Many of you have been asking how we are doing. Thank you. We have really appreciated the prayers over the past year more than you will ever know.
We are at 11 months, 3 days; counting down the days to the one year anniversary of Isaiah taking his life. It is hard to describe the range of emotions over the past year. Losing a child to a tragic accident or illness is terrible. Losing a child to suicide seems so defeating and so unfair. In any death, the mourners go through a number of journeys. You get through the first night, the first day, the first week, the first month. And then it begins to slow down. You click off the monthly anniversaries for awhile but they begin to fade in time. At eleven months, the original emotions begin to fire up again while waiting for the big anniversary to arrive. One year. We’ve made it through one year. We think about what we were doing a year ago and question if we could see it coming. For me, I just want to get past this date. I want to put it behind me so that my conscious level of events will call down again.
For the readers who don’t know us, let me give a very BRIEF summary of events. There are too many to list in detail. We adopted Isaiah from an orphanage in Guatemala at the age of 8 (although he turned 9 a week after coming home). He was a bright, happy child with amazing soccer skills and a good work ethic. We had gotten to know Isaiah over a couple years in the orphanage and that helped with many of the transition issues.
I’m going to jump ahead three years. Isaiah was now twelve and overall was doing well. We went to counseling most weeks and we were trying to deal with his anger and bad attitudes at home. Outside of the home he seemed well adjusted but we were beginning to see signs of trouble – stealing, lying, anger, frustration, depression and an unhealthy attraction to girls and pornography. We began tightening the controls but he was always able to get around them.
Violence entered the picture that year as well. The first time, he pushed his mom down. The second time he punched a hole through our bedroom door. We continually found knives in his room and once we found a 24 ounce bottle of gasoline in his bedroom along with lighters. He began making threats of suicide along with warnings of “this will get worse if you don’t let me . . .” There was a night of stone cold drunkenness that ended in the ER for the night. Evaluations by a psychiatrist and medication for mood swings, and court ordered rehab. Running away was becoming standard along with stealing from friends and neighbors to get on the internet. Grades were going down. Flags were going up everywhere that this was getting worse.
We looked into adolescent facilities, boys camps, counseling, therapy, etc. This part of the adventure may be several blogs in the future. If you haven’t experienced it, don’t.
In May of 2013, Isaiah hit his mom in the face knocking her down unconsciousness for a moment. I ran and picked her up. One side of her face swelled to the size of a lemon and then turned black and blue for about a month. A tooth was broken and possibly a broken bone in her face. We were already on a first name basis with all the police in our town and our other son was becoming skilled in calling 911.
A month later the police were called by our next door neighbor who came home and realized that someone was in their house. This arrest landed Isaiah in juvenile jail for 3 weeks and house arrest for a couple of months. Needless to say, none of the bad behaviors stopped – the stealing continued, running away, lying, porn, etc. They didn’t end with jail or court ordered counseling and testing.
I can only assume that Isaiah’s world was spinning out of control. He still seemed happy at school. He was still trying to play soccer and he wanted to try out for wrestling later in the week. On his last day he had a good day at school and came home happy. He announced that he was going downstairs to do homework. That was the last time we heard from him. He texted an unknown girl on another stolen Iphone that he was “going to jump in 3”.
What brings a person to this? What demons were fighting in him that were so strong that he couldn’t win the battle? Those are questions that we won’t answer until we go home with him. Isaiah was a believer. I stood with him when he dedicated his life to Christ. I don’t understand it all and maybe I never will.
Back to us – since this was his act by choice, we have had a lot of anger against him. But anger isn’t the only emotion either. We have many of the usual mourning emotions. Lately I have done the double takes when I think that I see him only to realize that it is another boy that looks similar. But there has been a lot of relief as well. Anyone who has to care for a special needs child knows the day to day burden. We couldn’t leave him alone. There was constant stress and anger in our home. There was concern, alright fear, for our safety. It was a 24/7 burden that appeared to have no end. We were tired to the point of exhaustion but didn’t realize it until it was over.
In the end he stated “I don’t want to do anymore harm to this family. It is just too hard. You don’t know what I have been through.” No, Isaiah we don’t. We miss you and our home is not the same. We have a lot of freedom now and the daily stress is gone. It’s not what we wanted and I don’t think its what you really wanted either but this is the reality that has been given to us. We love you and long to see you again.