It set him off. He said, “And now there’s going to be people we don’t know traipsing all over our house again, judging us. And there you were, making all of these decisions without me.”
Yesterday, Xan and I attended an evaluation for our son, Beast, for entrance into a special preschool for children with special needs. Our son was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified in June 2011 while he was receiving Early Intervention Services. For more information, visit the original post, “Riding in Cars with Boys”.
Needless to say, the evaluation didn’t go well. They never really do.
I was furious. I retorted, “I have to make these decisions, because you don’t. You haven’t been there up until now.”
“I want to wait and think on this. It’s happening too fast. I can’t process it. I don’t think we should start to seek services until November at the earliest.”
I went through the roof. I threatened, “If you stand between me, our son, and getting him help, I promise you that I will leave you. He needs these, and I will do anything to get him there. It’s been too long already.”
“Fine. Then leave,” he said shortly.
I stated, “I don’t want too, but –“
He interrupted, “No, I don’t want to hear it. You leave then. I’m done here.”
There was a long period of silence, where I felt the schism and then the great void opened up. Something ensnared me, and pulled me by the ankle faster and faster toward the Great Below. I clawed and scraped, desperately trying to hold on. But, it was no use. I gave up. I was dragged into The Hollow, where everything went black around the edges, and the rest of me was numb inside.
It’s as if I were suddenly disembodied, sitting in the back of the car with my son, watching the whole thing play out. He went on about how this was such a danger to us, and I blankly told him that I didn’t care. I was beyond caring. I had a mission, and it no longer involved any real part of me. It required my participation, in the very least. Only a presence, just a husk of a woman as a placeholder for what was and what might have been.
“You said we needed a social worker. I agreed. Now we have one,” I argued flatly.
“No, this isn’t right,” he angrily disagreed, “I don’t need someone in my own house judging my parenting. Judging us, wondering exactly how fit of parents we are to raise him.”
I struggled, “And what do you think is going to happen if we don’t get him services?”
“I don’t know, but it has to be better than this.”
I finally found my gusto and returned to myself for a flicker of a second to drive it in, “I’m not going to stand by and let my son turn into a dangerous retard, and end up in a special school, because someone was too afraid and disengaged to get him help!”
“What, like how you stood by when you were going through whatever you were going through?”
It hit me like a wrecking ball, shattering every bone in my body, every bit of what little cohesive world I had remaining. I couldn’t say anything in return. The knife had to be sturdily wedged between my ribs, and my life’s blood gurgled and oozed out. The life drained from me, and I was once again driven backward, ears ringing violently with silence.
And then there was this great nothingness that emanated from within and saturated the air around us. Instead of choking, I breathed it in eagerly, letting the numbness wash over me. I was already far over the Precipice, eyes wide open, watching the ground come at me at the speed of sound. I would end it all in one tiny little snip of an already fraying thread.
We sped over the hills and the valleys of our hometown, and I gazed out the window to stare at the autumn-colored trees as they passed. I’m in the autumn of my existence, a voice narrated, echoing the caverns of my empty mind. I watched from outside myself as he glanced over at me. I never met his eyes. I just continued to stare, the whole world muted into something unintelligible.
I could hardly make it out, “I’m sorry. I’m just so scared about what this means for him. Today, when I saw him being evaluated, I see an entirely different boy from the little boy I see to be my son.”
“I understand,” I murmured almost robotically. In truth, I did. He went on to explain his position, but the world remained too washed out. The sound was distorted by static. He went on to describe our son’s awful behavior during our session, and all I could manage was a whisper. “Now you know how I felt when I did this alone.”
He had finally come to understand my position. He was finally seeing the seriousness of the situation, and the dire need to get our son the help that he requires for his special needs. “I’ve seen this significant backslide in the last few months. He was doing so well.” But, I was too exhausted and disconnected to explain it again when he asked. I provided minimal answers.
The apology came too little too late. If only there was an answering service for when I checked out completely.
It was completely unfair to him. It was unjust to let him continue to sit in the dark while he was obviously trying to come back into the light, where truth and hope awaited him. But, I couldn’t return when the threat still existed. I had been knifed into oblivion, my soul spilling out onto the jagged rocks beneath me. If I came back too soon, the voices would emerge and tell me lies. Sweet, angry little lies, and play me like the fiddle that I am.
I slipped a Lamictal into my mouth and took a big swig of the strange vitamin water I picked up at the convenience store. My soul is already partially deadened. I might as well keep going.
It’s the only way. It’s the only way to cope and deal with what I have at hand. I may have lost my ability to remember, but maybe it is better this way. Maybe, I have to forget the pain and the fear in order to switch tracks. Maybe, I have to forget myself completely to surrender myself to the others. Either way, I know what I have to do, even if I don’t know how to go about doing it.
Couples fight. Even the best of couples. We don’t see eye to eye, and we’re often to proud to admit to the other when we’re scared and vulnerable. I’ve learned that over the last year. We’re not supposed to be perfect, because we are imperfect beings. Our marriage is perfect because it is imperfect. And I know that we’ll get through this together.