I have permission to tell his story. It took a year and it took us coming to the understanding that while he wants to forget it, his mom can’t. Because it isn’t just Boy’s story. It is his family’s story. A beautiful and funny family who are far from perfect and who are struggling intensely while managing to keep their heads above water …
Until they no longer could and they crashed into an abyss.
I asked the oldest sibling if he minded if I told their story because even though it is Boy’s it is also his … He appreciates I considered his feelings, since many forget it is his story too. He doesn’t want to talk about it. He wants to forget and move on. I get that, but sometimes the story needs to be told for everyone to be able to move on. He grudgingly understands some can’t heal until they can tell their part. I respect his side won’t be told until he is ready. We have an understanding.
So what is this story?
It is the story of a boy unlike any other. A boy who is a super hero, his greatest strength also being his greatest weakness. That is his story … His strength becoming his weakness.
Boy was born on a cold winter day and with the great capacity to feel far more deeply than most humans. This may not seem like much, but don’t underestimate the power of feelings.
Boy’s empathy is so great that even as a tiny toddler he would cry and ask his mom to save all the orphans. Heartwrenching sobs for vague humans he never even saw a picture of, but knew existed.
Boy has struggles in life; his world is black & white but the real world is full of grey. He doesn’t understand grey, but he feels it into his bones and because of that he struggles. He is a warrior and his mother is his guide.
It is this deep empathy though that also created Boy’s biggest struggle because his feelings and emotions manifested so deeply into him that he would personalize it and own it in his soul. And there began the struggle …
You cannot speak words into Boy without his heart and soul immediately claiming them as truth. This means that as a child he was funny, loving, energetic, smart, and all the beautiful words parents tell their children. This also means that as Boy got older he clutched onto the words of others including stupid, slow, annoying, trouble, liar, gay …. words that weren’t true, but he owned them as his because in his black & white world why would anyone tell him things that are untrue?
The worst were the words from trusted adults. Yes. Adults. Adults whose only job was to love him and show him Christ’s love. The task they had wasn’t hard, yet they met him with judgement, unkindness, and even disgust. They believe so deeply in the lie of complete conformity that they were unwilling to see the beauty of differences. So instead of helping him blossom they crushed him over a period of months until he exploded.
During this time Mom saw and tried to make it better. She tried to get the adults to see. She tried to create positive change. What she missed was the internal struggle in Boy was terrible, like gnashing teeth against his soul. He became irritable, irrational, and even mean.
His brain finally told him “The world is better off without you.” And in that moment he walked upstairs, closed his door, and tightened a belt around his throat and pulled until he collapsed on his floor.
His mom was sitting at her desk. Something in the air was off. She could feel it. The aura of the house was different. Her heart was pounding and she didn’t know why. She got up and walked straight into Boy’s room, hitting his head with the door as she opened it because she didn’t know he was laying there. She remembers she felt terrible for opening the door on him. “Oh my gosh, Boy! Why are you on the floor? Are you ok?” And she grabbed his shoulder and turned him over and saw the belt.
And she screamed.
She screamed and screamed and screamed and her fingers fumbled horribly with the belt until she got it off.
He had a pulse still. Faint. But it was there.
And the oldest was next to her and she was screaming and he was pushing his sisters down the stairs so they wouldn’t see.
I won’t tell anymore of his story since he wants to forget it. I respect that. But know he was there. He saw it all. It hasn’t been an easy year for him. His story is his to tell if he ever decides he needs to and not for you to ask him about, but know he was there and he saw it all.
There were so many police and she just kept apologizing. She failed. She failed at protecting her family. She failed as a mom. She kept saying “I am so sorry.” Her husband came home from work and the ambulance took him and Boy away. And she apologized. “I am sorry we inconvenienced you. Yes the rest of the kids are safe. No we have never had a problem like this before. Yes we will get help. I am so sorry.”
She made her way to the hospital. She knows the roads well enough that she can’t remember how she got there, but she did …. And she apologized to the desk worker for not knowing where her son was and to the nurses who took care of Boy and to whom ever would listen to her pleading voice asking to be forgiven for failing.
Boy survived. He got help (that continues even now) and some days are still rough, but he is a warrior.
Mom … well, some days we still wonder how her story will end …