Friday, December 29, 2006

I Asked for a Brick and You Gave Me a Wall

When Mark was in high school, he was the perfect student, until the middle of his junior year. His grades began to slip and I caught him smoking a cigarette. Now, Mark has had asthma since childhood, so this was a really dumb choice on his part. We sat down and had a very adult discussion about smoking and covered all the who, whats and wheres. I got the promise from him that I wanted to hear, but as I watched his back leave the room, I knew at that rational moment, he was really on his own in the world and he would begin to fully pay the consequences for his choices. Oh, I still had the power to restrict him, but I couldn't follow him around all day long giving him advice about each and every choice. This is a moment that all parents have. We know when it happens for each child. The largest apron string gets cut and we feel it. This is when we playback our prior parenting skills and either have faith in how we raised them or realize we needed to be a little tougher. Either way, it's too late, at this point it's done and they are ushered into the big responsibilities of mature situations. This happened for me with both of my children. The moment arrived at different ages for each one and the scissors came out at the beginning of some 'talk' that is necessary and cut that extra fat string by the end of it.

Who does it hurt the most?

The evening that Marks was cut really hurt because he was my first born and I wasn't expecting it. I ended up on my knees praying a parent like prayer for him. I remember crying a lot and feeling the separation when all of a sudden a seriousness fell over me. It was like God Himself was asking me if I really meant everything that I had just prayed? If I was prepared to go the long haul? Did I trust Him with my son? Could He do whatever it took to get Marks attention?

Now, I'm not saying that I think God brings horrible tragedies into our lives as tools of instruction, but I know that things happen to all sorts of people and these things do get our attention and I believe that God helps us to gain the most out of each situation. So I, with a little trepidation, gave Mark completely over to the teacher called Life. I remember holding out my hands, imagining Mark in the center of them and lifting him up into the Universe.........and then being scared sh%#less for the rest of the night.

Update #16 ~ Today when I walked into the ICC, room Mark looked extra vulnerable. He was ashen in color and I could feel him shaking under my gloved hand. His eyes were closed and his brow was furrowed. I looked questioningly at my husband and he said, "Mark has to do 'the chair' any time now." Mark opened his eyes to look at me and I tried to smile and I felt my lips quiver. He whispered, "I should have d//d" (I can't type the word) "Don't say that honey!" I began brushing his skin with a cool wet rag and asked him to focus on his breathing. I quietly hummed "Close to You" (by the Carpenters) a song we used to sing everyday, while driving to school. The nurse was drawing blood, checking the mass of tubes coming out of his body, in every which way and Mark said to me, "Mom, I want you to go, I don't want you here for the chair, it's going to be ugly and I don't want to have to worry about you.".......gulp....I sucked in as much air as I could because I knew I wasn't going to breathe while my brain tried to fully comprehend what he just said to me. It was another moment. He wanted to protect me from his agony! I have stopped typing and I'm balling into my hands, alone sitting on my couch, imagining....God knows what! Every ounce of me wants to take him back, put him back into my womb and keep him safe from all this. I wwant to go back to that night and say "NO!" to God/Life/the Universe and make this nightmare go away! My son, this... Man, wants to shelter me from having to witness his most agonizing moments and there is Nothing I can do about it! Are you listening to me? THERE IS NOT A DAMN THING I CAN DO ABOUT IT!

I can't type anymore


Blogger Sheila said...

I hear you Darlene. He is giving you something back here. He is hurting but he is thinking of you, what does that tell you?
He is also trying to take back some of his dignity, give him that gift, along with all the other precious gifts you have given him..xx
And know that he asked you to do this,because of his love for you.

8:16 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

I wish I could wrap you in a hug. I don't know what else to say but that.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Teresa S. said...

Uggg--yeah God has heard you! You tell Mark you can handle it! You can take seeing him in pain, as a matter of fact you want too! You feel it anyway, whether you are in the room with him or not. It doesn't matter where he is or where you are, you feel everything.

We let go of them and cut those ugly apron strings, but yet we don't. Do you know what I mean? Mark sounds tired and weary, but he has a mom who will not let him give up. You will stand his ground for him and fight for him no matter the situation. He will rise above this because of you, your faith, and your love.

Love ya Darlene, I don't mean to sound harsh, but I think I transported myself into your situation for a minute, and if it were me I would fight like no other, just like you are. Those first born boys, man what will we do with them? They are kinda stubborn, yes? :)

Hope you get some peaceful rest and remember tomorrow will take care of itself.

Lots of Love!

8:35 PM  
Blogger dd said...


just don't know what to say, wouldn't know what to do in that situation myself...stay or leave...knowing me, I would leave so my son would not be worrying about me when he has to focus on himself...but I just don't know...big hugs for you...

8:40 PM  
Blogger Jerri said...

It is a dilemma worthy of Solomon, Darlene. We can all tell you what we think we'd do, but what does it matter?

Listen to your own heart. Trust your instincts. Recognize the tremendous love you've instilled in this young man and rejoice in his concern for you. Then do what you believe is best for Mark and for yourself. Your wisdom shines through your posts. Try to have as much faith in yourself as we have in you.

Peace. Love. Hope.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Big hug. Keep breathing. One moment at a time. Cry, cry, cry. Then take a shower and try to sleep. Trust.

Sending you so much love.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Dotee said...

Oh Darlene how much Mark must love you to not want you to see his pain. I am continually filled with admiration for this young man, and for you - dear, loving, brave Darlene.

Wish there was something I could say to take away this pain.

Just know that I am here , on the other side of the ocean, sending out as much love and healing as I can.

You are an amazing person Darlene, so warm, loving and wise. I know you will do what ever is right, whatever feels right.

9:13 PM  
Blogger amy said...

It looks as though your parenting skills have worked.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Chulita said...

What a precious gift he is giving you! He wants to protect you from his pain out of the enormous love he has for you. Both of you would give your lives for each other, so let him do this for you. Let him be the man he needs to be and accept his need to shield you from his pain.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Shaz said...

His LOVE and Strength has been instilled in your young man from your Heart and Strength, your Faith and your beautiful soul.
He has as much Love for you as you do for him and I can relate from both sides.
I used to worry and still do about my mum when she worries, I personally find it easier not to have her around while I am in pain. I like to be able to cry and suffer with out her worrying about her and I have always been like that.
On the other hand my heart is breaking for you as I know if it were Kyle I would want to be there no matter what also.
Only you know what is right for you but have faith in Mark and his choices he has shown you so much strength as you have him, he will ask and always be honest because he trusts you the hardest part will be trusting him (especially now)
Praying for strength for you sweet friend.
Love Always Shaz xxx

9:52 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

i can't pretend to know what this feels like for you or for Mark. i am so sorry that it is hurting both of you so deeply. i have been in a similar but different situation in a hospital bed and made the same request of people who loved me. i did it in part to shield them but mostly to focus all my energy on what needed to be done.

your son sounds like a strong, compassionate man. the lessons that you've taught him and those that he has learnt through his own explorations will guide him.

take care,

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear are not carrying this alone...we are here...we are here...we are here...all love and blessings...

10:48 PM  
Blogger bronxbt said...

.... and the teacher becomes a student.

-- love you D


10:58 PM  
Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Dear Darlene,
Lance and I just read this together, both sharing in the experience as you've written it. Both drawn in and bound to the experience as parents and friends.... There issomething you can do -- HOLD ON.
We are here with you. There is no requirement or detail needed ... You are his mother, that is all you need to be. We are with you in spirit as parents, and as friends. This too shall pass. Love, JP

11:00 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Oh, but that is a good sign, I think, Darlene! he is feeling strong enough to want to manage, and understand his limits. He knows it would be too hard to see you seeing him in pain, and in order to deal, he is understanding what he needs! See? That is a good sign. And also, what a son you have raised... A loving heart, even now. :)

I think Shella is right, too. That a man needs to try to be a man. He has needed his mom, and he will need you again and again...For now, in this moment, he needed to try and be strong by himself.

Now you stay strong, too. We are here for you.


12:22 AM  
Blogger Julie H said...

Oh Honey, all you can do is to pray.

What an amazing young man,he is at a point in life where he has no control - oven even basic life functions - and yet e chooses to use the one decision, the one point of control to protect you.

Darlene this is proof of the amazing job you have done as a Mum.


12:23 AM  
Anonymous ceanandjen said...

Sweet Darlene~ I started to write a very long comment regarding this and decided that it would be better in an email...and so an email is coming.

I am still holding you in my heart and prayers...many times per day....

Love to you,

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm not a blogger but i have been poking around blogs i find they can help (don't feel i have anyone i can talk to but many problems) mostly noticed your comments on other blogs always kind and so considerate. it would seem to me that your son takes after you in that respect...he knows how much pain, sorrow he has caused for you and he cant bear to make it any worse or to have to deal with his own pain and still be as strong as he needs to be if he knows his moms heart is breaking, yes he still needs the hugs but he also needs to be a man i think he's having his own apron string issues, i know it would be difficult for me to feel i was causing my mother pain when all my fantasies were about repaying and honoring her for her love and devotion with all the physical pain and trauma he is in maybe that is just too much for him right now... i would say be patient and give him room maybe sparing you from what he can is the only comfort he can give you at this time ,i know it hurts me to see/feel your pain and i am a complete stranger can only imagine what it does to him 'cause the strings never really break they just get harder to see

1:52 AM  
Blogger EsLocura said...

I have been lurking around your blog for ages and am overwhelmed by your beauty even in the face of this tragic event.
“When you get to the end of all the light you know and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.” Edward Teller
Sending love and light

2:22 AM  
Blogger Nic Bridges said...

Your painful story says two things to me today, Darlene. First, that you have raised a strong, unselfish and caring young man. And secondly, if he is able to see past his own suffering enough to recognise your pain, he is beginning to walk that long, long road back to health. Hugs from across the globe, to you both.

2:52 AM  
Blogger bb said...

You know how much I am thinking of you both everyday, Darlene.

love you x x x x x

3:06 AM  
Blogger swirlyange said...

Sending you both love and healing....each and everyday you are in my thoughts.
Much love,

3:42 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Well done Mark! Another step towards you regaining charge of your life.

Darlene I can't begin to imagine how you find the strength to put one foot in front of the other - after what has been a brutal and exhausting week for you and your family. Don't forget to care for yourself and get some rest - it's okay we will all keep vigil on your behalf - it's what friends do.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Wow. You have raised a strong, brave, and loving young man.

You are such a good mother.

((Holding him in the light)).

4:47 AM  
Blogger LDahl said...

Hand in there momma!

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Paris Parfait said...

Darlene, so sorry to hear of this. But the fact that Mark is being so strong and wanting to protect you from witnessing his pain surely means he's fighting. And he's going to beat all these challenges and heal, one day at a time. Love to you and your family.

5:28 AM  
Blogger alison koh said...

i don't know what to say... just that you and family will be in my prayers. *hugshugshugs*

5:34 AM  
Blogger magicaldamselfly said...

I hear you Darlene and I fully understand your pain. Mark knows you love him and because he loves you equally he wants to protect his "mommy" from the pain he knows you are feeling.
God loves you both and he has plans for Mark, just as he had plans for my baby brother. The angels are there with Mark as God is but remember they are also there with you as well so lean on them and lean on us as we too are here for you.
You, Mark and your family are lifted on out stretched arms. Lifted up to the Universe in prayers of healing and strength.
Know that you are all loved!
Many prayers,

6:06 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Ah, Darlene. I have no advice to offer, but I'm sending you my love. {{{{{Darlene}}}}}

6:41 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

My heart just aches for both of you. But what a wonderful, loving young man you've raised, that he's concerned for you now when he's suffering so much. That love will protect both of you and stay strong throughout all of this.

With continued love and prayers...

7:06 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

You cannot type another letter because you have said all you need to say. It is painfully, yet gloriously enough.

Based upon your comments prior to Update #16, you should not be surprised by Mark wanting you to leave. It is a mark of his knowing the proper thing to do--protect his mother from more anguish.

The reason he has not left you yet is because he still has more to do to accomplish his life's mission.

You can rest easy, you have done a great job as a mother.

Later you will share this with him. And you will both be even closer and stronger for it.

7:17 AM  
Blogger bee said...

oh, sweet heart. i don't know what to say. i can't imagine what you're going through but if you need me i will be in spirit beside you, slipping my arm around your waist so you can lean. {{darlene}} oh, honey, i love you.

i'm sending you and mark love and healing, as always. an email is coming.

7:32 AM  
Blogger LEstes65 said...

Sending you my daily love and continual prayers.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Fern said...

I am sending you a big ((((((((((hug))))))))))).

7:51 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Thinking of you still...that he is looking to spare you shows what a beautiful human being he is. Honestly. It just does. Whether or not you can let him will depend on how you feel...mothers have very real needs too. I am continuing to send strength and peace to you all!

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Dale Smith said...

There are no words.

With love...

8:09 AM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

Darlene - What an amazing son you have raised! I have no doubt that you both will walk this path and be stronger in the end. I agree with what others have said in letting him "manage" this issue. I can only imagine how frustrated he must feel that everything must be done for him at this point. Honor his desires and wishes as much as you can as this will feed his worth and significance the breadcrumbs it needs now to make it through this situation.

Continuting to pray for you all . . .

8:34 AM  
Blogger Sauntering Soul said...

I am continually amazed at the strength both you and Mark show throughout this. And I am continually amazed at your ability to put all of this into such eloquent and beautiful words. I am not a mother, but I know exactly when "the moment" was for my parents with me. I think it was equally as difficult for me as it was for them but perhaps it's extremely naive on my part to think that.

I don't know what else to say. Sending warm, big, tight hugs and prayers to all of your family.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Ok... Thi comparison is probably a little strange consiering it is TOTALLY different... but bear with me.

Each of the three times I was in labor I had my babies at home with no drugs or anything. During most of my labor I wanted my husband near, and my midwife near. But... When it came time for the real work, time to actually get down to the business of childbirth I would make them move away from me. My midwife would sit across the room from me, and my husband would either sit behind me or near me but not touching me. I knew their support was there, but I could NOT do it with them too close. It was just something i had to do on my own. I even banished my own mother into another room in the house, close enough to watch but not close enough to touch. I appreciated them being there, and being close, and I appreciated their support. But on this one part of it I needed to focus all of myself into the task, and it would have been too difficult to do if I was worried about how they were all doing.

I wonder if Mark is doing the same thing... Maybe he just need to focuse all that he has on this right now, and he knows it will hurt you to see it.

I doubt that helps much but it was all I have for today.

Love to you!!!


8:49 AM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

I'm humming "Close to YOU" Do you believe I have that album? It is all the sweeter now since your post... Sending LOVE and prayers, we are out here for you and MARK, let us know if you need anything else, your family is in my thoughts during the day and into the night XOXOOXXOOXOXOXO

9:28 AM  
Blogger Shari said...

Everyone has said or repeated the same things I would say to you.

God doesn't give us more than what we can bear.

Thinking and praying for you and your family.

Take care of yourself-Mark needs you healthy, too.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Libbys Blog said...

What a wonderful job you did raising your son. Even when he is in such pain he thinks of you, and that is such a rare gift nowadays! Wishing you and your family well xxx

9:51 AM  
Blogger Trish Ryan said...

Wow, what a painful dilemma. All your years of praying for the type of man Mark would grow up to be - strong, brave, capable. But when we pray those things, we never think about a scenerio where the answer could feel like such a knife to the gut, that in the midst of such obvious weakness, Mark would be strong enough to be taking care of you.

All I can say is bless you...and Mark. It's so clear God is with you, in the midst of this. He hears every prayer. What the enemy intends for your harm, God will use for good. Bank on it.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

Dar ~
I think Georgia is right. Marky has always been concerned about your health and your feelings. He would probably put too much energy towards wondering if you were okay to see him in so much pain. He just wants to reserve his energy for himself. He needs all the energy he can muster. Try not to take this personally. It's all because he is trying to protect you and knows himself well enough to realize it would be a distraction.

He is so strong, young and a fighter. He can do this, will be painful but he can do this.

He just needs all of us to fight with him. He needs our positivity and HOPE more than anything right now. He needs to see it and feel it on our faces that we believe in him and that he can do this.

Love gentle with you.

12:22 PM  
Blogger windyangel said...

Bless you for sharing these thoughts and words. I pray that the sharing gives you even more strength. May the angels be with you as you wend your way through this most horrendous of nightmares and try to preserve the good from it.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

12:44 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

i have no words today, but sending you love and prayers just the same ...

1:17 PM  
Blogger Uber Mer said...

I'm not sure what to say... please be well. *big hug*

1:32 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a fine young man you have there Darlene. He has a strength and maturity well beyond his years. I can't help but feel extremely proud of you both, yet I know neither of you.

I'm a lurker here now. I can't help myself, I HAVE to keep coming back for updates to read how Mark is. Just know that you are being thought of on a daily basis down here in New Zealand.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Star said...

Mark is taking the next step, and that should be reason enough to rejoice. I have no words of wisdom, but know that I send my love and prayers to surround you as you continue to support him each step of the way

xoxo Star

2:23 PM  
Blogger luzie said...

I don't know what to say. I'm sitting here, thinking about how you must feel.. because I can barely read what you write without feeling tears well up in my eyes. (((Darlene)))

2:29 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

As a mother, I think I understand you and, as a daughter, I think I understand Mark.
Despite your great frustration, I really feel you did the right thing fulfilling his wishes. It must be so damn hard.
I just wish there was something the doctors could do to ease his pain more, particularly when he has to do "the chair".
After reading Georgia's comment about childbirth (my birth experiences were uncannily similar to hers, by the way)... and how when we are going through sheer pain, there is a need to be alone in order to focus... I think she's right. Mark needs to channel ALL of his energy to recover and concentrate to minimise his suffering... he's obviously one of those people who needs to do that alone... to find his OWN strength. I admire him all the more for that.
But, again, my heart goes out to you and the helplessness you must feel.
I love you more each day... and continue to send you all my strength...

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Schmoopy said...

I have no magic words but I am thinking of you and of Mark and sending you warm hugs.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Bless Mark. Bless you.


4:04 PM  
Anonymous Kim in IN said...

Oh Darlene.............

4:54 PM  
Blogger Lucky Candice said...

I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. It is so hard when people you love are in such pain. Just take it one day at a time and remember that we are all here for you.


6:48 PM  
Blogger a m y said...

This too, shall pass, my love. He loves you so very're doing all you can.

This story reminded me of that lovely book, I'll Love You Forever. Have you read it?

Love to you.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

You and your family are being prayed for by so many people. He will win this fight....there is doubt in my mind... and then he will go on to share this experience with others and be a wonderful mentor !!!

8:41 PM  
Blogger The Whole Self said...

oh d

oh d

i wish i could hug you

8:11 AM  

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