Thursday, March 19, 2015

Our Story Becomes Real

Months ago I submitted an article to be published by Treatment Before Tragedy and I have waited to get it finished up for publication. Yesterday I received my final draft to be looked over and tweaked and I reread the story, OUR story all over again. After yesterday's post about some of the memories I had when Thomas first got sick, this article brought back EVERYTHING from Thomas's birth to the present day.

It has been a long journey.

It's funny how time has a way of lessening the impact of certain events. Life goes on and the things you went through years ago fade into the past in favor of trying to survive the present. Thank God for that because sitting here reading about all of the trials Thomas and I went through is pretty heartbreaking.

We all, here, have our stories, our loved one's life story locked up inside of ourselves. Sometimes they're locked there because there is no room to hold them all in your heart and mind and sometimes they are locked up because it's just too much to bear. To remember the gravity of what REALLY happened takes a strength that sometimes I, personally, don't have because remembering means that all of it actually happened and it happened in such a sad, heartbreaking way.

I read over my article and remembered finding Thomas's beautiful, soft hair laying on the carpet of his bedroom after he had pulled it out in frustration. For years I saved that hair (I might even still have it) because in the way that a mom saves a lock from her baby's first haircut, I kept it because it marked a time in Thomas's life when the stressors of his life and his illness were too much for him to bear, where pulling out his hair in chunks became a stress reliever for him but left me horrified because I understood the pain he felt. There is no more helpless time than the times when you don't have an ounce of control over your loved one's illness. When you've tried everything and still they don't talk to you, still they hide in their rooms trying to escape the demons in their mind. I spent so much time paralyzed by helplessness and grief and after the last week, I realize I am far from escaping those feelings.

This illness is the worst kind of criminal. It's heartless, thoughtless, and a stalker of the scariest kind. One of its worst qualities is it's ability to lie in wait like a rattlesnake under a rock just waiting for prey to meander by. If it had life, had a personality, if it breathed, we would find ourselves fighting a man-beast who is dressed in tattered clothes and salivating with a wicked smile on its face. He would be the monster of our childhood nightmares only he'd exist in our adult minds and make us unable to escape it by hiding under our covers. If he were human we would have all fought, tooth and nail, by this time, to get him incarcerated and even sentenced to solitary and eventually death. At least I would. I'd fight the fight until I had nothing left in order to insure that Thomas never again fears crowds or believes that government agents stalk him threatening to imprison him for his political beliefs.

So, I'm doing the next best thing I can think of. I am writing. I am introducing this monster to the world in the hopes that someday, somehow, some way, it'll be eradicated and if not for our loved ones who are already riddled with its venom then for those who will come after us, fledgling fighters against this illness. Surely there will come a time when we won't have to plot our loved one's escape and we will see in their eyes that they are clear, coherent and free.

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