Hope Behind Bars

April 4, 2013
My 20 year old son is behind bars.  The charges are serious. Very serious.  It's been a week since our world was turned upside down with his arrest.  In the past week I have learned a few things:

First, after our experience, I would say to any new parent, "Along with teaching your children not to talk to strangers and always look both ways before crossing the street, teach them that if they ever get arrested, ask for an attorney and don't say a word."

I've also learned a lot about the crucial part a good attorney plays in the process.  Whether innocent or guilty, a good attorney can help guide the accused and the family through the jungles of the court system.  It is well worth the money.

I've learned that no matter what your child is accused of doing, it is still your child and the sound of your child's voice on the other end of the phone is one of the most beautiful sounds one can hear in times like these.  Even with a limit of 15 minutes and the fear of every word being recorded, hearing his voice saying, "I love you Mom" has been the nourishment I've needed to survive the last several days.

I've learned that the entire situation is dynamic, everchanging.  I've learned not to take anything at face value as circumstances won't remain as they are. Appointments may be rescheduled, rules may not apply, court dates may be changed, and waters may become more muddied.  The "case" will become uglier before it gets resolved.  I've learned to trust our attorney with these fluctuations and focus only on our family's needs.

And I've learned, that a 16 year old younger brother can be the most rational one of us all.  In his words, "Well, it was bound to happen, Mom."

Now we wait for the formal charges to be brought to the courts.  We will soon learn what the future may hold for him.  In the meantime, I have one bit of good news.  My son revealed to the prison physician that he was bipolar and hadn't been on his meds for a long time and he asked to be medicated again.  They complied.  They only gave him an antidepressant, but it's a start.

They say each person in trouble must "hit bottom" and they have to realize for themselves that they need help.  I think behind these bars, my son finally realized that he couldn't deny his mental illness anymore.  Asking for medication was a remarkable step for him to make on his own.  Obviously, treatment for bipolar is more than taking a pill, but it is a step in the right direction.  He knows he needs psychological help.  And he's asking for it.

Behind bars there may be hope.

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