::pack:: of fixations

life after tragedy. living while grieving. love and triplets.


Saving myself

Airing dirty laundry only to let it go

Growing up my oldest sister told me she would get hives every time my mom had another baby.  The reason for this is because she was expected to take care of them.  She has told me that my mom never got up with me as a baby, she'd just let me cry & cry (I believe I was the most neglected by my parents overall in my family).  So it was her that got up with me, even though she was only a freshman or sophomore in high school.

The sister just older than I, I now have been told started seeing psychiatricists at the age of 5.  She was so loud & interruptive & self-serving.  She lived to make me look bad, & would beat me, one time she used a bat to my head.  Oh & she also had 100+ lbs on me.  Often as I would get dressed for school, the shirt I would plan on wearing would be ruined because it was stretched out because my sister would try on my clothes when I wasn't there.  I think she was a very difficult child for my parents & she was always out for me, never getting punished or punishment enough.  I was quite small when she was standing on the top edge of the couch with the bat just waiting for me.  I don’t recall being in a fight with her but I was innocently trotting down the stairs as she swinged & hit the wooden bat to my skull.  My Father was the first one to the scene & what I witnessed was barely a reprimand; he didn’t even put her in time out.  Maybe they didn’t know?  

As a child, I remember having so many mixed emotions.  Why was my mom always talking to my dad like that?  At age 10 is when I started mowing lawns.  It was such hard work & made me feel exhausted.  I didn't get paid.  While mowing lawns, at this young of an age I remember a sweet old man whose lawn I was currently mowing came outside & approached me slowly.  As I shyly looked up at his eyes I saw that he was crying.  His arthritic hand was shaking heavily probably from tremors as a piece of candy fell onto the grass below.  He emptied the rest of the candy in my hand, as I was catching them & putting them in my boxer short pockets.  While struggling to catch the free candy, I barely heard his gentle voice say, "a small girl should not be doing the work of a man".  I will always wonder if he knew if my Dad wasn't paying me.  

The night of Christmas Eve 2011, I showed up to my brothers house, I actually hadn't seen my parents in months.  I didn't have the vocabulary to know that I was actually setting up boundaries to protect myself from them at that time.  (I actually still need more vocabulary & therapy).  As the youngest of 7 children I was never nurtured, I never felt special, or even loved by them... truthfully.

My first memories of my mom after the crash was her hovering over me repeating, "I won't hold this against you, I won't hold this against you".  I knew what she meant.  She meant because she hadn't seen Colum in months, & I was to blame for that since I was trying to protect myself from my parents ways.  They don’t even try, they never have & it still hurts to feel unloved by your parents.

After our car accident I went to therapy.  But not because of my fear of driving in cars or PTSD, but because I needed tools to deal with my Mom; whom turned our tragedy into being all about her.  She turned my losing Colum into some sort of sick competition & I wasn't competing.  My mom would call me and just cry psychotically.  I would put her on speaker so Ryan could hear her.  She was wanting ME to console her for Colum's death.  She wanted to be the victim, because she always is.  Up until recently I would justify her behavior, maybe she never properly grieved my brothers death approximately 45-50 years ago?  But I’m 6 years out & am nowhere near to behaving that way.

One time in a court hearing, I think it's when he plead guilty, I began to cry.  The room was filled with news journalists, & bailiffs.  Within seconds of me starting to cry, I heard my Dear Mother start sobbing harder & louder than me.  I couldn't help but feel that my mom brought her victim competition with her.  

When I was younger my mom & sister just older than I would clench their fists & purse their lips (an impression of something I had no idea I would do) & call me lazy & helpless.  I still to this day overwork myself to compensate for them doing that to me over the years.  Is this normal?  Did your mom & sister do this to you?

My parents & the bishop we used to live next door to (that wouldn’t wave to me) actually drove to the hospital & "blessed" our kids into the Mormon church without asking us, their parents who were still fighting for our lives.  This wasn’t cool.

I remember her coming to my hospital room, I was trapped in & naming off the gifts that caring friends, strangers, & neighbors were giving her; a little Jesus figurine holding a boy that resembled Colum was one I specifically remember.  Tears fell from my eyes as I expressed my desire for even one of those things to have in my room with me.  The satisfaction in her evil smirk she gave me, is something I can never forget.  Why would a mother compete with her daughter after going through something so horrible?

My childhood was a lot of the time a hostile situation between my sister & both my parents.  Ask ANY friend who came home with me from school & they will tell you that all my parents ever did was scream at me, my mom usually never even left her bedroom, she’d scream like a senile person at me over leaving a light on.  My Dads yelling would escalate over nothing & many friends witnessed him chasing me through the hallway & around the kitchen with his hand in the air screaming at me over what didn’t make sense.  If they weren't screaming at me, I was invisible to them.

I clearly struggled with eating disorders & a (very) severe case of body dysmorphia (still a struggle for me).  I continued to mow lawns through the age of 18 for free, but my dad always drilled it into all his daughters heads that it was to pay for our weddings.  I mowed up to 180 lawns per week with boys around my age whom my dad would pay, but all they’d talk about was how cheap he was & basically call him an asshole as I’d listen quietly in the truck wanting to shout at them that at least they were getting paid something!  I payed for my own wedding (mostly it came out of Ryan’s paycheck at age 23, I was 20) which I'm still confused about, along with a lot of other things.  But I’d rather pay for it myself than ask them for anything.  And in case your wondering they didn't pay for college or offer.  I grew up saving my lunch money so I could buy a things like deodorant, & a dress for prom & other dances.  It was easy because I was so disgusted with myself that I felt I didn't deserve to eat.  I was neglected, & abused emotionally.  I had no self worth.  I still struggle with feeling worthy of most peoples affection.

I graduated high school early & moved to Denver with a friend.  I did this to escape my life at home.  There we worked jobs & got our own apartment & I lived 100% independently on my own.  It was a huge struggle & it was scary & now that I’m a mom I can’t believe they didn’t care more about me.  I remember all my friends that worked the same job as I would receive tax returns & we would claim the same thing.  I never got one.  I now know that my father was claiming me & keeping the money.  Probably to help pay for my moms purse/whatever else shopping addiction.  "We all pull our own cart in this family".  But honestly it felt like my cart was full of my moms purses, diamonds, & material things.  It sent such a mixed messaged to me with all the waiting for my mom while she was shopping throughout my childhood.  I still can’t bring myself to shop at any outlets because if I wasn’t mowing lawns I was waiting for my mom for countless hours to pick out her millionth purse & sometimes a diamond.  If we are so poor how come you can shop so much?

My sister told me 6-9 months or so after the crash that concerned people around town would come up to her & ask, "how's your mom doin?", & she'd respond, "uh, ya mean my sister right?, you know my mom wasn't in the car".

When I was about 12 I remember working the guts up to ask my mom if She thought I was pretty, (cause she never once told me).  Her response was, " well, do you think I'm pretty?,  because you look like me".  I probably shrugged & I remember running downstairs in my room& crying.  I just wanted to be seen, just for a moment.  I don't have any pleasant childhood memories associated with either of my parents.  I’m not lying when I say I can’t think of one.

A couple years ago my oldest Niece on my husbands side told me that, her, her sister, her mom, & her Grandma (my MIL) sit around and talk about how I didn't thank them enough for helping us, (I assume for watching Finn when we couldn’t wipe our own asses etc). This came shortly after the 2 page letter my MIL wrote me exclaiming that I let my tragedy effect me too much & so many other horrible things.  This confused me since I NEVER spoke with her about  our tragedy.  It also broke me because I really needed a mom figure in my life.  My in laws won’t even say Colums name even though THEY were the ones that actually KNEW him the best.  It still stings so much, but I just can’t work with a group of Women that won’t talk to me to my face or can’t say the word Colum just cause a Meth head took him away from all us.  It feels so cold when I’m around them.

Ryan, used to think I was being dramatic actually about the way I felt about my parents & upbringing.  He’d roll his eyes at me.  This was only until we shared a room or 2 or 3 at the U of U hospital after our tragedy.  I can’t figure out what the exact moment it was that he recognized the absolute horrible behavior of both my parents & continues to apologize & understand me better to this very day!

He’d see them act like heros in front of all the important people only to benefit themselves.  They’d volunteer to pick up things we needed such as combs, bed sheets, & the equivalent of male stripper pants with buttons down the side (these are what handicap peoples dreams are made of), only to nickel & dime us for every cent.  They kept track of every single penny!  But they would never except in front of other people, not even in front of the Costco cashiers.  My parents didn’t/wouldn’t fork out $2 for us, we had to pay them back & hey, they even got to go shopping how satisfying for them.

I am still very confused by their money hungry, childhood stealing, hard labor they put us through, & all their weird hang ups & manipulations.  But I’ve recently realized with the help of Colum that I can no longer have them in my life... well that is unless they are willing to pay TOP DOLLAR to see us, for this is what I believe my/our worth is.  I’m requesting $1000 each to see any of us.  This is to go towards therapy that I need & to pay my sitter while I’m there.  I would also like to put some of the $ towards my triplets preschool because truthfully we can’t afford it right now.  It’s pretty rough when people ask if they are in preschool & most the time I make up an excuse.  There are the government funded preschools that we have been looking into for next year FYI. 

I think my upbringing made me strong & im really grateful for that.  But, sometimes it’d be nice to have just one parent, just one even once a year that told me they were proud of me & showed some sort of affection.  Somebody that wouldn’t twist & turn things I said into something that I didn’t.  In my profession I witness this kind of mother/daughter relationship & it gives me hope for my daughters & I.  

Ryan & I were put in the middle of way too many situations while we were in the hospital that we shouldn’t have.  I think BOTH sides are at fault for that.  I also think it was the most SELFISH behavior I’ve ever witnessed in my adult life.  And it’s unfair that we both have so many toxic people around us.

I’ve slowly been detoxing from ALL toxic people in my life over the last few years.  I don’t think I’m perfect by ANY means but I do know that I am overly humble, a hard worker, & have a very creative mind.  I care about other humans & consider myself to be brave & strong.  I will put almost anyone before I put myself & I’m actually a really decent person.

Colum has showed me to look at the world & the people in it like a child.  You see, there are good people & there are bad people.  I’m a good guy.  I really am a good person that cares about others.  I’ve recently realized with the help of an unknowingly helpful friend that I was starting to not SEE my own kids.  I wasn’t nurturing them!  I was starting to resemble my own parents.  I want them to be seen & heard.  And most importantly that I want them to feel nurtured.

I never wrote the truth about what was happening behind the scenes because I used to want to protect the bad guys.  But, over thanksgiving I had the most spiritual experience of my life.  Colum’s here with me now & he’s strong, brilliant, & funny.  Even though they are my parents, I don’t need to have all of their negativity around me, for misery loves company.  I just want to bee happy, bee myself, & bee good.


  1. I started following your blog at the time of the accident and have always thought you were the strongest most loving parent. To deal with what you dealt with was the hardest thing I could ever imagine! You are strong and to me from this blog you have always seemed loving and strong and a really nice person. Please know that I still think of you and your family often and send up a prayer that all is good with you. I'm a grandma now but I learned a long time ago not to let other people pull me into their negative crap and that includes my parents. I wish all the best to you and Ryan.

    1. Thank you so much for saying those things Anne, it really means the world to me!!!

    2. Dear Kelly, I grew up with a father behaved very much the same. I am so sorry that this was and is reality. It really sucks.

      I do want to share with you a free resource that ha helped me deal with my childhood. It is the group Adult Children of Alcoholics. It is call ACA for short. Alcoholics may be in the name but it is also for children who grew up in a dysfunctional home. It is helping me to heal from the emotional trauma, neglect and abandonment I experienced. My path led me there after a falling out with my daughter who pointed out behavior that was similar to my father.

      My heart breaks for you. Just know that that you are not alone. Many of us know your heartache.

    3. The group is for adults. Please excuse the poor writing. Oops!

    4. Your writing is superb! Thank you so much! I was so scared to write this for YEARS! 😘😘😘

    5. I will look into this for sure!

    6. I searched for anything to explain how I felt and came across books in the library about Adult Children of Alcoholics and wow it rang a bell with me. I read the books and it helped me deal with stuff and put it behind me but most importantly helped me to realize that none of it was my fault. You can tell yourself lots of things without really believing them but when you do really realize this is nothing you did it really sets you free.

    7. Thank you Anne. I’ve been here so many times, but this time is different. It feels really good to finally bee done & to speak out about it. I think the frustration of them not taking responsibility is the hardest part for me. But just knowing that I can bee free from it all now also feels empowering. I’m glad I got to do this before they died, even if they don’t read any of it, cause they never read my blog as far as I know. At least I can LIVE knowing I spoke my truth & they had every chance to fix things. I’m no longer wrapped up in the spiders web🙏🏻✨. Xoxo

  2. I'm so glad to see you blogging again Kelly. All the best to you, Ryan and your children.

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  4. Reading your blog has been inspirational for me. I'm so glad to see you writing again. You have reached a lot of people with your blog that you may never know, but I do believe you are making a difference in peoples lives (I know for sure mine)

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