Walking away from him was one of the hardest things Sharona had ever done in her life. After so many years of going in circles and doing the same things, bailing him out, giving him money, setting him up-again, worrying about him, hoping for the best. She finally saw that she wasn’t really having an impact. There was no lasting change. He was still alive, yes, but it seemed like she was the only one still hoping for a better outcome. That reservoir of hope was mostly dried up now. She felt like the only one even trying. She could see that he no longer believed in himself, no longer believed in change, even as a possibility, he had completely given up. And she knew where that came from.
There were times years ago, when he wanted help, when he reached out for it even. Only to be left to free fall through the broken system, supports in place one day, gone the next. Another relapse, another bit of jail time, another period of time disappeared into the void. She understood his desire to numb himself, to forget his past, his pain, to stay away from his family of origin. But she was lost by her inability to help facilitate change. She understood that he was prescribed some serious antipsychotic medications, and that they only could do and actually did so much, even if and when he took them regularly. She also knew that the side effects from the meds could cause serious changes, both physical and mental and he told her time and time again that he didn’t like the lack of feelings he was left with, when on them. He said he felt dead, floating through a world of cotton batting, muffled, foggy, forgetful, dragged, hopeless. After all these years of trying, he still had no family doctor, no consistent psychiatrist, no access to actual therapy. It’s like he now felt about the system, how the system had always felt about him – indifferent, failed, incapable, useless.
She died a little with each parting. Watching her son walk away from her, clutching the twenty dollar bill she forced into his hand. Tears would leak from her eyes, her heart would break, each and every time.
He hobbled away from her, on the shaded sidewalk, unbelieving her loyalty, which he mistook for simple stubbornness, just attempts to assuage herself from the early turmoil of his life. She kept finding him, on the city streets, though he told her time and again that he was alright, that he didn’t need any help. Once he was out of her sight, he gave the twenty she forced on him to the next panhandler he saw. Getting rid of her energy, her dogmatic belief that he could still be fixed. He had jumped through more hoops than a circus dog and there still were no answers, no solutions, no changes to how he felt, to how he understood this life to be. Like an endless nightmare, that you can’t will yourself awake from.
At first he went to all the appointments, he tried so hard to help himself, to quiet the feelings of not rightness, his feelings of wrongness, of his reality not matching up with those around him. He never believed the lies they told, he knew intuitively that there would be no happy ending for him. Just an endless living hell, this life, and unfortunately it was the only certainty he knew. He still couldn’t figure out if his inability to accept things and have a job and kids and a family, all the “normal” things he was supposed to aspire to, he still wasn’t sure if his inability to do so was a curse or a blessing. He wasn’t sure and didn’t care, anymore. He just kept ambling alone in a world, cold with casual indifference. That hum you hear on a street corner, in between the sirens and the screaming, that is the sound of indifference, it is no sound, it is unsound, it is all pervasive. The stink of indifferent systems that loose people, that give up, that don’t fund the supports that will help, only the ones that sound good on the evening news. Ten year monetary commitments easily unfulfilled and forgotten after the next election cycle. He felt like a ball in the air, exuberant on its launch, gut punched on its decent.