Reframing

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    My Difficult Child came home for Thanksgiving
    .
    He is on the lam, with warrants out for his arrest.

    He called my house, my phone, my boyfriend, and my ex in a frantic flurry on Wednesday night, leaving messages everywhere asking if he could come for Thanksgiving. He was always the most family oriented of my 4 kids..he loved his grandparents and his aunts and uncles and all holidays. In classic Difficult Child fashion he would get so excited about upcoming holidays that he would work himself into a lather, sometimes throwing up or getting a migraine (cyclic vomiting syndrome, who knew). He hasn't been home for a holiday in years, probably 5 years. But I digress.

    After some hesitation I let everyone know that if he reached them, they could tell him to come over in the mornign in time to shower and he was invited to Thanksgiving.

    Who else would be there? My siblings and their kids. My ex husband and his new wife and their three kids...his stepsiblings, whom he has never met. He wasn't invited to their wedding two years ago. My boyfriend's 16 month old granddaughter, whom he had never met. And miscellaneous others.

    He didn't call anyone in the morning.

    At about noon he called from a few blocks away and I invited him over..he was thrilled. Then he called about 10 minutes later and said he didn't think he would come after all, he just wasn't up for seeing everyone..."I'm not doing very well, mom." I assured him that we all knew that, that he was welcome anyway, and that everyone knew he was coming. So he came.

    (my ex asked if we were harboring a felon. I said yes.)

    He actually didn't smell, but he wanted the shower anyway. He was quiet, subdued, but engaged. He posed for pictures. Later when we went for our ritual "after the meal before the dessert" family walk, he said he would peel off at the park, and he did.

    It was a very poignant, sweet day. His younger brothers are freshmen in college..they haven't seen him in at least two years. His sister is living with me but just got a job in NY and is preparing to move...she has seen him once in four years. He has never met his stepsiblings. He has missed a lot. We have missed a lot. And clearly, he is not able, right now, to do better or differently than he is doing. So no change in sight.

    The next day he joined his dad and siblings for a movie, where apparently he was loud, obnoxious, and inappropriate. This was a good reminder that there are reasons that we haven't seen him in years!

    Last night he called, sobbing. He had been arrested in the neighborhood where they deal heroin, and they had uncovered his warrants. Of course. So back to jail he goes.

    Today he called full of shame and guilt and grief and regret. And I told him to stop it. He said "I feel pathetic" and I said, go ahead and feel that way...for 24 hours. Then get it together. Because all the help the courts gave you is over now...they said that was the last placement, and you walked away. You are on your own, and, amazingly, you are strong enough to manage. I said "don't call me when you are crying, I am done with that."

    And then...I got off the phone and cried too.

    I think I move through my life pretty well given the endless sorrow of my son. This place , this board has helped immeasurably with that. Sometimes, though, I feel like my heart is a closed pressure cooker...all looks fine on the surface, but there will be some awful mess and explosion if I lift the lid.

    Most times, though, I try to allow my grief. I feel very in touch with myself, with the fragile sweetness of life, with the sorrow and the beauty of it all, when I allow myself to feel my love and grief for him.

    I'm posting because I feel better in the company of all of you. Because not many people can understand how relieved I was when he called to say he'd been arrested Because it is lonely cleaning up after Thanksgiving and having my son, whom I genuinely believe is shamed and regretful, spending the first of many many days in jail again, with no idea how he will face his own future.

    I don't really have any questions. I am just seeking the company of my good and wise friends here.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  2. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Dear dear Echo,
    You know you are safe and comforted here, in like-minded company. You know we understand. In this time to give thanks, I see much in your story for which to give thanks, both for you and for your son, and for others in the picture. Your poignant sweet time together had purpose and is fixed in the hearts and memories of many folks, to work its purpose. This time together was for some design to move forward, and now there is a relief – he is back in jail. You knew that was inevitable. Many of us know that feeling of relief of having our Difficult Child in jail. We also feel the pain and sorrow of knowing our child has no idea of how to face their future, and that we are powerless to help them.
    Echo, you sound strong, and have grown into a good place to be. We need to reach the point where we are “done with that!” Shed all the tears you need to. You are a strong warrior mom at the core. This safe place is here for you. You are not alone. You are going to be alright. Kalahou
     
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  3. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Echo,

    I am glad you had a good day with your D C son. Those memories are something you can hold on to, as he faces these next weeks and months in jail.

    I am thankful for this forum, and the safe haven that it is.
     
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  4. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Oh Echo, I am both saddened and very touched by your post. It is so sad that they just can't seem to get it, no matter what, and we will likely never understand it.

    But I am so happy that he could have such a wonderful day before he was arrested again, because surely he would have been arrested sooner or later.

    I am happy that he could have a connection with so many members of his family, even if just for a day, to mark a place in their hearts.

    I am happy that he could feel your strength bolstering him when he called.

    I am happy that your heart can rest easy, knowing he is safe, that he will not be sleeping under a bridge tonight.

    I am very grateful that we have this place to share our hurts, fears and vulnerabilities. Without the support of others in similar situations, I know I would have lost myself long ago to grief or hard-heartedness or hopelessness.
     
  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Echo what a bittersweet post you have shared, I am here and how I feel for you.....and all of us who have faced similar woeful encounters during these holidays. It is difficult enough going about our daily routines, thoughts come to mind like joy thieves and heart robbers, thoughts of our beloved d cs and their circumstances. Feel them I must, then swallow them down with salty tears I do, and say a quick prayer for I know if I pause for awhile and let those thoughts wander at length into the dark corners of my mind, I am doomed to slip down the rabbit hole of what ifs and what might haves. I try to channel Viktor Frankl and his infinite wisdom of projecting the ideal, aiming high for my two and hoping they will one day understand their potential. This is what I have to hang on to. Hope.
    I do so understand relief at the thought of your son in jail, you know where he is, at least in shelter. What do we know of the why's we are here and the how's of our d cs struggle, as the world keeps spinning and time marches on.....except that it is what it is. Holding hands with you and all of us who will nod in understanding at the loneliness and tears and the sheer work it takes to lift ones head up at the new day's dawn and carry on with our lives. Big hugs to you dear.
    Leafy
     
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  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Echo,

    Huge hugs. You help the rest of us so much.

    Your post brought a lump to my throat --way before it got to the arrest.

    How wonderful you and the family got to spend time with your son -even the obnoxious movie behavior (which made me chuckle a little, altho I get the embarrassing part for the rest of the group). This time together may have made the arrest hurt you more short term, but will make it hurt much less down the road. I know you are thankful for the time you had. He**/da**, I am most thankful you had that time, too. VERY. What a gift - forever.

    I think what you said to your son about crying for 24 hrs. and then getting it together was perfect. Wonderful you could respond so well, while feeling numb.


    Love all what Alby said.
    I am happy that he could have a connection with so many members of his family, even if just for a day, to mark a place in their hearts.

    I am happy that he could feel your strength bolstering him when he called.

    I am happy that your heart can rest easy, knowing he is safe, that he will not be sleeping under a bridge tonight.

    I am very grateful that we have this place to share our hurts, fears and vulnerabilities. Without the support of others in similar situations, I know I would have lost myself long ago to grief or hard-heartedness or hopelessness.

    *****************

    after so many years away from the family gatherings that he loved so much, how super fantastical wonderful he got this done....that you all had this time. I am guessing memories of this time help him get to sleep many a night and bring him smiles.

    Here is to hope your son gets help this go-round that sticks. We must keep the hope.

    Your son, as you have shared about him through the last couple years (since I found the forum), has always shown a certain poignant innocence, love and sensitivity. All of this addiction hell is just too unbelievably horrible for the humans we raised. We may never truly understand, but we gain strength from getting through it together.

    Both you and your son are in my thoughts and prayers.

     
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Echo. I believe all of this is true and real. But the thing he does not yet get, is that these feelings are meaningless at the end of the day, unless he changes. They are just so much venting.

    I believe you did exactly the right thing in how you handled everything. The invitation. The openness. The cutting short his emotional outburst. Because, after all, in the absence of any changing, or taking responsibility--that is all it is. A Greek Chorus. He does not yet understand that he is responsibility for the progression of the drama. His life.
    Well, having worked in prisons many years, I see this as a positive. Once again he has the opportunity of another try at a different kind of future.

    Honestly, Echo, lately I am wondering how I will face my own future, because I judge myself harshly about my present. Doubt in one's self is not, entirely, a bad thing. Nobody really knows how to face his own future because the future is unknowable. Well not entirely. His future the way he was going was pretty much knowable. By his actions he pretty much narrowed the potential outcomes, to one or another. And the best of the two, thank G-d, happened. Which gives him a possibility of a real future, but no guarantee. Like all the rest of us.

    Did your son have a religious education? Is he spiritually-minded? Even if I was a non-believer (I was) I would urge my own son to go to chapel, and to seek out a spiritual mentor.

    I have been talking weekly with a spiritual director of my own faith, and it has given me some peace. In some ways it is harder, because like your son, my grief and guilt and regret are torrential. I cry. And I get ashamed. And I feel I will never again feel whole and sure. But I listen to Leonard Cohen and then I have hope. The cracks are where the light gets in. Something like that. From Anthem.
     
  8. UKMummy

    UKMummy Member

    Echo, thank you for such a beautiful honest post. The double edged sword of contact. We want it desperately and dread it in equal measure.
    I relate completely to the pressure cooker of feelings. I try to feel what I feel but sometimes I distract myself and pretend everything is OK. Nothing is OK until my boy is happy. And I cannot help him. I haven't got it in me. I don't think I was the mother he should've had.
    Anyway, we understand your words, we live them and I send you lots of love from the UK.
     
  9. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your warm support over this transitional period for me. As I walked around town this weekend I was reminded of how stressful our Difficult Child's are...I realized that I didn't have to by hypervigilant about rounding a corner and possibly seeing him with yucky friends, or nodding out, or begging. It is a relief to me that he is in jail. I hope, as always, that more time to grow up and have his frontal cortex develop drugfree, will be on my side.

    This is very very true, Kalahou. The time together definitely had purpose..to remind him of love and sanity and family, to remind us of his humanness. To let him be sweet again. And yes, I knew jail was inevitable, and am really glad it has happened.

    Alb, you know him well. I am really glad he had that as well, and yes, he is not a young man who knows how to stay out of jail. I am glad he had that connection too. Lately I have been wondering if it is possible for him to just...drift away. To have no relationship with us. And I realized that it is indeed possible...so I think we pushed back against that day with our day of Thanksgiving. He seemed really happy.

    Yes, the sheer work. What do we know even of our own struggles as the world keeps spinning?

    You are a good friend, SS. This comment made me tear up...you understand so well.

    Yes. He loved his family events.

    I am glad you remember and see this in him. It is really true. Under the substance abuse is still the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (pervasive developmental delay) and a very sweet person who is scared. He has never been mean, or demanding. He has just been avoidant...and slipped away. That is part of the sadness, and the bitter irony that in our attempts to "fix him" we sent him to therapeutic boarding schools and treatment centers starting in 8th grade...my sweet homeloving boy hasn't lived at home in years.

    Yes, I see that clearly. I am trying to make him know it too, by shutting it down at least with me.

    I love having erudite companions in this journey! It is true that he does not understand, in a visceral way, that he is responsible. IN fairness I too did not understand that I was responsible for my life and actions until I was about 27...I just didn't go so far off the rails. And I wasn't neurologically impaired. I don't think (lol).

    I am a protestant-raised bad buddhist. My kids were all bar and bat mitvahed, so he has some spiritual grounding. The 12 step programs all encourage relying on a higher power...so yes, we do encourage that and he has a path to support in that way, but it is not part of the fabric of our family.

    Yes indeed. I swing back and forth between not wanting to hear from him with his polite lies about all the good things he is doing and then, when I don't hear from him, stomping down the increasing fear that he is dead or lost to me forever.

    For now, he has called me from jail every day. He is a sodden scared shamed mess. I find that I am irritable and don't want to hear it, so each call has pretty much ended with me saying something along the lines of "karmas a :censored2:, dude".

    I did tell him when he left jail in September that if he couldn't comply and had to go back I wouldn't accept daily calls from him any more, nor would I put any money on his phone account or commissary. I plan to stick to that, and reminded him today. For now, while he is desparate and doesn't yet have a court date or any kind of plan, I'll talk to him more, but soon enough I'll keep it down to once a week. That is my boundary. His grief undoes me, and also makes me angry. I am not willing to engage in that negative cycle.

    Boundaries. Love. Accountability. Those are my watchwords right now.

    Echo
     
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh Echo, I'm so sorry you have to go through this, but so glad you had Thanksgiving to see him and spend time with him before his arrest. Your post just made me ache. Stay strong.
     
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Me too. Thank you Echo.
     
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is important.

    We keep saying that 27 to 28 are when many male brains begin to mature. I am seeing that first hand in my son's last year. Which was qualitatively different than the prior 10. He turned 28 a month ago.

    And there is the gender difference. While not all of us, most have boys. And we were, ta da--GIRLS. Our own acting out was determined and limited by gender and cohort differences. I know I was a difficult child, if anybody had been around to see it, or care.

    Which is another distinguishing factor among us: We care. We feel responsible. Not all of this is so good. For us or for them. Because we care and feel responsible for circumstances, attitudes and decisions beyond our control.

    Glad you posted, Echo. I have thought about you and missed you.