Continuing a bit on yesterday’s theme of communicating too much about yourself or other family members, I want to address the question of “Whose story is it anyway?” Often I have been asked to tell my story. Part of me wants to – who isn’t flattered by that request? But I struggle with the issue of ownership. It’s not entirely MY story. So much of who I am and why I think / act the way I do is wrapped up in the stories of my immediate family members. Sure I could tell the nuts and bolts, but in my opinion that would merely be an exercise in egotistical navel gazing.
Last Sunday, Epiphany, we attended the “Nine Lessons and Carols” service at an English-speaking Anglican church we are attending. The woman who read the lesson about Jesus being lost from his parents for several days burst into tears and could barely finish the reading. My 13 year-old son elbowed me and whispered, “Why is that cryable?” I said, though I didn’t know anything about her, “She is a mother.” Indeed she was. She walked back to her pew where her young son greeted her with a big hug, and her older son looked concerned. Our boys may not have understood the tears, but I did. All too well.
If love could heal all illnesses, my family would be the healthiest on earth. I feel completely crippled emotionally and spiritually when a family member is unwell. Therefore I feel that the criticism of the mother who wrote about her son’s outbursts of rage, which terrorize the family, unkind and unwarranted. Hers was not so much a cry for help, but a primal scream. After all, she is not only dealing with a constantly moving target, she is worrying about ALL of her children. She is also grieving. He isn’t ‘normal’. (I realize that ‘normal’ is politically incorrect, but the Okie in me has lost all patience with political correctness. There is a point at which denying the truth becomes unmerciful.) There is a difference between normal teenage craziness and behavior that crosses the border into mental illness (for want of better term). The fact that her blog was picked up and spread like wildfire shows that she isn’t alone! There are other families struggling with the issue as well. In order to get the help she needs, people need to be willing to listen and hear those things which make us uncomfortable. Sometimes telling too much is necessary to provoke change. I applaud her bravery. I hope that she and her son have better lives because of it.