Although I don’t have a giant round window, sparkling chandelier, or even a free-standing tub; I do have a small quiet condo in the suburbs of the city.
Believe it or not, I can sit quietly, without any devices, on a Monday morning and hear nothing but the faint sounds of life doing what life does.
Today was the perfect day for my version of self-care. I spent the morning in a chasm of swirling thoughts about my son’s life in addiction and the legal ramifications of that.
Although I have chosen to emotionally support him and be available when needed; I do encourage treatment to him almost daily. I offer massive amounts of harm reduction. I keep writing to various people in the hopes that someone will come through with an idea and the resources to carry them out.
As door after door closes; I feel incredible sadness at my inability to make any headway with my son.
My son has been living in a different world than me. A world that scares me to the core.
He has been shot in the leg. He seen people die. He's been exposed to horrific things--both in person and on video. Things he choked up even trying to tell me.
So even though he still has his signature traits of humor, introspection, and vision; the chemicals are changing his ability to see a way out. His logical reasoning to not make his situation worse –is on a break. His risk meter has been progressively getting weaker as he seeks out further methods of survival in the streets. Even though his words say one thing, his self sabotage makes him do another. His intention to fix everything tomorrow leaves him tired and struggling tonight.
Tomorrow brings darker people, places & things that welcome more deviant behavior to numb wounded souls. Fulfilling their human daily needs seems to be the only goal.
He seems to be stuck in this pattern of chaos and hustling. He told me on Christmas he doesn’t have time for anything else but scrambling to survive. When I mention that it doesn’t have to be that way, he looks at me like I’m from another planet. I had to constantly tell myself that “No, this world is NOT normal. It’s not normal to be around shady and sketchy people doing shady and sketchy things while living in your truck.” Yet he seems so at home in that world.
His mind seems to operate on an all or nothing mentality. He’s either calling an old friend and proposing a half million dollar business opportunity (which the friend said yes!), to returning to chaotic use, the next week after a horrible fight with a person who holds the cards for certain aspects of his experience and his roles to fulfill.
I’m convinced he is hurting deeply. He does have a few free options for treatment. They aren’t the best and honestly, the two times he has been to treatment seemed to make him worse. My belief that despite having a higher ego personality and high intelligence; he has deeper issues to explore than 30-day rehabs can address. He seems convinced that he doesn’t deserve success either in sobriety or business and relationships including being a dad.
Despite his tough skin, the things that he’s been told must affect him. Things such as: He’s a horrible person and his addiction has been the most horrible thing known to man and that him relapsing is a spit in the face to all who’ve tried to help him. In which they packed up his things & put them out in the garage, as if he had the plague.
So I can judge his lifestyle all I want. I can listen to others who mutter, “When will he ever learn?” As they shake their heads in disgust but make no attempt to ask, “How can we help him? What can we do?”
My circle gets smaller and smaller in finding those who understand our predicament. There seems to be no one else who can offer help. I’m left to do my best every day to not think and worry about more trauma.
Bottom line, is that I will not let my inability to understand his actions keep me from loving him the best way I can. I refuse to treat him harshly and with vitriol and disdain. I refuse to cut off communication until he can “learn his lesson”, or “grow up”.
Even though I understand family fatigue and “giving enough chances”; the reality of my sons life being cut short is a statistical fact, due to a diagnosis of heart failure.
The chances of me losing my son before I die propels me to keep holding on, keep hoping, and keep loving as best I know how.
I still feel deep sadness most days. Sadness for what my son has lost. I know it pains him so deeply that he can’t break free of self-sabotage. I know he hates failure more than anything except maybe his fear of repeated failure. I know his family members’ reactivity and vitriol towards him bothers him deeply, which is why he stays away and isolates.
As for me, I can only keep loving the best way I know how. Knowing it may be my last interaction with my funny, strong, talented, lost, son.
I can keep remembering that there has to be a God that loves him even more than I do. A God who knows his struggles, who knows his heart. And who still sends tiny little miracles every single day to my son and to me– Via a yummy shared meal for him, or a flash of a joyful memory for me– thank you Facebook memories.
Or maybe it’s just the realization that I have had an amazing life being the Mom to all my kids and gratefulness is truly the key to happiness.
And Love of course. Which I will continue to do. And carve time out for my own self care daily/ weekly.
So after work today, I decided to actually go get my hair cut for the first time in years.
That’s right– years! For various reasons, I have cut my hair at home. It was strange being back in the salon environment. The busyness, idle chit chat. Hair, makeup, Things that – in my mind – are so unimportant. But as I sat there, listening and actually talking to my hair dresser; I felt something stir.
I felt a version of my old me. The me who tried so hard to stay young. Who tried to exercise. Who tried to get out in nature every chance she could. Who kept her hair colored and her skin tan. A me who just wanted to feel and look the best I possibly could as the years crept up threatening to steal my youth.
I suddenly wanted that person back. As the hair dresser handed me the mirror, and asked: “What do you think?”
I wanted to yell:
“I THINK I’VE MISSED THAT PERSON! I THINK I LOST HER ALONG THE WAY OF FIGHTING FOR LIFE. I THINK IN MY QUEST FOR PEACE, I LOST WHO I WAS. I THINK I NEED TO FIND HER AGAIN!”
“So, you like the haircut?”
She trepidly asked.
“Yes, yes, I like it. Thank you.”
Love is the most divine healer –Val Kilmer