Merry Go Round

The following has been contributed by the paternal grandparent of one of Amber Whited’s (murdered July 16, 2013) children:

It is their merry go round and yet I still find myself on it. There is not one way to avoid it because we are connected, we are family.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a court hearing wherein two sisters battle the custody of two minor children. My grandchildren and because they cannot come to terms and act right my family is injured, daily.

There is no one to blame now that the mother of the two children is murdered. It is she who was irresponsible and did not plan for the future of her children. It is she who chose to be a single parent and not protect her children by providing a last will and testament in which custody of her small children is established in the event of her untimely death.

Smugly and with false humility they each tell their side of things and from my point of view all I can see is one wanting to one up the other both with the hopes that their side is best played out in the eyes of the judge. It is obvious the judge could be doing more important things than mediate another childish dispute between two adults who should know better and don’t.

Both thinking they are the victor when neither has won and the children and their paternal grandparents lose. You may ask yourself, “How do the paternal grandparents lose?” I’ll be happy to explain.

When the mother of these two small ones was murdered she had not legitimized her youngest baby, the father being my son has not adopted the eldest child as the biological father is out of the picture and my son is the only man this little girl has called daddy. Both the mother and my son young enough to think they are invincible and old enough to know life can and will throw a curve ball do not plan for the possibilities thus do not protect the interest of children and all parties involved.

Actively involved for more than three years with the eldest child and even moreso whence the newborn arrives we commit. As family we embrace the one who is not our kin and receive her into the fold of our family going so far as to include her in family events, traveling long distances for various holidays, birthdays and impromptu meals.

Deeply integrated into our lives we build one moment at a time a foundation of love which bonds us. We love these children my husband and I and the rest of our family and yet now nearly a year since their mother’s murder we have nothing but photo albums of memories, sleepover and play clothes now outgrown and donated to charity and toothbrushes tossed in the trash.

And neither woman will open up and let us in. Both hoarding their time and both offering empty and broken promises.

Suffering in silence we grieve the loss of a woman we called daughter and the loss of her precious children though very much alive but out of reach because of a power game others play. An olive branch extended and we are allowed a few peeks into their lives with photos posted online and more recently at the courthouse where the family skimmed through a recent celebration captured on pages neither my son nor I were offered to hold. From a distance my heart burns from the sight of my grand daughters caught up in a family gathering denied me and my family. Only God knows how deep the burn goes and they so caught up in one upping the other have no clue as to the pain their joy causes us.

Salt in the wound I listen to them, a family divided, bad mouth the other and gloat over their minor victories in court and out.

Having had enough I break down and let them have it, both barrels regardless of the timing and the possibilities of being completely cut off I speak my peace. Seriously, who do they think they are? The law is the law but then there is the law of love and family the unspoken law where family stick together, forging a bond which cannot be broken and though I understand this law and abide by this law they do not. After having plead my case, pouring out my heart with tears freely falling going so far as to ask to be invited to a family gathering or dinner the immediate response of one of the sisters is, “We can have an accidental meeting somewhere public…”

I am not the enemy, I have not broken any laws nor been under investigation for any crimes by any enforcement agency and yet I am treated as though I am a criminal.

What a smack in the face, no truer insult than to know I am not even worthy enough in her eyes to step in her home nor to be considered family…I get it now, it is because they have no sense of family that they do not see me and mine as such. The sooner their family begins to embrace one another imperfections and all, to live in the truth, the sooner we can all move forward. I will not lie, I will not agree to deception even if it means I can have a few stolen moments with my grand children. I want it all, the whole pie. Without skulking about in the shadows to enjoy that time with my precious grand daughters. How can she be so willing to set these children and us up for disappointment knowing neither will have the liberty to freely call on the phone or pop in to see the other as we did in the past?

The best interest of the children is certainly not being considered…

I will not live under secrecy and deception nor should I be asked to. If the children were not simply pawns in this dysfunctional family’s game of tit for tat if the children’s needs were truly at the center of it all we would be included as actively involved grandparents now as we have been since the beginning.

Friends, if you are a single parent don’t be ignorant and think you are invincible, you will not live forever and have no guarantees over tomorrow. Plan, make plans and put it in writing thus protecting the best interest of your children. You don’t want for your child(ren) to be drug through the courts from one home to another amongst people who do not have one kind word to say about the other. In the end it is always the children who pay the price for adults who never learned to play nice together. It is not in the best interest of the children to lose their mother, grand parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Losing the center of their life is difficult enough without compounding the problem in losing familial support too. Regardless of legitimization these children should continue to live the life we have all actively been involved in providing.

**BaileyBoo, Harmony-Faith you are never far from our thoughts and always in our prayers. No matter what others say and claim to know, we have always been here for you and will continue to cover you in prayer. One day we will be restored and on that day there will be much joy and celebrating. We love you with all our hearts—NanaBell and Pop


I’ve Been Angry

Iron sharpens iron having tested this statement through the years and found this to be true but without the sharpening we would all be dull and for the most part useless.

I believe we all have a purpose than just randomly being here.

Restoration is happening in my life the likes of which I prayed for and yet I currently I find I am not adequately prepared for. I thought when it happened I would be ready but I am not. My mind is filled with thoughts which conflict with my walk of faith. Mostly because I let myself get all butt-hurt over someone else’s choice. Who am I to say? But my reaction is still the same when I am rejected and abandoned.

The pain in my heart is still at that unbearable stage. You know the kind which constricts the throat cutting off your air? And when I struggle to breath I force my mind to process happy thoughts unfortunately those happy thoughts do not assuage the pricking of tears which fall freely un noticed down your cheeks and by the way where is that box of tissues?! Bringing with them that darkness which tries to creep in slowly changing the light within from bright white to dark grey like a storm rolling in off the marshland.

Yeah, it is happening to me right now and the battle is on. Placing one foot in front of the other I walk toward my room to grab up the guitar and sheets of music to cheer myself up but God has other plans for me today because he knows I will lay down and sleep for the next two hours after a brief song or two.

As soon as I bring my instrument, music and other necessities to the front room I learn via text message a friend is in need of moral support. Leaving everything I rush out to be there and pray while she waits at the hospital to hear good news.

I realize as I enter the hospital room that it is the very same room my last born grand daughter was in.
The mother’s of our grand daughters will share their firsts with their firstborn child in this same room. A room we recently filled with love and celebration. I find this is no mere coincidence and when I point it out my friend seems unimpressed and distracted by her mobile phone. She and her husband side by side and for the first time in our friendship they have fallen into their phones while a very tense and broken conversation unravels all over the place. I didn’t stay very long, it was obvious that they were not up to company.

People have become so desensitized to one another that they no longer appreciate the presence of live company finding a text message dialogue so much more comforting than the real thing.

We are not promised tomorrow and one thing I have learned is; if I do not show up in the life I have right now, when it is gone I can never get it back. I am making memories which will sustain me later, in those darkest times when the luxury of fellowship will be just that— a memory.

I do not live with regret because I am learning how to live with acceptance. I deliberately left my phone in my pocket on silence when I entered the hospital room because it is important to me that my loved ones know I am available and present when I show up.

Today I want to encourage you to put down the mobile phone, tablets and other electronic devices and have a conversation, uninterrupted. Really absorb the time and put it to memory it will be a moment in time you will not regret and will revisit far more often than a test message dialogue on an inanimate object.

The One That Got Away

“I know you don’t do it on purpose but you talk above their ability to process, you realize you are talking to people in the south who did not have the same education you got?”

I have been advised of this much of my life. Some state it is because I spent my formative years in New England public schools where most believe a higher education really does exist. I can’t say that I have this belief.

My parents were intelligent people both read daily some of which was local newspapers as well as the one from their home town. Mom read voraciously romance, mystery and true crime stories where as my father had other interests and hobbies such as race cars and home remodel projects as well as other things. My dad listened to controversial talk radio shows and watched the news daily. My mother loved music of all kind and dabbled in the arts she even sold a painting or two. Both were spiritually grounded in their own ways and own beliefs. And both loved “JEOPARDY” each racing the other to produce the correct answer earning the highest points. I lend my level of intelligence to my parents and the environment they exposed me to as a child during my formative years. Which by the way, was filled with higher standards, higher level of thinking and an open minded approach to the possibilities.

Recently I had a minor run in with someone who was offended by my way of speech; meaning my elocution. Many who initially meet me have no understanding of my history, education or career choice and so they have no idea that this is really the way I communicate. Reared by intelligent individuals, granted a higher education than most, choosing academia studies in college and a career as an Interpreter for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. I have a lexicon of knowledge which rarely gets used now that I am retired and in a different career path. Up until recently I have never really given much thought to how I come across to others. In fact, I have always consider myself agreeable but now I will be more conscious about NOT speaking too intelligently for the situation.

And so just a few short days have passed since this little run in and while performing administrative work for my business I come across an email conversation I had with a young woman and in this conversation I can clearly see now what I didn’t see then, she was offended from start to finish because I spoke over her head. And as I re-read this email my heart begins to hurt, my throat constricts and I fight back tears because we never resolved this conversation. And my usual living in acceptance has now turned to living in regret.

She being angry and bitterly offended allowed five weeks to go by where little to no words were spoken between us. As much as I pursue a reconciliation and apologize for any offense she stands her ground and holds a grudge. Tentatively in the fifth week we begin communicating but she still angry keeps her distance.
Imagine my great regret when a few days into reconciliation she is abducted and murdered.

I had an opportunity to apologize to someone I had offended. Instead of a warm and welcoming reception it was
tossed back in my face as offensive because I was too articulate and they didn’t know if I was sincere or rude.

Believe me when I say I am quick to reconcile any incident, I never want to be left holding the bag of nastygrams from a loved one again. I can never clear the matter up with this young woman. It may always way heavy on my heart that she never really new that I loved her as one of my own.

Friends, today I want to encourage you to face yourself as others see you. To consider trimming away some things that don’t come across appropriately but offensively. Read a book in the mirror and consider the expressions you use because some people are in tune to body language and facial affect. Your passion over a thing may come across as aggression… Practice approachability…

Study on the ways to integrate mercy and grace into your daily walk and practice, practice, practice
you and your loved ones will be thankful if you do

Much love