Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shame - A Battle For My Son

My conversation with my sister had been brief. I needed to get Justin home so we could talk. When I turned to head toward the door I had a thought. I stopped in my tracks and turned back to my sister. I asked, “Can you do one thing for me? Would you please go tell Justin if Jerry ever does anything he should not, ask him to tell me.” My request seemed to hang in the air and I was unsure if she intended to leave it there. She gave an unconvincing nod. Without explaining anything to the rest of my family I took Justin out the door and walked slowly on the path which led to the car. My sister came running outside calling Justin’s name. She took a hold of him and looked him in the eyes. She told him exactly what I had asked. I was so grateful. I knew that was hard for her to do and I felt like she did it for me. When she said it I hadn’t realized that it was another twist in the combination which would open my son’s heart.

Justin and I didn’t speak on our short drive home. We left my mom’s house with the sun still shining while it rested on the hilltops but by the time I pulled into our driveway ten minutes later it had dipped itself behind the mountain as if to evade what was coming. The house was dark. I walked in, turned on a soft light in the living room and asked Justin to sit down.

I made my voice as soft and tender as possible, doing my best impression of June Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver. I wasn’t accusing or argumentative. I was still somewhere floating on a cloud of peaceful oblivion. We talked about the pot. He explained they had done it three times. He told me Jerry kept his stash in the DVD box and on top of his brother’s play structure in his back yard. He seemed scared as he told the details. I appreciated his honesty. I explained there would be consequences for the drugs and to my surprise he rattled off what he was willing to do, a list that placed him in servitude for a good portion of his fifth grade year. Drugs are serious and he needed me to make a stern statement against them but his consequences were over the top. It made me wonder if other drugs were involved. I sat him on the coffee table in front of me, eye to eye of equal height. “Justin, they are going to have Jerry take a blood test. Is there anything else that you need to tell me?” I gently asked. Justin looked horrified. I can’t explain what I saw in my son’s eyes at that moment but it was like everything he had been enduring bubbled up and rested in two blue pools. His voice was trembling while he asked, “Everything?”

He began to cry.

Still oblivious to what was happening I thought it was more drugs but I didn’t question.

His crying was now beginning to steal his breath as he tried to get out what had sunk from his eyes and now had a grip on his chest. “Mom, it has to do with the bed,” He said.

Swept away in my mind’s ignorant diversion, I connected what he was saying with my marriage of twenty years. I had learned in the last six months through lie detectors and counseling that my children’s father is a sex addict. He is addicted pornography and masturbation. I let my experience with his father turn me sharply off course and foolishly I assumed he was confessing that he masturbates. This was just another idiotic moment on my part. He is nine years old for God’s sake. But my mind was carried away in a thousand conversations which ended with a relieved chuckle. I took his hands into my own, continued with my gentle mommy voice and said, “Oh honey, that is normal. Sometimes boys play with themselves. I want you to know that it is suppose to feel good but it is also designed to be shared with someone you love and hope to spend the rest of your life with. It feels good but when there is love it is the best thing in the world.” It sounds so cheesy now as I scramble to recall exactly what I said but sitting with his hands in mine the words seemed perfect.

All this talk and the pot smoking was just the thunder before the storm. The flood gates opened. Justin began to sob. He got up, threw himself onto the adjacent couch. He grabbed the blanket laying there and hid himself just as the sun had done earlier. The hands wrapped around his chest appeared to tighten their grip. His breathing was labored. He buried himself further under the blanket and cried.

Why was he hiding from me? I accepted what he said. I had not judged him. I tried to make him feel normal and yet he was reverting before my eyes to the helpless infant that I once coddled in my arms. Then the horrific moment spun out of control. Like a vacuum, I was sucked from everything I once knew to a world full of fear and pain. I sat helpless and exposed as out from under the blanket a third being appeared, not a person with flesh-laden bones but a presence which was undeniable. It was a monster so grotesque I wanted to run away but it held my son as its captive. I felt the need to fight. I needed to muster up the strength to delve into what was in front of me. I finally had a glimpse. For the first time I knew. My stomach turned and my heart raced. I sat immobilized in the dimly lit room and across from me was this beast. I felt powerless watching the way he freely encircled my son and devastated as his name rolled off his tongue with a hiss like a serpent, Shame.

5 comments:

Lauren W said...

Wow. You are so brave to put this out there. I cannot imagine your pain and horror and fury and (because you're a mother, not because I think you did anything wrong) guilt. I'm not big on posting but I check your blog every day. If you can write it, people will read it. Keep up the good work.

Mom Who Hurts said...

Lauren,
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your support.
MWH

VKT said...

My heart hurts for your precious son! I can't imagine how difficult this is for you to write. Blessings!

C said...

Hello, first of all, I want to thank you for your visit to my blog, and I thank you for your comment, also. :) I am thankful that you appreciate my writings. :)

Now... it is very hard to read the things that you write. I think that is because your pain is felt through your writings, I can feel it strongly, and it is very evident, and frankly, I can just imagine murdering anybody who would even think of abusing my son.

So.

I have no words to say to you, aside from to let you know that your pain is definitely felt. And...always, always fight back.

Mom Who Hurts said...

Thank you so much for your comments. It is hard to imagine. I would say the same thing before I knew. It is a tough journey.

MWH

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I am an average mom who loves her kids. I never thought it could happen to us but it did. My son was abused. Words to live by: Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.