If Ashton were merely an addict, we would have been sprung today.
This brings to mind Lot of Stuff. Lots of stuff I have contemplated over many years. What is disease?
Let’s leave that one hanging for a second.
I may have just opened a can of worms.
There is no cure for cancer. There is no cure for addiction to any substance except for abstinence.
I have three children and statistics say that one of the three will be an addict. I have thought about this a lot.
I have even ventured to guess which one it will be.
So far, I seriously have my bets placed on none. Neither Lily nor Blaise follow a pattern there and have such incredible support with family, friends and community that I would be really surprised if either went beyond an experimental sip or a puff in high school. They have more than I did. They have goals and dreams and ideas that they plan to make happen. My only plan was to leave home and that plan hatched at age 11. That’s not a very good age to hatch a plan. Historically, I’m not the best at planning, unless it’s packing to move.
I digress. And I hate that I just wrote that. I hate it when people say that.
I almost wrote about how I wish my son had addiction rather than Cancer. I can’t believe it. Cancer leaves no choice. Addiction leaves somewhat of a choice, but it’s such a grey area. With Cancer, you are not blamed for being sick and there is no shame from doctors. You will never be turned away. You will be involved in a study. Your relatives and friends fly in for your hospitalizations. If you are an addict: you are selfish and good luck with the visitors unless it’s your first round.
I suppose I was just thinking about making a statement about disease in general now that I am more than neck-deep and I am seeing sick children get sick before they can get sick from other terrible things like crack or all the new things I don’t even grasp. When I was very young there was not a thought of Heroin or Cancer. I just snuck out the window and went to the party.
I think about Ashton. He won’t likely go to a lot of parties. He may be well, but I would seriously follow him and smack him if he did anything stupid. This, coming from a mom of three who is pretty open-minded. I will direct him to this blog and say: YOU almost died. Live as SUCH.
When I was eight, my parents lived in a children’s hospital for a while with my brother. In my experience, it provided an opportunity to create a narrative not about illness and prematurity and dashed expectations, but (in the longer term) about our love, perseverance, and resilience as a family.
In all honesty, the experience and the narrative didn’t have a dramatic effect on life in my teens and it certainly didn’t influence (or curb) my substance use, but when I started writing about my family in college, it definitely had a positive influence on various choices I made. I think it’s with me even now, as I parent my own children and deal with my own set-backs as an adult.
This is not to say that your children will experience this too; just that this journey may have some effects you don’t anticipate now and not all of them will necessarily be bad. Even your own memories of these near-daily (or hourly?) traumas may, with time, morph into something else.
The trick is just keeping on, I think. Hang in there, mama.
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