Today as I left the house for work, my eldest son told me he was going to kill himself. Why? His GCSEs are looming and it had all got on top of him. On this occasion I’m glad to say, it was a false alarm, but we have faced this situation many times in the past few years, some occasions more threatening than others.
So, how does one deal with the terrible, heart-twisting threat that one day you might come home and find your teenage son, who you love to the ends of the earth and back, has carried out his threat? Do you stick like glue to his side, day and night, watching him eat, sleep and live, not allowing your watch to slip for fear of the result? Do you give in to his every request, no matter how bizarre, afraid that the one time you refuse will be the one that tips him over the edge? Do you tiptoe around his moods, softly, softly, not wanting to be the one that pushes him to the very limits of his anger, pain and sadness? Do we stop living and hold our breath…just in case…?
I don’t have a definitive answer, but I do know that my lovely, tall, handsome boy has come frighteningly close in the past, and gradually, as the threat count mounts, to save my own sanity, I have come to terms with the possibility that one day he may carry out his threat.
I have seen the horror in peoples’ eyes when I have occasionally shared my thoughts with the closest of friends; those who won’t, and don’t recoil at our contact for fear the darkness might infect their own children. Sometimes, I fear I will be complacent; that my son will threaten so many times that it will become familiar, and familiarity will dull our senses. These people, my friends, keep it real with the horror in their eyes reflecting that in my heart. I can’t risk being complacent, or one day I might miss something important.
I know and my son knows that I love him more than I could ever express in mere words, and that we, his parents are doing the very best that we can.
All I can hope for, is that doing our best is enough!