The last line of my book is this (no spoiler alert necessary, don’t worry):
I am proud to be his mother.
The question you may want to ask, now that Ben has had his first relapse since 2005: Are you still proud of him?
My answer, of course, is a resounding yes.
It’s harder to get in touch with the glow in my heart right now, I admit. That’s because there’s such a big knot in my chest when I think about the fact that Ben is currently starring in a rerun of his last relapse in 2005. Back in the same hospital, looking at me with suspicion instead of warmth, stubbornly insisting that his success of the past six years had nothing to do with Clozaril. He doesn’t like the way it makes him feel, he says. He is willing to try something else – that, at least, in an improvement over last time – but I wish he’d just skip all the trials that we know from experience don’t work, and just go back on the meds that do.
Expectation is the enemy. Time to regroup. He has come back to us before, and he will again, I tell myself. It’s just a matter of when and how. At the Connecticut NAMI annual meeting last night (what good timing, to reconnect with the NAMI community), I was reminded that the road to recovery is full of such detours. So I adjust, and advocate, and wait.
Yesterday a letter came in the mail for Ben. Now the master of his privacy, I open it and discover it is yet another letter of congratulations from his college. He has made the Dean’s list once again. Was it really only one month ago that he was handling final projects, a new job, four recovery meetings per week, his chores at his group home, and packing to move to the new apartment that was the biggest agency mistake ever?
Yes. It was. And that person is still in there, still my Ben – just hidden behind the voices once again. Temporarily, I hope and pray. We’ve been here before, and the clouds have parted, eventually, each time.
As an astrological psychic (don’t ask) once reminded me, “It’s not your journey, it’s his.” I will do everything in my power to get him back on the road once again, but he must somehow point his own feel in the right direction.
The letter closes with this, from the Dean:
“I send you best wishes for the future, and my hopes that your recent success will be followed by a lifetime of equally satisfying accomplishments.”
Yes, please. Please.