A Turning Point

Turning points—those moments we can look back and pinpoint as a moment that made a change in our lives happen. An event that occurred September 15th was a turning point in my son’s life and yesterday was the culmination of that moment.

Yesterday was filled with emotion………and it was the beginning of what I pray is a new start, a new chance for a change in life direction and hope for the future, which seems a little brighter than it has in the past year.

The events yesterday, really began months ago…..actually years ago with the struggles my oldest son has endured throughout his life. I wrote about those struggles in my blog post It is Time to Start the Conversation and those struggles with mental health illnesses, including addiction, continue.

Yesterday was a culmination of a series of events over the past couple of months.

And it started with a phone call on a Saturday morning…..a phone call resulting from my text message to my son, who had been gone this time for a week…..a week in which we had no idea where he was or how he was. And he wasn’t answering our calls, a sure sign that he was not doing well with his addictions. So, I texted his phone, threatening to have it shut off if he did not call me that morning……..and then the phone rang, his picture and number popping up on my phone……..only it wasn’t my son on the other end, it was his friend. He wanted me to know that he had my son’s phone and that they had been separated from each other in a town two and half hours away from us. And he wanted me to know that he had finally discovered that my son had been arrested for drug possession, two days prior and that he was released from jail the night before in a town fifty miles from where the friend was.

Now I was worried.

I knew my son did not have his phone, money, or his car. And he was in the middle of nowhere. He did not know our phone numbers, so I did not know where he was or how he was doing.

Worry really set in.

And then an hour later, the phone rang…….a number I did not recognize. I answered, fearing the worst……and then I heard my son’s voice.

He sounded pretty shook up. And he told me that the police had confiscated his prescribed medication……how that happened along with why he did not have his car is another story for another time…….and the police refused to give him any of his medication. This is a medication that when he goes without it, leads to seizures and can have life-threatening consequences. He had been without his medication for 3 days by this point. And when he was released from jail, it was night…..with no car, no money, no phone and suffering without his medication, he had nowhere to turn.

So he spent the night in the cold sleeping behind a gas station near the jail………THAT visual, now more than a month after the event, still haunts me.

But even worse is hearing him say that he was in the emergency room…..the gas station attendant had called an ambulance because my son was having seizures…..on the concrete……….behind the gas station…….ALONE. THAT visual, THAT thought is difficult for me, even now a month after it happened and if I allow myself to spend too much time thinking about him in that moment I will lose it……my tears won’t stop.

He then said he wanted help and wanted to come home.

So, we headed out for the over 3-hour drive to pick him up at the hospital and then the over hour drive to get his phone and things from his friend and then back home…….7 hours on the road that day……..and when I caught myself getting emotional, I held it back…….forced myself to NOT go there……not yet.

That night, behind a closed door, I let it all out.

And then began a month of learning, roller-coaster emotions, and seeking help for my son.

I have learned a lot this past month………some I never wanted to learn and some I wish I had known years ago.

Our mental health system is broken.

Help is hard to get for those with no money and no insurance. And addiction is a mental health issue and help is difficult for those with no money and those with co-occurring disorders.

I spent hours and hours on the phone trying to get him into an inpatient program……..sadly we could not afford the tens of thousands of dollars those programs cost. And with no insurance, my son could not get into one of those programs. And government assistance does not cover the programs that help with his co-occurring disorders and most of the government covered treatment programs are outpatient.

Yes, he is getting help now. Slowly….one-step-at-a-time.

And we are doing the best we can to help him.

But it is his life and his choices to make…….something difficult for me to let go of. I am his mother. I just want to make it better for him……but I can’t. And the helplessness is difficult to deal with, weighing heavy on this mother’s heart and soul.

Yesterday, my son and I spent the day back in the town where all these events occurred over a month ago. And he stood before the judge, accepting a plea deal that will have him on probation for quite a while and require him to complete a drug treatment program. His dreams of moving away are on hold for now.

The emotions of this past month threatened to bubble up and escape as I sat in the courtroom, listening as the judge read the charges against my son……….

And then relief settled in……he is alive…….something I am not sure I would be saying if he had not been arrested. I believe that God had a hand in answering the prayers of my husband and I and that this arrest, on that day in September, is why my son is still here. He was headed down a dangerous road and now that he is sharing with us what has really been going on, I am so thankful that this turning point occurred.

He is ALIVE! I still have my son. And today……right now……I know where he is and how he is.

This is a new start for him, a turning point in his life and an opportunity to get help and to start LIVING because the past year, especially that past 6 months, he has not been living……..he was very lost.

We don’t have all the answers. And we may not be handling things perfectly, but we will keep seeking the answers to our questions and keep seeking the help our son needs and that we need. We will take it one-day-at-a-time, realizing that this is a journey and that it has been and will continue at times to be 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

And we will continue to love our son, unconditionally, praying daily that this works, that this is the time in his life when he will become the person he was always meant to be, that he will find peace and happiness.

And we know that no matter how bad things get, there is ALWAYS hope. ALWAYS!

We just have to take the leap, trust, have faith……and just breathe.

Fall Memories of Mom

My husband and I heading to the game


Growing up in Washington and Oregon, I knew it was fall because the weather cooled, the leaves changed and the wind came. And fall meant football was on the television every Sunday.

Now, living in Arizona, I know it is fall because football is back on and pumpkin spice is everywhere!

I love fall. I love all things……well most things……pumpkin spice flavor. And I love football, a love I get from my mother.

My mom grew up in a time when women didn’t really watch football……that was for the guys. The men watched the game while the women sat around………mostly in the kitchen……gossiping and eating and cooking. But not my mom. She watched the game!

As a child, every Sunday mom took my sister and I to Sunday School and then the rest of the day was for her to watch football on tv. That was in the days when more than two games aired……there was a lot of choice for her as to which game she watched. Sometimes I watched with her and sometimes I went outside and played. But the memories surrounding those fall Sundays have stuck with me……as I got older I paid more attention to the games and to who my mom was rooting for.

We didn’t have a team in the Pacific Northwest for her to support until 1976 when the Seahawks formed. So, mom did get to see the beginning of a team I have supported since the start. Mom would be amazed at how far our team has come through the many years.

Super Bowl games were a big deal for mom. She always had her team and cheered them on during the game, though she was never quite as loud as I am during the game. The last Super Bowl mom was alive for was the Cowboys vs Steelers game. I remember that game and the day as if it just happened. Mom loved the Cowboys. And she wanted them to win. So, of course I had to watch the game with her and cheer for the Steelers. I cheered loudly, jumped up and down when the Steelers scored and gloated when they won. Mom let me. I think she was just pleased that her love of the game had rubbed off on me.

I have loved football ever since. And I love it the most when my team is playing. Mom was quiet in her support, muttering to herself when her team didn’t do well and quietly celebrating their victories. I don’t remember her ever jumping out of her chair to celebrate and yell in frustration. But I do those things. I have been told I am quite entertaining when my team is playing…….mom would laugh at that and would not be surprised by my exuberance.

Football brings back wonderful memories for me, of my mother and time spent with her on Sunday afternoons.

Last night I thought about my mom a lot as I sat in the Stadium here in Arizona and watched our team play. I felt my mom there with me. She would have loved being there, watching our team play and hearing the fans supporting both teams. It was a crazy game, but mom would have loved it.

Football means fall is here.

And football brings warm, fun, loving memories of my mom.

And memories are what keep her alive for me and allow me to feel her presence……still…….here with me.

My BAM! Moment

I have heard many others say and I have said many times that Weight Watchers meetings are where the MAGIC happens! And I truly believe that meetings are magical! I have learned so much as a member and as a meeting Leader, from those who attend the meetings. And I have watched in awe as a member reaches that AHA moment during the meeting…..yes, meetings are where the MAGIC happens.

And that is part of why I still attend meetings as a member. I really feel that I am a member first and then an employee. And I still learn so much in my meetings……and THAT surprises me. I don’t why it should surprise me, but it does.

I was not able to attend my regular meeting the past two weeks because of life (yes, life happens) and when I miss my meeting my week seems off. So, I needed a meeting this past week.

2 days ago I walked into a meeting as a member. And I am so glad I did! It was EXACTLY what I needed in order to have that realization moment….that AHA!

Life has been emotional, difficult more often than not lately, stressful, frightening…..and when life throws those curveballs at me, my response is to find a way to escape, just for a moment where I can breathe. My escape is sometimes, though not most often, in the form of my last blog post—Make Your Heart Feel Good Day—but mostly that escape is in the form of mindless television, food, writing, and games on my kindle.

So, there I was in my meeting, listening to the leader and the members talk about fitness/activity…..ugh…..not my favorite subject, though I know I HAVE to do it! There it was……another chore…..the way I view fitness and approach fitness…….a chore. And ANY excuse will get me to put off getting my exercise.

So, I listened and then a gentleman talked……and he shared how he had to change his mindset about fitness. I was really listening……you know, the kind of listening where you lean forward to REALLY hear what is being said…..He shared that he had to start thinking about fitness the way he does work……we don’t get up one morning and decide that we just don’t feel like going to work today, so we are going to stay home, or suddenly in the middle of the day decide that we are too tired to work anymore and go home to veg……We can’t just put off work for ANY excuse or just because we feel like it, so he decided that was how he needed to think of fitness……as a job that he couldn’t just put aside for ANY excuse.

BAM! Hit me upside the head!

Yes, I needed to change the way I think about fitness.

And on my drive home, I did just that. By the time I reached home I knew what was going on and how I needed to change it.

My half-marathon training took a turn when I hurt my back and of course, THAT becomes an excuse to NOT go out for a walk/run. And like I said earlier, life has been difficult…..it is still a rollercoaster of emotions and events and the LAST thing I want to do is add another CHORE to my day, my week or my life……I am TIRED! I just want those small moments to escape……..and that is what fitness can be and is……..On the drive home I realized that fitness, my walks and runs for training for the half-marathon can be my escape. My time walking and running can be ME time…..time to pray, to converse with GOD, to talk to myself, to think, to plan, to contemplate and to just escape with my music and myself.

So, two days ago my mindset about fitness and my training was that it was a CHORE and after the meeting my mindset shifted and I now look forward to my time walking and even running…….it is my escape from reality!!

I am excited and ready to do this half-marathon!

Weight Watchers meetings really are magical!!