Hi guys here’s a piece by my second guest author – Gillian! I met Gill a few years ago while she was moving into a friends / going crazy with Christmas decorations in the best way! Though we don’t know each other that well- I will always remember how sweet she was when Riley was in the hospital- reaching out to offer to go to meetings with me or anything else I needed, which even though we hardly knew one another, was one of the most pure and kind offers. It’s been so cool to watch Gill on her journey and see the amazing woman she is today. And with that here’s a little something from Gill:
Driving on the Pennsylvania turnpike is always surreal. My first trip was with my father as a senior in college to audition for the dance conservatory at Point Park. And my journey of thousands of miles would begin. Taking the drive now, there are memories of driving with nervous excitement to see my children after a long separation. What would I say to them? There were drives to go pick them up after regaining visitation rights. There are memories of when they were babies, visiting family in Chester County. That fateful Christmas after my daughter was born and my mother’s best friend was murdered. I traveled back for a funeral and remember pulling over because I couldn’t see the road through the blur of my tears. The trip that should have taken four hours but only took three and a half after that fateful call from my boyfriend when he called to tell me he was ending his life. I was in Pittsburgh with my children, he was in Philadelphia. I raced to his bedside, only to say goodbye to his lifeless body three days later.
One of The most recent and most profound to date was the day I was rescued from the miserable alcoholic existence I was living. One woman literally scooped me up out of the hell I was living in, put me in her car, and there we were on that turnpike again. It was a fog. I remember very little. I was terrified and relieved at the same time. She played a song – “The Comeback Kid” by The Band Perry. I remember crying as the it played – well more like wept and sobbed. She told me I was the comeback kid – though I did not feel worthy of the words of that song. I did not feel worthy of a comeback. I had just left my children. I had just disappointed so many people, AGAIN. Thirty-seven years old, is this what I had become?
Last Christmas Day was the most painful drive I think I have ever made. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the magnitude of the pain I would feel. It would be the beginning of the longest sober separation I would ever have from my children. I said goodbye to my children not knowing I would not see them for as long as it has been. I made a poorly timed and poorly executed amends to my children that fateful day which would set in motion the loudest most deafening silence I have ever known. It brought me to my knees as a mother. It made me question everything I am made of. I don’t think many would have blamed me if it broke me. But instead I leaned into God. And God placed in my path women who struggled with the loss of a partner or their own children. I found strength in other women who had never gotten their children back. I started to create a life of my own, without my children. Even typing those words is haunting. I believe them, and own them. But it makes speaking them difficult, nonetheless. God has kept me in solitude, with only myself for reasons yet unknown to me. I can only suppose it is to find a deeper relationship with Him and His kids.
For as far back as I can remember as a child I was a dreamer. I wanted to be a ballerina. I did everything in my power to make that dream a reality. I worked, I stretched, I cleaned the studio, all of it. My parents and family fully supported this dream. Even when that dream ended and my life started to fall apart, I always had family supporting me. So, in my solitude, in my renewed life, I struck out to find a new dream, a new purpose. When I first got sober, I thought it would be in the treatment industry. I always thought that “hair” was a backup. But at some point, I fell in love with it. Unbeknownst to me, me dream was in front of me all along. I grabbed a hold of it as tight as I could. I have given it everything I have and what I have been given in return has been astounding. I have been given the most rewarding and fulfilling career I ever could have imagined. It is only in my brokenness that the light could get in. My life is an open book, I do it for me. But, my hope is that I give my children someone, something to be proud of. I never gave them that before.
A few weeks ago on a trip back on the turnpike tears filled my eyes. That song played in my head and I played it once more. This time I smiled. I wasn’t crying because I wasn’t worthy anymore. I was crying because I was.