Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome to Holland

When our children are born and are handed to us we immediately have a multitude of hopes and dreams for their future, but along the way these dreams change. For example, my son Spencer played football for a while, not because he liked it, but because he knew I did. After a few years he verbalized this and we allowed him to quit to pursue something he enjoyed. Then we have Hannah, Spencer and Sterling who love to sing and act, talents not shared by Kevin or I. I remember assuming that Hannah would inherit my flexibility and gymnastic skills. Hannah is not flexible and really not very athletic (by her own admission). I have learned that often our hopes and dreams for our children do not coincide with their own dreams (nor should they). We have to allow them to be their own person.

Then sometimes our hopes and dreams change when they are diagnosed with a handicap, illness, or mental illness. I once read a story about this entitled 'Welcome to Holland' by Emily Perl Kingsley. It's about someone who dreams of going to Italy. They spend all their time learning about Italy and plan their trip and are fully prepared for the culture, the language and the experience, only to find out the plane has landed in Holland and can't go to Italy. They are sad because they planned to go to Italy but once there they see that Holland has it's own beauty and that they hadn't thought that something other than what they had planned could be good, in fact it was more than they had dreamed of just different. We learned that when he was diagnosed with ADHD and then later Bi-polar and OCD. We embraced Holland. We sought out information and medication which would best serve this new reality.

Then one day recently our hopes and dreams changed again when we learned that our 16 year old son was using drugs and had become dependent on them. We realized that he had worked very hard to conceal his addiction. He began lying and stealing from us and became very irritable and irrational. He told us of his problems and asked for help.

Today we picked him up from the hospital and drove him to a drug treatment center. I never once imagined that we would make this trip. As we sat in a restaurant the three of us, I thought about how I like to watch people and try to imagine what their story is and wondered if anyone could guess what our story was.

My heart aches. I am broken. Our family as a unit is currently broken. There is so much anger, pain and emotional exhaustion. We will never be the same. I believe we will be better in the long run, but for now, we are like bowling pins, bowled over by this big thing called drug abuse.

To make matters worse, this afternoon we made the difficult decision to put our black lab, Lola, to sleep after she seriously injured another dog this weekend. She has become increasingly aggressive with people too. It's so sad that it's almost comical. Really, today? I watched as my children wailed and screamed and curled up in a fetal position. Their cries were a culmination of a very difficult 12 months having moved to a new state and starting over completely.

In the midst of our pain today, there were gentle reminders that God was holding us. Monday is usually Kevin's surgery day. ALL of his surgeries were cancelled for one reason or another and we were not aware of this until this morning. This has never happened in the 15 years he has been a surgeon! We were able to be together as a couple and as a family, something we needed very much. What a blessing!

I had made an appointment with a counselor for our family for later this week. She called just as Kevin was walking out the door with the dog. I've never talked her before but her call was not a coincidence. She heard my voice and asked if I was OK. Poor thing, she got a loud sob answering her question. I explained to her our day. She prayed a very heartfelt prayer that I so needed at that moment. Thanks Lord for reminding us that you are holding us.

Jill Broscoe said that it is in the lows that we find the highs. I have experienced this but it's easier to see in hindsight. Maybe that's what it takes for us to truly depend on him.

Several years ago a friend watched as a truck crossed the median and smashed into the car in front of him occupied by his wife and son. As a respiratory therapist he performed CPR on her at the scene. She had died instantly. At the hospital as friends arrived, he said "This will hurt so bad but we are not going to get mad at God, we will praise Him." He lived out this statement, blessing all who knew him. It made me think what my knee jerk response would be. That was NOT my knee jerk response in this situation. It is however, the response I am choosing at this moment.

When we can't escape our circumstances we must trust God. Period. I promise you that is easy to type and harder to do but I am choosing to do so. I can't carry this by myself.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for yet will I praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Life is hard but God is good. Yet will I praise Him!


chris said...

my heart knows the pain of your heart.
my prayers are with your family.
I admire how your compass is pointing to God.

I pray that it always does, and that by example we can follow how you do it.

Amber White said...

Oh, Gina....I'm going to stop and pray for you right now. It's in times like these we truly have no other choice but to fall into the arms of Jesus and find our refuge there. May the peace of God cover you and protect your heart and mind during this time.

Christine said...

Praying for you. Praying for healing and restoration. Praise Him in this storm!

Stephanie said...

Praying for all of you through this time.

ariyana9501 said...

Oh Gina. I'm so sorry that you have been going through so much. Sometimes it feels like everything is going wrong all at once, and it's overwhelming. I'm happy for you that you are getting the help you need and are reaching out for it. I love you very much Gina.

Ruth said...

Hi Gina,
I saw your comment over at Katie Granju
Mamapundit blog about your son.

How about some unassociated advice from a mother BTDT, also put her 16 year old drug addicted daughter in a residential drug rehab, but i have a success story to share. And many families have similar ones that do not have their children come back to the community they have been abusing drugs.

DO NOT let your son come home and attend school locally after rehab. Keep him out of your community and into a non-punitive therapeutic college prep boarding school for the next two years. This was one of the hardest decision I made as a parent.
But i had already known kids that were dieing, and told by other parents what they did wrong and they told me what to try and it worked! Send an adolescent to boarding school is not as hard as the alternative as them dieing like Katies son.

I attribute that one action to be the most important to her survival and saving my daughter's life, she then went on to college and was much better equipped then most freshman to not use drugs.

By helping them and Creating a new life in a healthy environment outside your community of people, places and things where they used drug for long enough was very important to her recovery.

She struggled so hard to remain drug free while initially living home after rehab, that getting her into the boarding school for two years out of our community helped her stay alive, and get on with her life.

ruth said...

Oh, my
Sorry about the syntax and spelling errors!!!

Norwegiantage said...

I admire your strength. Thank you for sharing this experience.


Unknown said...

Hi Gina,
Thanks so much for your honesty. I was so touched by your story. What you must be going through must be really difficult. I can only imagine. Please take comfort in that God knows your struggles and will comfort you and your family. Thank you for sharing such a heart breaking story. Thanks also for your visit.

Unknown said...

By the way, the cracked pot story was awesome!

Post a Comment