So it’s now the spring if 2009. Kaitlyn is pretty much out of control and my relationship was starting to feel the strain. In the meantime, life was falling apart for Tyler and his dad and his dad made the decision that he and Tyler were going to move back to New Brunswick where Stacy’s family was. Everything that I thought I was disappeared. It was like some crazy carousel ride that I couldn’t get off of.
I can still recall the day that Tyler left. Kate and I had gone out the night before to spend the night with them and it was with heavy hearts that we headed to the bus station. Kaitlyn and I were doing our absolute best to hold it together the best that we could as we watched them board the bus. We returned to our car and almost instantly, huge wracking sobs escaped us. We were like two wounded animals as our hearts were ripped from us. I lost my son that day and she lost her father.
We returned to our home, the one that neither of us had accepted as ours. We had moved into the home that Mark had built with his ex wife and it didn’t feel like “our” home yet. The three of us were still trying to figure out what we were. Kaitlyn became despondent after her dad left and soon she was spiraling out of control. I was devastated by the loss of Tyler and the dreams I had for him and I became severely depressed from the shame and guilt I was feeling as a mother. Mark was new to the whole parenting thing and didn’t know what his role should be. He knew that he loved me fiercely and with loving me came accepting my children. He tried to provide us with safety and security, himself not yet knowing how frightening things were going to get.
Summer came and there was at least the relief of fighting Kaitlyn every day to go to school. She had become a virtual recluse in her room when she was home. I had tried grounding her, removing privileges and had even resorted to stripping her room. Still she fought with me, engaged in risky behavior, lied, and was out of control. I myself was on auto pilot – madly in love with Mark and relying heavily on him for emotional support but barely getting through the days. I was trying to get Kaitlyn through this turbulent time in her life and my strategy of being punishing and controlling was backfiring. I didn’t realize that she was crying out for help and that she was struggling to deal with all the upheaval in her life. I thought I was being a good mom, but too often I was focused on my relationship with mark and how difficult things were for me.
In August, with great hopes we planned a three day camping trip to the mountains. I allowed Kaitlyn to bring a friend as a buffer and crossed my fingers that this would be a bonding time for all of us. The drive down was great – we were all relaxed and looking forward to camping. Soon after arriving, I began to see the first signs that things might not be all that good. Instead of helping unload and get the camp set up, the girls loafed around and the task was left to mark and I. I tried to remain upbeat and ignore the girls, but Mark was seething. He had been raised on hard work and teamwork and it frustrated him to see them being selfish and lazy.
That evening did turn out to be fun after we got things organized. Kaitlyn and Mark were working together at cooking and I allowed myself to relax. I was feeling content that I was with the man I loved and this was going to work out fate all. Camping beside us was a family that had two teenage boys with them. Kaitlyn and her friend were “boy crazy” at the time and ended up doing all the silly things young girls do for attention. We all settled in for the night around midnight as we had a fun day ahead. The girls were going to spend the day at an amusement park while mark and I were going to see some more of the mountains.
That night Mark was feeling extremely ill and had a rough night running back and forth to the bathroom. He blamed it on the peppery steak we had earlier in the evening. I was worried about him and in the meantime the two girls kept sneaking out of their tent to flirt with the boys next door. I don’t think any of us slept that night ….
The next day it was gloomy and rainy. The girls wouldn’t cooperate and get ready to go and I admit I didn’t want a huge scene to happen. I was exhausted from the night before and we spent the day napping off and on instead of doing what we planned.
The next morning, everyone was tired and grumpy and sick of each other. We packed the truck up in silence, all of us furious for our own reasons. It was a quiet ride home. Kaitlyn was spending the next few days with her friend and I was relieved to see her go. Mark and I were going to a wedding that he was a groomsman for. He still wasn’t feeling well but he thought perhaps he was coming down with the flu. We went to the wedding and had a good time. Mark was planning to see his doctor soon if he didn’t start to feel better.
As the new school year approached, Kaitlyn became adamant that she was not going to school where we lived. Our fights escalated and there were times that they were vicious. There was name calling on both our parts and the tension in the home was unbearable. I was beginning to crack from all the pressure and I didn’t know what to do….in the meantime her father would talk to her and tell her how great it was back there and that he wanted her to come back and live with them. She became fixated on this and things grew worse. About this time I began to have a lot of suicidal ideations and the feeling of wanting to die. I had finally found a man who treated me with love kindness and respect and I was going to lose everything….
I can’t recall the exact order of things that happened but I ended up in the hospital and Kaitlyn moved back to be with her father. I couldn’t stand it anymore so I called her bluff and let her go. I knew Stacy couldn’t look after her and that things would fall apart but I was just so damn tired of fighting. I only stayed a few nights until I stabilized and mark came to visit every night. He still wasn’t feeling well and he noticed he could only walk a short distance before he was winded.
He had an appointment with his doctor and the news wasn’t good. He referred mark to a cardiologist right away and in a matter of days we learned that Mark was in congestive heart failure and needed urgent open heart surgery to replace a valve. Suddenly, we were facing a possible death sentence together.
And there things stood. I had lost my children and was about to lose the only man I had ever loved.