In August, we brought our oldest son (now 17 years old) back home after being away for 18 months. It didn't go well. In fact, we watched him crumble right in front of our very eyes, and it became evident after only 2 short weeks that we would have to return him to a place where he could live in a very structured and directed environment. Unfortunately, and as life often goes, I did not act quickly enough. Plus we had other forces involved, forces that come with names like Lawsuits and Settlement Agreements.
Finally, there was the proverbial Straw That Broke The Camel's Back in the form of a stiff lecture from Grandma, and my son did the only thing he could figure out to do; he left our home that evening and picked up with a small gang of homeless youth who "range around" in our town. We know this option would only lead to disaster for our fragile boy-man. His emotional development is about 10 years behind his peers. How can a boy-man who is 6'2" with an emotional development of a 7 year old hang on successfully with 19 and 20 year old misfits? So we did what was necessary, and reported him as a "red flag missing youth with a seizure disorder not taking his medication" to the police. It still took them 4 days to pick him up.
A trip to the ER found his heart rate to be at 30. Another night out with the homeless could have likely killed him. A cardiac work up points to a possible diagnosis of Marfin's Syndrome, a connectivity tissue disorder that affects the heart, and is something that needs to be ruled out before he can participate in sports or many other activities that we take for granted. But it's just one more thing to point my son in the direction of being "different" and "unfit" and in his fragile mind, "a big messy problem," and ultimately.... "worthless."
Our decision to immediately place him in a residential setting backfired, and he made an attempt on his life. I guess that wasn't our fault, but a problem with his placement, and it not meeting his needs. Nonetheless, the terrible thing happened. With new diagnoses adding up like the ingredients in a very complex recipe, our son has now crossed into the mentally challenged ranks of chronically depressed, liable, and suicidal with an icing of potential Marfan's Syndrome. I can't help but feel so deflated for him.
I have been walking my days side by side with God, and asking him to show me the way through this.
It's really the only thing I can do right now.
The week ahead will bring meetings with therapists on how to help put my son back on track. It brings working day by day with our younger son, helping him to find a way out of the pain and anger he feels over what his older brother has done. It brings a meeting with the people who we faced in a court of law, and hopefully they will finally understand the depths of my son's pain and disability. And, late in the week, it brings a new court date to discuss some new mayhem my son caused during the short time he was home.
God, I'm holding on here. And I really need your guidance. And I hope you are listening....