That is until I saw my 24-year-old son standing outside at the Intensive Care Clinic. There he stood, alone outside of an old red brick building, his head down but the look on his face causing the collapse of the soapbox I'd mentally been standing on. As tears began to well in my eyes, I fought against the overwhelming grief that threatened my ability to be his safe haven. Struggling with unbearable sadness, I looked into the face of my son and gave him a smile -- hoping to erase the look that no parent should ever have to see. The face of severe mental illness.
My desperation turned into a shake and a hamburger and fries, along with a DVD that we'd seen a hundred times before. Home and Dane Cook - his two ports in the storm. Grateful to hear him laughing, I silently wondered what else would ease his mind as my eyes took inventory of a home that becomes a of house of horrors when the voices take over. Quietly tip-toeing into another room, I reviewed the strategy list and suggestions from his counselors. Reading through the many pamphlets and handouts, I listened to a growing silence from the living room. Fighting a surge of anxiety, I stepped into my bedroom to calm a rising panic attack. Several minutes later, attacked abated, I gathered my courage to face whatever was waiting for me. Walking down the hallway, I made a silent promise that together we would face his demons and banish the voices that continued to promise him harm.
We have much to be judged on when he comes, slums and battlefields and insane asylums, but these are the symptoms of our illness and the result of our failures in love.