I struggled over whether or not to write this post. This is supposed a blog about healthy living through whole food, not about the turmoil and agony of my personal life. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I want this blog to not just be about delicious foods and meals, but also about how to handle things that come along. Things that no parent or sane person ever imagines they’ll be forced to confront. Things that shake the very foundation of daily lives of complacency and and mold us into the people that we become.
20 years ago this May, my husband and I welcomed a robust and wailing little boy into this world. He was the light of our lives and our focus from that point forward. We’d just been married 10 months when he was born so our entire marriage together has included our son. He was just the first of what we had planned on being a large family, but unfortunately, due to my developing celiac disease during my pregnancy (unbeknownst to me until 12 years later…) and the myriad of health issues that came along with that, I was unable to have more children. Our son was it. We loved him so much.
As you watch your child grow, it’s only natural to think about the person they’ll become. To think of telling others that your son or daughter is an XYZ or is off doing this or that. What no parent ever thinks about or could possibly plan for is telling others that their child is a drug addict.
Timothy started like most teens, I suppose. He was “out with friends” but was actually out drinking. “Kegger” parties in the woods. This when he was just 17 1/2. I nearly had a stroke when I found out. It simply couldn’t be! He was a GOOD boy. He went to school. He had a job. He was responsible. But as we later found it, it was a sham. Everything. He was biding his time until his 18th birthday when his true self finally emerged.
Because he was “legal” at that point, we could do nothing to him or about his illegal behavior. I died a bit the night I called the local police station to find out if they could do anything and the officer spoke to me with such pity and blanketing kindess… I was mortified and ashamed. We soon found that he wasn’t content with drinking – he was also smoking (something I despise and which is an absolute filthy and disgusting habit and for one with asthma, beyond stupid). And not just cigarettes, but marijuana. It was at this point that we had to tell him to leave our home.
Unfortunately, it’s been a downhill journey since that day. It’s been a little over a year and half and just this weekend, our greatest fears were realized. He’s actually using needles and, we assume, meth. Or heroin. Or whatever other poison is cheap and readily available on the Olympic Penisula. Not that it matters one whit what he’s shooting up. My baby. My one and only child. The sturdy, confident boy who was going to be a Marine and then go into some branch of the Special Forces. That boy with the bright and promising future – has given it all up to worship at the altar of alcohol and drugs. My precious son is a hard-core drug user.
When I heard this, my world collapsed around me and my first thought was desperate hunger. I wanted something sweet. Chocolately. Dessert. Ice cream. Candy. Cookie. Cake. A bottle of syrup. It didn’t matter. I simply wanted to eat anything, and everything, in an attempt to drown the sorrow and push back the grief. But in a moment of startling clarity, I realized that doing that would solve nothing. Instead of waking up the next morning, heartsick over the plight of my son, I would wake up heartsick and ashamed of my own behavior. I cannot control what my son does, but I darn well can control what I do.
And so I did. I cried for hours that night and into the wee hours of the morning. I cried for his future.. unknown and nightmarishly scary. I cried for what could have been and what was forever lost. I cried until I could cry no more. The following day was sheer misery. But in the midst of this seemingly bottomless sorrow, there was a tiny flame. A miniature candle. My resolve. In spite of what seemed at the time to be overwhelmingly horrifying news, I didn’t give in to my old self. And though that was a perfectly awful day, there was that bit of me that flickered. Proud of myself for not letting this take me down.
I have no idea what the future holds for our son. I really don’t want to think too much about it or it’ll consume me. Until he wants help, I’m afraid there is nothing we can do. He’s bent and determined to pursue this deadly course and if pressed too hard, we believe he’ll just vanish and leave us wondering if he’s still alive.
No parent should have to go through this. Not us, not anyone. And certainly not our son. But this is our life with all the ups and downs that make it so amazingly wonderful and so horribly tragic.