As a parent of a child who suffered from depression and drug abuse, I grieved for the loss of that high school experience other parents’ had. The experience his brother got but he was robbed of.
Charles’ life-threatening behavior had escalated right before his junior prom and that’s about the time we had him kidnapped out of his bed and taken to a wilderness program. At this point, Charles was not addicted to anything nor was he diagnosed with a mental illness. But we knew something was seriously wrong and he was experimenting with very dangerous substances. He was taking some big risks and had already cracked his skull and ended up in ICU as a result of “car surfing.”
We had to plan a kidnapping. Once we planned what needed to happen, we felt terrible. We knew he was going to hate us for it. The guilt swallowed us whole. We questioned if we are doing the right thing a hundred times over.
So Charles walks into our room a few nights before prom night, chattering on about it–what he’s going to wear, who he’s going with, and my husband and I just want to sink into the floor. We paste smiles on our faces and try not to be sick. He’s going to miss prom and he’s obviously looking forward to it. My heart sank.
Quite honestly there is a lot of fear about prom night had he stayed. But at that moment, I wanted to cancel and pretend everything was fine, that his life was not at risk and let him stay. I wanted things to be normal and I wanted my boy back from whatever was happening to him.
I’ll never forget that look as he walked out the door with the escorts when he was kidnapped just a day and a half later at 5am. No anger or thrashing, just a look of betrayal and defeat that I could feel in my bones. I felt like a failure.
The pictures that followed the prom that year Charles was at wilderness and then at a therapeutic boarding school were torture.
Both my husband and I mourned the loss of those moments, the loss of innocence. And corsages.
What is the #griefheart project?
I explain my #griefheart project here.