Because It Matters

There comes a point in life, I suppose, where you must face reality. No matter how hard that reality may be. There comes a point when you have to hang up all your ideas, hopes, dreams, ideas, and knowledge and admit that perhaps, all along, you have been wrong. You have to abandon your knowledge on what you feel is best, abort the mission that says “As long as you______then things will be ok” and empty yourself of the notion that what you have assumed is right -perhaps, might just be wrong.

Its been a hard week.

Sure, in the whole scheme of things, in the grand plan, in the scope of the year -it hasn’t been that hard. There are worse things. There are harder things. There are things that would really be worse than this. And while I try to tell myself these things, while I try to keep myself from completely splattering all over everyone and everything -it doesn’t always help.

Because I’m still human. Deep down beyond the robot exterior that says “I got this. This will be ok. We will be fine….” my human heart shatters into a million and one pieces and I wonder if I will be able to pick up from this. I mean, I know I will. Because its not the worst thing that could happen, but it still sucks. And I don’t deal with ‘sucks’ all that well.

I try not to put myself in situations that I know won’t end well. I try to avoid places I know will lead to awkward encounters. I try not to stay around one person too long for fear that my nutty underside will come out to play. I try and live life with little exposure. I guard as much as possible. And in all other circumstances -I avoid. It works.

But then there are those moments, those days, those years…those kids. That make you come out a little. Because you can’t raise kids hiding out under the comfort of that rock. You can’t teach them by example to give life all you’ve got when you yourself are afraid of failure. You can’t teach confidence by hiding under a blanket. You can’t teach adventure by living between the four walls of safety. And you can’t teach them how to accept failure and move on -if you don’t learn to accept it yourself.

These lessons tho, they bite.

Perhaps it’s because I had an ideal situation worked out in my mind. Maybe its because of the tunnel vision I so often have. Or maybe it’s just because for once in my life -I thought I was doing the right thing, let down my guard and attempted to live -but that’s what happens when you truly start to live.

I have always said that I would do what is best for the kids. While I have failed at most things in life, I have tried to keep their best interest as the main goal. This isn’t to say that I have succeeded. In fact it might serve better as an open confession to admit that I have not, in fact, succeeded in this area. Regardless of my attempts.

Somehow, all along, I have blindly assumed that if I could just keep the kids together -they would have a fighting chance at this world.

And then things sort of fell apart.

When Dylan first started showing signs of having problems in the areas that he is, I had this vision of a day in the future where he would eventually come home -cured. Cured from what? From life, of course. That somehow sending him off to the “specialists” would equip him with the ability to handle life and once again -everyone would be together and things would be alright. Because I am nothing if not goal driven.

But with each weekly visit it became more and more apparent that he needed more than someone to talk to. He needed more than medication. More than a slap upside the head. He needed more. But what? Looking back, I guess I can see now that the hints at “Not being able to find him help” were more for me to make the connecting thoughts. The connecting thoughts that weren’t connected until yesterday afternoon when I got a phone call.

A phone call from well meaning, good people. People who have their heads on straight. People who at one point I thought had no idea what they were doing -yet were apparently the only ones that knew what they were doing. Because when they said “We only want to be the grandparents” what they really meant was “We want to take a few years to gather our thoughts and enable ourselves to be there for our grandchildren when you screw this all up.”

Hearing the truth, is hard. Admitting that what you have worked for, year after countless year is wrong -is hard. Accepting that this is the best -regardless of what YOU want? Is even harder. The only thing that makes it doable is by knowing that this? This is the best for him. This is what he needs. He will “Benefit from a better family / lifestyle.”

It’s really kind of hard to say, with words -just how it all hits. How it crumbles. Where it lands. It hits hard, it crumbles perfectly and lands somewhere in the middle of that endless, gaping hole. It comes full circle. Makes perfect sense. And will be ok.

Because they are right. And they have always been right. They have just been kind enough to give me a few years to try and figure it out on my own: That I really can’t do this. That it really is hurting them. That this. Needs to happen. For his sake.

And while it’s hard to hear. Difficult to grasp. And painful to come to terms with -I know its true.

Because the truth? It hurts.

It hurts deep.

But it will be ok. Because for once, I feel like I am doing the right thing.

I am letting go.  Because it matters.




A few weeks ago while discussing some of the harder details in life with someone I know, the discussion on me raising the kids came up. As it always does -it brought up points that everyone likes to bring up. Such as how I shouldn’t be doing this on my own, which always translates loosely to that I shouldn’t be doing this. Period. The debate arose, the statements made, and the conversation changed. Because the truth is -I never wanted to be doing this. Period. I never wanted to do this alone. Period. But I am. I wasn’t given a choice. I never said I wanted to -but I was never given the option to not.

While some I suppose could argue, that I didn’t have to go getting the kids -I can argue right back that there were no other options at the time. Unless you consider state care an option. My decision to attempt one last time to get the kids back could be a fair arguing platform for those well meaning folks who like to tell me I shouldn’t be doing this -but I could also argue back that they would be the first in line to tell me how I let the kids down if I hadn’t tried.

There is no winning in this situation. You can’t please them all. I learned that years ago, and anymore I try and let it roll off without taking too much to heart. But sometimes it gets under my skin. It buries itself deep like a nasty sliver, irritating everything around it until eventually it works free. Usually in the heat of the moment, or a fit of frustration. Because I never said I was perfect at this.

I understand why people think that I shouldn’t be doing this alone. I agree that kids get equal parts from both parents, and there is something that I cannot provide. I don’t deny this. I am not and never will be able to replace their parents, and will never be able to be their mother. I won’t ever be able to give them that maternal care -it just won’t happen. I can’t change this.

Last night after fighting a cold and fever all weekend, with little sleep -Josh flipped back and forth. Kicking me in the back, slapping me in the head. All unintentional moves from a guy who is fighting off the germs that seem to plaque us often these days. He didn’t know what he wanted, I didn’t know what to give him -and so there we lay, surrounded by darkness. Me silently hoping that he would just give up the fight and go to sleep. Him working himself up more and more as time went on.

It was a night that ended with tears. Mostly from him. Frustrated from feeling so crummy, and not knowing what he needed to make himself feel better he burst into tears. After attempting numerous things to calm him down, and meet his needs I tossed my hands in the air and walked off.

Because we were crossing the line where if I weren’t alone -we wouldn’t be here.

The line that said the things I couldn’t give him, the things I didn’t know what he needed, the things I had no idea about -were the very things that could have been taken care of with someone who knew this area better than I did.

I gave him medicine, multiple pillows, rubbed his back and tried to calm him down. But I couldn’t touch him just right, or talk soothingly to him. I couldn’t cuddle him up and tell him that everything would be ok. Me touching him was not what he needed, and it was only making things worse.

I sat on the couch listening to him slowly calm himself down, while simultaneously calming myself down. Which is where I admit that yes, I walked away from a sick child. I left him in the room alone. I had nothing else to give him. And the words that sunk deep down to parts where they shouldn’t have -came back up. “You shouldn’t do this.”

And for a brief few moments, I listened. I walked away. I thought of all the areas of my life where I have failed, screwed up and downright ruined everything. I let my failures and mistakes wash over me. And when there was nothing left to guilt myself with, I got up and walked back into the room. I lay down beside him and rest my hand on his sweaty head. And told him all the things I probably shouldn’t have, and he most likely didn’t understand.

The things that have been building inside since that night a few weeks ago: That I was sorry. That I knew it wasn’t enough, and never would be. That I hoped one day, he would be able to understand. I told him things that weren’t meant for him. Things that were meant for the other ones. I told him I was trying my best. I would always try my best. And that sometimes I would need him to help -even if helping just meant simply understanding.

And then he kicked he. Not on purpose, or out of spite…but because when you are fighting a fever, and uncomfortable and just don’t feel good sometimes your limbs go places beyond your control.

And because I’m me, and he is him -I laughed. And smiled. Because sometimes…I just need to be reminded. I am doing this. Not because I am the best at it, or because I know everything or can fill all those empty holes…but because I need to. And want to. And wouldn’t want it any other way. Even if it means hopelessly trying to do things beyond my calling.


Someone once told me that things happen for a reason. I never have been a big believer in this, since most of the things that have happened -don’t seem to have reasons. But somewhere the logic has hung out in the back of my mind and I have attempted to build on it. I have tried to believe that things may happen for a reason -that perhaps is unknown to us. That maybe things happen to us to benefit someone else. And while that’s a really, REALLY sucky logic in a lot of cases, it’s the only thing I could ever think of to make that logic work for me.

When I made the final decision to get the kids back, there were complications that surrounded just about every aspect of it. Especially when it came to Josh. Red tape so thick that no one assumed I would ever see him again. Let alone have custody of him. And while I knew there was a possibility that all the fighting I was planning to do would come up empty handed -I made the decision to fight to the end. Just in case there was that small .01% chance. Just in case.

The years surrounding him first coming home were hard. They were more than hard. They were downright crappy. Difficult. Stressful. Frustrating. Introducing three kids into a new environment is hard in normal circumstances. Trying to fill the shoes of everyone and no one all at once wouldn’t be easy in average situations. But throw in some additional complications and you have the perfect storm. I questioned my decision, countless times. I wondered if it was right. If I was doing the right thing. People told me, advised me, even begged me -to let him go to a home that would be able to help him.

“Focus on the other two. They have potential. They NEED you. Josh doesn’t understand.” The words that still try and tear at my mind on days that are difficult.

Today I walked into the school where Josh has attended the past few years. His last year at this school. I know his teachers by name, I know the workers, I even know the janitor. I have spent more time in his school than any of the others -because of all the ups and downs and struggles we have faced there. In between those walls. I have sat across the desk of countless principles listening to the woes of the day. I have sat through meeting after meeting. We have had plans and schedules that have failed. And many times I wondered if putting him through the stress of school was even worth it. “He doesn’t understand.” the words grated.

But today I sat across from his teacher, and for the first time in my life heard positive reviews about the little boy who I used to have to drag through the halls kicking and screaming. No he’s not perfect, yes he struggles -he will always struggle. We all do. He will probably need an assistant to help him make it through the rest of his classes. He might even need additional classes to make up for things that haven’t sunk in. But he is, as they said “A bright happy child” who they are going to miss.

Those words are words I never thought I would ever hear. And they sunk in deep. Down to the areas of my heart that really needed to hear them.

I made a promise years ago that I wouldn’t give up. Not on him. And not on any of them.

I might fail. I know I will. But I won’t give up. I will never give up. It won’t be easy. It never is. But I will never break my promise to these kids. I am not going to give up on them, I will fight for them when they cannot fight on their own, and I will choose to believe that the experiences I have been through have only given me the experience I need to help them when they cannot see the light. I will choose to believe that everything has happened for a reason, and that reason might just be to help someone that I care a whole heck of a lot about.

I’m not giving up on him. No matter how hard and how difficult it might be.

I’m in this, forever.


Once Again


Sometimes, I feel as though life is just one big joke. Like the moments that I feel are successful, are simply pranks that can be used against me at a later point. Because nothing ever seems to come easily, and when it does come -it never lasts.

I’ve thought numerous times on how to say this, yet each time -I get hung up on the words, the details, the logistics of it all. I hate forcing words. But lately that seems to be all that I have been doing. Forcing the words to fit. I keep thinking that by doing so, I will eventually find my groove and be able to write without thinking. I keep waiting -yet nothing is happening.

Nearly eight years ago I made up my mind that I would not stop trying until I had accomplished my goal. I didn’t think I would succeed. Didn’t think it would actually work out, yet somehow -it did. And nearly seven years ago -I was waking up with three kids under the same roof. It was something that people tried to tell me not to do -for more than one reason. Why would I want to do this to them? Why would I think that I could raise three kids on my own? Didn’t I know there were areas of life that I didn’t understand?

I ignored everything and pushed forward -with my ONLY reasoning being that if I was going to get shoved to the curb, at least I knew I tried and did everything I could.

Adding in Josh’s complications only deepened the theory that I should not be raising these kids. After all -what did I know? Didn’t I know that taking him on would ruin the other kids? The advice that I should just “Let him go, and focus on the others” was laid on heavy. Yet I ignored it, and pushed towards the end goal that one day: They would all be together.

I didn’t think I could go wrong if I kept their best interest at the center.

Yet somehow, along the way, I have managed to mess even that up.

And nearly seven years later, with the one thing that I have worked so hard for coming unraveled before my eyes…I have no where to turn. I’m faced with the decision yet again to either fight to the end, or give up. And right now, giving up seems like the best bet. For all involved.

After all -what do I know about raising kids?

I didn’t realize that I could be so wrong and so right at the same time. I didn’t realize that giving them each other would only tear them apart. I didn’t realize that keeping their best interest at heart would bring so much heartache and pain. I didn’t realize that trying to give them the best would eventually, turn into the worst.

I’m trying to wade through some complicated, deep and frustrating decisions. I’m trying to balance the line of what’s good, what’s best and what’s needed. I’m trying to keep best interests at heart, while calculating in those confusing areas of life that no one warns you about. People never answer the questions that are pressing on my mind, but since there is no “one size fits all” kind of answer -I’m left scraping the bottom looking for answers myself.

The one area of my life that I counted as a success, the one thing I worked so hard and so long for -is coming apart. And while something deep down inside of me wants to fight for it, the logical part of me says to let it go while I can. And maybe someday, if its meant to be -it will come back.

If not -at least I can say I tried.

With everything in me.

I fought for them, to keep them together, to give them a life, to give them each other -and all it has done is torn them apart, sent them seeking answers in areas of life that only end in death, and erased any hopes of them ever having a life.

I guess I should have given it up years ago. But at least I can honestly say I tried. I screwed up. I failed.

I can look into the eyes of the well meaning by standards who have told me time and time again to stop trying, to give them up, to let it go -and say “You were right.”

Once again.


It’s the question I have pondered, asked, and wrestled with for as long as I can remember.  It’s the question I have been told not to ask, and the question that I have chased -up and down all sorts of rabbit trails, desperately seeking the answer to.  Believing that if I could just find the answer to the shortest question, that maybe just maybe I could rest.

I asked the question at every stage of life, through every trial and success.  It has always been there and I suspect will always be there.  But over the past few years my desperate need to know the answer to the question why, has eased.  If ever so slightly.  I have come to terms with some of the long sought after “Whys” and have settled on my own answers that range from real reasons to “Because, that’s why.”

But when he asked me the question, eyes pleading -I couldn’t answer.  In that moment I felt the pressing weight of what he carries around everyday, and an understanding -a connection, with the boy who I always assumed “Had it together.”

While I have long since been the first to admit that I don’t know everything, admitting in that moment that I didn’t know -was among the hardest things I have ever had to do.  While somewhere deep, deep down I knew the answer he was looking for was just that -giving him permission to continue on the way he was, I couldn’t muster up enough courage to tell him.

To tell him that there isn’t a reason why for everything.  That only few, very select things will ever make sense in this world.  That there will always be a question why, but there won’t always be a reason why.  That sometimes things don’t make sense, and that I myself have tried -desperately, to find the reason why -more than once, and not just for him, but for myself and others as well.  But sometimes…life just doesn’t give us a reason why.

It throws everything it has our way.  It shoves us down, and kicks us while we are down and doesn’t expect us to get back up again.  It beats us into the dusty ground, and tramples us again and again.  It turns its back, closes its ears and doesn’t care that we are so close to giving up.

But it doesn’t always give us a reason why.

I didn’t tell him that I understood his very question.  I knew the look in his eyes, and the tension between his ears.  I didn’t tell him that I knew what it was like to want to sleep the days away, and find some sort of relief from it all.  I didn’t tell him that life just sucks sometimes and is confusing and frustrating and hard and pointless and everything else that they just don’t tell you about these days….

Instead I told him that I didn’t know.

That I didn’t have the answer to his question.

And while part of that may have been true, I’m afraid I led him astray.

No, I don’t have the answer.

But I have been there before.  I have been in the exact place he is now -wanting and wishing for it all to just end.  Cursing the sun when it comes up and begging for relief in the night.  I have been there.  I have asked the same questions to whoever will listen and heard the same answers -over and over.

I knew what he wanted me to say, and I couldn’t say it.

I couldn’t tell him the reason why.  And not because I don’t know the answer.  But because the reason “why” is different for him than it is for me.  My reason why, won’t match his.  His won’t match mine.  And me telling him my reason?  Won’t make any sense to him.  Me helping him find his reason won’t help him.

Because as much as I want to just shake him, and maybe slap him upside the head a few dozen times and yell until he hears that there IS a reason, he just has to find it -I know that at this point, it will just be another meaningless answer.  An empty return.  So instead of letting him down and giving him MY reason why -I gave him the tiny shred of hope that was once given to me…

“I don’t know why.”

And hoped that it was enough.  Enough for him to grab a hold, to find the strength to try again, and one day maybe he will be able to tell me the same thing.

Coming Back

I have yet to figure out how to stumble down the lane of “What to say, and what not to say.” It’s one of my weaknesses. I will tell you that much. While my words fail me, often, and usually when I need them the most, I am accustomed to saying what I want, when I want and how I want. So it may seem strange, coupled with the fact that ½ my income comes from writing –that words are evading me lately.

Then again –it might not seem strange. I really don’t know anymore.

The thoughts that flood my mind are not those of conversation starters, and rather would be classed somewhere, firmly, I believe in the camp of “Conversation killers: What not to say.” It’s just a theory tho, I could be wrong. I have been before.

A little over three weeks ago I threw my hands in the air, boarded a plane –and 18+ hours later landed in a foreign country. You see, that to me –is easy. I can plan, arrange, schedule and prepare for a trip across the world in less than two weeks. But I cannot, for the life of me, find the words to sum up, accurately, without stepping on any toes, offending people, or scaring my own words into hiding, just what the thoughts are that race through my head these days.

Some would call me foolish. Stupid. Insane. Those are words I am ok with. Words I am comfortable with. I know how to be foolish. I can be stupid. And Insane is fun at times. But the real stuff? The downright hard, nitty gritty that keeps most up at night yet bores me to sleep every time I consider pondering it (coping much?)? Well that sends me into a tailspin.

Maybe it was foolish, stupid, and insane. It probably was. But traveling to be is my reason. Most have a reason: Their family, their job, career, future. Things that will go somewhere, mean something, give something back to the world. Me? My reason is traveling. Which is truly ironic. But is. It just is.

I thought maybe at some point on the trip –my words would return, but by the time the days had come to an end, writing was the last thing I wanted to do, but the only thing I had to do which meant that the only writing I did was for work. And a travel book I keep just to document the insane moments of the day. Most pages are filled with angry rants about who annoyed me that day. But it all means something. To someone.

To round the trip off I spent the night visiting the kids before flying home to greet reality head on.

It sucks, in many ways, returning.

But it must be done.

Reality needs facing. Things need done.

And as much as I don’t want to write about it: Things need said. Hard things. Things that I dread saying for fear of making them any more real than they already are. Because somehow not saying them will make them that less true. And maybe if I can distract myself with all things lovely, this too will pass.

So back to reality. Back to writing. Back to facing this life that is very much mine, and very much real no matter how very much not I try to make it be.

I need to write.

I need to write for myself. For my sanity. For my release. Because as much as travel is my reason, writing is my release. And reason and release go hand in hand.

I have long since said that the reason I don’t write as much anymore is because I have reached a point where the things that impact my life, are not mine to tell. The kid’s lives are very much their own, and I is not mine to intertwine with. And as much as I want this small paragraph to be true: I have discovered it is just a cover.

A cover to hide the unbearable, and unthinkable. A mask that will hide what I don’t want to uncover. To conceal those things that are so real that I wish them not to be, and instead look to the shiny things in life and attempt to forgo the fact that there are very real, very hard problems. And while looking at the shiny things is great, there is a balance. And I need to re-strike that balance, and write.

Because the only reason I don’t want to write has very little to do with unveiling some secrets that will destroy the kid’s lives, or upheaval the paths they are on. And has everything to do with me not wanting to face reality, and choose to believe that hiding is the best option.

It’s time to strike that balance, find the courage and face the reality that is very much mine. No matter how pleasant or unpleasant it may be.

But until then, I will look to the shiny things in life, and remember an amazing three weeks that easily rate as some of my favorite.




Ten Years Deep

Ten years ago,  I spent my day in complete denial.

I spent the day posted at the bedside of someone who never made it on national TV.  I spent the day cuddled up beside a small person the world knew nothing about.  A person who didn’t change the hearts of thousands, or stir up emotions in millions.  She was what most would call just another number, another drop in the bucket, another one of the seemingly endless statistics.

But she meant the world and more to me.

I don’t know why ten seems like such a monumental number.  Like I have reached the top of the summit I have been scaling and can finally breath.  As if ten is the magic number that will somehow make everything ok again.  As if ten, the number, in and of itself -has something to offer.

When in truth, it doesn’t.  Ten doesn’t mean anything different.  The year doesn’t mean everything will suddenly change, or that things will somehow, forever and always be ok.

Nine years ago, I spent the day waiting in anticipation for the magical release.

The approaching of ‘the day’ was agonizing.  Waiting in anticipation for the calendar to turn over another day, and somehow release me from the pain was almost more than I could take, and while the day itself was not that difficult – the days following, were.  Because there was no magic release.  There was no cure.  There was no magic ok.  All there was to look forward to were many more days, many more years, and many more unbearable moments where life seemed like the worst kind of torture possible.

Those were the only years that I had great expectations from.

The years in between were years I spent learning.  Learning that there is no magic number that will make everything ok.  Learning that some years are ok – and some years aren’t.  Learning that life in and of itself is not all tragic, but there are some bumpy moments along the way.  And learning that over the course of a long period of time, that intense, deep, burning from the very depths of your soul – will ease.

The pain that is felt when you lose a child, is a pain that cannot be explained.  It is a hole that cannot be filled.  An emptiness that will never be explained.  And a wound that will never be completely, healed.  Living life without the one you expect to be there, forever, is not something I ever expected to do.  And trying to muddle my way through the murky waters was something I had no idea how to do, or why I should even bother doing it.

These past few years aren’t all years that I have been proud of.

While its true, that I wish I could go back just a little over ten years ago – and erase everything that happened and change the outcome, I can’t.  While I wish I could trade places with my daughter, and let her experience life to its fullest, I can’t.  There isn’t anything I wouldn’t have done to save her life.

But she isn’t here.  And I am here.

I have made it ten years, doing the hardest thing I never though I could do.

While I would have chosen a different way of life, one that included my daughter, I can’t.

As we approach ten years, I am forced to realize that this is my life now.  And outside of changing the tragic happenings of ten years ago – I wouldn’t change the rest.

I have lived through the unimaginable pain of loosing my daughter.  I have fought to be where I am today, and while I am not proud of every moment -I am still here, despite loosing her.  If I were able to say these past ten years were easy, it would mean that I didn’t struggle, I didn’t miss, I didn’t question.  It would mean that I didn’t try every single road, avenue and option -before realizing that this was my life now.  Without her.  It would mean that I picked up and moved on with ease.  When that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Its impossible to think that living after a loss as devastating as this, that life would be easy.  To live life like nothing happened – would be to live life as if she didn’t exist.

As hard as it has been, I would rather live knowing that she was a part of my life, and embrace the pain and sorrow as a small reminder of someone who made my life just that much better -than to forgo the pain, and forget her.

Despite the pain, and sorrow -I have managed to make it ten years, and have come out with a better appreciation for life, and deeper love for those around me.  I still miss her, but ten years in I am able to say that deep burning from unexplainable depths -has eased.  It will never be completely erased, but I have chosen to go on smiling, loving and laughing -as I imagine she would have done, if given the chance.


I still miss you little one, and love you with everything I have -please don’t forget.

Happy 16th Birthday

With less than 45 minutes remaining of your birthday, I am still not entirely sure I should even right anything. As if somehow, not writing will make it all disappear. Yet I am hopeful that one day – this too will be a distant memory that somehow manages to grow you into the person you are trying to become, despite what life is throwing your way.

I won’t claim to understand what you are going through, even though to an extent, I do understand. Understanding. It’s not what you need. You don’t need someone to listen to you, someone to yell at you, or someone to tell you it’s all going to be ok. To be completely honest, I am not entirely sure if what you need is something I can give you. You are missing so much of your life – that I don’t know it will be possible for me to fully give you what you need.

Whoever they are, always warned that the easy ones – would become difficult later on in life, yet somehow I chose to believe that if we could just make it one more year…

Here we are on your 16th birthday, and I can’t help but cringe. You aren’t celebrating with your friends. You aren’t at home. In fact, you aren’t even around people you know. As hard as it has been to make the decision, I am just hoping, with everything that I have left – that this was the right choice. The last choice, but the right choice.

I’m hopeful that your next year will be much brighter, and more promising. Even though it has been a difficult few months, I can’t ignore the fact that you are still a bright kid who’s no longer a kid. I can’t ignore the nagging thoughts that when (not if) you return, you won’t be a child. You left a 15 year old boy, and will come back a 16 year old. Two years from being an official adult.

You already know that life isn’t easy – but this year, I think what you need to hear the most, even though I know you don’t want to hear it, is that life can be worth living. It isn’t always dark. Sure, there are dark days, dreary weeks, and long months that seem to never end…but if you manage to make it through those moments, you will see that there are brighter days waiting.

I hope that you know how important you are to us, and how much you are loved. You are a big part of our lives, and we miss your presence, your humor and everything that you add to this world. I know it won’t be easy for you – going through these next couple of months, but I am hopeful that you will return with a brighter outlook, and a desire to rejoin us here – living.

Happy 16th birthday, I know this probably isn’t how you expected to spent your 16th birthday. I know it’s not how I expected to see you spend it.

Hang in there kiddo,

– Your Uncle

I Hope…

I don’t know if it’s the right thing.  I don’t know that I will ever know.

But then again, I have never claimed to know what was right, and what was wrong when it comes to these kids.  I have tried, desperately, to give them everything I could with hopes that someday it would be enough.  That maybe by them having each other – they would somehow be able to overcome the odds that were thrown at them, and by some miracle – they would come out the other side, mostly unscathed.

As people dance around singing songs, tossing tinsel in the air, and decorating trees, I cling the hope that shrinks almost daily – that this is the right thing.

This weekend, I attempted, in vain, to go all out holiday with Josh.  We hung lights, burned cookies, and attempted other assorted holiday traditions.  To no avail.  After a midnight fight, I put him to bed – pulled the covers over my own head and wished it all away.  No matter how hard I try, it seems there is always something out there that is just that much stronger waiting to take me down.

I try to pick myself up with thoughts such as “Things could be worse” or “Things HAVE been worse.”  But those thoughts are always argued with “Things WILL get worse” and instead of picking myself up, I only manage to de-motivate myself from even trying – because really, why bother?  With an attitude like that, I won’t get far, and can’t expect anyone else to get far either.  And so as the day breaks, I pull the covers off my head and face yet another day.

A month and ½ ago, it was a very possible option that I could have been planning yet another funeral.  A thought I refused to let enter my mind at the time because I couldn’t let go of that tiny sliver of hope.  A month and ½ later and I never did have to plan that funeral.  I never did have to say good-bye, but because of that – I have to say good-bye in a different sense.  I have to go against everything that FEELS right, and SEEMS good and go with that gut instinct that this HAS to be right.

Sending a child away in the middle of the holiday season just seems to scream all kinds of wrong.  Sending him to a place that I have never seen, to deal with things that I can’t even image, and come out on the other side -is something I can only cringe about.  No, its not easy.  Its not a holiday away.  Its not a happy trip, or something I would have ever hoped for him to be doing.  But it’s the only option that seems to have a positive outcome.

If not this, then what?

My mind wants to play the “What if” and “When” and “How” games.  It wants to tackle the issues of when he comes home, and how will he adjust, and what if it doesn’t work.  It wants solid answers, 100% guarantees, and maybe a warranty that if this doesn’t work – something else will.  But I can’t offer the guarantee to myself, because there is none.  There is a very good possibility this won’t work.  There is a very good chance that it wont help.  There is a good chance that when he comes back – we will be right back where we started.

But there is also the chance that it does work.  That it does help.  That the tiny sliver of hope that was alive a month and ½ ago, will be there waiting to get another workout.  And that by some miracle – this will be the answer.

While I want nothing more than to bring him home, tell him that everything will be ok – and go about celebrating the holidays WITH him, I can’t.  I can’t give him the false hope that things will be ok.  I can’t go about pretending that things are ok, and turning a blind eye to problems because I don’t like talking about them.  I can no longer go about pretending that life is easy, and everyone is happy…

Because the blunt honest truth that no one likes to hear?  The part about 15 year olds trying to end their own lives?  They don’t make very good holiday stories.  They don’t make the movie channel, and bring out the warm fuzzy feelings.  But they are life.  And life sucks sometimes.  But there isn’t any other option – then to keep on mucking along.  If for nothing else, to show those you love who are struggling, and hurting, and barely hanging on – that you are there waiting.  Right beside them.  And will be there until they are ready to move on.

I just hope its enough.