It’s closing in on nearly FOUR weeks since I last posted…and I honestly don’t have the ambition to even do it tonight. I’m not absolutely sure as to why I’m struggling so much, but I might have an idea. Every week for a few weeks now, I’ve been attending this group therapy, if you want to call it that, and it’s been deep…and exhausting. And I’m eternally thankful I’ve had the opportunity to go…but it leaves me with nothing left. I knew going in that it was going to be rough, and that I’d feel emotionally and physically drained. I cannot lie and say I wasn’t warned. I mean, I’m pretty sure I even expressed to all of you that I knew this. And yet a part of me expected something different…like I was syking myself up for nothing. I’m not disappointed, because for the VERY FIRST TIME I am connecting emotionally to my past. I’m angry, and I’m sad, and I’m regretful. I couldn’t be more thrilled. This is what I wanted!! But…I leave with nothing left. It tears me end to end and leaves me open and raw and vulnerable.
I’m also home again with the kids, and I could be working BUT I’m not and here’s why!!: I have been one a few lucky Survivors chosen to be sponsored by Shared Hope International as a Survivor Rep. at their Sharing the Hope Survivor Conference!!!!!! OhEmGeeeee!!!! My excitement still feels as fresh as the day I got the email informing me I’d been chosen!!! I seriously could not be more thankful or grateful for those that facilitated me getting there, or those who support me through ALL of these awesome opportunities! I had started losing faith that the magazine articles would ever appear in print, or that I’d ever get this blog really noticed. And now…they’re insignificant to this awesome chance! Someday I might see the articles, and I will be eternally grateful that my story is out there for the world to see. And someday, this blog may be bigger than I could have ever imagined, but right here, tonight, the chance to get to this conference is the all-time greatest accomplishment! So, I’m not working. I’m at home enjoying my children for just a little longer. At night, when my almost four year old daughter climbs into my bed and falls back to sleep, I lay there and study her perfect little nose, and her still slightly chubby hands, and when my son climbs in my lap because he’s sleepy or sad, and he’s sucking his chubby little thumb and holding onto his Binky monkey…I sit or lay and think “Fuck all that noise. THIS right here is what I could live the rest of my life doing. Holding my babies and caressing their perfect little faces.” I plan on diving head first into the job search when I get home from DC, after the conference, but until then, I’m going to hold my babies a little tighter, play a little longer, and look a little closer.
I’ve gone over and over in my head “How am I going to start the story about how or WHY I got married.” And I keep coming up short with what I think will be “funny” or “appropriate”. And that’s because it lacked both of those qualities. The truth is, my husband and I thought it was humorous then, and even more so now. But now, I do feel remorse for the people we hurt in the process.
Jimmy* and I, as I’ve already told you, didn’t have a good relationship. We were awful for and to one another. I felt that he was extremely verbally abusive and on one or two occasions, physically abusive. And as much as I loved him, I equally hated him. I didn’t realize it so much back then, but for a REALLY long time, I was slowly trying to back out of our relationship. I just didn’t have the strength to cut ties permanently. The night that Drew and I “hooked” up…it was amazing. And it wasn’t JUST good and emotional sex, it was the promise of something better than what I’d always had. BUT…we were hurting people. People who, in our minds had hurt us and potentially deserved to be hurt in return…but we were still hurting them. We were in a haze for days afterwards. At least I was. I can never really speak for Drew, I don’t know exactly how he felt. But I felt on top of the world. Here was a guy I’d know forever, someone I trusted enough to share an apartment with, and someone who I’d confided the deepest darkest secret I carried, and still…he wanted ME. I hadn’t told Jimmy, or Keith, or any of the other guys I’d been with for any significant amount of time. But yet, I told Drew, before we slept together, and he still wanted me. That made me fall in love. I knew I could love him forever. He was my best friend after all. How else could you build a lasting, promising relationship, if you weren’t best friends?? So, we told Jimmy, and Drew’s current girlfriend our relationships were through, we decided we were going to get married, and with a few “speed bumps” along the way, we were married 3 weeks later. An amazing Western New York Autumn day, on September 23, 2007, I became Elizabeth Marie Kimbel. It was like shedding all of the bad, and awful shit that had happened, and taking on a new identity. And I felt truly loved for the first time since my Daddy died.
That first year was both the best, and hardest of them all. We found out we were pregnant TWO weeks after our wedding!! And within what may have been 6-8 weeks along, I lost that baby. I wanted to curl up and die. Why?? Why couldn’t I be a mother?? I did the right thing!! I got married, I was in love, we were trying to be good people. And then in November, we were expecting again. Within days of my missed period, I took a test, it was positive, and the day after, I miscarried again. By now I was feeling hopeless. In December, I was late, I took a test…and within hours, I was bleeding. By now I was just pissed, and bitter, and HATEFUL. ALL the people we knew, who got pregnant, and had babies, and didn’t even want them. They let their families raise them so they could continue being irresponsible and careless!! By March of 2008, I went on the Depo. I wasn’t doing it anymore; I couldn’t hurt like that again. All at the same time, I felt like the world was against us. And sometimes, I felt like we were against us. We both made decisions that almost destroyed us. And by the time 18 months had gone by, the Depo had run its course long ago, and in March of 2009, we were pregnant again. In December of 2008, Drew had gone to see an Air Force recruiter and was patiently waiting for a good job to become available and then he’d be headed off to Basic and Tech School. As the weeks went on, we slowly came to the realization that this pregnancy may actually stick, and by the time 13 hit, we were pretty excited! WE WERE HAVING A BABY!!! And then…we freaked! We were still working dead end food service jobs, living (barely) on minimum wage and “renting” a bedroom in Drew’s parents’ house! They were honestly our saving grace. Without their love, and support, and patience most of all, we wouldn’t have ever gotten through those first few years. We couldn’t keep living like that though, not with a baby coming! So I urged Drew to contact the recruiter and take the next available “job” with the Air Force. By June of 2009, and four months pregnant, I kissed my husband goodbye, and watched him board the bus to go to Niagara Falls from our dinky little town. The next morning he’d be on a flight to San Antonio Texas and away from me for the first time since we’d been married. Basic would take 8 weeks, and then off to Tech School for up to a year. We were petrified, and heart broken, but he was making a HUGE sacrifice for our beautiful little family.
The weeks dragged on, and being pregnant AND alone, were not fun. I cried often, but I wrote Drew a letter every single night before I went to sleep, and I put it in the mailbox every single morning. I got 3 phone calls, and no letters, but I knew that I might not, depending on how Basic went. And in August of 2009, I flew my largely pregnant ass to San Antonio to watch my husband graduate from Basic. I got there, and I cried the very moment I spotted him. Uncontrollably I might add. At 6 months pregnant, huge and swollen, we walked ALL OVER Lackland Air Force Base. We spent hours in my hotel room eating massive amounts of pizza and drinking soda and talking, and talking, annnnd talking. And Drew felt our sweet baby girl kick for the first time. And we cried together when it was time for me to go. He’d be on a bus the next morning for Mississippi and Tech School, and we weren’t sure when we’d see each other again. December rolled around in New York, and Drew’s AMAZING mother drove me to and from every pre-natal appointment. The OBGYN who I was seeing had delivered Drew, and 2 of his 3 younger siblings, and we were excited beyond words that he’d be delivering my baby. I remember waking up sometime while Drew was in Basic, and I’d had a dream that my Daddy was standing next to Genna’s crib, looking in with love. And I knew right then that she was a girl, and her name would be Genevieve. I didn’t know the significance then, but my paternal great-aunt was named Genevieve.
On December 10th, 2009, on her due date, Genevieve Charlie Kimbel was born weighing 8 lbs. and 10 oz. She was beautiful (and still is) and she was the light of my life the moment I saw her, the moment I heard her cry. And Drew couldn’t be there, they wouldn’t let him come home. The moment I became a mother, I remember looking at my own, and hurting for all of the lost love, and compassion, and comfort I never felt. Words were empty in that moment.
But Genna, she was everything. My sweet beautiful baby girl. My rainbow baby.