The Shadow of Death

 

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This is exactly what’s on my mind right now, too. Today’s guest blogger, Pam Lanhart, founder of Thrive Family Support, captures the essence of my feelings as we embrace our son’s relapse and struggles. Thanks, Pam, for sharing your experience, your family’s story, your family’s path toward living vs dying. THIS is why we are the OYA Community. MWM

The counselor looked at us with a sober face.  The kind of face that says “this is serious” and asked us a pointed question “Do you realize that your son could die from this disease.”

Through the past 6 years we have had to wrestle with that reality.

We know that addiction ends one of 3 ways; recovery, jail or death.

5 years ago, when our son was in his first rehab, the counselor told us that he didn’t know if this was the beginning, the middle or the end of our son’s journey with substance abuse.  Hearing that was Ike a punch in the gut.  I naively thought this would be a one and done experience.

But as time went on and he progressed in his disease we were forced to come face to face with the answer to this question.  “Do you realize that your son could die from this disease.”  Yes. We do.

Yes, I have planned his funeral in my head.

Yes, I have actually told him that if he chose to use, he should send me an email with his memorial services wishes.

Yes, we have checked to see what his life insurance situation is.

Yes, we have clung to him, yelled at him, tried to control him, manipulated him into rehabs in an effort to keep death at bay.

Yes, I have walked side by side, hand in hand with other mothers who have lost their children.

Yes, I have opened his bedroom door, just to make sure he was still breathing.

And yes, we have grieved.  We have had days where we were paralyzed by the fear, by the weight of the truth of the disease.  You either find recovery or you die.

At some point though our focused shifted.  Not on the dying but on the living.

What if…what if he did die?  What would our time together look like?  Would I look like the maniac mother trying to hold on so tightly that she destroyed every shred of the relationship?  Would the only memories of our life together be shadowed with desperation and anger?  Would I look back and be able to remember any good times, any moments, even within his disease that I could smile about?

I don’t want it to end that way.  I refuse to let it end that way.

So today,  I will embrace every bit of good that I can hold on to when I am with my son.  I will not shroud this moment with “what if’s” or “if only’s” or “you should’s.”  I will not push my agenda on my son.  I will be truthful and authentic and I will allow him to be the same.  I will not waste even a second of our time together worrying about the future.  I will breathe in everything good about my son and breathe out judgement.  I will not hold on so tightly to him that I crush him.    I will purpose to radically accept and love him, right where he is at.

And together we will not give any power to the dying.  We will chose embrace the living.

Copyright @ 2017 Pam Jones Lanhart, Thrive Family Support. http://thrivefamilysupport.org/

 

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