The Holidays with my Son behind Bars.
How will I survive without my son? My heart was so broken. I missed him so much.
You are never prepared for the separation of a child and when they abruptly get arrested it shakes your whole world. I saw the signs of abuse. How could I reach him? What did I do wrong?
When my baby boy was born in “Fishersmens Hospital ” Marathon, the Florida Keys he was so beautiful and he was my baby. Even though I was still a baby myself at just 18-years-old. What did I know about raising a baby?
All these thoughts came back to me when he was arrested… My son, arrested for breaking into houses? His addiction had driven him to become so reckless. This was so difficult to deal with, I felt numb. This is not my life. So many tears…I had extreme panic attacks. I would call the jail and ask if he was still there. I know they thought I was crazy and really at times, I felt it…
But, life had to go on as I had 3 other children, a husband, and 4 grands. I could not escape my reality and so I had no choice but to face it. I tried to live a new ‘normal’ even though I couldn’t believe this was my life. The will to live and be there for him when I did get to hear from him was a reason to hope. I have been a believer since I was 19. All I knew and had been taught was being tested you could say my faith was on trial.
Did I really believe He will make a way? I pressed on and worked through my fear as it turned into courage to stay in the faith and I refused to check out. When we spoke on the phone I knew he would respond to the tone I set. So I wanted to be able to be there for him. It was breaking me while at the same time giving me the courage to stand knowing he was counting on me. In this dark season, as painful as it was, a shadow of death we walk with one who never leaves us. Despite the initial doubt, in the end, my faith grew in this season.
So, how did I walk through the first holiday? I cried all the time. As I learned to grieve and work through the fear He gave me courage. Some days I was angry at him and myself. But, as I allowed myself to grieve it became hope and I knew to be kind to myself, welcome and accept the grief and not numb the pain.
We always said we would share our testimonies when he got out. Something we always looked forward to and dreamed about as it gave us something we could hold onto. My son is passionate and loves people. We talked a lot about his gift to encourage others and realized that actually, the jail may be a perfect place where he could share his passion for others. We knew one day we, together, would get the opportunity to share in our passion for others while sharing his journey in hope of helping… Through this time of healing, we processed many things and our bond grew.
If you are facing the holidays with a child absent I know the pain. You may feel numb, hopeless and even at times have little desire to live. I had all those felling’s and it was the crazy grief cycle of ‘will this ever end?’ One day at a time.
Maybe you are sitting on an ash heap, broken over your child and their choices. Please remember that there is hope. We must look at the scars and the pain it has caused us and accept those marks, do not deny or avoid them. This will help yo heal. Feeling it and getting it out brings healing and growth and leads you to a new life out of the pain. It is a restoring process and it takes time.
He was my hope. I would find scriptures and wrote letters to my son and tell him about my day it was an expression to share my heart and connect with him. I prayed and sat in the ash heap and began to rebuild my life one day at a time. I gave myself permission to be gentle and kind to me. Take time to be away from the pain by sitting with a friend or do what makes you feel alive again. I would listen to music and read the word and pray.
If you are the mom that feels shame and guilt. I assure you, you’re not alone. Grieving the loss of a dream we had for our child and all the plans we thought they would accomplish does take a near-death blow. I found out as I healed from lost time with him that I could only count the days until his release and vowed to heal so our relationship would be far greater than if we had never gone through this together.
Hurting mom rest, take care of you and do things that will give you an outlet. Focus on a new hobby, take time away, any way to find you again. A load of sufferings has the ability to bring the greatest beauty and treasure. After the storm, you see the blessings. Healing and grace for a NEW DAY.
‘”I will restore” Joel 2:25 – Hosea, it says He will be a door and an anchor of hope.
If you are a hurting mom there is support. While I am still healing myself I lead a group for hurting moms. It is a safe and judgment-free place to be with other hurting mom.
Come and join the healing journey with us. You matter and are worth the journey.