photo by Floyd Rocker
“I’m afraid he’s going to kill me one day,” I pitifully told my son’s psychologist.
After his five-day stay in the hospital, we’d spent the next three years doing what I call chasing rabbits down rabbit holes. I’d read about a therapy, we’d try it. I’d research a doctor who specialized in a disorder and we’d make an appointment. But somehow we always came back to this particular psychologist. She was patient when my son didn’t want to talk and gently probing when he was more cooperative.
Her greatest selling point? He liked her.
She shook her head. “No he won’t kill you.” Then I shook my head. Either she didn’t understand my child and what I’d been telling her for the past few years about his behavior, or she saw something in him that I didn’t. It wouldn’t be long before I’d find out which theory was correct.
A few people knew that not only was I trying to manage a little boy with a mood disorder, I was also the mom of an older boy coming to the end of his high school experience, the wife of a man who suffered from sometimes debilitating depression, and the caregiver of my elderly mom whose cancer fought to co-exist with kidney disease, diabetes and the beginnings of dementia.
But I don’t think anyone knew how I felt. I’m sure they didn’t. I never told. So I endured comments like, I don’t know how you do it—while longing to hear, How can I help you do it? Nobody understood how much my vision narrowed my family down to disorders and dysfunction instead of loved ones. I couldn’t explain it to the low hanging fruit—people I knew, so I booked a long distance phone session with an energy healer.
“What do you see when you imagine yourself with your family?” she asked.
I closed my eyes and did my best to tap into the message my body was desperately trying to convey. “I see myself with long, snaking steel cords all plugged into me. They’re all getting their energy from me and I don’t have anymore to give.”
The session went on for about an hour, but I heard my next action step within the first few minutes of the call. I needed to unplug for a while.
I started with five days.
I arranged for my mother to stay in a hospice facility for five days of respite care. Then she’d come back home to a more organized, om-filled household. At least that was my plan. But my mother was even more tired than I was. So she rested. She stared. She stopped fighting disease and disorder. Twelve days later, when she closed her eyes for the last time, mine opened.
And I saw my son for the first time.
In those twelve days, my son had done what no one else in my family could—he visited the hospice facility every day. His older brother couldn’t bear the stress of walking by open doors of dying patients until he reached his dying family. My husband would come with us, but preferred to stay in the family room, counting on the television and a few chocolate chip cookies to take his mind off his sterile surroundings.
But not my 7-year-old. My son talked to his Grandma, even when she didn’t respond. He talked to the grief counselor even when he didn’t have a complete grasp on death and dying or why Grandma couldn’t go to the hospital or just come home.
He wasn’t just strong-willed. He was strong and patient. After years of seeing me research, and worry, and doctor-shop, all he wanted was for me to see him.
He had been waiting for me all this time.