Unintended Side Effects

Over the weekend my 17 year old son wanted to drive to Scranton, PA with an 18 year old friend to go to a live tour event for a company that he does graphic design for.
The trip had all the fun trappings of fun, being interviewed on a Podcast for the work he has done, and food at his friend’s family restaurant. BUT it was also a couple of teenage boys about two hours away, driving in a car, with loud music, and all the naive things that teenage boys can do.
When he called to ask my permission, I immediately had visions of car accidents, hospitals, and watching another child die while I sat idly by unable to save them. I wanted to say “no.” I wanted to tell him he wasn’t old enough to finally step into himself despite all of the therapy I had invested in to help him do exactly that. I wanted to keep him safe, at home, in a bubble, where he would always be small.
But what I said instead was “yes.” I said yes to the possibility of losing another child. I fought that protective instinct in favor of letting him grow up and experience the world that was about to call him an adult. I said yes to this idea of loving with an open hand knowing full well that I can’t control whether or not I one day get that dreaded call that he is gone.
These are the unintended side effects of having lost a child to suicide. You want to smother and hang on to your other children. You second guess your own judgment as a parent more than ever. You have to force yourself to fight against your fear and make a decision to support your children into growing up even when they don’t know what growing up means.
It is this space that I stand with you in. I stand in the moments when you don’t know what to do, or to feel. This is how you continue to grow #chronicallystrong.