So, the sleepless nights have returned with a vengeance. I thought I was done with all that.
I thought we were on the brink of all kinds of good stuff. Maybe we are, maybe we aren't.
I have never been a fan of ambiguity except in literature. In life, it sucks.
Here's what we know: Benjy is languishing in the step-down (non-locked) psych unit of the hospital. He has now been there longer than anyone else. Kids come and they go. Ben stays.
He said to me the other day, "I have been here longer than anyone now."
I said with a smile, "You are the elder statesman of the CBAT."
He said (without smiling), "I guess I struggle more than anyone else."
That broke my heart. I tried to explain to him that right now the hospital is a placeholder until he can start his new school. So he doesn't have to sit home in sad isolation, filling the emptiness with food and video games.
That, Readers, is the path to Hell. Trust me, it is.
I tried to tell him how much the hospital staff love him. They truly do. They are anticipating his departure with sorrow, but also with joy, They want him, and they want him gone. For his own sake.
And this beautiful thing we thought we had lined up? Well, it may be. But now we see that it may not.
Words were spoken to several of us in the past couple of weeks -- to me, social workers, SPED administrator -- that strongly suggested this placement was a go. We all assumed things would move fast. I thought by end of this weekend he would be settled in this place he is DYING to be in, He LOVED it when he visited. So did we.
And we believed he did an awesome job at his visit there early this week. It was overwhelming to be sure, but he was just his sweet, good self, and apart from not making much eye contact (hell-o, Asperger's!) he acquitted himself quite well.
At least that's what we thought. And we are quite aware when the opposite happens. We are no deluded parents,
But suddenly there's this radio silence. All attempts at contact are failing. And we heard something from someone (but not, as far as I know, a decision maker) that made me run for the white wine last night -- a remedy I have not attempted since my GI tract blew up in January. I took a few gulps of 3-Buck Chuck and wished I hadn't.
It may still work out. I pray it does, because if it doesn't another long slog begins. And I have no idea how we'll all survive it. I am not speaking metaphorically, either.
But look, here's a dose of perspective. A couple of weeks ago a little girl entered the psych unit. She must be about five. Benjy told us about her.
"Her whole right side is broken and bandaged. Do you think she fell off a horse?"
Uh, I thought. Not likely.
One day some of the bandages came off. I saw her, I saw her exposed hand and arm. I saw there were still plenty of bandages left. And I gasped.
Because half of this tiny child's body has been burned.
Benjy realized it too, as soon as those bandages came off.
He whispered to me, "Do you think she tried to commit suicide?"
And I paused and squeezed my eyes shut. Then I looked at his sweet, concerned face and I said, "No, Honey. I don't think that's what happened."
Because five-year-old girls don't typically self-immolate. At least, not intentionally.
I asked Ben once if she ever has visitors -- parents, friends, whatever,
He said no, not as far as he knows.
That is the saddest story I have encountered through six intimacies with the psych ward. That one just fucking kills me.
I want Benjy to have a home that works for him. And a school where he can learn and grow. But most of all I want him happy and safe. I just WANT him. I want to keep him forever and ever, until I am no more. And then I want him to go on until he can slip gently into that good night.
I don't think that's asking too much, do you?