NOTE: I wrote this post back a few months ago and I didn’t publish it until now. I guess there are many reasons, but mostly because my attention was off of it and my life full of sorting out what had happened in our lives over the past 4 years – and sharing the joys (and challenges) of having my family back together again.
Miracles do happen! On July 3rd, 2014 I hugged my boy again after 3 years and 8 months. It was an indescribably moment. The story that follows recounts that unfolding and there is more to come, because Jeremy has things to say as well.
I realize this is old news to my family, close friends and Tony Ortega followers, but I had to put off writing about it until I was at a point where I wasn’t quite as emotional. Over the last few months I’ve been spending as much time as possible just being with him, trying not to suffocate the poor boy, correction, he’s a 23-year-old young man now.
Honestly, this is a bittersweet “win” because in this situation there is someone else whose heart is broken, and that’s his wife, Sarah. My heart breaks for her like words can’t describe because I know she was crazy in love with Jeremy.
On July 17th, 2013 I wrote a post, I was referring to Jeremy and Sarah, and this is part of what it said:
Mark my words, because I’m willing to lay down money that this forced disconnection will slowly erode his happiness and she will slowly lose the beautiful essence of Jeremy over time! I know my boy, and it has to be depressing to him and as he grows more mature he will feel the void more than ever.
Jeremy has always been a tender and loving son and ironically I’m completely positive that ultimately it will be Sarah who will lose that beautiful part of Jeremy — because no matter what the Church of Scientology preaches, BLOOD IS THICKER and FAMILY is IMPORTANT!
I just can’t tell you how sad I am for Sarah, but I know in this scenario there are “losers”. Scientology is not a game where everyone wins. It was as I predicted, she started losing the beautiful essence of Jeremy from the first year and it took almost four years for Jeremy to become so completely depressed that often times he thought the only way out was to “reset” (to put it mildly). He said he always put on a front of happiness but he was so horribly depressed inside that he felt hollow.
On June 27th I was sitting in a nail salon – 400 miles away from St. Louis – with my daughter-in-law, Brittany, when a text came in, but I didn’t see that text for almost an hour and a half – it was from Jeremy! It literally took my breath away and I was scared to read it, and excited beyond words, yet it caused me to freeze and just sit there staring at my phone in disbelief. I was afraid of what I might read. See, I’ve had Jeremy’s cell phone number since his father passed away and I just kept the number just in case there was ever a very important reason I needed to reach him, so when his text came in it said it was from “JEREMY” – I was extremely excited and yet afraid.
At 4:36 pm he simply said “Hello”, then 4 minutes later he said, “I’ve started this. So there’s no going back now”. I didn’t see this text come in because I was getting my nails done, as well as he had texted me using my Google Voice phone number (published on this blog) and I don’t have an alert sound set up for that number.
When I read the text I immediately froze, In fact, I’m sure my heart wasn’t even beating! I just stared at it and must have re-read it fifteen times in shock, but more, wondering if, and hoping beyond your wildest imagination that it was really him. Sadly it was over an hour later when I saw his messages to me. How could I have missed the most important text of my life!!!
After getting a grip on it, I wrote at least four different responses, deleting each one, thinking what if he changed his mind and this was my one shot to say the most important thing to him. Realizing it certainly might be, I finally responded with the most powerful message I felt I could give him, “OMG, I love you”. And I waited an eternity for him to respond back (hey, it was a FULL 3 minutes of holding my breath and waiting for him to write again)! No answer so I asked him to “talk to me”.
My heart was in my chest at this point and it was certainly beating now, course I was holding my breath, waiting for his answer….but why wasn’t he answering me? It was at this point I screen shot his message and sent it to Heather and Jim – to see what they thought. Heather said it was cruel joke and someone was messing with me, while Jim’s advice to me was to not “blow up the comm line”, just give him time to get back to me. So there I was waiting, wondering, and numb – staring at my phone until I couldn’t stand it any longer and twenty minutes later sent him another message, thinking that it might not be him – “If you are not Jeremy, I’m sorry I have misunderstood. Talk to me please”.
On the outside I was composed and normal, but that is not what I was feeling on the inside, because I was losing my composure and felt like I was going to throw up…….why was he not answering me! Finally over 30 minutes later I heard from him again, all he said was he was at a wedding and we’d talk soon, but it was the most beautiful feeling to me and even though I wanted to say a million billion things to him, I settled with acknowledging him and waiting.
I waited, and waited and hyperventilated and waited for fourteen eternities until, over an hour later he sent me a message that calmed my soul down, he typed, “Love you too”. This time I was overwhelmed with emotion as tears filled my eyes and I felt like dancing around the room, kissing & hugging everyone in my vicinity!
I quickly responded to him, letting him know how I felt – still worrying deep down that this might be a short lived reunion, uncertain of anything at this point. I told him that my heart was racing, that I loved him dearly and hoped so much that he was happy, yet I prayed it wasn’t a cruel prank but after I didn’t hear from him, nearly 10 minutes later I told him that I was sure it was my Jeremy and that I loved him so much and missed him every day of my life! He responded, “it’s me” and assured me again that he loved me.
I think everything in my world was stopped. By this time I had my other son, Travis, his wife Brittany and my two awesome grand kids with me, sharing in my moment. We were at Pizza Parlor ordering food and I swear I don’t have any recollection of my environment at all.
Then he called me and my signal was weak and I missed the call!!! We were about to eat pizza when my phone started playing the song, I’m Coming Home”!!! Immediate tears for me. This was a moment of massive emotional release for me because it was the ringtone I had set for his number – the lyrics of the part of the song that I love are: “I’m coming home, I’m coming home, tell the world that I’m coming home, Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday, I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes, I’m coming home, I’m coming home, tell the world I’m coming”. It was Jeremy. After nearly 4 long years my Jeremy was calling me. Oh my god. There just aren’t words to describe this feeling. Massive love, happiness mixed solidly with fear and apprehension because I had no idea how fleeting this contact might be.
The first thing he said to me was, “Mom, I think I’m going to need your help real soon because I’m in too deep”, at first I didn’t understand and he added that everything around him was Scientology (his job, his wife, his home and everything) and he had to leave the situation but all he would have would be his computer and his heart.
As we talked he told me that he had so much regret and was so sorry for all the pain he caused the family and asked how the family felt about him – I assured him that we all loved him very much. I told him the most important thing to me was that he be happy. I asked him how he could leave now that he was married and he said he’d have to leave Sarah. I remember talking to him about just keeping a secret connection with me and his family so he didn’t have to walk out of his marriage, but he assured me he couldn’t fake happiness any longer and he wanted to be himself, not a secret existence. He told me he had not been truly happy since he left and that it had come to the point that the depression was literally killing him. He told me the only way he made it this long was to just stop ALL emotions and thoughts.
During this first conversation he said he dearly wanted the Bridge (all the promised gains) but no church “handlings” done for his loss of his family had worked because it never truly handled the real problem, he still couldn’t have his family and deep inside he never believed that we true SP’s (Scientology’s term for “evil people”).
He told me that Sarah was a super family person and expected him to come with her to all her family things and wanted him to be happy with her family and it seemed she had no reality with how sad he was that he couldn’t have his family! He said that he had no idea why he went ahead with the marriage except that he had finally became numb and robotic, due to suppressing his true emotions and after the wedding the hard solid facts of the reality of where he was set in and started suffocating him.
I just couldn’t understand, because I know Sarah is crazy about Jeremy and I thought he loved her to pieces as well, so I asked him if he loved her and he said “not this much”. I truly understood what he meant, because in order to love her he had to lose everyone in his own family so I began talking to him about the possibility that she would come with him and he said there was absolutely no way he could even ask her to do what he couldn’t do – leave her family.
He said he had thought it through completely and there was no other possible solution except to end it all and leave.
I said earlier, I was visiting my son Travis & his wife, Brittany in Arkansas when all this was going on and I was able to share these first moments with them. They were super excited about it and Travis even got to talk to him a few minutes over the speaker phone. We live so far apart that I don’t get to see them but a couple times a year, but they were still so happy for me and happily shared “their time” with Jeremy.
Later that night Jeremy and I talked over the phone three or four more times and I determined that his decision was indeed final and it was clear that he had to leave the situation. Of course I was extremely happy, I can’t even tell you how happy because there aren’t words that I can describe it with, but there was also intense fear that he would change his mind at any moment or that Sarah would find out and pull him into the org (Scientology “church”) where he’d have to go through “handlings” and have people in his face telling him that he was going to to hell (Scientology’s real words are that his eternity will be in oblivion). I was just so worried that something might change things before I could get back home and help him get out – remember I was 400 miles away and not due to come back home for almost a week!
When your child tells you that they have been so depressed that they had starting thinking the only solution was a tall building you “get it” real fast. My Jeremy was so close to a really bad solution (suicide) and I’m so grateful he knew we would be there for him, or at least had the courage to ask.
Had he been reading the blog? Sadly, to me, he had not been reading it. He had been keeping himself in a state of numbness and reading the blog would have broken that down and I’m sure he knew that. He knew it existed though, because when I started the blog he got called into the org and told not to read it. This is hilariously comical that the org’s head of the department of special affairs actually informed him of my blog and warned him that for his own safety he should not read it! WTF? But, thanks Ellen, because had you not told him it was there he might not have had a way to figure out how to find me. I found out that he went to the blog that day to find out how to contact me! Thank god I had plastered it with my contact information!
He and I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning talking and then he stayed up the rest of the that night reading the blog. He talked to me about some of my posts the next day and laughed at me for the one where I said I hated him that day.
The next morning I called my mom, who was at her sister’s house about 25 miles from me, to tell her the amazing news. After I told her everything that was going on I broke down and cried harder than I remember crying in 37 years. I sobbed with joy but mostly the release all the pent up tears of these last 4 years, releasing the fear that I would never see him again. There is nothing to describe the emotional release I had, but thankfully Mom talked reason to me and I got myself together when she reminded me that we had portraits scheduled for the afternoon (five generation portraits with Travis, his kids, Mom and my 92-year-old grandmother) and I didn’t need to have red swollen eyes.
Honestly, I barely made it through that week and the closer it got, the more nervous I was. Jeremy talked to me a lot about plans on how to get him out of the situation the easiest and cleanest. I remained careful to to ensure that Jeremy called the shots and that I didn’t say things would sway him from his own determinism, and yet mostly I needed to know he was firm in his decision. I made sure he knew that I could live with it if he did change his mind, but that I didn’t want him to. I’m not sure where that came from, but I felt it was important for him to be in total control of the next few moves.
More than anything he didn’t want Sarah to have to go through the loss all alone and many ideas of how to do it best were talked about but the facts were that he needed to do it in such a way that there was no possibility that “handlers” could be called in or anything could happen to stop him. So he decided to just have all his stuff moved out and be there when she came home where he would be able to tell her in person why he was leaving, as he felt she deserved that much respect. In ordinary circumstances he might have been able to just sit down and discuss it all with her and let her know he had to leave, then pack and go, but when you add Scientology to the mix it becomes much stickier. Much stickier!
So the plan was for me to come and move him out and then wait outside while he talked to her and told her he had to leave. Isn’t this ironic? I’m remembering how he left ME that day, nearly 4 years earlier. Sarah was waiting out in the vehicle and told him it shouldn’t take over 10 minutes to come in and tell me he was disconnecting from me and leave. I know she must have been panicked that he might stay too long and be talked out of it!
Funny, I remember the very last words I said to him that day, “Jeremy, I don’t know how you’ll ever be able to make up this damage”. I regretted saying those words to him, over and over they rang through my head over the years and I wished I could take them back – but it’s all over now. I just find it so ironic that we were about to do the same thing back to Sarah. How heartless it was.
I finally arrived back in town then Jim and I headed straight over to pick him up – and I swear Jim just couldn’t drive fast enough to satisfy me! The idea that I was going to get to hug my baby again had my heart racing and the emotions were over the top. I remember driving down the street he lived on and seeing him standing on his porch as we drove past his house. Jim had to turn around and come back – you would never believe how slow he was at turning around and driving back (and why he hell was he fumbling with his phone anyway!?) – and I was sure that I was going to jump out of the vehicle and run up to the porch before he finally got parked in the driveway. Turns out Jim was trying to get his video rolling on his phone so he could video the reunion! Funny, that was the furthest thing from my mind but how awesome was that?
We finally pulled into the driveway and Jeremy literally ran from the porch, pulled my car door open and I was only half way out of the car before we were holding on to each other for dear life. I held on to him, he held on to me, finally all the dreams I’d had of hugging my boy again came true and it was better than any dream! Happiness, elation, love……how do you describe it?
If you’re reading this from your phone or email, sometimes the video doesn’t show so you can CLICK HERE to see the YouTube video of our reunion if it isn’t showing below.
So even though the plan was to for him to wait for her to come home and tell her in person, he ultimately decided that it would not be good to have her at the house, alone, and then him leave her. Bless his caring heart, he knew she would not do well like that, so he made the decision to get all moved to our home then just call her at work to tell her before it was time to get off so she would have her family and friends with her and they could help her, even it were to just just convince her how horrible he was! See, my Jeremy has such a tender and loving heart, I can’t even imagine him going through these past 4 years being numb to his emotions.
Again, if you’re reading this from your phone or email, sometimes the video doesn’t show so you can CLICK HERE to see the YouTube video of Jeremy & Heather’s reunion (brother & sister), if the video isn’t showing below.
Later, after we got him all settled in to his new room and after many hugs & kisses – he got a call from Sarah, who was still at work. It was time for that tough conversation that he’d been dreading and just as I figured, it broke her heart into a million pieces. She had a really hard time with the conversation but Jeremy was finally able to make her understand how it just could never continue this way and neither could he ever expect her to leave her family – and logically it had nowhere to go but end, since he wasn’t willing to be depressed, sad and emotionally dead any more just to be allowed to be with her and in good graces with Scientology.
That was a Thursday and by early Saturday morning a courier arrived at our house with divorce papers and the remainder of Jeremy’s belongings. It appeared that Sarah was going to handle the divorce herself, without an attorney. You can come to your own conclusions here, but it’s my bet that Sarah had “church” handlers (likely her dad among them) who immediately stepped in to make sure she quickly severed all ties to the guy she loved now that he was in the midst of suppressive people (the org’s words for people who disagree with Scientology and practice their right to free speech). After all, what if he actually got her to see the truth of it all?
* * * * *
Today it’s a few days shy of eight months since then. Jeremy has finally re-grouped, sorted out his scrambled head, and moved on. But that has been a journey for him. In October his divorce from Sarah was final.
It took quite awhile for him to untangle and it certainly wasn’t the easiest thing for him to do. He ended up going through some highly reclusive time, but never regretted his decision to get out of that mess. Here was Jeremy, 4 years later with nothing more in life than his computer and clothes. All his previous “friends” and business contacts – gone.
Once he talked to me about how odd he thought he was because he didn’t feel emotions like “normal” people do. He said for instance when he should feel empathy, sympathy or sadness for someone else, he just felt numbness. He hated feeling like that. We talked about it and I could only assume it was from doing hours and hours of Scientology’s “training routines” wherein you’re are to sit with your eyes closed or open and not react to anything you hear or see (designed to help a person shut off all the head-chatter, supposedly) coupled with him refusing to feel true emotion for all these years. I’m not really sure where all this came from, as I said I only assumed what it might have been, but I can relate to him on that level, because I’m still able to sit through horribly sad movies and not shed a tear and I’ve been away from that stuff for years now.
As he slowly started coming to life again his emotional shut-off started turning back on and he went through some really emotionally tough times. He was getting overwhelmed with some of the emotions that he had not allowed to come in before and dealing with them was hard for him. I am not able to tell you what all went through in his mind because he wasn’t overly communicative about his feelings and thoughts. He kept to himself quite a bit – almost too much.
I’m sure he had a head scramble going on but I was very careful not to talk against Scientology to him, but told him to do his own research and I was always willing to answer his questions and tell him my viewpoints. I pointed him to a few of the things I had researched but I think he took a real liking to Tony Ortega’s blog about Scientology and spent time there reading, which opened his mind to other questions. Since he had previously made the original comment that he actually “wanted the bridge” I also told him that he could get it on the outside if he really wanted it. Anytime he wanted to talk about any of it, I ensured I was available in a loving, caring way. Sometimes I just sat silently in his area doing something and he’d just start talking about it to me.
I always just listened carefully and tried to let him get it off his mind. He said he was sad that Sarah was only as deep as a “Scientology parrot” and that honestly she never thought any deeper than what she was taught or told from inside Scientology. Her answer to everything to him when he tried to discuss his emotional mess was “let’s go to the org” – to the point he couldn’t stand to mention it to her anymore.
We had an awesome family reunion in September and he was able to see his brother again and his nephews for the first time. That was precious.
He was able to be there when his sister, Heather, had her baby girl in October and he even attended her baby shower! These are things families share with each other and Jeremy is no longer denied these basic human rights.
And Christmas this year was completely amazing having my entire family together again for the first time in years and years!! We all exchanged gifts with each other and Jeremy later told me it was the best Christmas since he had been gone. He told me that Christmas’ for him were empty and he had received more gifts this year than all the previous years combined. That shocked me, I still don’t know what to think of it. I know I had stopped sending gifts to him when his father passed away, because that was my last connection to him.
It’s taken a few months but he’s now full of life again and happiness sparkles in his eyes. It’s beautiful to see!
Now that his life is put back together he has moved on and my Jeremy is happy again! He is a very talented website designer and he freelances with that while also using his graphic artist talent creating logos for big names. I’m so happy for him and I look forward to all the years we have ahead of us.
While I’m happy beyond words that I have my son back from the Church of Scientology – I still have a huge pocket of pain in my heart for the many friends who are still living in the hell of losing their family. My friend Lori Hodgson has lost both of her children, Claire Headly has lost her entire family and I could go on for a long list of acquaintances who have lost so much.
Yes, disconnection is alive and well in Scientology and damaging not only those who are disconnected from, but also those who are forced to believe their families and loved ones are “evil” and should be shunned. I maintain that it is an action that should not be done, yet it is done for reasons so deeply insidious it would take me another blog to fully explain. Instead, and because I know people who are still “in” the church read my blog, I want to share this video with you because it will clearly show you how disconnection is completely against your own church’s creed! Remember, those of us who were declared suppressive (evil) were those of us who exercised our inalienable rights, it just so happened that we disagreed with how things are being handled now in Scientology – and I suppose that is where one’s inalienable rights end. Please watch this short video and may your eyes be opened to where you will be able to start understanding the things that are not making sense and hopefully you’ll start questioning.
An Open Letter to Scientology Leader Miscavige
Here is the video, and again, if you’re reading this from your phone or email, sometimes the video doesn’t show so you can CLICK HERE to see the YouTube video, if the video isn’t showing below.
At this time, I’m turning over this blog’s authorship to Jeremy Powers, who wants to continue to blog and tell things from his perspective and what he went through during this time – which I do believe could be enlightening to everyone who has read my blog all these years as well as those who wonder what in the world could be in the head of their child or loved one who has disconnected.
With all my love,