Looking back at my life I see so many of those bells, gone unnoticed by me, my family, my friends, all ringing because I refused to confide in anyone, really. For a short moment, only ten years, of my life I had peace. Conflicts occurred, problems of life continued but, they were all in the periphery of our lives. Never center stage, life centered around us and it was good.
That Saturday morning nearly 9 months ago my bell was rung again.
I know I heard nothing but the bells until sometime in August. I had respites, times of laughter with friends and family, but in times alone my head was reverberating with such a deafening sound that I was unable to breathe.
Everyone touched by this tragedy has their own bells. I was able to hear most. His parents, my children, his children and my parents bells all rang along with mine at different beats. It was difficult to be around anyone but a few. My inner circle whom I leaned on and new friends that weren't so close to the events of that year were sources of encouragement. I laughed and made friends but still the ringing went on.
My boys both have suffered severely. Nate makes it plain to see. He is transparent like his mother. We understand each other and I could see the way his pain was manifesting itself. Vaughn was a different story completely. They were suffering but I had no idea what to do, I never got the manual. I made mistakes and I got up and I kept trying to keep it all together. We had isolated as a family. We all had our own bells and it was easier to get lost in ourselves than face one another. After all what else can we say after so much had already been said?
When Vaughn was hospitalized last week I made life stop. My son was gone and I was left wondering if I would get him back. I am proud of him for recognizing that he needed help and doing everything it took to make the help offered to him - work for him. He is an amazing young man and so much stronger than any one of us. The havok in his head that he can't release and his inability to express those frustrations with anyone all while being shunned by his peers at a young age. He has turned into a long haired boy who wears black and tries to scare any potential friends away so he can remain as alone as possible at school. That is not my Vaughn. I know him and know he has tremendous abilities - all I have to do is figure out how he can release them, no pressure there.
Nate and I spent a lot of time together. The house seemed even emptier with the absence of Vaughn. We huddled together and watched TV and tried to come to grips. During this worst of all times his teachers had enough of his apathy at school. He is gifted and so intelligent but he just wasn't doing his work. I actually was unable to move one day and took myself to the doctor for help in moving. I took the help he offered and with the help of Nate's teachers and myself we were able to get most of his work done and relieve the pressure for him.
When the bell was first rung and at its loudest, I had no direction. I decided that I would make a plan A and a plan B. Plan A was to finish the ceramics studio and start my business, Plan B was to get a degree in Art History and go on to graduate school. I let Plan B take over my life and my time but I didn't see it, after all, going back to school is a good thing in the eyes of our culture. It's only now that I can see that only fear keeps me from my Plan A.
So another bell is rung. I need to stay home with Vaughn and ensure he gets what he needs done so he can graduate on time. With this added responsibility I can't go to school too. Perhaps God's hand is in this change of circumstance. I will put Vaughn to work helping me get the business rolling and perhaps even be ready to teach some classes this summer for other kids like Vaughn who just need a way to release their frustrations through creativity.
So the bells, while still there, are still all ringing but I have direction and a little clarity. I need motivation but hope that the medication will help. "Medicated and motivated" my new motto if that happens. So am I bonkers, round the bend or looney? I don't know but I do know that I am breathing, my boys are getting what they need and my business is more of a reality now than it ever has been before.
Like a good friend said today - I learned, you never know what you're capable of until you're forced to do something.