This has been a week of emotional ups and downs. Living with addiction makes me guarded. I am so afraid to hope sometimes. I know that this journey is full of forward motion and slips backwards and it makes me weary.
My youngest daughter graduated from high school this weekend. It was a bittersweet weekend, but one we looked forward to celebrating. My son had just been hired on a job that can be a career. It is actually an apprenticeship. My son has hope and pride for the first time in such a long time. This warms my heart. So we were looking forward to this celebration with lighter hearts than we've had in a long time. Saturday was the baccalaureate mass and my son had to work. I was upset that he would miss this event.
My daughter has had a series of health problems which have given her wisdom beyond her years. She is now healthy and so this was truly a celebration. This would be a time for us to forget the worry we've been carrying around for the last year, actually years, and savor this day. Deacon got up to give the homily and when he began by asking the graduates to consider their every decision and gave an example of where a series of bad decisions can take someone with a bright future, I knew where this was going. There it was....the wet blanket of addiction, dropped on our shoulders on this day we had looked so forward to. Deacons younger brother died from a cocaine overdose. He talked about how this affected every family member in such an enormous way, and he is right. But, today, selfishly, I didn't want to be reminded.
My husband was very upset. My daughter was angry. I felt like waving a white flag. Addictions tentacles are always reaching far and wide stealing so much from families. Deacons message was a good one. And, if even one student really heard what he had to say, it will have been worth it. But, for us, it was just a reminder that we're not home free. My son is doing great right now, but he has to get more time under his belt.
I wish that every person understood what families that deal with addiction endure. From those casual comments about "stoners" or "dope heads" to watching those who seem to succeed so easily not understand that the addict has lost his ability to choose. From those who are so quick to bad mouth to those who smile and say they understand but really don't. In the day in and day out, on top of dealing with life's hardships we still carry that worry. And, from what I've heard from others who are farther along this journey, we will always worry.
I am tired. I am beyond tired. I know I should be grateful but today I am a little short on strength. So, I will say a prayer of Thanksgiving for my son's new job and the light I find in his eye that I haven't seen in a really long time. I pray for strength and endurance and vision. And, a prayer for you, Henry.