We made a mistake and told too many people about a situation we meant to keep a bit more “secret” for a while. It’s probably not a big deal, but we should have mentioned to those people not to go crazy until we had more information. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, ignore this. If you do, shame on you for not reading our minds! Seriously, though, we didn’t think to tell you not to share our story, and it’s amazing the amount of support we’re seeing. I know it’s become a cliche, but we cannot express how much we appreciate your support.
The only bad thing about being supported in a difficult situation is that you have to face that situation. I had completely forgotten about the picture of Alex just before we had to say goodbye to him.
This is Alex just before we had to give him away. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe this image was taken just a week or so before placement by my sister. My family came up to visit us and help us through what has easily been the toughest thing we ever had to do: remove Alex from our home. The picture was taken of Alex when he was medically sedated. That’s a fancy way of saying the ER didn’t know how else to deal with his rage, so they pumped in a bunch of Ativan and Haldol until he slept.
Maybe it’s just because I had forgotten about it, but to me this is a more powerful picture than anything else I have. It’s our sweet little boy just lying there calmly, the battle with himself evident on his torn-up face. He’s an angel, resting finally after a long struggle with something none of us can fully understand. He’s at peace.
It wasn’t much longer before we took him to a foster home where he stayed about a week before being placed in the state crisis center. I remember the ride. He was given the last of our hash, and he was so happy to be in the car on a long ride. I felt awful. We were, in my mind, abandoning him. Everything changed in those precious few moments, and this picture is just a reminder of our beloved son just before we made the most painful change we had ever done.
Neither his mother nor myself can look at the picture without an overwhelming feeling of sadness and despair. This is an image that means so much to us — one of the last memories of Alex in our everyday life. In our home.
Alex is doing pretty well, he really is, but this reminder of what we’ve lost still hits us as hard as ever. Some days I wake up for work and have to remind myself that while the job itself doesn’t really matter, the pay and benefits do. Alex has good health insurance so long as I get out of bed and do my job. I can afford to spend money on gas to visit Alex — if I stop wallowing in self-pity and get to work.
Some days are still a struggle for my wife and myself. Even though we didn’t mean for support to come our way today, it’s a good reminder that we’re working to help Alex, and at the end of the day, that’s a good thing to have done.