I don’t even know how to begin what I am about to write. I guess the only thing I can do is just start and see where I end up. I woke up this morning, and something inside of me just broke open. I am shaking my head right now because life is just so nuts. Before I go any further, I just want to make one thing clear. I am not writing this for attention. I don’t need sympathy, and I don’t want pity. I am writing this post because, at the moment, it is the only way to get this out.
I am writing this post because I am a mother. I brought children into this world, and they are the greatest gift I have ever received. I might not remember what I ate yesterday, but I remember the smiles on the faces of every single one of my babies when they were born. My children are my heartbeat and the greatest gifts I have ever had.
I lost my firstborn child when he was 20. As the oldest of five children, he was the one who helped out when I needed more hands than the two I have. The kids and I were a surviving unit. As a mother of five kids on my own, I truly did not know how I was going to make it, but I did. Unfortunately, I had to give up my son. God took him. How that happened is still pretty much a mystery.
I’m going to get to my point here. I have another son and three daughters. We have all gone on with life, but we have all been hurting inside. The loss of a child or sibling is a severe pain to bear, especially after all we survived together. I still remember my younger son’s face the day of my firstborn’s funeral. He loved his brother so much. They were ten years apart, so my son’s brother was the only other male he could look up to in a house full of females. I will never forget the day my son’s big smile turned into tears. I am not sure what my heart was broken about more; losing a son or watching my other son hurt too much. All of my children have hurt, but I feel like my younger son hurt even more for some reason.
He accepted drugs in response to his pain. I’m sure his pain was numbed for the moment, but a drug and alcohol addiction that evolved out of control occurred. It is hard for a mother to watch her child harm his life, but I know no matter how much I have ever hurt, he has hurt more. His addiction landed him a prison sentence, which he has done most of.
He was placed in a state prison he should never have been in due to the risk of becoming ill with a disease that comes from the soil in that region. He has been very sick. I know he feels like he will never recover. He has fallen in his cell due to weakness, has had pneumonia, has hardly been able to be in sunlight, has been at risk of being hurt by others, and has been subjected to the trickery of those who cost him more prison time.
I want you to know this has all been a helpless feeling; to have a child, who is an adult, go through the things my son has endured. Yes, he has done a lot to himself, but he sure did not lack help in the addiction department. Addiction does not survive alone. It always has its accomplices. I am a minister and a believer of a higher power whom I call God. So, therefore, I have prayed as hard as any mother could possibly pray. My son remains sick, fearful, and not able to even deal with the addiction he went to prison for. People go to prison because of a crime they committed as discipline for that crime. They call it rehabilitation, but that does not happen, at least not from what I have seen. Regardless of what any individual has done, they do not go to prison to become sick with a disease they will never recover from. I have written to the President of the United States. I have written to the governor’s office of the state. I have written to the ombudsman of the prison system. I have written the state’s congressional representative, the state senator for that region, and those I thought might help. I have contacted an advocacy group on my son’s behalf and even the medical department of the prison he is in.
Nothing seems to help. So I keep on praying, sounding like I am alright, and moving on with life, telling myself that faith is going to have to be enough. I have isolated myself personally because of the painful part inside of me just can not take one more person hurting me. Yet life goes on. I tell myself I have to keep on going, and the rest has to be left up to God.
As I said, this morning, I broke. It’s not like I have not cried before because I have. I have cried loudly and out of pain, frustration, and anger. I want to tell you something. I absolutely HATE drugs and addictions. I have watched the people I love the most have their lives destroyed by drugs and alcohol. I don’t know the reasons why, but some can handle them, and some just can not. I think it is all a toss of the genetic wheel, maybe with a little human pain thrown in for good measure.
I dedicated my life to helping others, teaching others, showing what faith is, teaching lessons, and learning more so I can teach, counsel, and do more. We all have a purpose. Right now, at this very moment, I am the one who needs help. I need my son to receive the care he needs and the attention he needs to get out of that dingy prison cell and be helped into a life he can thrive in. I think right here; I might add that I have not been able to hug my son in 8 years. He has been locked up for most of those years, and the time before that, he was addicted. I left the state. My mother’s heart can’t take any more from anyone at any time.
It’s a helpless feeling, having to be strong, moving on in life, and have this painful heartache inside that says life will never be alright again. Grief does not end when we bury our loved ones. I already know that love can not be healed. Love is love. What we do is keep our loved ones close in our hearts, and we come to understand the heart and soul of a human being is where heaven is because that is where we hold our dearest loves of our lives.
It’s a helpless feeling to have a son, a grown man now, locked in a cage where no one will help him. It appears that all that happens in our prison systems is to put drug addicts away until they become hard just to survive. Addiction is a disease that is passed down through genetics, and it is one that is systematically reinforced by others who are addicted or sell drugs. It’s a vicious cycle.
Of course, I have blamed myself. I know deep inside it is beyond my control, but I still blame myself. It does not help that others have blamed me too. It’s sickening; all of it. Our country needs more addiction recovery programs. We need to stop condemning those who are addicted by locking them up and throwing away the key and start teaching them how to live with an illness they did not ask for and yet have to live with. We all live with it. Sometimes we die with it.
I smile, I laugh, I have good things that happen in life. I have moved forward, but a massive part of me feels stuck and broken. I know this is how every mother feels when their child has struggled with an illness they can not control. It controls them. It controls everyone it touches. Believe me; it’s hell.
Thank you for putting up with my long written broken vomit. Excuse me here, but there is no other way I can describe it. For those of you who have gone through the same, I am sorry. I wish you the best solution possible and for healing. For those of you who have received my letters and cries and yet have done nothing, I am sorry for you.
Today, just Jenine