I know that stress does not discriminate. As I walk by those glassed in posters at the entrances of every Walmart in the nation, and see the faces of those lost children, I am compelled to memorize their pictures.
The pain of those who are searching, was my pain, and continues to rule my unbalanced life. No my children are not missing, they are grown now, and choose to live an unconventional life. I am the mother of a train hopping, "sign flying", free spirited, talented, loving, messed up, son.
Did I fail to love him enough? Was I too strict? Not strict enough? Too loving, or too rigid? Sometimes I watch those intervention shows on TV, I think should I call, demand that they look into helping my child. He has been in treatment so many times that he could probably head a treatment center. The fact is I pray for him everyday, and when he calls with his problems I have told him that I am sorry that I can't help. I say " good luck with that", and it tears me up inside.
I know that there are alot of parents out there in the same situation. I know this because I look on My Space, and I friend these kids, and I know that like my son, they all have parents. Most of us are just to ashamed to admit that our children, who we pinned our hopes on are living like that. Somehow we failed them. Guilt, and shame make us hide.
I have two children though and I realize that when the oldest started to run away, hop trains, do drugs, and make everyday about him, my youngest child just got lost in the terror of it. My youngest child, who it turns out has a mental illness, was overlooked. He was OK, he was in his bedroom, not out in the streets, dead, drunk, being raped, shooting up, and all of the other things a parent imagines. He was safe, or so I thought.
Ten years later, I have to visit him in the state hospital where he has been committed. I talk to Social Workers to take him out to lunch, I feel guilty that I didn't see him clearly enough to catch this thing before it spiraled out of control. I think that maybe, if I would have been a better mom, a better person, less concerned what other people thought, I could have saved our family a bunch of grief.
One year and 3 days ago, my youngest son cut his own throat with a butcher knife. He hit his head to try and knock himself out, he tried to drowned himself, all to stop the voices in his head. I didn't see it. I thought he was just acting strange, giggling to himself, I didn't want to be around him, I was uncomfortable. What does that say about me? I went to his apartment and found a bloody blanket on the floor, I looked around and I saw that things were not right, and I calmly convinced him to go with me to the hospital. He was hearing voices, giggling, he was scary. Police were called, his blood was tested for drugs, as was his urine, and he was taken to a mental hospital 30 miles away. He was not on drugs, nor did he consume any alcohol.. He was chemically unbalanced, and his mom let him get that bad without even noticing.
I try to make light of this usually. I try to keep these feelings close. Only a few people know my pain.
"The secret of life is balance, and the absence of balance is life's destruction" -Hazrat Inayat Khan