Happy Birthday, Son

Seems easy enough. Saying happy birthday to your child. It dawned on me the other day, that his birthday was coming up. This sounds so weird, I am sure. It sounds weird to me to almost not remember your child’s birthday. But, I can’t tell you the last time I was able to send a card, or call or see him, on his birthday. He might have been 11 or 12.

I can hear the wheels turning. “You can’t remember?” No, you see, drugs have ruled his life for so many years, he is now in prison.

Not one time during my years of formal education, was mental health and wellness brought up. Not one time. I had child development classes and spent years studying and teaching children with special needs, NOT 1 time. Nothing to discuss our own mental health and well-being before we ever get with another.

We didn’t have internet to discover and understand and how to deal with mental illness and what “it” looks like and feels like. I am so grateful we have a group of people that said, “THIS IS ENOUGH”. No more silence, no more hiding and sweeping “it” under the rug. We have a crisis on our hands and it has been allowed to breed and fester and create massive chaos in our lives. No more making excuses.

Only through acceptance, love, understanding and compassion, can we as a Nation begin to heal. It starts with the family. I am lucky, you see, because my son is alive. I can still say “happy birthday” even if I can’t bake him a cake or hug him, today. I still have a chance. He still has a chance. Today, I am grateful I have the opportunity to wish my son a happy birthday.

Let’s work together to fight addiction, build bridges and support each other. I have no answers, and I know how hard it is to watch and “see if this is the time he stays clean”, only to have your hopes dashed, yet once again. Don’t give up, don’t give up and just keep praying for them and loving them until they can love themselves.

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