Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Broke My Promise

Parents, good parents, do their best to do what they say they're going to do. When they make a promise to their child or children they try to stick to their word no matter how difficult the situation. In my case, I haven't been a bad parent but I've broken a solemn promise and I'm devastated not only for myself but for what it's done to my son. We will never recover from this hurt. I have grieved these past ten days and will continue doing so for the rest of my life.

Eleven years ago, Eric and I stood before a family court judge and promised to raise Austynn as our "Forever Son" despite whatever hardships or obstacles the future might bring. Last Friday, when the residential treatment facility requested that I pick him up, I declined.

Why? Why would I refuse to pick up Austynn after I had told him once that nothing he could do would provoke me into giving him up? Why after years of violent outbursts, firestarting, lying, stealing, destroying our home...why now? Because this time he forced me to choose between him or the welfare of my husband. This time he provoked Eric, still recovering from two massive cardiac arrests and barely home from rehabilitation, to escalate into a screaming rage - a rage so awful that Eric's speech began to slur. Did Austynn stop when he saw what he was doing? No. He tried to make his father angrier. At that awful, ugly moment I realized it was time for Austynn to go for everyone's sake. His older brother, always protective and seeing what was happening to his dad, wanted to hurt Austynn and I, at that moment, shouted the words no mother should ever verbalize regardless of the situation, "I HATE YOU!"

I don't know where my son is now. I tried, one night in my grief, to reach out and contact him but my call wasn't returned. I wanted to tell Austynn that I didn't hate him. That I adored him from the moment I laid eyes on his beautiful coke bottle, magnified blue eyes. That I wanted to snuggle him every time he asked for a hug and I was sorry I wouldn't but I was frightened since the day he hurt me so badly last spring. That he'll always be my "forever son". That I loved him, I've always loved him, I'll never stop loving him.

I've been told, by the few friends and family who've known about this, that I made the right decision. Perhaps - however, somewhere out there is a brokenhearted 17 year old who thinks another family, in a long list of families, threw him away. I carry this burden alone because Eric has forgotten why I initially made this decision. This lovely man with whom I once discussed every detail of my day is suddenly not "here" for me to cry to. Instead, I find myself in the dens of neighbors weeping inconsolably or driving to unknown destinations to avoid distressing this man I love.

Yesterday, in the final light of the day, I pulled the last of the screws and nails out of Austynn's walls. It's now empty save but his bed which is awaiting my niece's visit for Thanksgiving. My oldest son offered to help but no, it was my job, my mess, my terrible tragedy to clean up..and really, I'll never be able to truly make amends for this disaster no matter how much I try to patch up the room. The holes will always be there... just below the surface.