Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Deafening Silence

As I sat in my living room yesterday going through my social media I stopped for a minute because it was so quiet. It wasn't that I couldn't hear Thomas's YouTube videos playing in his room or any other ambient noise but what I heard loudest of all was the ringing in my ears. I get this from time to time with one of my medications but yesterday is was deafening. I call this post "The Deafening Silence" because it was quiet enough in my house to be able to focus in on that ringing.

The reason for the silence was twofold.

First of all, I was left yesterday with the news of the loss of Laura Pogliano's son Zac. I think it's probably fair to say that many of you with loved ones with schizophrenia were touched by the horror of yesterday's post and many of you probably immediately went to your loved ones and expressed some kind of love for them while holding a wish inside that they would remain safe in their lives. I know I was reeling from the news and 3 or 4 times hugged Thomas with a ferocity that I haven't expressed in a while. With him in my arms I imagined a life without him and a time where I might find him passed away from any number of circumstances. I choked back tears on his shoulder as I prayed that he would be okay forever. Zac's death was far too close to home for me in so many ways and I feel his loss and most of all I feel the loss that Laura must feel. Granted the death I had to draw from was the sudden loss of my dad just under a year ago and the pain of that was, at the time, unbearable and even now consumes the molecules in my being with grief for the life I now live without my dad. Losing Thomas would hurt even more. As I sat there in my living room and willed the internal ringing in my ears to go away, I found myself shedding tears for Laura, for Zac, for me, for Thomas and for all of you who have lost loved ones to death or to this illness. It is a grief we all share in one form or another.

My afternoon wore on into twilight and I reflected on my day in the silence and I realized part of the silence I heard was Thomas's stability. He hadn't really been out of his room yesterday except for an occasional hug and to get a snack. Other than that he remained in his room happily playing games and watching videos. It hits me pretty strongly that while just the day before, a mom lost her son, and here I was saying a silent prayer to God that my boy was doing okay. His biggest hurdle right now is getting his hours changed at work, something that's not at all easy for him, in fact it's paralyzing, but it's surmountable and with my help he will be able to go to his boss and remind her that she can't work him on Tuesday's and Thursday's because he has standing doctor's appointments. It is his one stipulation for his schedule and one I don't think is unreasonable. Evidently they forgot the rule and scheduled him for tonight but he was unable to get out of the shift so he'll work but he'll call a meeting with his manager to get future Tuesday's and Thursday's off.

I know I was blessed with that silence yesterday. I know that the ringing in my ears meant so much more than it just being a side effect of a medication. It meant that I sat alone in my grief over Laura's loss of her precious Zac and I had time to pray for them over and over and it meant that my Thomas is doing well. Such contrasts they were but both brought a silence that I was left with to reflect on these two things.

I learned from yesterday, a few lessons, and set some thoughts in my head. I will not be pushing Thomas out of the house to live on his own anytime soon. When he's truly ready to leave I will support him but it won't be without my own uneasiness about him living alone and my fear that I will find him dead someday. None of us can stop death, I learned that lesson from the loss of my dad and now with Laura's loss, but I can maybe be there if that time comes. I pray it won't but if there's one thing I have learned in the last year, that is that I cannot control very much in my life, especially when it's a loved ones time to cross over.

I feel like right now there is a lifeline whipping around in the wind and I keep jumping up to get it. Sometimes I do, like yesterday with Thomas and his stability, and sometimes I play an annoying cosmic game of "keep away" with it as people around me lose their loved ones to schizophrenia and as I sometimes lose Thomas to a day or two or a week or months of this illness.

There's no doubt about it, I am blessed right now. I don't take that for granted for one single second. I know how fleeting life is, I know how fleeting stability is and for the life of me I am not going to sit idly by and not pay attention to the good stuff and take that time to breathe a sigh of relief and thank God for my boy, Thomas.

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