Update: Boarding the plane in LA, we knew that our son had left the facility. The nearly four hour flight home was filled with many thoughts, but I must tell you--we felt a foundational calm and peace about what had transpired. I know, that I know, that I know....this peace was from God....because of your prayers. This has been a very difficult journey, one we had to travel for God's work to unfold. You have blessed us beyond words with your comforting words, encouragement, support....and most of all...your prayers.
Upon landing in Minneapolis, while waiting for our luggage, we learned that, after spending the afternoon away, our son had returned to the treatment center and had been invited to "sleep on" his decision there. Although he felt abandoned and betrayed, he would sleep safely and the Staff agreed to help him process his options the next morning. We! Are! So! Thankful!
Since that time (Thursday evening) we have spoken with our son and it has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride! One moment--he agrees to stay, the next--he is not. I have discovered, however, as I reflect on his positions and attitudes, that he is, in fact, making progress!
No doubt, you have heard of the five stages of grief or loss: The Kubler-Ross model identifies five stages:
Denial: For our son, this was his inability to realize that we meant what we said, and said what we meant. Previously, however, we had taught him by our actions, that if his crisis would get significant enough, we would bail him out. THIS CRISIS, him being left with only two options and he chose the one that dictated he would be left in California to his own means, felt huge to him. And we did not respond in our typical fashion. He could not believe, refused to believe even after we were home that this was happening. Our earliest phone calls with him on Thursday and Friday represented that remaining denial (and shock).
Anger: After the shock, came a calming numbness--and then came the anger. Saturday afternoon's phone conversations represented raw anger. While we risked being devistated by his anger, we listened and hoped that once he worked his way through this understandable anger...he could get to a different place of understanding.
Bargaining: This is almost more difficult to hear than the anger! When our son entered this stage, it is so tempting to fall back into our old ways of enabling. "If I do this, will you help me?" "If I promise this, can I come home?" "How could you do this to me, I thought you said you would always help me? You would always love me? What do I have to do for you to love me?"
Depression: "O.k., I'll stay here, but it's not gonna work. Nothing ever works; I'll stay here alright....I'll do what you've blackmailed me to do...but it's not gonna work, nothing ever works." "My life sucks, I don't even care anymore." "I'm just gonna go to my room and stay there until this month is over." "What am I gonna do in 30 days? It doesn't matter any longer."
This stage is also a difficult stage to hear.....unless you understand....there is progress being made! In reality, it was only this afternoon as my husband and I were traveling to our cabin that I realized our son was moving through---step by step---these five stages of grief and loss. His world was shattered on Thursday morning as we drove away. We had never before "abandoned him." We had never before lied (by omission) to him. We had never before "betrayed him." The rollercoaster ride of telephone calls we had been enduring....actually was taking him someplace....he was moving towards acceptance.
Acceptance: "Dad, Mom: I've decided to make this work. I will stay; I've been talking to the Staff and they have assured me that this process will work; so I'm going to try."
My son, the young man who gave up so long ago on even dreaming of finding an answer.....has agreed to try. Yes, he's moving forward.....he's making progress....and these are just his first steps into the process. Yes, it has been painful, and the journey no doubt, has more pain in store for each of us. But I believe this: these first steps are the most important and I am praying that God will continue to shine His light on each step along my son's path (Psalm 16:11).
"God, You are able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think, according to the power that works in me. Ephesians 3:20"