Tuesday, July 24, 2018

When Dread and Relief Collide.


It sits on my chest like an elephant and consumes my thoughts, both waking and sleep, and it sticks like glue; dread has become part of our everyday.

Generally, dread isn't part of our happy- just the hard, hurtful, painful and inevitably sad things that we know are in our path.

Today, dread and relief collide. Today is July 17, 2018.

For weeks, Rex and I have dreaded how today would play out; weeks that included multiple police visits to our home, several Emergency Room assessments, discharges and ultimately a hospital admission. Weeks of crisis intervention and a child who continued to spiral out of control. A child we no longer recognized and feared.

Today, our son will be discharged from the hospital, spend several hours alone with us in the car, endure a tedious admission process and then say goodbye. It is in the admission and goodbye, where we find the relief.

He was waiting at the door at six am ready to go. He would have preferred going home, but that wasn't possible. Not now. So he made the best of it. As we drove up I-81, Fear is a Liar began to play on the radio. Tears began to fall as I sang "it will rob your breath, stop you in your tracks" and he took my hand. He told me it would be okay. My 13 yr. old son who days before proved we were not safe in our own home, was comforting me.  That is part of the confusion of parenting a child with complex trauma. The words they say often don't align with their actions. And as I heard the words, "when he told you- you could be the one, grace could never change" I wondered, again if my son would ever be able to recognize and accept that grace; but because of our own trauma and hurt and exhaustion, on this day I didn't care.

Our family is desperate for relief, a remedy, removal of oppression.

I was driving home from the beach this past June when this scene caught my eye- it was hauntingly close to how I was feeling. I turned the car around to take this picture.

The two trees in the middle look like they are surrounded by vibrant, green trees but in reality, there is a great distance between the two and the hundreds of trees in the background. The dead, fallen remnants of what once lived seemed to almost swallow up the tall but so very thin tree.

I was this tree.

I wasn't sure how I was still standing; surrounded by many but so alone. Loss of hope nearly swallowing me alive. So fragile, fearing the next storm could easily break me.

We pull into the parking lot at Grafton, gather his things and we take a family picture. It is our stone of remembrance because this is part of our story, not the end.

Elijah, me and Rex,  7/17/18

Dread brought us here.  Dread of the hours upon hours of physical aggression and confrontations. Fear tells us that hope is gone. Statistics tell us that that our son may not be healed. Dread tells us that no matter how much we love him, he has needs beyond what we can safely provide in our home.  And that is a dread that no parent wants to experience. Dread that in trying to "fix" our mentally ill son means losing another. Losing us. Dread in making this decision that we know is right, but feels so wrong.  Dread of the enemy because he lies y'all,

And that tree that was so close to breaking back in June- there were more storms. Oh so many, and the storms broke that tree. Shattered actually.

I am that tree. I am shattered. 
We all are.

So many prayers were answered on this day- and in looking at those answers we find relief. Relief that we were able to transport him from the hospital in our own car, without incident. That the time alone with him was sweet, tense and sad, but sweet. Relief in feeling confident that the facility itself its a safe place, with caring staff who specializes in complex trauma and here, our son will be offered the highest level of care.

Today, we left our son in a psychiatric residential treatment facility. He will live here, go to school here, get medical and psychiatric care here. He will have a team of people who will do what we cannot here. And we desperately pray, he will find healing here.

Today, dread and relief collided. Relief that with time our family will heal. Dread of the days ahead and the pain and confusion and guilt and fear and all the lies the enemy will tell us to keep us broken.  Relief that our God is the Great Physician and He doesn't despise the broken, but binds up our wounds.

This is a painful post to share and we don't know how our story ends. The enemy wants us to be embarrassed and ashamed. He tells us we have failed. He tells us that real love would never send our son away. He tells us there is no hope. He tells us we are quitters.

He lies.


  1. It is because of your love that you made the decision you did. It is because of your love that you knew it was time for a change, to help your son, and to help your family. I'm sorry your heart aches every minute of every day. I'm sorry your mind is consumed with unanswered questions and wondering what the future will bring, and I'm sorry you're weary. You ARE strong. Like that tree, you ARE still standing. You ARE one in a million. You ARE loved by many.

  2. That's right. The enemy lies. And the miracle comes in many different forms.

  3. Continued prayers for peace and comfort to my sweet friends. God will be with Elijah, He desires for him to have peace and strength through Him. Your efforts and love are not wasted, and will always point Elijah to our God of Grace. Hugs my friend.❤️

  4. Hugging you and adding my prayers to yours.


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