So what happens to a mother who has to throw her son in jail to save him?

She breaks.

And I did.  I cried every single day he was gone.

I’m not a crier. My patients loving refer to me as ”The Warden”.

I was raised by tough women, and had to find strength as a single mom all of those years.

But this tore me apart.

At the mention of his name, my eyes would automatically start leaking.

I carried kleenex in my scrubs because I couldn’t quit crying.

The first week, I had taken my patients to smoke, and was talking with a newer patient who had been there for a few days.

He had a drug problem, but also had several other mental problems that stemmed from time in the military.

He was still relatively young.

While smoking, he told me part of his story.  He mentioned his mother many times, and so I asked

“Does your mom know where you are?” and he told me no.

I said ”So your mom knows you left, knows you’re still gone, and doesn’t know that you’re safe?”

and he says ”No ma’am.  I haven’t called her.  I’m to ashamed”

I told him “Do NOT be ashamed, but call your mother! You have no idea what it does to us, even when you guys are adults and grown, when we don’t know where you are, if you’re safe, if you’re okay.  Please call your mom.  I promise that she will only care that you’re safe.”

I didn’t mean to, but it hit to close to home, and I was tearful when I told him this.

He did call his mom, and she was finally able to rest easy when she found out where he was.

It seemed like everything hit close to home.  Every situation was close to my pain.  I felt it daily.

I felt guilty.  I felt relieved.  I was sad.  I was mostly sad.

I had no idea if putting him in jail would work, but I truly did feel like it was the last option.

If he had left his job, if he had left his home, if he refused to answer anyones phone calls, I KNEW that he was definitely not in his right mind, and no amount of talking would do any good.

One day I worked on a different unit with a woman who was so very fond of my child, and she asked about him.

I told her I was feeling lost.  He was my best friend.  We did everything together, and I even just missed the sound of his voice floating through the house, his stupid jokes, and his obsession with going to Petco.

Of course the tears started flowing again, but then she started to cry as well.

Come to find out, her son, also her best friend, had died in something she only referred to as an accident, just 3 weeks before.

She told me ”You tell him not to do that to you.  You tell him to get straight, and not to put you in the position I’m in”

I could just see the heartbreak all over her.  I have no idea how she was even managing to work.

Everyone asked about him at work, and every time they did, I would cry.  I was leaving a morning meeting and one of his friends came through the hallways door, and on seeing me, just grabbed me and hugged me tight.  She never said anything, and at the time, I didn’t even know her name.

My heartache was apparent.

I didn’t sleep.

I looked like shit all of the time.

I was always exhausted.

When I did sleep, I had nightmares.

I couldn’t get out of bed on my days off.

The only time I would get up on my days off is if someone brought me my grandbabies.

They were truly the only thing that kept me sane through all of this.

I aged 5 years from all of that.  I now look permanently exhausted.

I wish I could afford botox.

I am so glad that I can relax now, but honestly, had he not gotten clean from all of that, I’m not sure what would have happened to me.

I just wanted him to be clean, and be happy.

By throwing him in jail, he did realize I was serious.  There would be no more ignoring the signs, there would be no more enabling, and if he returned to the drug life, I would find a way to commit him to rehab or throw him in jail again.

These days are a little easier.  I breathe a little easier, laugh a little easier, and sleep a little better.

I went to see my grandboys yesterday, and my youngest grabbed my hand and instructed me to sit on the couch.

He said ”wanna watch a movie??” and crawled up beside me.

He decided he needed to hold my hand while we watched it.

So there we sat, my 3 year old blondie curled up on one side of me, and my beautiful 3 year old youngest on the other side of me holding my hand, and my heart just swelled.

They’re so little, and they’re so happy.  My oldest grandboy doesn’t know what his daddy was doing, and they don’t know that the world is going crazy right now, and the only thing they have to worry about is what movie to watch and when they get to see their Memoe (me) again.

I pray and pray and pray that they NEVER know this life when they’re older.  I pray and pray that ALL the good things happen to them.

My oldest grandboy looks just like my son at that age.  I see so much of my kid in him.  I just pray that his daddy makes the best choices for him.

This is what this has done to me.  Broke me down, hurt my heart, has me worrying if my grandboys have the addict gene as well.  Makes me paranoid about everything sometimes.

Our counselors have addiction groups twice a day on my shift for the patients that were/are addicts, and I sit in on all of them.  I’m trying to learn something, and thankfully it’s been helpful.  I have truly learned a lot so far.

Before this, I never gave much thought to those groups, but some days they really teach me something and help me to not feel like a continuous failure as a parent.

Listening to my patients gives me insight to the addict world.

We’re all healing.

That’s all I can ask for.


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March 26, 2020