by Fran S.
August 30th has become the happiest and saddest day of my life. On August 30, 1967, my lovely daughter, Simone, was born with a head full of curly black hair. This first child (and first grandchild on the maternal side of the family) was a blessing. When I held her for the first time, I felt pure love. On August 30, 2012, I sat in a crowded courtroom in Florida where a cynical judge announced that my second child, my son, might be going to prison for a long time. When I heard the news, I felt pure fear.
My adult son has been challenged with a serious mental health illness (bipolar disorder).Like many bipolar individuals, he has self-medicated with illegal drugs. He’s been in and out of treatment, in and out of mental health facilities, in and out of trouble. Our family has experienced the joy of recovery and the sorrow of relapse. We speculate on “what if,” ask ourselves “why,” and wonder, “how can this be?” What if I hadn’t lent him money when he was broke? What if I hadn’t believed him when he lied? What if I hadn’t divorced?
Why God? Why me? Why again?
And how can this be? I’m a professional. I owe a nice home. I drive a nice car. I have a loving extended family and caring friends. My son graduated from a good college. He worked for the National Basketball Association in Europe. He comes from a good family. How could this have happened? Turns out that no one is exempt from addiction. The disease cuts across gender, race, nationality and affects family members, friends, employers, and co-workers. Seventy-six million Americans, about 43% of the U.S. adult population, are exposed to alcoholism in a family.
This coming Sunday is another special day. Mother’s Day. Since my daughter is working in South America and has limited phone access and my son is in jail, I doubt that I’ll receive a phone call or a card. And forget about flowers. But I plan to honor it anyway. I’m having brunch with two of my twelve step friends. Three moms whose offspring are troubled. No doubt we’ll vent. But also we’ll help one another “accept the things we cannot change.” And that’s a big step toward coping with the tragic news I received on August 30, 2012.
Fran is new to Story Circle Network. She recently attended her first conference and looks forward to future experiences with SCN.