There were some days on my walks home from my many doctor’s appointments I would cross over Hog’s Back Falls and I’d think about jumping. I’d stare at the rushing water and think of the blissful silence death would bring as I was pulled along and under, filling my lungs with water instead of air, ending it for me and the child I had yet to meet.
I would no longer have to face the pain that tore at my insides 24/7. I wouldn’t have to find out if I was a good or bad parent, or make anymore monumental choices that I felt too young, too immature, too lonely to make. I just wanted to escape, to hide somewhere no one could find me, no one could look at me with disapproving eyes for impossible decisions that I never seemed to get right, really I couldn’t get right even if I’d had a cheat sheet at my disposal.
But jumping would have been the easy choice and I’d have simply been transferring my burden of pain and guilt to my friends and loved ones. I was more worried about their happiness than whether I was strong enough to carry my pain alone. So every time I walked over that bridge and the waters called to me, I held tight to the railing and pulled my eyes away to look at where I was going and face my decisions, my choices, my mistakes, and live whatever life they made for me.
Eighteen years on I’m still fighting every day for my child to live, to find happiness and peace within himself. A combination of genetic codes, bad parenting choices from my lack of experience and lack of knowledge have left my son struggling through a fog of diagnoses, jumping from one social net to the next and hiding inside his video games where he finds an outlet for his intense anger and an escape from a world where he can’t get it right no matter what he does.
Right now I’m caught in an epic tug-of-war. I’m the rope and the divided parties are pulling very hard, so hard I sometimes think I will snap in two. On one side I have my son and his long list of needs and his cries for help and a mother’s love unwilling to abandon her child. On the other the voice of “reason” that he needs to learn for himself and I can’t save him if he doesn’t want to be saved, as well as the needs of my other children and my husband and how I’m going to lose the rest of my family if I don’t let the oldest go.
How do you win that game of tug-of-war?
I can’t. My soul and heart are being torn in two. I will lose a part of me no matter which side wins and if the rope snaps, I fear I will lose everything, even myself.
I drive over Hog’s Back Falls a fair bit in my travels now and sometimes I still wonder what that cold solitude where you feel nothing would be like. I wonder what it would be like to not hurt anymore. Not to have to choose between my oldest son and the rest of my family. And I wonder how I fought so hard to save my son and I’s life eighteen years ago to still be fighting that same fight today, sometimes feeling like my oldest resents the fact I gave him life at all.
My son and I are bleeding out slowly and the tourniquets aren’t holding. Something has to give but I’m afraid of what that will look like for all of us.
For now I’m just trying to keep the tug-of-war going long enough to get help, real lasting help that opens everyone’s eyes and makes them realize what’s truly on the line. It is a life or death struggle, and while I can’t speak for my oldest, I want to live, and I want a family where everyone’s needs are met, everyone feels loved and accepted for who they are, and we work together to support, honour and help each other overcome our problems and follow our dreams.
Til then I pray I am strong enough.