01 January 2013

Mixed Blessings






2013 started out gray.  2012 ended the same way.  For most of the last week the skies have been heavy, bloated, on the verge of crying.  I know this feeling.  I spent a good portion of last year feeling this way.

I don’t like to hear someone say “This day can’t be over soon enough!” or “I wish it was Friday already!”.  Ask my son how many times he’s heard me say “Don’t wish your life away!”.

And yet, as I sit at my desk watching the first few drops of rain ping one leaf at a time on their way down, I am aware of a sense of relief that a new year has begun, that the old one is finished, and that we’ve careened past yet another milestone no more damaged than we were going in.  And, I am grateful.

Thanksgiving was different; not bad, not difficult, just different.  Christmas was different, too…a little sadder, and angry, but not in a fierce way.  Angry in a wistful way.  Wistful as in “Isn’t it a shame he chose not to be here?”  Because, he did.  Trey chose not to have Christmas with us.  And we know how to do Christmas!  We have great Christmases! I don’t understand why he wouldn’t want to be here…

There are lots of things I don’t understand.  

I don’t understand why a general practitioner happily rewrites a middle-aged woman’s Zoloft prescription for months on end, but when that same woman suggests her adolescent son might also benefit from anti-depressants, he refuses without listening and looks at her as though she should be ashamed.

I don’t understand a therapist who, after several unsuccessful attempts at getting an obviously troubled teenager to open up, dismisses his mother with “You’re wasting your money and my time.  Don’t bring him back until he’s willing to talk.”, or a high school counselor who, upon being alerted by a classmate that a student is cutting himself, shakes her head at the parent saying “We simply can’t have that here.”, as though mental illness is somehow catching and another kid will see his scars and think them cool and before you know it everyone is cutting.

Anyone who tells you mental illness carries no stigma never tried to get help for a disturbed child.

I do understand, though, the horror inherent in the realization that the weapon-wielding monster might have been my son and the ever-present fear that the next time he might not be pulled over before crossing the center line.

My son is dead but he didn’t take anyone with him.  I understand that.  And, I am grateful.

I am told that the black hole in my memory where last January and most of February used to be is normal.  I likened the space to a blank chalkboard when describing it to my therapist who agreed that the missing chunk of time may, indeed, contribute to my feeling that every moment since is a do-over.

In one of those moments, several weeks after I began seeing her, I realized parts of me I hadn’t missed are back.  My wounds are healing, as all wounds do, by reclamation.  The “skin” has grown back, not as new skin but as a continuation of the old, only better, stronger, scarred and thus resilient.  I like her, the woman I am becoming; the one I was before but newer, stronger, with a chance to be better.

That is his gift.

He always did that.  He always brought me gifts.  From the time he was very small, if he went outside, he came back in with pockets full of rocks and handfuls of dandelion heads.  He was sure every rock was a gem.  And they were.  I kept them all.  

At Thanksgiving last year he brought me bird’s nests to add to my collection.  He frequently came across them in his work and saved them for me.  Some were square, as though formed inside a box.  Some were round and tiny.  And one had parts of blue eggshell inside.

And he wrote me notes like the one I found a few weeks ago while cleaning out a file cabinet.

Thank you so much from all of us.  Without you I/we would be nothing.  In my whole 21 years you have never let me down.  You are absolutely without question the best mom in the world. I love all you guys with all my heart.
Thank you.
Love, Trey
 
 


© Copyright 2007-2013 Stacye Carroll All Rights Reserved

2 comments:

Mark R. Trost said...

Good writing illuminates a true. Well, good writing illuminates because good writing is enlightened. This is good writing. It's masterful. I rarely read aloud anymore. I rarely read words that stir my soul, lift me, and carry me into another room so that I may read aloud a lofty thought. I read this piece. I stood up. I walked into the dining room and I read the words aloud to my familial audience. Her words seeped through my tears and my family became one in sorrow. Please read my friend's words. This is good writing.

Mark R. Trost said...

Good writing illuminates a true. Well, good writing illuminates because good writing is enlightened. This is good writing. It's masterful. I rarely read aloud anymore. I rarely read words that stir my soul, lift me, and carry me into another room so that I may read aloud a lofty thought. I read this piece. I stood up. I walked into the dining room and I read the words aloud to my familial audience. Her words seeped through my tears and my family became one in sorrow. Please read my friend's words. This is good writing.