Monday will be one week since the day that I did the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. I wrote this letter to my beautiful son the night before we took him.
As a parent, I can think of only one thing that would be harder to do. There probably are things that are equally as difficult as this, but I can’t imagine what they are. In fact, I don’t want to imagine what they are.
On the day we took him, he was a bit hyper. He was definitely sporting the “nervous silliness” and it helped me to deal with the placement. If he had been holding on to me, crying, or upset I would have lost it. I was able to keep my strength together for him. When we said goodbye, he was pretty anxious and ready to go to the unit, so he wanted us to get it over with and let him go. I kissed his forehead, hugged him, and told him I love him. I choked back my tears and let him go.
Choking back my tears now, I remember how hard that was for me. It was so hard not to grab him and take him home with me. It was nearly impossible to let go of him and let him walk to the left while we walked to the right. I was so proud of him for being so brave, so proud of myself for holding it together. We did it…we made it through the first step.
We drove home, I held my tears in and stayed strong until his therapist called me. We were about an hour from picking the girls up and she said, “I just want you to know, he has been crying most of the day. He has been saying he wants to go home, he is scared, people are being mean to him. He is heartbreaking and I wanted to let you know.” She went on to say, “I’ve spent the afternoon with him. I convinced him to shower and then told him he can call you. Be prepared because he is going to break your heart.” I swallowed the lump in my throat and said, “ok, thank you for warning me, I’ve been fighting the tears all day.” We said our goodbyes and hung up.
I cried. I boohoo’d. I bawled. I sobbed. I literally fell apart. The pain, the fear, the heartache – it was absolutely paralyzing. How could I go on with life when my baby was hurting so much?
As the week went on, we talked every night. He cried, boohoo’d, bawled, and sobbed. He fell apart. The pain, fear, and heartache in his voice was also paralyzing. My poor baby, how could I do this to him? He asked me, “Mommy, what do I have to do to come home?” My gosh, how do I answer that when I don’t know the answer, but I want him home as badly as he wants to be home?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Friday night, while talking to him, I prayed for God to give me the words that would help my little boy. I wanted him to understand what he needed to do to be able to come home. I couldn’t explain to him all of his goals and how to meet them, so God had to give me the right words. And, God did give me the words. When he asked me, “When can you come sign me out? What do I have to do to come home?” I answered with the words of wisdom from God.
“Honey, I want you to go take your shower tonight, get a good night’s sleep, and wake up refreshed tomorrow. You have to wake up ready to participate in groups, play with the other kids when they play football, basketball, or board games. You have to open up and let the staff there get to know you. They have a lot of things they want to teach you, but until you open up and let them see the real you, they cannot teach you. Once they see the real you, you let them teach you, and you prove you’ve learned everything they have to teach you, then you can come home. It won’t be next week, sweetie, but it will be sooner if you will do what you have to do.”
After that talk, he sounded better than he had since he got there. It was the first time we didn’t hang up with him either mad or crying. I was praising God for answering my prayers, it made my little boy feel better.
Last night, we didn’t get to talk to him because there was something going on and he went to sleep. Tonight, however, we talked to him and praise God, he seemed to be doing well. He said that he had played basketball, participated in groups yesterday and today, and that he was doing what I said. He sounded good compared to the other days. I was so proud of him.
Now, I need to take my own advice. I need to quit crying, and quit dwelling on the fear and heartbreak I have. I must get busy doing all I need to get done so we can be ready for him when he comes home. Until he comes home, I must be working and preparing for him to return. I love him and the work here is just as important as the work he does there.
A friend is one who comes in when the world has gone out. ~ Grace Pulpit
Thank you to all of my friends and family who are supporting us through this. I honestly cannot imagine having to make another decision as difficult as this one has been, but I know that the support I’m receiving now has helped me get through this. I am so blessed to have all of you here to support me.