Thursday, February 20, 2014

Honoring Family

Today we will drive up to see Dr. N. I am so looking forward to hearing what he has to say about things with Thomas. With the decrease in Clozaril, Thomas has been sliding backwards a little bit and I have to wonder what the plans are for what to do next with Thomas. Since we saw a change in Thomas with the Latuda, I think we'll probably be adding more in and seeing what happens.

What I want to write about today though is my sister. I am honoring her today because she is here visiting and she will ride up to Dr. N.'s with us today. I love her company but even better I love the effect she has on Thomas. Somehow she has a light in her that brightens Thomas and I really want him to bask in some of that light for a while, especially today, since his day will be filled with anxiety because we have appointments to get to all day all over our part of the country and then on top of that, he has to work tonight for the first time in a week and I know that's already getting to him.

The thing about my sister though is that she is also an amazing mom. She is raising 8 children and her oldest is now out of the house successfully going to college. What has tested her as a mom is her daughters that are around Thomas' age. One has seen great trauma in her life and as a result has developed severe alcoholism and struggles daily with sobriety. She is Thomas' age and in her young life she has seen more than most see in a lifetime. As a mom, my sister has fought for her to keep her safe and sober and spent nights in the E.R. holding her daughter together and fighting to hold herself together at the same time.

Even closer to my heart and closer to Thomas is her 3rd youngest daughter who developed severe childhood onset bipolar disorder. From a very young age, this young lady has fought the most severe form of this illness and again my sister has spent many a night in the E.R. and many more nights not sleeping as she kept vigil over her daughter trying to insure her safety from herself and her demons. My sister, practically alone, has forged the road ahead of me teaching me how to have strength in the worst possible of times. A couple of years ago her daughter made a serious suicide attempt and almost died as a result and it was my sister who sat at her side in the hospital day after day as her daughter fought to come back to her from the brink of death.

Not only that but things became so bad with her 3rd youngest that she had to say goodbye to her and leave her alone clear across the country in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility and was only able to fly down to see her once a month. Seeing her daughter sink to the darkest of depths and begin to fight for herself broke my sister's heart but somehow she found the strength I so admire and she was able to bring her daughter home to live with the family again.

Her road and her children's road has been one of the hardest that anyone has been on. My sister has seen things no mother should have to and amazingly she remains on her feet fighting the fight every day to help both her daughters hang on to their sanity. It is that special gift that she has that she brings to Thomas' life too. When Thomas was suicidal my sister happened to be here visiting and she came with us to the E.R. and lightened the mood by telling Thomas stories of the silly things all of her 8 kids do and when silence enveloped the room we were waiting in to see a psychiatrist, my sister blew up a rubber glove, whipped out a Sharpie marker and drew a face on it calling it her rubber chicken and consequently making Thomas and I both laugh in a very dark time in our lives.

The night Thomas was admitted to the psych hospital for suicidal ideation is was well into the early morning hours and we were all so tired but my sister came with Thomas and I up to the intake room and with a confidence and professionalism borne of her own fight for her daughters, she helped me put into words the things I couldn't in my grief over Thomas. As we left Thomas on the psych ward and got in the elevator she stood silently and strongly by me as I cried quiet tears about Thomas and without a touch or a word her presence brought me comfort and by the end of the seemingly long elevator ride to the lobby, somehow she gave me strength to dry my tears and walk out into the world with dignity.

Since that time, when she has come to visit she has brought all of her best self, her strength, her experience, her light, to both Thomas and I and it is those very things that I lean on today to bring Thomas some peace on an otherwise very stressful day.

I love you Angie, more than words can say. You're the best big sister and aunt a family could ask for and I thank God every day that you light my path ahead of me so that I can find strength to be the best mother to Thomas that I can be even in the darkest of hours. I don't know what I would do without you in my life.

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