Today should be a happy day.
There should be bright balloons hanging from the ceiling. There should be presents wrapped up in cheerful paper and shiny bows. There should be birthday cake with lit candles and singing and hugs and good wishes.
I should be happy. Instead, there is an ache in my heart – one that hangs heavy. My chest hurts as if there was a heavy weight placed upon it. Tears threaten to fall, and it’s an effort to hold them back.
Today is my oldest child’s birthday. Happy 40th …or at least it should have been…could have been. It’s hard to believe that so many years have gone by since I first held him in my arms. He should be with family today. He should be surrounded by laughter and hugs. He should be celebrating with the people that love him.
Instead – he is rotting in a prison cell. I would have made him anything that he wanted, for dinner today, but it’s my guess that he had a sandwich made with “past it’s sale date” bologna on stale bread. If he was lucky there may have been condiments.
I’ve forgotten how many birthdays he’s missed – far too many, for sure!
What a waste. What a cry’n shame.
Why? Oh why?
Why did he choose to ruin his life? Why did he choose to destroy his family?
Why did he choose to take that drink that lead to another and another and another?
Why did he choose to use drugs instead of taking his prescribed medication?
Because – he bought into the myth. The myth that he could control it. The myth that he could stop when he wanted.
The myth that it wouldn’t hurt anyone else.
What a crock of CRAP!
If you think that it can’t happen to YOU, think again.
If you think that the only person that if affects is you, think again, and think hard.
His actions destroyed his marriage. He has alienated every one of his brother’s and sisters…his friends…even his children. He has lost the trust of his father and me. He has stolen from us over and over again. He has lied to us over and over again.
He has broken our hearts, and I don’t know when they will be mended.
I’ve stopped writing to him, because there isn’t anything left to say. I’ve told him as much. I love him, but for a while, anyway, I need a break. (God bless his grandmother who faithfully writes to him each and every week – that’s how she copes.) I need to put it out of my mind – HA – as if I really can.
He get’s no card, no cake, no hug. He get’s loneliness, cold showers, a thin lumpy mattress, stark gray walls, and bars instead of doors. He gets to sleep with one eye open. He get’s toothpaste, and soap, and shampoo, and deodorant, as long as there is money in his prison account. He gets his medication once in a while, if they feel like bringing it to him. He swelters in the summer and is cold in the winter. His skin burns, blisters and peels, when he is forced to stand outside for hours on end in the Arizona sun (because, of course, his sun block is lost in the “void”, along with his books, and socks and shoes and shorts – every time he is transferred from one unit to another or one facility to another.)
There are a few good guards, but there are many bad ones…as often as not, his personal belongings are stolen by prison personnel (or as they put it “misplaced”). Betterment Programs for all practical purposes, are a joke. But then when you’ve got Sheriff Joe Arapaio as a role model, it doesn’t surprise me.
Am I angry? You better believe it! I am so mad that it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. It swells up sometimes, until I think that I might burst from it.
And who is to blame for my son’s plight?
He is… plain and simple.
BUT that doesn’t lessen the pain. That doesn’t make this easier – a less bitter pill to swallow.
I want to throttle him. I wan to shake him until he is limp…
I want to hold him and make it all better.
It hurts. It really really really hurts.