For those unfamiliar with the previous installments of this blog series, my oldest son almost jumped out of a four story window roughly a year after I left his father.
He was 12 at the time and the divorce was terribly hard for him to deal with. That said, the suicide attempt wasn't because of the divorce per se. My son is high functioning on the autism spectrum and has always had meltdowns. The changes in his life made these meltdowns worse.
I told my ex about the suicide attempt on the same day it occurred in a face-to-face conversation in the man's living room. It didn't seem like something to casually tell a person over the phone. And since I always had the children with me, they were running around and playing in the large 4,000 square foot house he resided in, mostly oblivious to the conversation.
As I spoke, my ex stood there mostly silent, not betraying his thoughts except for the skeptical look that crossed his face every so often.
Then, without warning, he called our son over to talk about the crisis, speaking to him as if they were having a private conversation even though I was still in the room. "I understand why you did it," he said. "I also had a mother that didn't listen to me."
He went on to explain in great detail how his mother had repressed him in various ways, how she had hurt him growing up by not listening to him or caring enough. Oblivious to how this speech was affecting our son, my ex continued to badmouth his own mother. Every glance in my son's direction was painful, because as the older man spoke, the younger man's shoulders slumped. He looked at the floor, his countenance grew sad, and I could feel the despondency in him, the shrinking. It hurt to watch him wilt like a dying dandelion. And I was powerless to protect him, powerless to say anything without making matters worse.
On the car ride home, I tried to draw my son out, but he wouldn't talk to me. The suicide attempt may well have been a meltdown gone wrong as his doctors said, but now he was sinking into a depression for real. We were over halfway home when he finally spoke. "Mom," he said in a despondent voice. "Mom, I left (insert name of most beloved stuffed animal) at dad's house."
I'm going to call my son's favorite animal Fluffles, because it's just easier. If it helps to imagine him, Fluffles is a multi-colored stuffed tiger with lots of holes. He is well loved.
Let me recap.
"Mom, I left Fluffles at dad's house."
"It's okay. We'll go back and get him." I steered into the left turn lane and put on my signal.
My son audibly gasped.
"What's wrong, Sweetie?"
"You do care."
Below are links to this story from the beginning:
Moving On After Divorce
Navigating Troubled Times: Moving On After Divorce Part II
Outside, Inside, Upside Down: Moving On After Divorce Part III
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