adoption, family

When it Was Unwritten

How does one go about following a script that simply isn’t there? When there are no words left, how does one go about shouting into the void? When it goes unwritten for me it is difficult to process. When it goes unwritten, it becomes easier to ignore.

It was a nagging worry at the back of my mind. Have I misplaced something? It was a shapeless anxiety taking hold. Have I taken the wrong path after missing all the signs?Perhaps I should have written, “I’m not sure where things started to go wrong here.”

Most things can need to become writing for me. Or else they are barely brought to light in my own thoughts.

Carl has been de-compensating for awhile. I haven’t given this a voice on paper. I’ve pushed it away so far in my mind that it never came out in my typing. The unwritten truth was Carl’s deteriorating condition. His old fears and trauma triggers came back with a vengeance. Like Jack’s giant beanstalk, they have grown until I can no longer see where they end. I can no longer reach the solutions. I can no longer reach Carl to pull him down from the height of his fears.

In years past he’s always had a “traumaversary” in the springtime. We know it’s coming so we batten down the hatches. We up our therapeutic game in preparation. We just didn’t prepare for adolescence to add fuel to this fire. Still, I left it mostly unwritten.

When he screamed at me, and lost the dog, and kicked at the floors because he didn’t want to take the trash out, I didn’t write it. When my back was on fire and I hobbled down to scream at him to get out of the house with the trash, I didn’t write it.

When he shouted at me, “You freakin’ do it! I’m NOT going outside!” I knew he was scared. His fear masquerades as anger. I left it unwritten.

“The only thing you should be afraid of is ME!” I screeched back until he put on his shoes and grabbed the trash bag to stand in the garage. Then, in a fit of pure irrationality, I locked the doors and stood outside on the porch until he put the trash bag into the bin and came inside.

First, though, he hit and kicked the garage door so many times he left a dent. Eventually he came up on the porch and back inside we both muttered, “Sorry,” before we BOTH went to timeout.

I never wrote the words. How can I explain that his fear was so big it triggered BOTH of our responses? 

His bedtime became too dangerous. The wait list for his spot at the intensive outpatient program is two months away at least. He’s broken almost everything in his room (including his many nightlights) and then he almost broke me. He launched an 8lb hand weight  down the hall to where I happened to be standing. It missed me by an inch. He didn’t know I was there. He scared both of us.

Marcus helped Luke remove breakable and heavy objects after the incident. I went upstairs to despair quietly, all the while refusing to look at the problem.

The next morning I talked to Carl. He was quiet and subdued. He said that nothing in therapy was working. His meds weren’t working, he told me, and “Something isn’t right.” We discussed the option of inpatient treatment to stabilize him. To my utter surprise, he asked to go.

At the hospital he told the clinician he was afraid he could have hurt his mom.

My sweet, sweet boy is afraid to be so out-of-control. It’s been so long since he was like this. It’s so unexpected. He asked in the smallest voice if he would be like Mary and go away for a long time.

“No, Love. You will be home in a few days. We can do this.”

I should be doing many things. But for now I think I’ll stay right here. I’ll sit and write awhile.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


16 thoughts on “When it Was Unwritten

  1. You have to write, because it will help. It will help more than just you, more than your family. It helps us all, and it makes the real, the unthinkable hard stuff part of our human trial. XO, written from my chair at the ER…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind words. I don’t think it ends but some periods of time are better. I think some healing happens. I’m not always strong at all. I find strength in my family, my hubby, and nice people like you! I would like to think god has a plan for all of us. I just wish He provided a road map.


  2. This reminds me of a young man I worked with. I knew him from when he was 8 and I still get updates from a friend about him, my friend tells me he is doing well. But I remember when he was 13 or so and him telling me how he had beaten someone up so badly they had to go to hospital. He didn’t talk about the punishment he received or anything else except his shock at the harm he had done and could have done. He had always struggled with his temper but I knew he had a good heart fundamentally. He got through it and now, from what I hear, is doing well with a family of his own. Your boy will get through this. He has a good heart. And of course, as I always say, you are doing a fantastic job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh how awful, tragic, and beautiful at the same time. He identified his need for help. Absolutely and completely beautiful. In the face of his own frailties he identified his own need and accepted help. This young man is amazing and his parents so loving as you help him face his needs. I love how you provide him such a moment of acceptance and clearly outline options. Amazing!


  4. Pingback: Late Night Compulsions | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

  5. Oh sweetie, the pain in this is so raw. The ache we feel when our children hurt is brutal and I’m so sorry. Thank God you and your husband have each other to lean on. Sending hugs and prayers your way.


  6. Pingback: Forever Family: voices from around the web #5 – Riddle from the Middle

  7. Pingback: I Can’t | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

  8. Pingback: A Mouthful of Dirty Socks | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

  9. Pingback: Spring Changes | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s