I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on inside my head and heart. I know there is a lot of stress there, what with a j-term project not turned in, new semester starting without me, work stuff piling up, and our child being hospitalized. I was scared for a while, but that is passed.
It finally struck me tonight, as I was reading Neil Gaiman’s blog, of all things. He was writing about how hard it was to put down a cat that had been in the family for a long time. I couldn’t give you an exact trail, but somehow his mourning for that cat led to my seeing that I have been mourning, too.
We haven’t lost our son, thankfully. But in a way, we have. We’ve officially lost the innocence of thinking nothing can take him away from us. Oh, there were a couple of scary moments before- like the pneumonia at 4 months, the time he hid from us at a store, the time he forgot to tell us about after school detention and we couldn’t find him for a couple of hours. But this is different.
There is a darkness that can consume him. It can come without us knowing – even if we dusted off the baby monitor and installed it in his teen-aged room. It is as beyond our control as a random lightening strike or a drunk driver. It can’t be cut out, the way a physical malignancy can. Nor can it be flushed out like blocked sinuses or intestines. The meds might help, but there are no guarantees there, either.
And so I mourn. Not because I think he is gone from us. He is here, becoming more himself again each day. I mourn the carefree person I dreamed he’d be. The carefree parent I dreamed I’d be. And maybe by letting those dreams… those unrealistic and idealized people go, we can be more free to be the family we are. Broken, unsure, unsettled, but real.