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Chewing Off My Gag Order

I'm under a publication ban right now.

It's really cramping my style.

This week has been one of the toughest weeks my family has ever faced since the unexpected death of my son Shale and I can't write about it.

I want desperately to share the tribulations my family has endured but I more desperately want to remain out of the clink and avoid wearing a prison jumpsuit. My husband insists there is no money in our budget for bail. He's a bit scrooge-ish like that.

So I can't tell you about the tears and triumphs of this past week. Not yet. I will. When the gag order is lifted and emotions have settled.

But I can tell you how proud I am of my child, for standing up for truth and justice and fighting demons while I sat helpless beside my husband and relived the horror they had to face.

As a parent, it is our job to protect our children from all the monsters under the bed, to clean the boogeymen out of the closet and to cast light in the darkest shadows.

More than once now, in this gig of parenthood, the batteries in my flashlight have run dry and I've failed to chase the demons away. I will carry this guilt and pain with me until the day I die.

But somehow, despite my fumbles and failures, my children are growing into amazingly strong people. At this moment, they can't be getting their strength from me, because honestly, I am tapped out. I have no more strength. I feel like a hollow shell and as though the slightest breeze will shatter me at any moment.

But my children, they shine like the brightest beacons on a foggy night off a rocky shoreline.

I have never been more proud to call these small humans my own.

Their grace and strength amaze me and I am completely awestruck that somehow, through all my fumbling and errors, these children are growing into the type of people I wish I could be.

I don't say that enough on my blog, but the world needs to know that these children have each walked through hell and survived, brighter and more beautiful than I could have ever possibly imagined.

They continually humble me and they are the reason I will try harder, aim higher, and reach further with every breath I take.

No publication ban in the world will prevent me from telling you that.

For my kids, I'll happily wear stripes.
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Reader Comments (63)

Beautiful. And well done, to your entire family. :)

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren/Chookooloonks

Been thinking about you and your family. xoxo

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUndomestic Diva

Whether you believe it or not, those children DO get their strength from you. Although we have never met, I know that you are one of the strongest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of "reading". Your children will grow up knowing that their mother was a fighter, and that she loved them with a heart bigger than could ever be measured. You and your family are in my prayers.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYahee

thinking of you constantly. this is beautiful.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternic @mybottlesup

My thoughts are with all of the rednecks, and I hope that justice is (somehow) served. Big love to y'all from the south.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMFA Mama

I look up to you in so many ways. Your strength and humour are a lesson to be learned from by many.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

your children are quite lucky to have you as a mother.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergorillabuns

How strong and inspiring the wee ones can be in the darkest hours for them, and us. :)

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJess

When you write, it becomes your outlet and release, I know. To have that release taken away can be hellish.

But your kids sound AWESOME! Want mine? 2 for 1!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Phillips

It must have been so hard for her - I'm so impressed. She has a role model in her mother.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

they are amazing kids. that has always shined through in your writing, t.

love to you.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarah

I once did something similar to what your daughter had to do. Her bravery brings me to my knees.

Blessings to you and your family. *hugs*

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Hugs to you and yours, Tanis.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngella

Wishing you strength or peace or anger or whatever helps you get through this treacherous leg.

And then just plain old summer. Ahhhhhhhhh.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnn's Rants

Tanis -- you are so much stronger than you know. Your children do get their strength from you. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be. Keep up the good work -- your children are learning every day. (A special hug to your superhero "child" for what they have been through this weeek.)

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJo Anne

how sad...maybe i need to put on my snuggie cape and fly to someone's rescue.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermuskrat

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tanis Miller, nic, 3bedroom, AllyBSpeakin, MOM Magazine and others. MOM Magazine said: RT @redneckmommy: Words have totally failed me this week and this is why: http://bit.ly/c1BNus [...]

You are amazing and wonderful and deeelightful. Plus, i figured you'd be into gags :P

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCasie

Sometimes we can't be there to protect our children. But we can be there to support them and show them how to stand tall even when its the hardest thing to do. I'm with you. I'd go to jail for my children.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

Believe it or not you are a very strong woman and mother. As mothers we find strength where we thought there was none. My prayers are with your family.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

"But my children, they shine like the brightest beacons on a foggy night off a rocky shoreline."

If they do... is because you are doing a good job :)

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVanilla North

You and your husband are brilliant role models for your children and have done everything right that is within your power. You are a great mother and a wonderful person.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

You are a rock and ROCK. And have nice hair.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeil

Your kids sound like amazing people, all 4 of them!
And they had to get it from somewhere-obviously from Boo and you!!!!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeg


No idea what you are going through, but sure hoping you come out on the other side ok.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterC.C. Chapman

Wow, Tanis, that is a great tribute to your wonderful children. I think they get their strength from you, hon. The pain you have endured and survived with such dignity must rub off on them. My best wishes to you all.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJ from Ireland

What a lovely tribute to your kids. I hope things work out the way you want/need them to with whatever you are going through!! ((((HUGS))))

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

I love the way you write about your kids. You right about them like they are true and full people, people that you would have liked even if they weren't your own children.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie

I think there's a good case to be made that your fantastic kids have learned from what they've seen, and, from time to time, we learn just as much for them. Hugs to all of you, including extra ones just because.

I truly hope that your heart and your family heal soon. It sounds like whatever is going on needs some extra prayers for your family. We will include you guys in them tonight.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeannie

I have been following this, and will be glad when the gag order is lifted and you can write with your usual poignancy.

She definitely gets her strength from you, Tanis.

kisses and hugs to your beautiful spirit.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Love, hugs and many prayers are being sent your way. You and your family never cease to amaze me. Your strength, your grace under pressure (by "your" I mean the entire family). You certainly are my hero.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEllieranc

We know how amazing your kids are. You tell us all the time. I know you don't think it is enough, but we KNOW how awesome they are.

And you.

Love you babe, to steal from my Damn Emo as a little girl: 'I love you past the furtherest star and furtherest planet'

Your pride in, and fierce love for, all of your children shines through with every word you write. Peace and love and strength to all of you. ((hugs))

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoy


I don't have much to say other than I love you!!! I've been thinking of you guys lots lately.

I'm proud of your kids too...and you.

xoxo to all of you beautiful people


Hey, if you need a baseball bat, I've got two of them. We can stand back to back and beat off the idiots of the world who like to hurt children. Then we can run up our victory flag: crossed bats with a snarling Tanis set above them. Arrrghhhhhhh!!!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndre

You rule.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKBO

Yep. You rule. And Rock. Rockin' and Rulin' x

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Dude. Don't be so hard on yourself. It is your strength and your husbands strength they see. One you are tapped, family lends you some of theirs. That's what families do. And the truth is, we do what we can and God will take care of the rest. Praying for you and your clan.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOut-Numbered

"When" you are tapped. Dammit! I'm such an idiot.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOut-Numbered

I am heart-sick for you and your family. I wish you all strength and love as you face this in the comming weeks... And to echo above comments; you are the source of your children's strength (and maybe they yours) and your fantastic love and devotion to you kids is awe inspiring. I am wishing and praying (in my own way) for a quick and just resolution to this.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElinor

Would that every mother glow with love and pride over her children the way that you do, that every child were loved and cherished the way that you cherish yours. Thank you for reminding us to recognize and celebrate our children.

Praying that justice prevails.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarnmaven

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Whether you believe it or not, your children didn't get that strength all by themselves.

I found your blog recently, and I just wanted to say that first of all, I'm hooked! And secondly, from the posts I've read, your kids are extremely lucky to have you as a mom. Hugs...


June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnia

The whole this is so horrible. I'm so sorry for it friend. xo

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoralee

I'm sending so many warm thoughts, prayers and wishes to you and your family.

I hate to contradict you, but I'd argue that your kids get their strength FROM you, not in spite of you.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMinnie

We can't always protect our children from the evil in the world, but what we can do is help them after they experience it. That is where your strength and support and good humor help them. That is your job--and you are doing it brilliantly. I pray I'm doing as good of a job.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEditdebs

Hang in there. Whatever it is, hang in there. We're on your side back here in the shadows.

(((( BIG HUGS!!!))))

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShininggoober

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