It’s the phone call no parent wants to receive.
I will remember the voice on the other end of the phone, what time of day it was, where I was and what I was wearing for the rest of my life.
On November 12, 2015, my son was shot. It was his 18th birthday.
Life hasn’t quite been the same.
People “tell” me I should be thankful (as if I’m not) that he is alive. What people don’t tell me is how I am supposed to function and remember the rest of my life.
Because the rest of my life has stopped and I don’t know how to go back to it.
I spend my days now, sitting next to him at the hospital, answering texts and messages, trying to stay out of my feelings. I want to scream. I want to lash out. Both are unproductive. I’ve probably gained ten pounds because all I do is drink Starbucks (I’ve spent 13 nights sleeping in a hospital recliner so I”m not a functioning adult when I wake up and besides, Starbucks is comforting to me), eat french fries (only thing available in the hospital cafe for a vegan besides nasty looking iceberg lettuce) and stuff chocolate down m throat (emotional reaction). Far from my mind are the days of teaching classes, sweating through three sets of clothes a day and eating my avocados, sweet potatoes and oatmeal at my leisure.
It’s only been two weeks.
I’m afraid that I may never physically leave my childrens’ side again. I’m afraid that teaching classes will feel like more stress than it’s worth. I’m afraid that I will begin to be affected by the stares and whispering. I’m afraid that I will never eat a regular diet or sleep through the night ever again. I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle his post-trauma or mine. I’m afraid that the idea of self care is nothing more than a memory of things I used to preach.
One day, I hope the joy of life will return to my heart. I am SUPER thankful that my child is alive. I’m just sad. I’m really, really sad. I’m thankful for the people who have been by my side. I’m just sad that it’s been more about “what happened?” instead of being concern that my son was still living. I’m thankful that I’m an independent contractor and I can take off for two weeks. I’m sad that my creditors couldn’t care less and I have to worry about paying bills while trying to be a mother.
I’m not ungrateful. I’m just sad. And I wonder if life will ever look the same.
May you be thankful and not sad this Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of cooking, drinking wine, talking to family and eating pieces of pie early, I will be sitting in a hospital room, trying to piece my my life back together again.
I have no doubt that there is a new normal and we’ll be fine. It’s the process that’s hurting my heart.
I’ll see you all soon.