Feeling a bit like a fraud

Bear with me. These pages are a place for me to put the things crowding my head. Sometimes they’re illogical, like this one is going to be. But I find if I don’t get them out of there, they bump around, get bigger. Kind of like sticky-tack. You know, for posters? Sometimes it sticks to the wall after the poster is down and you can try like hell to rub it off, but the only thing that actually works is more sticky tack. Picks it right up. That’s how the thoughts in my head work. They tend to collect related thoughts that only make the ball bigger, feel truer.

Some of those posts, I keep private. Some of them, I share. I’ve been told I’m courageous, that these posts help others in ways I don’t know. I’ll take your word for it. In turn, it helps me, because though writing it down does help to get them out of my head, shouting into a empty canyon only brings my own voice back to me. Going back over my words, editing as the writer I am, helps to order it all in my mind. I’m not looking for sympathy or for compliments. Maybe some love. Maybe some solidarity. Maybe just the knowledge that the sticky-tack isn’t going to make my brain explode, and neither am I talking to myself.

I’ve been contacted by many, because of these posts. Misunderunderstood, Misrepresented, and Maligned continues to gather hits months after it was first posted. They tell me I’m “an inspiration” and “courageous.” They want to talk to me, to share their stories and to feel less alone, whether they too have lost a child, or continue to struggle with a hurting child of any age. I offer my heartfelt support, my love, my own thoughts, and inside my head I’m thinking, “Why are you asking me? Mine died! I’m a fraud. I did everything. EVERYTHING! And he’s still dead.”

But I don’t. Well, I guess I just did. The sticky-tack ball of that thought has been gathering since the day Chris died. I shy away from mothering discussions. What have I to contribute? I lost one. Apparently whatever I did was wrong. How horrible a thought that is, because it’s so not true, and I have amazing children to prove that, including Chris. I know, absolutely, that we had Chris longer than we might have, because I never stopped fighting for him, fighting him, fighting all the demons overwhelming him when he just couldn’t do it any longer. The dichotomy inherent to grief makes no sense whatsoever. Knowing I did everything, that I would do the same things over again, doesn’t change the fact that it wasn’t enough. I know the fight was his. But I’m his mother. That logic doesn’t wash.

So I’m feeling a fraud. The courage people tell me I have, writing these posts, belies the futility always battling for a spot on that sticky-tack ball. Now it’s out. Maybe a new ball will form, but this one, I hope, has lost some of it’s power.


Filed under Family

27 responses to “Feeling a bit like a fraud

  1. Carol Lovekin

    Love. Tick
    Solidarity. Tick
    Sticky-tack empathy. Tick

    Always in my asking…
    Love in abundance
    C xXx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ((((((((((((((((Terri))))))))))))) You know what? In May, we will make a blanket fort in the great room of Dollbaby Haven, We’ll all cozy up, tell a few stories, dance on the beach. Healing. Love you, dear one.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You’re always straight with us, dear Terri, so I’ll be straight with you. We can’t control what anyone does. I know you know that, but we–especially us parents–sometimes forget when it comes to our children. All we can do is love and love and love and offer everything we can from the heart. That’s what you do, have done, and always will do. You know it within yourself, it’s all that any of us can really do. So yes, we’re frauds if we say we can control anyone’s life. But that’s not what you are saying. What you are sharing is your heart, your experience, your strength, your vulnerability, your pain, your love. All of that, my dear friend, is the most valuable, the most real, the most honest offering we can share with each other. Thank you for that great gift. Much love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      THIS is why I post things up, even when I’m weighing the wisdom of doing so. Thank you, Lorraine. I know I did everything. I know, in the end, I lost the fight as much as he did, but it was his decision that cinched it. I lose sight of the fact that sharing my pain is cathartic for me, as well as for others, simply for the fact of sharing it. So thank YOU for articulating that in the exact way I needed. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A wise woman once told me to stop beating myself up over things I can’t change. I try to listen to her over things like this because she’s right. Take your time to heal, T. The wound is still fresh, and it may never heal entirely, but it will never begin heal if you don’t stop beating yourself up.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      You are very, very right, Clint. I know it’s true, even as I wrote the post, I knew it. Just sometimes, that mean little voice inside your head gets the better of you. It’s either let it out of the house or watch it tear your curtains to shreds, right? ❤


  5. Mark Nelson

    You. Fraud? Bah, hardly.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

    Oh, Terri. That “not enough” feeling sucks, and we all have it, all of us, whether parents or not, though it’s true in spades for those of us with kids. I hope that this post has helped you to let go of some of the weight of it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We cannot raise our children in a bubble. There will always be other influences. We can be perfect or as perfect as possible as parents, and God knows, I was never perfect. But it doesn’t matter. If we seal our children off from others we do them a disservice, so we offer them freedom and cross our fingers. We cannot save them from themselves. They have to do that. We can only teach them to recognize who is trustworthy and who is not. And even then sometimes they trust the wrong one.
    You were, are, and will be a wonderful parent and grandparent. I hope all the people who love you can convince you of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Coincidentally (or not), I was just thinking today that perhaps Christopher’s karmic purpose in your life was to help you come to terms with the fact that not everything is under our control.

    I personally think we should consider death by overdose like any other accident. Would you consider yourself a failure if Chris had been hit by a truck? Well, that’s what happened. He got hit by the truck of addiction. Some people survive those collisions, others do not.

    You did the best any mother could, Terri. Whether or not Chris pulled through did not depend only on you. Hugs and blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Lise-Marie

    I think we never realize how strong we are till a Friend points it out. I just figure i am doing what i have to do to and it feels good that someone kicks me in the ass to make me realize I am pretty damn incredible. Like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. dianamunozstewart

    If I had to pick a thousand words to describe you, a million, fraud would never cross my lips. Sincere. Loyal. Intelligent. Kind. Fun. Genuine. Gregarious. Open. Courageous. Strong. Empathetic. Colorful. Talented. Heroic. Inspirational. Beautiful. Creative.
    Sheesh. I could do this all day. I think I need to make you a list that you can put on your wall!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. In the 7 years of hell we went though with Jordan, I felt in my heart, there would never be a happy ending. I just couldn’t see him pulling himself out of the hole he was in. When he asked for help, we were there every step of the way. When he was in the hole, we left him there and tried not to enable him, waiting for him to want to get better. In the last months of his sobriety, I knew I was cautiously optimistic, after hearing parents report that their kid had been in rehab 7 times. I am like, whoa, Jordan has only done 3…how may more can we bear? All these years, all I wanted was for him to be productive. Hold down a job, find a nice girl, have a normal life, and it was not happening, and I worried, what will become of him. Guiltily and being honest, sometimes I thought he would be better off on the other side, for I had no cure for him, and didn’t know how to fix him. I wished he had cancer instead, because it was more likely he would be cured of that rather than addiction. I thought if he died, the hell would be over, but I was wrong because now I am in a new hell. How can I go on after he did die? I thought there would be a sense of relief, but I have yet to find it. I cry, I miss him, and try to find some comfort that his struggle is over. When a child dies from addiction it is a double grief, unlike others who have lost a child. The grief from the life they should have had and the life we have lost.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I can say, “Don’t do that to yourself, Jackie,” every day forever, and you still will. I imagine parents with terminally ill children feel the same way. “If we’d only done this, that, gotten into the trial. If only we hadn’t fed her green beans cooked in the microwave!” We come up with all sorts of ways to take on some of the blame, and truly, it’s a defense mechanism. It’s a desperate sort of control we grasp at, because the only alternative is to accept that we have no control. At all.

      When Jordan was in his holes, you left him there and waited for him to want help. It didn’t work. When Chris was in his holes, I was in there with him. I went out in my car, searching for him. I had eyes everywhere, calling me when they found him. I took him to meetings. I went with him to the gym. I told myself, “I will NEVER give up on him.” And I didn’t. That didn’t work either.

      So what does this say other than there is no control. None. We can only do what WE can live with in the end, and hope for the best.

      I know a lot of young people, and old, who found their way out of addiction. There is hope, even if there is no control. We just have to keep searching for REAL answers, not just bandaids to slap on gaping wounds.

      Love you, lady. Stay strong. I’m here whenever you need me.


  12. Janis Wohlschlaeger

    My daughter led me to your blog. I can relate to so much of what you say here. It’s almost 10 years for me and I still avoid mothering discussions and question what else I could I have done. Its a long road to reach acceptance of the death of your loved one. As a parent, do you ever really reach acceptance or do you just find a way to live with it? Try not to be so hard on yourself Terry; easier said than done. You never gave up on Chris. You were and are a great mother. I don’t know why, but sometimes, for some cruel reason, its not enough. All I know is this, Chris was loved and he loved, and thats a beautiful thing.


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