Thursday, May 22, 2014

Back From Vegas, Home To My Boy

Well, I'm back from Vegas!! 

After having been gone for 4 days, coming home and being home has filled me with a lot of mixed feelings. Part of me wanted to stay in Vegas forever and part of me knew I had to get home to Thomas as soon as possible. I knew it was going to be a real test for him and a little bit for me to be away. I have to say to begin with that it was very hard to be away but I did have fun living a somewhat free life away from the stressors of home and all of the reminders that my dad is no longer with us.


As for how Thomas faired while I was gone, that is a different story altogether. Since I left on a Sunday and my husband, Dan, was home with Thomas, Thomas did ok. He missed me a great deal already but I tried to keep in as much contact with him as I could including sending him tons of texts and pictures of the sights of Vegas. They seemed to make him happy especially when I discovered that my hotel had a massive Titanic exhibition going on. I have never talked about Thomas and the Titanic but his "relationship" to the Titanic's story is perhaps a part of signs that he was getting sick many years before we knew for sure. So, needless to say, he was very excited about my being around something so interesting to him.


Then Monday came and everything fell to pieces for him. It wasn't so much that signs of schizophrenia like his paranoia showed up, it was more that he was depressed and incredibly lonely. Monday was the first day he had to spend completely alone all day and by noon I had a text from him telling me how very very lonely he was. It almost literally tore my heart from my chest to get the series of texts from him that I received that day. If you have ever had a sick child (or young man in this case) or a very lonely, depressed child and you were so far away that everything was out of your power in terms of being able to actively help then you know what I went through that day. The ability to text is very cool and very helpful in theory and we use it every day for a myriad reasons but trying to help Thomas by using them was nearly impossible.


What I ended up doing was taking him "shopping" with me in the Titanic store in my hotel. I perused all of the items taking tons of pictures along the way and sending them to him and asking him if it was something that he would want. I can tell you, I would have spent my life savings to make my boy happy in that moment. He clearly enjoyed all of the texts and pictures and shopped alongside me virtually. He picked out several things from an intricate metal puzzle with tiny pieces to put together of the Titanic to a t-shirt with the drafted preliminary building plans of the Titanic on it. In those moments with him we were together and he was no longer lonely.

The day had to go on though and soon he and I lost contact a bit because I got busy touring the massive hotels and doing some shopping and slot machine playing. Then in the middle of a really good slot game, I got another text from Thomas. It said,


"Mom? I'm sorry to bother you but I am very lonely."


Bother me? Bother me??? No way and I told him as much so I abandoned my game and sat there in the brightly lit, loud music-filled, crowded casino at a slot machine to once again talk Thomas through his loneliness and depression. Being a friend to and mothering my kid through what he was dealing with in an empty house with nothing for him to do to make him happy was a test of both of our resolve. I got him to take the dog for a long walk while listening to his music as he did that. I told him to watch his favorite shows on the DVR and I came up with a couple other things that finally seemed to get him through the afternoon until Dan got home.


In the end though, with 1500 miles between us and only the thin thread of 160 character SMS texts to hold us together, we made it. Thomas made it. He was standing on his feet and looking forward to the evening with his dad and what a day it had been. Each of us, Thomas and I, were tested as mom and son and I think we hobbled through it together right through to the end.

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