Thursday, December 30, 2010

How to Save a Life - Conclusion

As of tomorrow, it has been one month since my son was discharged (AMA) from the Aurora Hospital for the Psychiatric treatment of children.  When I left the hospital the night of his restraint and sedation, I told him he was stronger than he knew.  I told him he had the kind of fight in him to beat this.  And within 48 hours he had proven his stability, his stamina and his determination.  They had no choice but to release him, back to my care.

As we left, I used my cell phone to take photos of the conditions of the facility.  Just because my son had to endure this, didn't mean other children should be subjected to it. As the last photo was taken, I was caught by one of the nurses.  She charged up to me and told me I wasn't allowed to take photos.  Other staff members rushed to the scene, calling security, threatening to take my phone.

I asked them if they cared enough to let me report the conditions, to let me champion their cause, to allow me to shed light on this so I could cause change, funding, books, games, cozy chairs and real beds to come their way.  They defended themselves.  We have books for him to read.  Okay, please show me exactly which books you feel are in his best interest.  Would it be the Golden Book series or perhaps Dick, Jane and Spot that would appeal to him more? 

I was then promptly escorted out by security with my cell phone evidence firmly in hand.

Over the past month, I have seen a remarkable, if not revolutionary change in my son.

Here is the main thing.

He smiles. 

The angst, the confusing rage that had suffocated him for his entire life has been replaced by a logical thinking, loving yet still feisty and opinionated pain in the ass to his sisters, but nonetheless happy little boy. He is thriving on our structure, committed to his school work and looking forward to all of our winter plans, including family game nights, sledding, ski lessons, band concerts and lots of sleepovers at our house with his buds. 

We have come to a place where he can talk to me about missing his dad.  He has opened up and allowed me to assure him of the good things he and his dad had and will always have.  He finally laughs at my silly jokes, cuddles with me, lets me stroke his hair and listens to reason without rage.  He has accepted my love, my encouragement and my boundaries.

But most of all.

He smiles.

The smiles of a boy who finds joy and happiness in the everyday, mundane, silly life. 

The very same life he wanted to end during the darkest of days, restrained in tight leather bands, pleading for someone to end his life, hoping to kill everyone who put him there, lost and confused by the abandonment and betrayal he had suppressed.  His scream was released to the cold, black sky until it was all gone. Just as the sky had rejected my scream, it opened up and swallowed his, capturing the desperation and placing it in the only place such ultimate pain could go. Back to the beginning, to the primordial scream.  To set the universe right, returning him to me whole - for now, lest we forget, we have many roads yet to travel before we sleep.


  1. OH, Ang! What wonderful news! That had to be a heartbreaking decision to make. I'm thrilled he's doing so much better. I hope that the risks you took to help the hospital pays off ten-fold! Love ya.

  2. Wonderful news !!!

  3. Blessings in abundance for all of you this new year!

  4. Such a wonderful post. For content, certainly. I am beyond thrilled for this outcome. You changed the trajectory of his life. You changed his life. So it to be hard, such change doesn't just come with words or in simple ways. Noes for sure in a thousand simple ways. But to derail him from the dark and angry direction and rotate him toward love and light took a huge mechanism full of squeaky metal grinding gear chugging rotation.

    And this post is so painfully beautiful.

    Do you know the conductor you are?


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