my resistence is to take notes, keep papers organized and record as much as I can. You are right, we need to raise as much awareness as possible, and show the tragedy protective moms and their children face due to court injustice so we raise support and fight for family court reform. I am so thankful for all the brave moms and helping professionals working together for justice, and will do whatever I can to contribute. xo

Comments are welcome on FCI. We appreciated thoughtful and respectful comments/feedback that offers a variety of views. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and belong to the respective commentor. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comments for suitability and may remove or edit comments that contain abusive or offensive language, images, links or accusations. Comments may also be removed if they contain personal information, identifying information or sensitive details about your location, case, minor children, those involved in your case. Please do not post full articles from other sites, as it could be a violation of copyright or intellectual property laws. Thanks for visiting!!

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