March 28, 2015
It's been two years. Two years since I finally received that call I'd been expecting I'd get. Two years since my world was turned completely upside down. Two years since the wide open field of my son's future was squeezed into an ever-narrowing shaft of fading darkness.
It has been two years since my son was arrested and incarcerated.
So much has happened since then. Our entire family has endured so much heartache. But my son has definitely suffered the most.
He has been attacked on numerous occasions (the most recent one resulted in a cracked molar that wasn't repaired for 3 days). He has witnessed two deaths, one, a murder by stabbing with a homemade shank, and the other, his cell mate who died in his sleep apparently of natural causes. He has been sent to "the hole" (solitary confinement for defending himself in a fist fight). He has been put on suicide watch, sent to a padded room and left naked for 48 hours (a conscious choice he made due to fear he'd be jumped by his co-defendant who had been placed in my son's pod in error). And he has received sub-par medical care: his bipolar condition has been treated with the cheapest, least effective medication with the most side effects, and his wisdom teeth were all extracted without adequate pain medication. He has gained weight from the poor diet high in refined sugars and low in protein and lack of opportunity to exercise, and his skin has become pasty and gray from such little sun exposure.
And these things I mention because they are the things my son has told me about. He said he won't tell me all the "bad stuff" because he doesn't want me to worry.
But we can finally see the end of this nightmare now. We expect that he'll be released by the end of this calendar year though they haven't told him a specific date yet.
His little brother has been working on lining up a possible job for him when he gets out.
He's making plans to attend college classes as soon as he's released.
And, most importantly, he is finally being realistic about his illness. He has learned more about it, and he has accepted it as a reality. It is part of who he is. It does not define him, but it is something that mustn't be ignored. He knows firsthand what kind of tragedies denial can cause.
And here I am.
I feel like I've aged ten years not just two.
But I am still here.
And I'm hopeful. Still.