As the days pass and we creep closer to Placement Day, I am discovering that there is no protocol for telling the world that your child is entering residential care, permanently. How exactly does one go about this? Do I make an official announcement to the Bishop and Relief Society President? Do I post about it?
This is all very new and weird and uncharted. And not only for me, apparently. I asked the pediatrician if he has ever had one of his patients enter residential care before. He hasn’t, until Jack.
My mother-in-law wondered, astutely, if Jeff and I might face PTSD after the placement and as we try to move forward. “You’ve lived in crisis for so long,” she said. When that constant, heightened state of anxiety and stress changes, how will our psyches respond?
The answer is not yet clear.
(Now I’m going to do what I tell my writing students to never do, meaning drop a cliché, unironically). Here goes:
Time will tell.
Clearly the only thing to do is give it time. Wait and see (there I go again).
Meanwhile, I want to plan that Disneyland trip I have longed to do with the boys since always. I don’t care if Disneyland is crowded and exhausting and corporate and cliched. It is the symbol of “normal family” vacationing, which for us has been unreachable, and I want to take my boys there and make memories not associated with violence or limitations. It might feel like a victory.
Jeff and I have goals for working with our other guys on some things that have been neglected in the name of survival. Things like trying more foods and reading.
And we are going to do something terrific for our twentieth wedding anniversary this year.
All of this will take time, and I’m not in any hurry.
Naps will be called for.
Grieving doesn’t stop overnight, I am told. I am going to have to demand patience with myself, and others’ patience with me. I will need to allow myself space to feel awkward about our new life.
Perhaps I will post about this unlikely journey. I’ll do it If God tells me to, which would be the only scenario in which I could stomach the Judgy Judgertons of the world taking note and weighing in.
“Don’t blog about it if you don’t want people to know,” ye olde Judgy McSmackfaces might contest. But they, bless their blackened hearts, aren’t in the arena.
Anyone inclined to condemn this decision hasn’t lived our life for the last thirteen years, and therefore knows nothing (Jon Snow). They haven’t been privy to the steady conduit of revelation that has accompanied the trauma, and which has featured God leading us through all the trials to this point.
I talked to Fred and Shirley before sacrament meeting today. They were astonished at the speed at which everything is happening. “We held on so tightly, for so long in an impossible situation because what else could we do?” I told them. “And then everything boiled over/reared up/came to a head and we said, ‘Here Lord. Take it. We hand all of it to You. We Need You.'”
In a classic Shirley response, she countered, “And He probably said, ‘It’s about time.'” This is why I love her. She’s the embodiment of honesty.
But truthfully, I don’t know if God was waiting for us to turn it over to Him. I have been praying for years for clarity and direction ALL THE TIME with what He would have us do for Jack. And, miraculously, I always got an answer, albeit a temporary one. We always found our way to the next step, the next not-permanent solution. We always had just enough strength to get through whatever fresh hell we faced at that moment to find a bit of relief in the next medication or the next caregiver or the next behavior intervention. These were stopgaps, but I suspect they weren’t designed to last. They were bridges across the chasms. They were bringing us to this point.
The Spirit told me, this spring and not before, that this is the right time for Jack to be settled in a new place where his care will be consistent, and where his needs will be met. I try not to argue with the Spirit. If the Holy Ghost says it’s the right time, then it is clearly the right time.
When you know that God created you and your family and the world you live in, when you know He loves you because He sent Jesus to be with you through all of it, and that He wants to help you and He always HAS helped you, then you (meaning me) trust His timing and His vision. The End.