This journey has involved many detours and bends in the road. The car even broke down a few times along the way and had to be repaired. But I don’t want a new car. I’m getting the feel for my car and we seem to understand each other. I know when to switch gears and how fast I can go before changing to fifth. A few days ago I irritated some other drivers in a roundabout because I kept stalling between first and second gear even though I can normally switch out of habit. It was just an off day. My car and I weren’t in sync with each other and I had to turn the key in the ignition a few times. After some honking and a few raised middle fingers (people can get so out of sorts behind the wheel) we all got to our destinations.
Yesterday I had two-hour appointment with Philip’s psychiatrist, a mature and experienced doctor who has spent many hours alone with my son in the past year. It was just me and her, no ex-husband. I showed up at the appointment with two pages of questions. She turned up with a clear agenda for me. She told me my son’s situation wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t caused it and I had to stop blaming myself. She also asked some pertinent questions about his early childhood experiences and behavior, which confirmed her thoughts. Then reassured me that my decision to leave my first husband was necessary for my own wellbeing and that the court system had not done what would have been best for my son. I had fought for him, but I didn’t win. A sentence is a sentence. Shared custody is the fashion and seems idyllic in theory, but it isn’t necessarily the right thing in all cases. I lost much of my authority as a mother and often wasn’t allowed to do what I believed to be best for my child.
I am not writing this to place the blame on anyone else, but I need to put into words that it wasn’t my fault. If I write it, then maybe I will believe it. Forgiveness. Redemption. Why is it so much easier to forgive everyone else than to forgive myself? Why do I allow other people to be imperfect and yet have so little compassion left for me? I promise myself to work on that.
I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way so far:
- Take shaming and blaming out of the equation. They take away my inner peace and keep me from growing.
- I am not in control. This is another biggie. I can’t control how other people feel or what they do. I can only accompany them if they are willing.
- Just staying positive isn’t always possible. Pain and suffering are real. We have to feel them and walk through them. Cliché sayings from Mr. Wonderful and the like can even make you feel worse.
- Growth comes from pain. Sleeplessness, restlessness and hopelessness also come from suffering. However, real pain forces us out of our routines and comfort zone and offers us the opportunity to truly question what we believe.
- In the bleakest of moments, I felt that I only had myself to look to for strength. I felt that I was drowning and couldn’t make my way to the surface of the water to take a breath. I believe that it was God who pulled me up so that I could inhale. I was too lost to do it on my own.
- My extended family and my closest friends have been a necessary support system.We cannot thrive without our community. Thank you for your time and patience.
- Other people directly affected by the situation may deal with their pain in different stages or ways than me. I have to be patient when someone is walking a few paces behind.
- My body eventually reacts to long-term emotional pain. I must thank the healthcare professionals for encouraging me to take some time off from work when my body started to shut down.
- Someday I will feel joy again.
10. My husband, my parents, my brothers and my son, are without a doubt, the most influential people in my life.
Thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog. I have some wonderful news to share. My son is coming back home tomorrow. He has learned a great deal about himself and is ready to take on the task of taking his life back. He is more prepared this time. I think we all are.