Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fighting Darkness Is So Wearisome

My recent neglect of you, dear readers, does not reflect a lack of desire to write here. My voice-mail is full, bills lie unopened, emails, unread. The dishes are done, but that's about all I can manage. 

Trying to keep my son alive has taken all my energy lately. I've never written much about him for several reasons. I try to respect his privacy, since he is a grown man of 35 and not a little kid.

But I've not voiced my feelings about him here primarily because that, my friends, is when the bullet hits the bone for this writer. It's seemed a bit hard to approach the topic, too: "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's true that I lost my husband and my mom last year on the same day -- but wait! It gets worse!"

Here's the deal: My son suffers from Type I Diabetes, juvenile onset. His health has been steadily declining for quite a while now. Before my husband died, it had become so worrisome that we urged him to move back home with us. So he did.

He has lived in my basement now for more than two years. He doesn't work. In fact, he makes little effort to do anything at all.

I've found him in insulin shock and near death more times than I care to recall. So far, I have been able to get some Karo syrup down him or call 911 in time to save him.

But I am beginning to feel so worn down by the weight of it all. The anxiety compounds my grief.

I have to fight the urge to give into negativity every day. Jack Daniels beckons, but I will not go there. I know it wouldn't help. In fact, it would only make things worse, and I gave up on self-destruction a while back.

Bottom line: I know I can't change my son; only he can do that. This situation with him, however, has evolved into a full-blown crisis that must end soon. I simply can't take it anymore.
So I've made some tough decisions and planned some big changes. Don't worry; they will be positive for us both. 

It's so hard for a mom to unmom herself, even if it's for the better. Telling you about it strengthens my resolve.

It's not going to be easy, but then, nothing really worth doing ever is, is it? Rolling over and dying, now that would be easy.

In my dream we're on the sinking Titanic when I hear someone yell, "Women and children on the lifeboats first!"

I may be an old woman, but I'm still a woman, and someone who's 35, I'm pretty sure, is no longer a child. These are my thoughts as I run for a lifeboat but then I hear another voice: "It's every man for himself!"

Wait a minute. That is just so wrong! We're all in this together, aren't we?

Turning back, I see my son and grab his hand, holding tight. "Let's go!" I yell at him. "We've got to keep going forward!"

A sea of darkness swells ahead of us as I scream again, "'It's going to be all right!"  I'm not sure if he can hear me, but I will not let go of his hand.

Leaning into the wind, I pull with everything I've got.
Then comes the light of another day. I wake up and keep trying. It's all I can do.


  1. Donna,

    I am so sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with your son and his health. Many cyber hugs and prayers are coming your way this day from a complete stranger,


  2. Donna, I can feel your inner conflict - how much to "help", and how much to "parent". Do we let them live their choices even if we know those choices could lead to self destruction? Where is the line between helping and enabling?

    I went through something similar with my oldest duaghter when she was 23 ... only working PT and living on my ticket. The day came when I realized I was actually holding her back (she didn's see it that way). I told her that I respected her right to live any way she wanted but that she had to live her choices - and that was looking like a rooming house and welfare. It shocked her but I made an exit plan for her and I am happy to say that at 27 she is thriving. Tough love but I had to kick the chicklet out of the nest or she surely wouldn't have learned to fly. Staying at home should be part of a plan -- not the end destination.

    I hope you see some light soon my friend. Love you and send you big hugs.

  3. It took a lot of courage to write this. I think breaking the silence is the healthiest step you can take right now.
    Strange how I ended my email to you "How is ..." and then read this blog.
    Love you both.

  4. Ah, Donna--what a hard thing this is for you to deal with.
    But, I hear in your writing the voice of soundness and resolve.
    If it helps, know that your blog friends are pulling with you, and validate that you are doing the right thing.

  5. I have been out of action for a while Donna and have some catching up to do. My heart went out to you when I read this. Parenting is hard no matter what age."I can't change my son. Only he can do that" How true. Hoping for some more sunshine for you in what you describe as a present 'sea of darkness'. Your determination to not go under with what life has thrown your way at times is incredible. Hopefully as you lean into the wind, you feel some support behind you from comments here, and the support network where you are.So honestly written, must be hard. Much love.

  6. I can't even imagine it Donna. I take care of people like your son every day. People who, for whatever reason, are in denial about their reality and how fragile their lives and health can be. But, as you so bravely stated, it can't be up to you to save him... he has to want to save himself and care enough to take those steps to see that he is well. I am so sorry that you have had to bear the brunt of this alone. It is so apparent how very much you love him and want him to be happy and healthy. I so hope that he will take those steps for himself and know that he CAN have such a better life. In the meantime, know that all of us are sending strength and peace your way my friend.

  7. I am brand new to your blog, and I think you are one of the most courageous women I have ever come across. I cannot imagine how devastating it must have been to lose your husband and mom in the same day! I also know that writing really does help and I hope you will keep us posted on the upcoming changes. Your son needs a swift kick in the rear - life is out there and he needs to GRAB onto it and take care of himself. I think you are doing the right thing. And no, it is never easy.

    Big "hugs" to you! I will keep you and your son in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there!

  8. So sorry to hear about your son. That's a tough one.


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