My Son's Battered Lighthouse
June 15, 2013
My son called me last night from prison. Yelling and screaming underscored his hollow, shaken, breathless tone. He was not himself. It was not his typical, yet forced, chipper voice that I heard on the other end of the line. He had called to report that there had been a stabbing that day. He had seen it close up. "So much blood," he said. "So much blood, Mom," and he shuddered with fear.
And I shuddered too. Lighthouse. Be the lighthouse.
Whenever he calls, I must be the lighthouse in the dark storm of his incarceration. I don't let my voice quiver or weaken in fear. I don't let him hear my terror, my panic, my anxiety. I only allow myself to speak in the "mom voice" he knows. The one with all the answers. The one who loves him unconditionally, without judgment. The one with strength and light.
I am the lighthouse for my son in the blackest of his hours. He knows he can call me and I will illuminate his darkest night.
"You're OK, right? You weren't hurt?"
"No, I'm fine, Mom."
"Well, did you know the guys?"
"OK. So these guys are all dangerous. Just stay to yourself. Keep your eyes open and be kind to everyone. You're going to be OK."
"Yeah, I know Mom. Thanks."
And with those quick words, my son's anxiety decreased and his volume increased. The breathlessness dissipated and he began to sound like himself again.
*SIXTY SECOND WARNING* This means our conversation must end. So we said our quick "I love yous" and hung up.
As I turned off my phone, my hand was shaking. A shortness of breath and quickened heartbeat caught my attention. I have been battered by another wave of pain, but I still stand.
I am his lighthouse.