If you read the previous post, you will likely remember that I'm writing about moving on after divorce when you have a child in crisis. My oldest son (12 years old at the time I left his father) is on the autism spectrum. He is high functioning and change is extremely difficult for him.
During the separation the children and I moved from a 4,000 square foot house to a 1,200 square foot apartment on the 4th floor of an old cockroach infested apartment building on the wrong side of the tracks. There were two bedrooms and a small den.
I slept in the den.
The children shared the larger rooms.
Then my oldest son's meltdowns became more frequent and intense. He was breaking out into laughing fits, spitting on teachers, and attempting to run from school. My son had a therapist and a psychiatrist, but neither had immediate solutions to the problem. In an attempt to give my son a place to self-sooth, I changed the sleeping arrangements so he slept in the den.
This worked for awhile because the room had a large picture window overlooking the courtyard four stories down. It had objects he could use for self-soothing and a door he could close for privacy. Then, on a warm day after my two youngest children had gone to summer school, the unimaginable happened.
My oldest daughter (then 10 years old) had gotten upset over some household chores and threatened to run away. And my son became angry at his sister, then scared she would follow through on her threat. Instead of using his self-soothing strategies, my son started crying, then laughing. Soon he was knocking down objects in the living room. I told him to go calm down in his bedroom. Which he sorta did, but not really. I mean, he went to his room. But when he shut the door, a prickly cold feeling swept over me and I knew something was terribly wrong.
I called his name and there was no answer. I threw his door wide.
He had opened the window and kicked the screen to the ground. With one foot on the ledge and the other swinging out into the open air, he said, "That's it. Time to end this... now."
I wanted to scream. I wanted to rush over and pull him out of the window, to save my son by force, but the situation was too precarious. There was no time. Any physical contact would likely drive him over the edge, and all I could do was watch. Watch as his foot lifted higher into the sky.
Watch as he gripped the window ledge.
Watch as he swung his foot back inside and collapsed onto the bed, "I don't really wanna die," he whimpered.
Tomorrow, I will blog about the aftermath...
Below are links to this story from the beginning:
Moving On After Divorce
Outside, Inside, Upside Down: Moving On After Divorce Part III
Praying for a Miracle: Moving On After Divorce Part IV
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