When we got the call from the police, I was hopeful Charles had been arrested. Elated really. It wanted it ever since he had walked out of that drug detox facility. If he was arrested, it would mean he was safe.
Those with substance use disorder often have behaviors that land them in jail—for crimes they committed to feed their addictions and keep unbearable withdrawal at bay.
After that call from the police, I had that moment of elation for a few seconds before my thinking brain kicked and and introduced logic.
I realized the police wouldn’t drop in and make a courtesy call to inform us our 20-year-old son had been arrested. I remember wanting the logic to stop and to hold onto the fantasy–that he was alive and in jail.
I told myself to not jump to conclusions but I did know and I wanted to be the one who didn’t know– just a little longer. Push it away. It was such a contrast–the unbearable dread while still clinging to that last shred of hope because I had not heard the news yet.
I remember Randy saying, “They’re here.” He was out there so fast. But I was moving in slow motion. It was like I was in a different dimension than everyone else. Why couldn’t I move faster?
That surreal, out-of-body experience started then and continued for days, and weeks after we found out our son was dead. I still have it occasionally-that utter feeling of disbelief hitting me like a brick wall. I will be driving along and suddenly think, “Oh my God. I am a mom whose son killed himself. Charles is not here anymore.”
I’ve met that moment so many times now but it still takes my breath away. Brings tears to my eyes. It’s now my moment to cherish the memory of my youngest child, and accept that this is my reality.
I have survived. Just like I told myself I would the day I got the news.