I’ve started this post over and over on “paper” (or, computer) and a million times in my head. All times of the day and night I have thought of how I might start this. Each time, coming up with a totally different idea and direction, the problem being I liked almost all of them and couldn’t choose, couldn’t know which was just right.
I’ve taken a break from writing. Nine months to be exact. Yet, every day I have felt the urge to sit down. But, I let the idea, of tackling and journaling this season of life, cause me to procrastinate. I had imagined how this might feel, but it isn’t until it happens that you find out if you were right.
Seven months ago, our son moved out.
I still remember that day. It was a Sunday. We had spent all weekend knowing the move was going to happen, but not knowing just when. It was a weekend full of dread. It was that same type of feeling I would feel every time we had to take a beloved pet in to be put down, and that wait in the lobby was torture. A pet is not the same as a child, and he isn’t dying, but it’s that feeling of utter dread and sadness knowing that a painful separation of them and you is coming soon and unavoidable.
It was so quiet and surreal. I walked down our hall, like I always have, to get something from my bedroom, and I just stopped. I froze inside my son’s doorway, looking at his room which looked like he never left. I broke down and sobbed. I thought about what had just happened; What an awful thing to wave good-bye and watch as he drove off, this time as a boy who now has a new home.
A home which isn’t mine.
There are few things in life which can make you feel like your heart is physically ripping. This is one of them. You know that kind of craft paper that, when torn, leaves edges with millions of tiny fine fibers. Try matching all of them up perfectly and making the paper whole again.
As I stood sobbing in my son’s doorway, I felt my daughter slip by my side and hug my waist. We cried together. I told her that God will make something good come from this; I just don’t know what yet. It may not feel like it, and sometimes it is hard to trust, but that’s when hope takes over.
Our son hasn’t moved to a group home just yet. We had to move him out to my parents’ home, for safety reasons, while we wait for a home to open up. This is not the way I thought this process would go, and there are some good things that are coming from it that I hadn’t thought of. But, it is still so hard for us to have him away from us.
He wants to come home. He loves my parents a TON, but I don’t think he understands why he has to be away from us. Part of my momma heart swells at the realization that he does love me, but it also breaks because this separation brings him some pain. How much worse will it be when he is in a home that isn’t family?
He is stabilizing somewhat. The uninterrupted attention and a schedule that is strict and structured just to him, are just what he needs. This gives me hope and more peace that a group home will help him thrive, and it will be the best life that he can get.
It’s hard for us to face this fact, but our home isn’t meeting our son’s needs like he deserves. Part of being a parent is to ensure, to the best of your abilities, that your child gets the best life they can get, no matter what that looks like. Even if, it isn’t with you. The process of searching for a home is an article all in itself, but I can say that it is very tiresome and complicated. It’s also a lot of waiting; Just waiting each day that it might be the day the phone rings, bringing us the news that a home has been found, and it is time.
I didn’t expect exhaustion to set in after he moved out. I assumed that once the stress of trying to keep our family from falling apart, and keeping some bit of security was gone, that we would actually have more energy. Instead, we fell flat. We were utterly exhausted. Daily tasks went unfinished. The house took a turn to the unkempt. Dishes were not done as quickly. I stopped writing for 7 months.
Then it hit me. I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner.
My husband and I are both runners, and we used to do quite a few races. Never at the end of any of them, did I finish and just trot away. I was doubled over, out of breath, and just wanted to go collapse on a bench for a while.
We have been running an emotional 13 year ultra marathon, and I just assumed that once we stopped running we would continue on without missing a beat? Without stopping to catch our breath?
I learned that it is okay to take time to heal. I also learned sometimes that it can take quite some time. And, it’s okay. What many don’t understand is just how much energy it takes to try and keep a family functioning while trying to manage parenting a severely autistic violent child. We love him with all we have. And we have given all we have. We have tried everything in our power to help him.
Sometimes a parent has to make a choice that seems counterintuitive. A choice that tears your heart in two. A short while ago, we signed paperwork that started the process of finding a group home for our son. It felt like we were signing him away. The guilt overwhelms. Some friends were over at the time that the worker dropped by, and having someone there as the papers were signed was such a blessing. This should never be done alone. These struggles are too much to bear on your own.
We thought we would just wait until a home opened up and then make that painful move. We didn’t expect that we wouldn’t make it that far, when the time came that he had to move. In other words, we didn’t expect that we wouldn’t make it. He had to move out before a home was found, and it still has yet to be found.
So here we are; In a middle place we didn’t even think about as an option. Yet we have been able to watch him start to improve in an environment that is more designed around his needs. We have seen a glimpse of what a group home, which is built to be able to do even more, will offer him.
We continue to wait and wade in the dark. We do not wade alone however. It is only dark to us because we don’t exactly know what we are in. But God does and knows the best way through. We must hold His hand and let Him lead. And though trust isn’t always easy, it and hope are sometimes all we have.
As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.
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