I want to follow up my last post with an example of the importance of PAYING ATTENTION and ASKING QUESTIONS. I awoke early one morning to find my oldest daughter awake and on the couch instant messaging on FB. I immediately thought it was strange considering she looked as though she hadn’t slept and she already should have been up and getting ready for class. Instead, she was intently typing on her computer and not paying any attention to me as I asked her, “Are you going to school today?” She didn’t respond, so I walked around the couch stood in front of her and repeated my question. She quickly snapped out of her little world and looked up at me and said, “Mom, do you remember, David, from when I was in placement?” She obviously saw the puzzled look on my face as though I was trying hard to remember. Then she went on to give me more details in hopes it might jog my memory–which it did. She then said that she was really worried about him and asked if I would reach out via FB messenger to talk to him. I, of course, was happy to do so; however, I needed more information from her perspective, as to why she was so concerned. This child of mine was far from an alarmist, therefore if she was concerned I knew it had to be serious. I also was aware the kids that she was in placement with were there for a reason and it wasn’t because they were doing great in life. They suffered from a variety of one or more mental health diagnoses. With those details at the forefront of my mind I went on to ask her how she thought I could help. She had expressed concern for his physical safety which I knew better then to take lightly. I immediately sat down beside her and took the computer to start to write a message to him. However, before I did so I needed her to tell me exactly what specifically she thought was going on, so I had an idea as to how to approach him without freaking him out. This child of mine is brilliant when it comes to reading people and assessing situations, especially serious ones like this seemed to be. Her own experience with trauma and the daily struggle of living with PTSD and its lasting effects, have made her hyper vigilant when it comes to breaking a situation down quickly and taking action on it.
She told me that it had been years since they had any contact. But, for some reason the night before she ran across his FB post and it created such an uneasy feeling in her that she was compelled to contact him. She wasn’t even sure he would remember who she was it had been so long. However, that didn’t stop her and fortunately for both of them he remembered her. Not only that, but he felt comfortable enough to open up and tell her what he was going though. She learned that he was held up in a dingy and dark motel room, hadn’t eaten in days, and was in a very dark place; seriously contemplating not wanting to go on feeling the desolation, desperation, and hopelessness that he was experiencing.
Bella, my daughter, already knew that she was going to go into the field of psychology in some capacity after she graduated, so that, plus her own life experiences prepared her for what she needed to do next. She had the maturity and foresight to know that if she could get him talking and purging what he was keeping buried within him, the likelihood of those feelings of despair and hopelessness would subside and he would live to see another sunrise. In most cases, if you can get someone to ride that wave, as horrible and gut wrenching as it is, there will be hope on the other side. She wouldn’t let him disengage from the conversation all night long. She was committed to getting this sweet and tortured soul through the night and then knew that this was so much bigger than herself and needed to ask for help. That is exactly what she did. Now it was my turn to step in and see from my perspective, what the situation was and what needed to be done to save this boy.
I quickly sent a brief message saying hello and introducing myself, again, considering it had been so long since I had been introduced to him in the past. Surprisingly, he messaged me back almost immediately. I was so thankful to see him typing because I knew there was still hope that he was going to make it out of that motel room alive. I can not honestly tell you how many hours we spoke, both through messenger and on the phone. It was all day and into the night. The long and the short of it was, he needed help, and I was going to figure out what that looked like for him. I learned so much about him, both his past and present trials and tribulations. I heard the most horrific stories of abuse and tragedy I had ever heard in my life. I was physically sickened and heartbroken for David, and knew in my gut that Bella didn’t run across his post by accident. Nor did she talk to him through the night just because they were old friends catching up. God had put him directly in her path, because he knew that she would be the catalyst that just might save his life. Although he did not want saving, I can promise you that, that is exactly what was beginning to happen here.
First and foremost, he needed to eat. We learned that he was in some no-name town in Ohio with no money, no car, and zero resources. Oh, and to add insult to injury, there was only one place that delivered within a 30 mile radius of the motel. So, I looked up that Dominos pizza, and ordered everything off that menu, and a couple liters of soda. I was able to pay and tip the driver through the site and within the hour, David had more food then he had seen in months. He did not want to accept my buying him food. However, I made it perfectly clear that he was going to have to drop the pride thing and let go and let God! Which by the way, he didn’t believe in because he said, “If there is a God, then how in the hell can he let all these horrible things happen?” I said to him, “I don’t know the answer to your question buddy, but I do know that there is a God, and he is the reason Isabella found you last night before you decided to do anything you couldn’t take back.” He let it go with that. He also sent me a picture of all the empty boxes and containers of food, at my insistence, so that I knew he was eating. Next came how in the hell was I gonna’ get him out of there and back to Maryland. At the very least, here he was closer and I had more access to people and services who would be able to assist him. I also learned that the man he called, “dad,” and his “brothers and sister,” lived about an hour from me and that was of great comfort to him. He didn’t want them knowing what was going on because he didn’t want any more stress on his dad since he was recovering from a stroke and heart issues.
Knowing all of that, we decided that coming back to Maryland was his best option. I told him that I needed a little bit of time, but I would get back with him when I had all the details of what was going to happen next. I booked him the earliest flight I could get him on, which was a day and a half later. I figured he had made it this long, I had faith he could get through the next day and a half. There were lots of fun obstacles that came with that. There was one cab that ran in this town and he was booked the morning of his flight; his cell phone was about to use up all its minutes, and he was out of food again. So, I tackled one thing at a time. First, getting him food. Next, ordered a leather book bag off Amazon Prime and had it overnighted so he could put what few things he had in it to bring with him back home; the cell phone issue, I couldn’t do anything about accept pray that it would last until he arrived. Finally, finding a limo service that was an hour and a half away to come and pick him up and get him to the airport that was about forty minutes away at 3:15 in the morning. With all that taken care of, now it was a waiting game until I was able to exhale and see him in person to know that he was ok. It was a very long thirty-six hours, but finally the day had arrived and all of us couldn’t have been any more excited.
Like with most genius ideas, they don’t go off exactly as planned. There were a couple hiccups along the way, but that afternoon at 3:43 pm I got to see him in the flesh. David, recognized Bella, and came walking toward the car. I immediately went to him and wrapped my arms around him and stayed there probably too long for his liking, but I could finally exhale with tears rolling down my cheeks. He was smiling and noticeably uncomfortable at the same time. Bella and he were excited to see each other, so that definitely helped him feel more at ease, I think?! We talked–well, I talked–the entire car ride home. He laughs now because he says that he thought I was completely nuts when we first met. And still does, but in all the right ways!;)
I think by now, one can tell that I immediately develop a plan and execute it. So, as soon as we got back to the house, I went into overdrive trying to make sure that David had everything that he needed and wanted to feel at home and safe with us. I took him shopping and got him some much needed new digs and basketball shoes. Kinda’ spoiled him, but he needed it and I loved every minute of it. Although, I made it perfectly clear that I would always make sure his needs were met from that day forward, but not necessarily all of his wants. I tell all my kids that very same thing. With that, began David’s journey to learning how to trust and love without fear of persecution or disappointment. I will tell you that he hit the jack-pot when it comes to “loving to love” because if I am not good at anything else in my life, I am really good at loving someone who needs it. I am an empath, therefore, I absorb the negative feelings of others and in turn transfer lots of love, light, and peace. (I will go into the empath thing another time because it is an important part of who I am.)
Things weren’t always rainbows and gumdrops. David had a lot of demons and suffered unimaginable trauma in his 19 years, but there was no doubt in my mind that one day he was going to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He just needed to give life and people a chance. I completely understood why he didn’t; however, I was asking him to take a risk on me–on this family. Because without risk you won’t ever reap the benefits of great reward. All I asked was that he tried to trust. I believe he absolutely did try, and little by little you began to see this new sparkle in his beautiful brown eyes, that looked a lot like hope. He actually began to talk about the future. Where as before he got back, in his mind, death was the only reasonable and acceptable future for him. When I hugged and kissed him every night and told him I loved him, he started to breath a little deeper and not instinctually recoil when he was touched. And, the best of all, when I told him I loved him, he began to feel that, and in turn showed others that same love. It was beautiful and it warmed my heart. He became one of us………dysfunctional, chaotic, off the charts, unorganized, messy, “fly by the seat of our pants,” but we are a family and he knew that he could always count on us. It was important for me that he feel what a “real” mother’s love feels like. It is the thing that dreams are made from. He needed that, he deserved that, and I was able to give him that.
Today, David is doing amazingly well. He is a hard working, independent man, who is “movin’ on up” in this world. I am confident he will continue to grow and achieve great things in his life. I miss his sweet smile and sparkly eyes, but know that he needs to do things his way, and that is all I ever wanted for him. To have the strength of self to know that he is capable of anything he puts his mind to. In addition, he is deserving of all of the goodness that this world has to offer him. My sweet boy will really be a man next month when he turns the big 2-1! I tell him that we were meant to be family since we also share the same birthday!!!
David, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I am living my baby you’ll be.”