Hard days ahead....
Have you ever noticed how positive change tends to happen after hard work and good planning; yet, bad changes happen out of the blue and in an instant. That's what happened for me when my doctor said "Brenda, you have cancer". Suddenly I found myself living on a new planet with new rules and new worries and no energy to deal with any of it.
I've read how people go into shock or denial and have to take time to process this kind of information - but as any Hazardous Parent knows, there isn't time for that kind of thing in our kind of family
- the first thing comes to mind in any situation is "How will this impact my family?"And as I walked out of the dr.'s office I was hit with the harsh realization that this was going to trigger major abandonment issues in my three youngest who are currently teens in the peak of their acting out years. We were already dealing with their drug use, their refusal to attend school, rages, regular visits from police, etc. I knew that that this was going to trigger their abandonment issues and I knew that would come in the form of more frequent rages, suicide threats, hatred and disowning of me etc. And, I was right. It has all coming raining down on me with total fury. I understand that. They can't deal with this, won't even talk with me directly about any of it. So, they just hate me. Or at least they think they do. And in case you are wondering why we haven't gotten counselling for them, well, we have that lined up but of course, they don't believe they need support.
I have also had to deal with telling my 11 grown (or nearly grown) older kids. That has been the hardest thing so far. Telling the people I love with all my heart that I'm not going to be around as planned was a horrible, horrible, horrible thing to do. I think it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I guess dying will be harder, but so far telling them has been the worst. They have all (but one) worked out their issues with me as their adoptive mom and I have good relationships with them. I also had to tell them quickly because word spreads fast in our family and I didn't want anyone to hear about it from someone else.
I have reached a point in life where my best times are those I spend with my older kids. We have found ways to be together as adults in so many fun and different ways. One of my sons who has chef skills often comes to the house to cook a lovely dinner for us all; and, I go to movies and Sci Fi conventions with others; and, I have adult conversations with them about politics and child rearing and career choices and all that neat stuff that you get to talk about with your adult kids. Seeing who they grew up to be has been worth everything. They are wonderful people and their care and overt love has been incredible. However, it didn't take cancer for that to happen, they were already doing that.
Ironically, many of my older kids are really angry at the younger 3 for acting out so severely and more than one has said I should just put them all in foster care. Well, I'm not sure when that became an answer to abandonment fears! However, again, I appreciate that they are concerned for me. Also, my younger 3 aren't doing anything that many of the older ones didn't do - its just that now I don't have the time ahead of me to help them resolve their challenges so there is an urgency to getting them through their behaviours and their grief that I didn't have to deal with before.
At this point, I am still working because I am the main breadwinner in the family so we need my income. I don't know how much longer I will be able to do so but my working makes it easier for my youngest 3 to slip and slide into denial and to not believe anything is actually wrong with me and I'm sure this adds so their confusion and ramps up their anger.
Anyway, I will stumble along this unexpected path and try to figure out how to best help my angry 3. So far, I just keep ignoring their angry words and I respond with calm and love. I also continue to infuriate them by refusing to drop my standards - ie no boyfriends are sleeping in their beds with them, no drugs in the house, no f words, etc - just the usual basic expectations that go with Hazardous Parenting. Life goes on until it doesn't, eh.