I just hung up the phone after talking my teenage son down from a ledge of darkness. I hope.
(Yes, all appropriate staff have been notified at CHYC of the current situation, before anyone becomes alarmed)
I almost wasn't here tonight to take this call.
Wolf called tonight and almost immediately I could sense all was not well in his world. It's so, so hard to gauge his mood, affect, and sense of self over the phone that my brain has to do a mental checklist of possible reasons for his lowered voice and muttered answers to "How's it going?"
He was still doing well on the Unit. Still on Level. School was going "fine". Medications were still okay. I'll bite: "So what seems to be happening to make you so sad-sounding?"
"I can't tell you because I'll disappoint you." Bingo. This is a tactic used by Wolf to preface a really, really big announcement that once probed and pulled and yanked, usually results in what's really on his mind. From a parent's perspective, however, there is no worse feeling than a child saying he can't tell something because he fears repercussions. My brain said "Oh Sugar." But not really Sugar.
I took a big swig from my Red Chair Ale (my mom-evening-alone-beverage), followed that with a big breath, and said in my best therapist voice, "Tell me about it."
What he told me factually doesn't matter. What he told me figuratively does. Bottled up inside that constantly-revolving and evolving brain of his was the "whys" of suffering, death, and pain. Still grieving the loss of his cousin a few months ago, Wolf is consumed. He is confused and is grasping at anything that will be sympathetic to the darkness he feels.
It is hard enough to explain death and dying to grownups; it is doubly so when explaining such to a young man in a child's body. Going back to the basics of love, life, and learning, I reiterated how much the people in his life love and cherish him for him, and nothing could ever change that. But also, that Life as a rule is full of suffering. Things are born and, if lucky, live full lives. But sometimes they do not. We talked about God and the power to change this fact if He wanted to. Yes, indeed. He could.
But, I asked, who would we be as humans able to make decisions about what we do and how we act, if God made all the decisions for us?
I don't know if I made any sense at all, but the whole exchange gave me pause, especially after the suffering in our family this spring.
I left Wolf with one final thought: You are never, ever, ever alone. Not for one second.