Wednesday, June 27, 2012

happy, with a side of skepticism

The Little One has been living with My Man and I for three weeks now, and doing an amazing job after a disappointing 'return home and start over' roll in the game of life. He's enrolled in finishing his grade 12, pre-registered for college (final acceptance depends on summer school grades), has a full-time job already at a place he likes. He's ticking along. We've adjusted to always wearing pants in the house and having a pet again. Oh, and he's off his prescription meds and still stable mentally - sleeping well, clear headed, eating good meals, setting long-term goals, etc. Smoking weed, but stable. The other day he told me he's looking forward to starting college in the fall so he can 'have some intelligent conversations and make some friends he doesn't have to be stoned to be around.' Good goal, son. Good goal.

The Oldest has been stable for a while. I don't ask a whole lot about how much he's using. It goes up and down, I suppose, and yet he's living in a great apartment, showing up for work, paying off debts, working out regularly, meeting new people, planning some travel. He visits and gardens and takes an interest in our lives. He's even reconnected with his dad and managed to visit him and have a good time.

Things are ticking along. Not unlike a bomb, those the wary amongst us who've been here before. I emailed friends and family an update the other day and one response said 'keep an eye out for The Little One - people with depression tend to get worse when things go well.' Sigh.

After dinner last night, The Oldest gave me a heart-felt thank you speech for always doing my best, never giving up on them, keeping my faith and love for them while letting them find their own way, etc.

And I thought (but managed not to say) 'why does this sound so much like his suicide note from last year?' He did follow it up with saying he's feeling good about himself and life. I told him that I'm very proud of how he's pulled himself together the last couple months, and that I'm still eager for him to restore his relationship with his grandparents. He shrugged - not because it doesn't matter, but because he doesn't think sorry is enough and doesn't know what else there is.

Things are good. And I'm grateful. And I wonder what it will take to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I read in the paper today about a new group starting in town for family members of people with mental health and addiction issues. I might just have to keep an eye out for that. I think I might now someone they could help.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

when alive isn't enough

I friend of mine has just completed 6 months of the most horrifying experience I can imagine - at New Years her 6 year old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour. They went through several weeks at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, biopsy & tests & displacement & separation from their teenage daughter at home, then back home for months of chemo, tests, disruption, side-effects, radiation, and more tests and more side-effects.

There are permanent changes to her daughter's brain - personality, learning, eye sight, endocrine system, etc. And it will be years and years before they know the full extent of the changes. And yet, they survived. At least the initial intense battles. The family is drained, and they survived.

But my friend posted today on Facebook, 'Is it awful that 'alive' is not enough some days? ...' I wish I didn't get it, but I so so do. When first The Oldest and then The Little One tried to die last year, I bargained and pleaded and made deals with God and with them - just stay alive. We can work with anything else.

And then, the rest happened. The Little One's mental illnesses. The Oldest's addictions and stealing from his grandparents.

They are alive. And actually doing relatively well. The Little One has had what he considers a set back lately, and has moved back home to return to school. He sees it as a set-back; I see it as a really great choice that will set him up for the future.

But really, things are not better. They are not dealt with. And maybe it will be years, or a lifetime, before we ever really feel okay again. Before The Oldest sees that making amends with his family is better than whatever he's protecting in himself. Before we really know what The Little One's brain needs to make life simpler for him.

Alive is enough, and we can work with everything else. Except on the days when it's not. And then ... then we have to look to others to get us through. And I think that's okay too.