My last post did not go where I intended it to go. I was planning on only briefly mentioning my guilt over not finding the body, but that was the memory that took over. My trait, once a positive one, now one I find puzzling is what I planned to write about.
Once my guilt over not finding the body was examined over and over a much heavier guilt set in. It is one thing to let a dead person hang for too long. It is quite another to let a live person die. My son walked passed me. My son, who had already attempted suicide once, walked passed me with a determined look on his face. He was stuffing something is his pocket and said he was going out to smoke a cigarette. I was nonchalant. After thirty minutes of waiting for him I did not worry. I went to bed without finding him.
I have always been a laissez-faire parent. By nature I am an optimist and do not worry too much. My kids climbed trees, slid down the stairs, played rough, got dirty and ruined their clothes without me ever freaking out. When I had my children they were text book pregnancies. Thing always seemed to work out. When Lee had surgery for his broken wrist everything turned out like it should. Later when he had a more extensive jaw surgery he healed as expected. There seemed to be a pattern. I did not worry and when things went wrong they righted themselves or we fought our way through them.
Deep down, when Jason was sick, I do not think I ever believed he would die. I expected it to be a long hard fight, a slow recovery, but I knew we would beat this. Looking back I seem so naïve, so stupid. I let my son die, because I believed he was getting better. I thought we were on our way.
There were things in Jason's life that I was watching closely because they were the only way I knew to measure how he was doing. One of the things I watched was where he was sleeping. He had trouble both being alone and sleeping. Because of this combination bad nights were usually spent in my bed. He had been sleeping in the living room since he came home from the psych ward. I took this as a good sign.
I watched to see if he was being social. He had been laughing and spending more time with the family since he came home too. Tuesday he had went to a friend's house to spend the morning with them. To me this was huge, a big step in the right direction.
The sore on his chin was always the first thing I checked when I came home. On one of his worst nights, the Thursday before his first suicide attempt, he was convinced the whole world could read his mind. This was a delusion he had often, but this night he ripped open his chin and tried to pull the wires out of his face. He told me he could feel the wires that were transmitting his thoughts with his pocket knife. His chin would almost heal then I would notice he had opened the wound again. Tuesday night as I sat on the couch next to him I examined his chin and noticed it had healed. There was a scar, but the wound had healed.
For years I thought my optimism was one of the things that made me a good parent. So often when parents worry they make situations for their children worse. Sometimes when my children were struggling I gave them my support but let them work the problem out for themselves. Now I wish I had been worried and scared. In my memory I picture me jumping out of the chair and tackling him football style when he tried to walk out the door. I cannot change who I am. I cannot change the past.