The Mind and the Heart

Dec. 26, 2012

I couldn't sleep last night.  The holidays are filled with joy, right?  So why does it feel like a brick is sitting on my heart?

This Christmas Eve was the first time my older son had slept over at my house since he walked out into the cold on the morning of Dec. 31, 2010. His visit did not end well.

I'm not sure what I was expecting.  I knew he'd try really hard at first, and I knew it wouldn't last.  I knew that he could only maintain a pleasant persona for so long.  I knew, and yet, I hoped.

Two years ago, Dec. 30, I had arranged for him to be an inpatient at a mental health facility about an hour away.  After speaking to the intake nurse on the phone for nearly an hour, I was sure this was the place that would help my son, so they were expecting him. Because I was fearful that he'd rage out of control once he heard the news, I asked my brother to come over and help me tell him.

At first, probably startled that my brother was here, my son agreed to go.  He even packed a bag.  Then, as we were getting ready to leave, he started having second thoughts.  He asked if he could wait until after New Year's Eve because he wanted to go to a party.  (Substance abuse had been a part of his problem.)  We said no.  This escalated into a full on rage ending with him walking out of my house.

The image of him vanishing out my front door still haunts me.  What could I have done to convince him that getting help was the only option?  Nothing.  I know that.  But yet, I still feel incredible guilt that I let him leave.

Isn't it funny how the mind and the heart can disagree?  While I know there was nothing I could have done to change his mind, I still feel like there is a brick sitting on my heart.

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