Friday, August 02, 2013

Me Too

My mom had a neighbor with a son with schizophrenia and we used to hear her having huge arguments with her son. I remember thinking how hard it must be on her and thanking God I wasn't in her situation.

Now here I am.

She moved out of my mom's neighborhood and moved one block from me recently. I drive by her house, a duplex that half is hers and half is her son's, and I see her often. I've always wanted to stop and say "me too" but this woman is a formidable woman and frankly, I'm a bit scared of her.

My mom caught up with her today and told her my story and in turn she told hers. Her son is 60 now and living a frightened, difficult life. She has been through 5 husbands. Her son was diagnosed in his late 20's and she was battle scarred and defeated. Her words for me were that I have a long road ahead of me and she was horrified that Thomas was diagnosed so young.

At first I was struck with a wave of nausea. Here is a woman who has seen it all and SHE was worried for ME?!? What is it in mine and Thomas' future that she sees through the lens of her history? I've got to say it scares me a little bit.

OK...a lot.

You know what else strikes me though? She offered no support, no resources, no....nothing. I was saddened because I've driven by her a thousand times since Thomas was diagnosed and I have yearned to stop and ask her questions. After my mom's encounter with her today I can see I'll never get that chance.

I don't want to be that mom. I don't want to be so beaten down that a mother new to this diagnosis for her child can't stop me on the street and say "me too" and get a hug from me and some comforting words. So I make a quiet promise to myself today. I promise to give support and understanding to anyone in my situation that feels alone and scared and lost. I promise to take my life experiences with Thomas and offer them up as a light in the darkness of this illness because even when it gets bad, and it will, there is still something I have to offer someone in my same situation.

Even if it's only a "me too."

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