Swallowing the last sip of a stiff drink, I dragged my body off the couch. Walking toward my bedroom, I stopped in the hallway to notice the open door on the left. Looking into the darkness of the room rendered me breathless for a moment, and I slowly turned to avoid the sight.
While brushing my teeth, I looked in the mirror and decided another night without washing my face would be justifiable, so I turned out the light. When crawling into bed, I looked once more to see the darkness in the open room, but my husband had already closed our bedroom door.
Turning toward my husband while he prayed, I tucked my hands between my thighs and curled into my weary body. As he finished, I quietly whispered, “he’s all alone.” My husband’s hand touched my body as he replied, “You can cry if you need to; it’s okay.”
With that, I sobbed myself to sleep.
Standing in front of the mirror yesterday morning, my eyes fixated on the smeared mascara. I was startled by a ruptured blood vessel bleeding into half of my eye. Sadness and angst had taken a toll on my body, and my eye told the story of my heart.
I am the woman who left work on Sunday and called her husband, only to hear the beginning of a rumbling between her two sons.
I am the woman who received a text that her husband had elicited help from a friend to handle the struggle in her absence.
I am the woman who met her son at her friend’s house, at the end of an exhausting workday, while he was still raging and unstable.
I am the woman who listened to her friend’s concerns and appreciated her presence.
I am the woman who asked her son for permission to touch him, only to have him yell at her in confusion.
I am the woman who created safety for her son to return home and find nourishment in a comfortable space.
I am the woman who asked her son if he needed to be evaluated by a crisis assessment team.
I am the woman who listened to his concerns and answered his questions.
I am the woman who walked with her son out of their home and drove him to a children’s mental health hospital.
I am the woman who waited in the lobby with an anxious son, desperate for help.
I am the woman who filled out paperwork and answered the questions of the assessment team.
I am the woman who listened to her son’s story as he shared with the doctor and nurse.
I am the woman who scratched his back as they waited.
I am the woman who heard her son say that he was worried he might harm himself if he went home.
I am the woman who listened as the doctor explained what it would look like if her son was admitted to their facility.
I am the woman who heard her son ask if she would consider letting him stay.
I am the woman who said yes.
I am the woman who received his smile and gratitude when he realized someone had heard his cry for help and he was safe.
I am the woman who walked with her son toward his hospital room.
I am the woman who watched her son anxiously ask when he could take a shower and see where he would be sleeping.
I am the woman whose son turned to her and said, “Thank you, Mom. I love you. Goodbye.”
I am the mom who held back tears as she told her son, “I love you, and I’m proud of you. Work hard.”
I am the woman who walked down the stairs and out the door to her car after being stronger than she knew was possible.
I am the woman who drove home alone after her son was admitted to a pediatric mental health hospital after attempting to harm himself and threatening to harm his brother.
I am exhausted. I am hopeful. I am grieving. I am relieved. I am shattered. I am thankful. I am brokenhearted. I am the woman who…