Friday, May 02, 2014

Somehow, Some Way, Somewhere, Someday

I gave more thought to what I had posted the other day about how I felt about Thomas' therapy session and the fact that he's doing better. I've been walking around in this sort of dream world caught somewhere between depression and anger and numbness and I have wanted to give it some meaning. Everything in my life I try to give meaning to.

Why did Thomas get schizophrenia? God must have thought he was strong enough to handle it.

Why did my dad die? Because it was his time and he left us in the way that he did to spare us a long drawn out illness that would slowly kill him and us.

Why do I feel like I feel right now about Thomas getting better?

...And then I found my answer.

Before Thomas got sick I was in therapy for my own issues. I spent a great deal of time trying to heal parts of my past. Then, one day, my therapist asked me about what I feared about my future. I sat there and thought about it. When it came to me, tears welled up in my eyes and then suddenly the dam burst. My therapist asked me what it was that was upsetting me and between sobs I managed to get out,

"I. am. afraid. of. losing. Thomas. I. am. afraid. that. he'll. leave. me. and. head. into. adulthood. and. he'll. never. look. back. I'm. afraid. that. he. won't. need. me. anymore. I. am. afraid. of. who. I. will. become. once. he's. gone. since. he. has. been. my. whole. life. his. entire. life."

And then I dissolved into uncontrollable sobs and held my head in my hands. I was keenly aware how much I had been feeling this eventual loss somewhere deep inside yet I hadn't given words to it because it was just too scary to think about. He is my only child and my entire life had been centered around making sure he was happy. Whenever possible I did what I could to bring joy to his life. Then suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, he got sick. He broke down into a hundred million pieces and I tried to gather them all and piece them back together to make him happy again. Alas, that was something I couldn't do, not then and not since. Not really.

The sicker he got the more I began to realize that he was going to be mine forever. I came to accept that he would never do the things he dreamed of doing or the things I dreamed for him to do. I came to accept that he was never leaving home. I began the process of accepting that prospect and from there began a new chapter in my life as his mom and that was one of accepting my soon to be adult child was just that, an adult/child. As it always had been, it continued still, into the future up until the last week or so. Then suddenly, my everything, my boy, my young adult son was getting better. Suddenly what I had built my entire life around was not needing me anymore. There I was, yet again, that woman in her therapist's office dissolving into tears and sobs and desperation about losing her son to the big bad adult world.

There I was and there I am now.

For as much as I felt tested as a mom of a son with schizophrenia, for as much as I had grieved him becoming ill, for as tired as I was from sleepless nights, for as adrenaline-filled as I was from being on alert all of the time watching for clues to his state of mind, in the span of one week's time all of that kind of disappeared for me. Now, I know he's sick, I know he has schizophrenia and I know he always will. I know that this may be a miracle that he's well now but I also know that he may get sick again and may do it at any moment. I know we're not out of the woods by a long shot but we are standing in a little circle of light lit by sunbeams from a warm afternoon sun in spring. My adult/child is coming into his own, waking from a schizophrenia weighted sleep and even he sees he can be free. That light in him, that hope, that excitement are all indicators that he could leave home someday. Those things make it so that all of my plans, my thoughts and sometimes my secret hopes about him living at home for the rest of his life and me taking care of him, are disappearing slowly and I am having to face a life defined by something other than being the mom of a son with schizophrenia and I am,

SCARED (because I don't know what his future will bring and because I don't know who I'll be if I'm not who I am now)

ANGRY (because I've built my life around something that wasn't mine to possess and I am losing it quickly like grains of sand fall between my fingers.)

DEPRESSED (because without him, without my constant vigils, without needing to cater to this illness, I am lonely, I have to face my true self or worse yet, I am going to have to FIND my true self and I have no idea where to start.)

All of this coupled with the loss of my beloved daddy, the man who created me, raised me, guided me, supported me and loved me, make for a woman adrift in an unfamiliar ocean with no land in sight.

So I write what I wrote the other day. I write as a bewildered woman feeling intense feelings that have no meaning to them but I write so that my story may help someone else someday down the road. I write today, though, because I want to show that there is meaning in everything, even in the chaos of emotions surrounding a big change.

Thomas will get better. If I'm lucky it's happening now and it will stick. Thomas will move out and make a life for himself someday. Thomas will go a day or two and not call me. Thomas will become an adult (no child attached) and he will see that world I dreamed for him to see had he been able to join the Navy. His world may be much smaller but he will be in it instead of holed up in his room in front of a computer screen.

On the other side of that will be me. Somehow, some way, somewhere, someday I will find myself and there will be no fear, no anger and no sadness. There will be me. Melanie. Just Melanie. Not Melanie the mom of a son with schizophrenia.

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