My teen had a “near miss”. A heart-stopping situation when his or her life was in danger, whether inside or outside the teen’s control. A “near miss” looks different for every family. This could be a suicide attempt, a car accident, a drug overdose, a medical issue, or many others.
(This is an honest writing of my feelings on that day and not intended for children to read.)
When I got the news one of my teens had a near miss, my first reaction is one of ridiculous selfishness.
I am mad that my days plans are ruined. Heck, my whole week probably. (My whole life?)
I am utterly, absolutely crazy mad. Strings of swear words I normally don’t say just spew. I swear. I swear more. I text curse words to my husband. I bang things around. I am fed up and anger pours forth.
We have given this child absolutely everything. Every opportunity. Every chance. Every possible coping strategy. No, of course our family isn’t perfect. We have our stuff. But this kid has a pretty f-ing damn good life. Damn good. What is so bad about our life to resort to THIS. THIS?! Come on!
Our child wanted to get our attention — and got it. Seriously got it.
Then, I feel the fear. The. fear. It comes crashing in very very very fast. It sinks down deep into the heaving pit of my stomach, hard and rock solid fast.
Lightening quick, it’s gone again.
The anger returns, sweeping up fast, and together with it a new, aching dark void.
The aching is — I don’t want this. Please, please make this problem go away. Can this day go away? Is there a way to somehow change this?
There is no changing this.
Now we must go and do nightmarish, hellish things I seriously do not want to do. My mind sorts through organizational, methodical carefully planned methods. Planning is my go-to. Surely I can right this wrong with enough tightly crafted intricate detailing.
It’s no use. I cannot organize this problem away.
We must go and deal. We must face doctors and hospitals and insurance and many decisions. And questions — oh the invasive question upon question that screams in our faces, “You suck at being parents!!!”
I want to stop these medical people. I want to hold them by the shoulders and say — “Wait! Look me in the eye. Look at us. We are different, you see. Can’t you tell?”
The professionals, they are…professional. They are not especially kind, not especially unkind. They are doing their jobs. We are not different. We are no different from the hundreds of other families they see over the course of a month, a year. In between us, we hear them chatting in the hall about vacation plans and who gets the next lunch break, as our world breaks to pieces.
How dare they seriously even.
I want to be different. What is different? I think of families that sit around drinking massive quantities of beer, collect unemployment and watch porn in the childrens’ presence. Aren’t those the types of families that have these problems?
Aren’t teens from troubled families the ones that go to these near-miss extremes? Not ones like ours. Not ones like mine.
Yet here we are. Here I am.
Reality comes in pieces. The first punch hits later while I’m in the shower. I hold onto the wall as huge gulping sobs overtake my whole body.
Today could have been so different. Why was I so angry?
There are parents who experience such a different day — a totally, completely different day.
We could have been planning a funeral today.
Oh my great God in heaven, we could have been planning a funeral today. How do you even plan such a funeral? Who would have done the servi… STOP. Don’t think it. Don’t even let your mind think such things.
Sweet Jesus forgive me for my anger. Be with those parents. Comfort them in their grief. Forgive me. Thank you for the gift of life.
Whatever we have to work on, we will do it. We will work through it. We will support. We will comfort. We will encourage. We are all here. We are safe.
We are alive.
Today’s near miss with our teen could have been a totally different day.