Friday, May 31, 2013

One day at a time

I had the boy all packed and ready to go back to the hospital this Tuesday. I didn't see how we could avoid it this time. I decided to try to call his new therapist. I had a thin hope that if he could connect with this guy, although he had not seen this counselor for many years, that we could avoid that green mile.
I kept reaching the answering machine and was running out of hope - and time, as school was letting out and the other kids coming home.
S told me that we all needed to prepare ourselves for his death because he just could not live this way anymore. He said he was waiting on a sign from god to tell him if this was the right way. I told him that when we try to test God and when we ask for signs we can never be sure what we see is the answer. Especially when we are hoping for a particular outcome. And I had this horrible fear just then that the wrong song would come on the radio and that would be his sign. That would be his death sentence. I turned off the radio.
We had to stop at the bank and although he was packed and seemed alright with the decision to go to the hospital, I had to make him get it in the car and ride with me. I can't leave him alone right now.
I finished my business at the bank and as I went to leave I looked behind me and there was a local pastor who I knew had the therapist personal cell phone number. That would have been the sign. For me that would have been God reaching out his hand. And I gave him the message and he agreed to call this therapist to see what we could do.
I returned to the car, I told S that this was the miracle we needed. If he was looking for a sign, this was the sign. I do not think he agreed. But just a few moments later my phone rang and I was able to take him immediately to the office. Thank God.
S is able to talk to this therapist in the way he had not talked to anybody in months. And when we left I was told it was safe to take him home.
I'm still getting calls. I received a call from the case manager and from his guidance counselor and neither thought that he was safe to be home. I half expected the school to call the police and have him taken to the emergency room. Waited anxiously for the bus and was so happy to see him step down across the street. Every single minute with him right now is borrowed time.
The only reason he is not in the hospital is because he has expressed a strong desire for camping and hiking this summer. He has plans in the intends to make those plans happen. But he told the school not to expect him to be back in the fall. Out of sheer anxiety I asked our pastor to please meet with me. She had several ideas for me. I don't feel safe that he is not taking his medication and she suggested that I make a deal with him, that he can be home and free this summer if he agrees to get back on his medication. I picked his medication up from the pharmacy and I told him what we needed to do. He agreed. Has been two days now on medication And we agreed that if there was no change in two weeks we would talk over this issue again.
I cherish every single second with my children. Right now I take nothing for granted. He is on my radar at all times, he is in the back of my head every single second of every day. There's not a moment I'm not aware of him. When you have a child who is suicidal, did not sleep well at night. You wonder if you'll be there when you go to wake him up in the party. You wonder about how you will handle it, if you will send the other children to school and pretend everything is okay… And then break down the minute the bus pulls away. You think about things you wish you didn't have to think about. You think about things that nobody should ever have to think about. Not when you have a healthy child, a child who is almost never sick… a Child free of disease.
It is unbearable to see your child in pain and to be unable to comfort him. My child does not want to live. He does not feel worthy of life. He feels that if he is sick, that he has no purpose and he should be gone. He feels no hope. And he has no concept that the pain he was feeling is temporary. There is no Band-Aid for this. I cannot wrap him up in my arms and make him love himself.
But right now nothing else matters. No plans that I might have matter. There is nothing more that I have to do than be a mother. This is the sole purpose of my existence right now and my hope is that if I can get him through the next couple years… He will be okay. I wish I could stress to every other parent I see how valuable every minute is with your child. Nothing else that you might want to do matters. All five of my children need me in ways they have never needed me and may never need me again. What matters is right now. This moment.
I will hang up any phone call, I will stop eating, I will rush home from the most important of meetings if my children need me. There is nothing else.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Everything was going so well. Until last night when I received a text from one of my sons friends.
He is doing it again, she said. What is he doing I questioned. He says he wants to kill himself again she said.
Christ. I actually texted Christ. Oh no. And then I ran upstairs my shirt barely covering my boxers and burst into his room. He was not in his room, he was not under his blankets, he was not in his closet in a ball. I ran through the hall stumbling over toys and anxious suddenly that I would find him blue and cold just like I see him in my dreams. He was in the bathroom. I tried to talk to him through the door… He asked me to let him finish in peace. I didn't stop talking. I'll never let you go I said, I won't leave you until you're well.
And today we traveled from doctor to doctor and met with a case manager. Everything he said scared me. I told him I loved him… I told him that he could tell me he worshiped the devil and ate babies, that he wanted to rape and pillage and cause mass chaos, I told him that my love for him was unconditional. He could tell me that he felt like he was a warning in a man's skin and I would love him. I would never judge my child. He said if I really loved him that I would let him go. Don't I want him to be happy? Is It fair to expect him to suffer? In his mind this mental illness that he has, the sickness as his friends put it, is not something he should have to bear. And if I love Him I would understand that and let him go. I will never ever let you go I told him.
He has no fear of death, this child of mine who are was raised to be spiritual and not afraid. And he wonders why suddenly I'm so afraid of death. I'm not afraid of dying actually… I am not afraid of the natural order of things. My child committing suicide is not the natural order. It is not supposed to happen. No amount of metaphysical talk can convince me that this is part of the plan.
And so we packed for the hospital. We packed because I can't sit next to him 24 hours a day. I can't protect him in the way that I need to protect him. And I will never let him go… So we packed. And then we went from one doctor to the next asking for help. And in the end his doctor said we should take it one day at a time. He will promise me every day that he is safe And he will tell me if he is not. I wonder if this is enough. He tells me there's something about him that if I knew i would judge him. He said even his doctor said it was wrong, that this is how society acts and beliefs. There are rules. I don't know what this thing is but I can't imagine ever judging my child.
Maybe I should not know what this dreadful thing is that he fears. This thing he's only told a few people and watched as those people turn their backs.
I only know one thing. I love my son.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The palette I work with

It is supremely hard to convince a teenager that there is more to life than the very narrow existence they have led this far. As they exclaim over bullying on Facebook and where they sit during lunch mod, they are not looking to hear "this too shall pass". That in itself is a foreign concept to them. Teenagers live very much in the now. They simply don't BELIEVE that in a few short years what was on their timeline or what went viral on YouTube will be forgotten or just one more thing to chuckle over.
As I try to explain to my son what a gift his life is, he cannot see beyond the pain.
This is a generation used to instant gratification and high def, extreme sports and mind blowing technologies. Mindfulness is not taught- iPad technology IS.
I am grateful to be alive with every jaw dropping sunrise, with every smile, with every lesson learned.
But I am not sixteen.
I explained to my son what an opportunity he has- just by being born. His very birth in the blossoming age of Aquarius is a gift. We are reaching new frontiers every single day. Not only was he born here on earth- honestly the best planet in the galaxy, and stunningly beautiful, ripe for exploration- but he was born in America. He has freedom and wealth and the chance to succeed. He was born healthy- a big plus. He is good looking and intelligent, qualities that when paired with being a white male can get him far ( whether that is right or not-it is the status quo).
So, earth, america, healthy, white and male ... Right there he has the basic palette to create a life and make it whatever he dreams up. Add to that palette that he is loved and not abused, admired and not rejected, conscientious and respectful, spiritual and wise beyond his years.
If he only saw past the surface and could appreciate how amazing these gifts are, he would never seek to throw them away.
There are children digging through city dumps for grains of rice, children born without limbs, abandoned children... Children whose entire life will exist of war, AIDS and starvation.
How blessed we are.
If we wake up every single day grateful, we will feel abundant.
I hope that we teach our children gratitude and show them just how much they have to offer.