Today we went to visit Damian and were greeted by a clear eyed cohesive speaking child. It has been more than a month, but here he was out of the fog of rage. It was a beautiful visit and so needed by all of us. Thank you to God and the universe for letting us be with our son today. Thank you for his clear mind!!! Thank you for this brief respite!!
Thank you to all the friends and family who have reached out to support our Go Fund Me project. We really needed to do something positive to help pull us out of our grief! It is already working, tonight Garrett and I put the kids to bed and looked up the books we want to get for the library. We found tons of graphic novels written about educational things like science and history. It was such a rare chance to focus on doing something to help Damian. It was such a huge emotional release to focus on something positive.
Please click on the link below to see our Go Fund Me page to help fund technology and books for the Psychiatric Residential Treatment Center where Damian is receiving treatment.
Just when you settle into “this is the worst case scenario”, life let’s you know it’s not.
Damian is intermittently refusing medication (an average of 2-3 times a week). If you read some of my first posts, you know that his medication levels must be maintained at specific levels.
Yep, refusing to take the only thing helping him cling to life. We now are faced with having to get a court order which would allow Devereux to force him to take his medication in injection form.
Apparently at 13 years of age in Georgia you can refuse medication. He could be forced, if not taking his medication would cause him to die of a curable disease. But since not taking his medication could cause him to commit suicide does not fall under those parameters of “curable” disease, he can refuse medication.
I think I am losing the battle, the war, and his life. Strike that, I know I am losing.
It’s the one year since Damian began his rapid decent with his BiPolar Disorder.
In that year he has been hospitalized 9 times and placed in two different residential care facilities.
The longest time he has been at home in the past year is 38 days.
He has attempted suicide more than 20 times in this past year. 10 of those attempts have been in the last month. He is learning “how to” from each attempt. Statistics say he will eventually succeed. I hate statistics.
I am no longer praying for him to come home, I am simply praying for him to stay alive.
I want to post that something/anything positive has happened with Damain!! Unfortunately I can’t. So I am going to take a break from posting until I can. Continue to pray and send good thoughts out to the universe, please. Know that we love you and I promise to let everyone know when things change.
(As Good As It Gets -Movie)
Carol Connelly: OK, we all have these terrible stories to get over, and you-…
Melvin Udall: It’s not true. Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car.
On Sundays we visit Damian. The day starts early. Everyone up, showers, breakfast, pack up the car with snacks, drinks, iPads, and games. One more time everyone visit the bathroom, don’t forget your headphones. Did somebody remember to kennel the dogs? In the van, head count, run back inside 4 times for things we forgot. On the road, the same endless questions about Damian. The same ambiguous answers. We try to make it fun, we sing, we stop to get donuts. We take pictures like this to try to trick our minds into remembering this one moment.
And not all the moments that follow.
We arrive at Deveroux, we drive through 3 lock down gates.
We get out of the car and walk towards Damian’s unit. Once there we go through 2 lock down doors and wait for Damian. He has to through 3 lock down doors to reach us.
We play on the playground, we watch ants busy in the sand. We see Damian does not have his shoes-a sad indicator that he is still on suicide watch.
We go to the family visitation room and eat snacks, play UNO and sit on chairs bolted to the floor.
We make small talk about the past, because the present is just too much to comprehend.
Then it’s time to go and I get everyone in the car. I make sure everyone has their iPads going with head phones on. I tilt the rear view mirror so they can’t see me. I turn the radio up praying they can’t hear me and I watch Garrett walk Damian away from me, from his brother and his sisters. My tears come as uncontrollably as always. The ride home is a torture of idle time and racing emotions.
“Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car.”
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you raise a child and dream of the future, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible place. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. Your learn to teach others about Holland and its customs. You invite others to visit Holland.
Holland is a different kind of place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
Damian kept it together for 3 days (M,T,W) then it all fell apart again. Today’s highlights were fighting with peers, running around his unit screaming and cursing, ripping up papers at the nursing station and breaking his 5th pair of glasses in 2 months.
Sweet Baby Jesus these people at Deveroux deserve the Medal of Honor and a Combat Star!!!!