Little did I know as I was writing about my oldest son’s health issues bringing him home, that I was about to get a call from the high school my youngest son attends.
I’m still in the throes of grief and processing, so I hope only merciful eyes are reading. My youngest son sees himself as a victim, and has been making a steady series of very bad choices, the kind that lead to lasting consequences, based on self-pity, resentment, and entitlement. Does this kind of thinking sound familiar?
I have tried to talk with him many times. Tried to show him I love him, yet maintain boundaries. There have been a series of warnings, along with tears, quiet pleading, second, third, fourth chances, and boundaries enacted and held on our part. I said, “Son, if we want to blame someone else or some circumstance for making a bad choice, Life will never stop giving us those excuses. Please know that as you make your choices, over time your choices make you.“
Late yesterday afternoon, he mocked, blamed, and blew off any communication about what he recently did, or the serious consequences that are headed his way from the school, and that he has to appear in court. He turned eighteen, so I’m not sure he truly realizes how much more serious it is. The bare bones requirements to live here were flouted, so we said he needed to leave.
I stayed firm holding to the boundaries, telling him he needed to choose, when finally I said he needed to pack his things, and that I wished he was making a different choice. I bawled and crumbled after he left.
I think I’ve written that I have another son who was in a bad accident (hit by a car on his bike), and who sustained a traumatic brain injury. There have been many tears and rough roads with him, but just recently he’s begun to finally accept what it means to be impacted by a TBI, and try to take better care of himself and move forward. After my youngest son took off with nothing but a backpack, I was in the kitchen, blindly moving things around and trying to figure out dinner. He asked me if I knew what the weather was supposed to be like the next day, and I replied, “Tomorrow will be walking weather. Rain or shine, I’ll take a walk.” He said, “Why not go on a walk with me now?” I looked at the fading light out the window, felt zero energy to walk, and said, “Sure.”
As we walked, he told me that while he expected me to feel many things with his brother leaving, the one thing that I should not feel is guilt.
How is that possible? All my mistakes, every weakness, everything… is like a crushing grief right now. I can only picture the little boy that was raised in a dysfunctional marriage and life. Raised by me. A little boy whose mother was clinically depressed on meds when he needed a healthy mother to be there for him. A sad, tired, anxious, faded to shadow mother. Could it be that had I been a reasonably normal healthy happy’ish mother that this could still be happening? Sure.
Yes, I feel guilt and accountability. I’m trying to remind myself that the last handful of years as I’ve gained awareness, I’ve fought and crawled to be healthier and stronger. Where I am is heartache and wanting to make good choices in the here and now. In the midst of pain, still choose what’s good and right and do it no matter what. I know that Life can be messy and painful without asking for it, but it must be possible to have pain and heartache without drama and bad choices. It must be possible.
There is a part of me that would really like to not blog about this at all. I want to protect my son’s privacy and my own. I want to hide in pain. I also often wonder if there is someone out there, in the early days or early years of this insanity, that might read this and gain clarity and courage. I’m blogging for her.