‘There is clear and convincing advice that it is in the best interest of the child Brittany, That parental rights of mother be terminated.’
One of the most empowering and strengthening but heart crushingly painful days of my life, the day my mother lost her parent rights.
It became hard to gulp as my eyes slowly welled up with tears. I frantically looked around me in the compact, carpeted family court room where I was sitting. It was just shy of six months of court dates. I was growing use to the pressure and weight from the tug of war between my parents divorce court, the swift and painful criminal court hearings, and the lengthy trial in family court. I felt flustered and broken from the flood of subpoenas, paperwork, hearings, and even the restraining order that were filed against my mother.
I sat there in family court feeling so guilty for causing all the stress and pressure on my family. My dad was drinking more frequently and had even quit his job just so that he could be around my brother and I. My brother was numb constantly with anti- anxiety medicine. I myself was numb, but not from drugs or alcohol. I was numb because I felt responsible for the events that had occurred. It was evident to me that my choice to tell my dad that warm July night was clearly a terrible choice. What would have occurred had I not told my father? Why did I have to cause all of this? Why couldn’t I have just kept my mouth shut? How did I not see what kind of life I was living? All these questions flooded my head. As I desperately searched through my head for an answer, I heard my name. ‘Brittany, Its now time for you to take the stand, please come forward.’
My entire body felt absolutely numb. I stood up and began the long walk to a seat that was positioned just below the judge. My heart felt ripped into dices as I walked past my mother and saw her in her jumpsuit and handcuffs. I sat down on this oddly formed bench and began to cry as my mother tried to smile at me. It started out as questions and turned into me briefly summarizing what had happened to me. I was asked for dates, for memories, for the feelings behind what happened. Then my mothers lawyer asked the question I wasn’t ready to answer. If I had some good times with my mom and thought at one point that she was the best mom ever, why am I saying she is the worst mom?
That wasn’t an easy answer. ‘I love her. How could I not love her? But just because I love someone doesn’t mean they are good for me. I know you guys pointed out some good times that I had with my mom but what she has done has destroyed everything that I know and everything I once hoped for. She took away my hope and gave me a fear that I seriously doubt you could ever know. She just isn’t good for me and my life.’ By now I was growing enraged that I was asked such a stupid question.
As I left the bench I felt empowered and strengthened. The numbness was gone and a high that I can not explain replaced any sort of fear or sadness I had been experiencing that morning. Only to return when the court validated what had happened and as a result for my best interest… Terminated my mothers rights.
Everyone in my family left the court room with tears of joy and some of us even had smiles. We were all standing outside the courtroom and I was looking out the window at the snow that had fallen the night before. I happened to look through the glass door next to me when a door opened down the hall. I watched the bailiff walk my mother further down the long corridor, tears streaming down my face. I knew that would be the very last time I saw her as my mother.