INDEPENDENCE DAY AND TIMES GONE BY
BY: PATTY L. FLETCHER
JULY 4, 2019
I sit here in the quiet of early morning my mind alive with memories of times gone by. For most people this day will be filled with family, food, and fun.
This is not a post of lamenting of what I don’t have but rather of what I do. Though I’ve lost much over these many years, I’ve gained much as well and it is that which I have gained I wish to focus on.
But. First, I must write about some of the times gone by.
Why? You ask. Because, for you to totally grasp all that I’ve gained, you must first see that which I lost, so you can understand why I now see that it is true when people say, “Loss is gain.”
I haven’t a clue where to begin, and so I hope you’ll excuse me if I meander down memory lane a bit.
I’ve had many wonderful blessed events in my life over these 51-years. One of the most blessed of all was the birth of my daughter. I remember all too well the eleven- and one-half hours I spent in labor, and the disappointment I felt when my doctor walked into that delivery room and said, “Patty, you’re only 4 centimeters dilated we’re going to have to do a C-Section.”
I’d worked long hard hours readying myself for natural childbirth and I’d looked forward to both the pain and pleasure of giving birth with no drugs, using my body’s natural resources to combat the pain of labor so I could experience every moment of that joyous event.
When I was finally brought back to my room after surgery and recovery, and my beautiful daughter was placed into my arms, I was dismayed to find she was bundled head to toe and I couldn’t feel her body and see her as I wished.
After some moments of pure frustration and anguish, I suddenly blurted, “Out! All of you out! Get out! Mom! Dad! All of you out! I want to see my baby. I want to be alone with her. I want to hold her, count her fingers and toes, feel her sweet tiny self and I want none of you here while I do it!” And with that I put nurses, parents, everyone out of there and gently, oh, so gently I unwrapped her from all her swaddling, and laid her softly against my breast. I touched her head, felt the softness of her baby fine hair. I counted and kissed each finger and toe, felt her beautiful little face, and kissed her over and over saying, “My sweet baby girl. My Polly Telucia. You my wee one will one day do great things.”
That has more than come to be. Though I was not always a great mother to her, having made many mistakes over her growing up years, she has become a magnificent mother to five beautiful children, a loving faithful wife, and though she and I are currently estranged from one another due to circumstances far to numerous to list here, I’m extremely proud of the beautiful young woman she’s become.
She is one of the losses I’ve occurred over these many years of my life, and though I’ve many regrets about the past, I can do nothing about it.
How? You ask, is that loss part of my gain?
That loss, painful as it is, though a slow process brought me to the final realization that changes had to come into play in my life so someday when my grandchildren are grown, and they as I hope they will seek me out I can be a grandmother they’ll be glad they found.
Another blessed event in my life was when at the very young age of 24-years-old I married a man 24-years my senior. For a time, Bill was a sweet, caring, husband to me and stepfather to my then six-year-old Polly. However, he suffered from severe mental illness, the extent of which was unknown to me until I was married to him, thinking we would spend the rest of our lives together.
I must say that when Bill was at himself, following all the protocols of his treatment he was a joy to be around and though our marriage ended in violent tragedy with him going against doctor’s wishes, and refusing to take medications or attend therapy appointments and becoming dangerously delusional for a time I was truthfully happy and had he not refused his treatment I’d have remained married until death we did part.
Bill’s dead now. Cancer took him many years ago, but we made our peace with one another before he died and for that I’m glad because there have been far too many situations in my life since for which I have yet found no closure.
Then as many of you know I found myself in another relationship with a man who turned out to be nothing he seemed. In 2001 I met and fell in love with my now EX Donnie, and though our relationship was filled with many rocky times, there were sweet moments as well.
I remember our trip to the beach, and how much fun we had with his then young son there. I believe that was our last truly happy time.
In the end Donnie was convicted of sexual related crimes, he too was abusive, and in many ways was so right from the start.
But, though my relationship with him ended in tragedy as well, with him ending up in prison and me left shattered and trying to put the pieces of my life back together yet again I gained much.
What? You ask could I possibly have gained from all that?
I gained my independence. I was able with his help to leave an apartment complex which was in a place that left me isolated and unable to go and come on my own. I’d lost many of my living independent skills, and he helped me regain those to the point that in 2011 I was able to go and get my now mostly retired Seeing Eye Guide Dog Campbell.
This leads me to the next and one of the most painful losses which in the end turned to a significant gain in my life.
On April 2, 2011 when I arrived in Morristown New Jersey at The Seeing Eye, into my life entered now retired senior instructor Drew Gibbon.
Drew opened the door to my realization that I could believe in myself. Must learn to believe in myself, depend on myself and become all that my potential would allow would I only let it.
Drew was a friend to me in many wonderful ways and all that he did for me brought me to a pathway which would be filled with beautiful mountain tops and dark shadowy valleys.
Yes, for a time due to all the horrors I was facing and hiding in my life I became confused my mind fragmented and I made huge mistakes where our friendship was concerned, but in the end though Drew found himself with no choice but to close the door firmly on our friendship and walk away, and though that loss left me at the very bottom of a deep pit in my life, when I climbed out of that and came to the top I found I’d learned things about myself I’d never known before and through that learning I have begun to heal in ways I never dreamed could ever be possible to me.
So, on this day which our country has set aside to celebrate independence, I too am celebrating. I’m celebrating my independence from all the loss, and I’m embracing the freedom of gain.
I’m now able to be for the most part self-sufficient. My mental illness is more stable than it has ever been at any time of my life since that first suicide attempt at the age of 14. I’ve begun and am working to grow my own business, have published two full length books, and am published in two anthologies, and so have realized dreams which could’ve never come to be had all these things I’ve written of here not taken place.
I’ve thrown off my broken shell and have given birth to a whole new me, and there’s now no limit to what I can become.
Now that you’ve read all I have to share I hope you can not only see how “loss is gain” in my life but that you can take a good look at your own lives and find gain from your own loss as well.
I thank you for taking this trip down memory lane, and I invite you to if you’re so moved, to share your own experiences with me.
You may reply here, or you may write to me at: email@example.com or you may simply sit in personal reflection and think on all these things.
Either way, I hope this has in some way been a blessing to you.
May harmony find you and blessid be.