“My Name is Veva” by Christine Bialczak

My name is Veva. I was a mother of two, but my son is dead. That sounds harsh, but it feels harsh, so I don’t want to make it sound okay. I am still a mother of two, but I have this big hole in my heart and soul, and I know it will never heal. I never knew I would write about what has happened to me, but I need to release it, to give my head more space for the rest of my life ahead.

With each word I type, I keep asking myself why I want to write a memoir. “Wasn’t that what old people did?”, I had been asked. I thought long and hard. I believe that in my heart I hope that if I can help one person it is all worth it. Life moves on whether you like it or not; it doesn’t care if you are not happy, but then you find an outlet. Mine is writing.

I don’t understand how life is supposed to go. I mean some people make it look so easy. A long time ago I thought it was uncomplicated too. Things were hectic and hard, but life seemed so manageable. I dealt with losing my mother at the age of 23. I dealt with marriage, babies, jobs, and everything in between. But even when things might have looked hard, life back then was not like life now. For so long I had a husband, a job, and 2.5 kids, if you count the dogs; we were a typical family. We could fix things when they broke, buy new things when we needed them, and spend the weekends doing nothing much except being a family.

The first event was losing Robby. I lost my husband, and my children lost their father very suddenly, within a five-week period. 

One night, Robby woke in a panic. He said his heart was racing and he was having a hard time breathing. We thought it was a heart attack. Rushing him to the ER was a no-brainer, and after all the tests and the monitors finished beeping, the doctor surmised Robby had had a panic attack caused by his constant pain, a symptom of his Lyme Disease. It wasn’t definitely Lyme they said, but they sent bloodwork off and immediately put him on Doxycycline. Unfortunately, Robby was allergic. The Doxycycline damaged his liver beyond repair. They said it was because his liver was already damaged, that he was an alcoholic. I cried and pleaded for them to believe me when I said that he wasn’t and that he needed a new liver. After two long, torturous weeks they found a match, but he died during the transplant. The doctor said that the liver failure caused his vessels to become too enlarged, so they nicked one but couldn’t stop the bleeding; they were so sorry. I was heartbroken.

Looking back, I see myself as a child, then a teen, then an adult. I like to remember the childhood I had. Learning was not hard for me. I wasn’t outgoing but not necessarily shy.  I was that kid that always had someone to play with at recess but that was also the last one picked in kickball. I wasn’t tough and I wasn’t fast, I was just me.

As time goes on and I recall my past and what I have been through, I see that life is new every day with or without tragedy and loss. I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for, but I also have the darkness, this abyss that I silently fall into. Nothing is constant and no mind therapy or mind game is going to change the real day-to-day reality of what my life now is. It does not do any good to think about what life may have been like had Robby survived or had my mother lived longer. Life happens. My biggest hurdle now is staying above water, out of darkness, out of that abyss that keeps trying to suck me in. I have to stop and think sometimes about happiness, whether I feel it or not, and if not, where did it go?

A few years back a coworker taught me the phrase hindsight bias. This phrase has become somewhat of an adage by which I live. According to PsychologyTools.com,

“Hindsight bias is a form of cognitive bias / cognitive distortion. Once a situation has occurred hindsight bias can make that event seem more obvious and predictable than was actually the case at the time. People may say “I knew it all along” or “why didn’t I do something differently?”. Hindsight bias can be particularly problematic following traumatic events – individuals may come to unfairly blame themselves for things that they did not predict (and could not have predicted) in advance and may feel particularly responsible or guilty as a consequence.”

I never knew how true this was and how relevant it would become in my life. It is one of those pieces of information that forms a sort of mantra, a way of believing, and seemingly one of the only ways I survive from one day to the next.

I think about writing this memoir and I ask myself, “why?” Why am I doing this? Why do I bother? I think part of the answer – and I say part because I genuinely believe there is more than one reason – is to help me heal and see things in perspective. I also write in hopes of reaching at least one other person so that they can no longer feel as alone as I have felt and continue to feel. It is so difficult to explain without sounding caddy or ungrateful as I have so much in my life to be happy about. But there is this dark cloud that stays, hovering sometimes directly over, but most often just to the side of my world, waiting to drop a torrent of feelings that cannot be hidden or denied. It is a cloud that is hard to talk about because it is my cloud and other people can’t see it. This cloud is so dark and even when it feels like it is fading, a memory comes to push it right back over my sun, bringing me down to that place again.

I think about each day now and how I get from beginning to end. I have a routine and my obligations, but my mind just will not stop. One of the most frustrating parts is that there is no one here, in my present life, who I can call upon to say, “Hey, remember when the kids were little and…” or “remember that time when we…”.

My son was brilliant. He was charming and quirky, and everyone in his present life loved him. It wasn’t always the case. One year the school sent the state police to the house saying that his haircut and his demeanor were leading them to believe he was the next school shooter. This amazing boy who wrote that he wished there was no more sadness in this world, was anything but a monster; he was my son, he was my angel. Two years later he tried killing himself. He knew what people had thought of him and still felt it. He didn’t feel worthy of living. I wanted to die for him, to save him, to help him never feel pain again. 

Finally, he found a good place, a place he fit in, a place where people saw his potential and a place that he thrived. He was heading off to college that fall to study Mechanical Engineering, and he already had some of the courses completed. To me he was perfect. Now all he can be is my angel. If only he hadn’t been going too fast on his motorcycle, if only the truck hadn’t pulled out in front of him, if only, if only…

I am so sad that my son is gone. That is a pain that I don’t think will ever fade. I am also sad that Robby is gone. Looking back, I did like a lot of the life I led, even if some of it seemed like it was a lie, a fake tale about someone else and all they went through. Every marriage has its ups and downs, regrets and secrets. But we got through it all.

It is “the now” that haunts me. When things are tough financially, I curse Robby for drinking too much, and for leaving me with a struggle. When I am lonely, I curse Robby for leaving me alone, a widow in my forties. I curse my father who suffers from Dementia and Alzheimers for putting me in a situation where I had to move and leave my friends. I suppose my anger is that everything which was so comfortable was ripped out from under me. I have so many questions about how life might have been. I admit that my life would be perfect now if I had my son back. I can live with change and with some types of hurt, but this pain is so overwhelming.

Now I am told to remember the good times, but the good times make me cry. I am told to let go of regret, let go of the should-haves and could-haves, but I can’t seem to do it. It has been 4 and a half years since Robby died and 3 and a half years that I lost my son. I still have life ahead of me, I still have my new life and my new husband, I still have my beautiful daughter. I should be happy and I should be moving forward and I suppose I am, but this damn black cloud will not blow away and will not stop blocking my sun.

I cry almost every day. I write about my grief and my sorrow. I write about healing and the powers which control my life. They say that time heals but they have never said how long of a time that will be.

Copyright © 2022 Christine Bialczak

All Rights Reserved

Christine Bialczak is a retired special education teacher who now blogs and builds miniatures for a store on Etsy. She retired after losing her first husband to liver failure and her son to a motorcycle accident, and losing her step-mother, who was the main caretaker of her father who has Alzheimer’s and Dementia, all within three years. Instead of sinking into a deep depression she began writing and creating. She misses teaching but loves how artistic and imaginative she can be. She is now remarried and working on becoming a better author, hopefully a published author, and a top miniature maker. She writes under both her real name and her pen name, Veva Buick, to protect the privacy of her beautiful daughter.

Featured Image: credit to basilsmith on Pixabay

Editor: Barbara Harris Leonhard

Amazon Best-Selling Author

Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir (EIF-Experiments in Fiction, 2022)

Pushcart Nominee, 2022

MasticadoresUSA is open for submissions. 
Send submissions to meelosmom@gmail.com

Facebook: Barbara Harris Leonhard /barbara.leonhard

Twitter: @BarbaraLeonhar4

Instagram: @meelosmom123

Linked In: ExtraordinarySunshineWeaver

Mastodon: @BarbaraLeonhard@msdtn. 

Divider Image: by GDJ on Pixabay

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9 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. The words we’re writing are ways we keep track of the path we had traveled to get to where we currently are, and it’s important, to nobody but our own selves, writing is a way of proving that we are here, that we are living, that we had, lived, after we’re dead and gone. So, keep on writing…

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  2. Sadje dice:

    Thanks for sharing your story Christine. My breaks for you and your pain and loss. You’re so brave to write about it.

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  3. Christine, thank you for a glimpse into your life. It is not easy to share our sufferings, it takes courage and it also gives courage to your readers.

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  4. Smitha V dice:

    Christine, I pray God gives you strength to smile again, and the cloud that you speak of moves away and lets the sun in. Keep on writing, sharing, and healing. Your writing is an inspiration to all your readers.

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  5. Meelosmom dice:

    Thank you for sharing your tender memoir with us, Christine! We hope you submit more memoir pieces!

    Me gusta

  6. Shalini Kathuria Narang dice:

    Dear Christine, I do not have words to comfort you, as your struggles have been beyond that. In the faith that I follow , we are taught that god gives his steepest challenges to his strongest. May your strength be tested no more and you find peace and solace.

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  7. jonicaggiano dice:

    What an enourmous amount of pain for anyone to endure in a lifetime let a lot in just a four year span. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing this with us. I am so sorry that life has been so hard and the loss of a child the worse, at least that is what I always read. It sounds to me like you are extremely strong and that you are moving forward with your writing. I think that is wonderful. I pray that God will will bless you everyday. You are truly an inspiration to me and as others have said, you inspire others and you do. Blessings to you and congratulations on this piece. I hope we see you again soon. Big hugs, Joni

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  8. My heart aches for you and your writing is a gift. Especially for those that know a mothers heart. I had a daughter diagnosed with 4th stage Lyme Disease at 9. Those scars are thankfully scabbed over with lingering flairs at time. Write your memoir Christine… your words are helpful to some and certainly necessary for you. My first book is coming out and I am officially old, I think.. ha. but I’m a leap year baby so will never be 29. Blessings and Congratulations on the publication! ❣️

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