|Joshua on the right, with his date for Senior Prom|
I placed hands on my hips. “Do you know what you’re saying? I’ve waited a year for this trip.”
Joshua lowered his gaze.
It was two weeks before his death, and Joshua had been acting nervous. More so than usual. His fears became serious. He was afraid the drinking water was poisoned—the same with the air we breathed. He was sure our house harbored all types of toxins.
I peered closer in hopes he would look at me. “Tell me what’s wrong, Son.”
Joshua sucked in a deep breath. “I’m not feeling quite right. I don’t want to be left alone.”
The fear in his eyes was real. I couldn’t leave him for the long weekend. “I’ll tell your dad.” As I walked away, my selfish side hurt for the loss of a much-needed getaway. My mother’s heart knew all was not right. Oh, how I wanted my son to be happy and well adjusted. I sensed a shift. Before, Joshua had stopped talking to us, but now he confided, and I didn’t like what he had just said to me.
My husband took the news seriously. We agreed that he would check on us several times a day. I would report to him how Joshua was feeling and acting.
After my husband left, the next day Joshua and I were playing Scrabble. He didn’t want me to use the central heat though it was cold. I got up from the table during his turn in Scrabble and brought back the sheets from the dryer. It was my turn, and I sat down and wrapped in the sheets without thinking about what I was doing. Warmth enveloped me, and I concentrated on my next word.
Suddenly Joshua laughed.
He startled me, since I hadn’t heard him laugh since the rake had hit me in the nose. “What?”
He pointed. “You. You’re silly-looking in the sheets.”
I frowned, but was so glad for a more normal moment in our otherwise quiet game. “I wouldn’t be doing this if you’d let me turn on the heat. It’s freezing in here.
My son shook his head, buttoned his lips, and said no more about it. I stared at him, willing Joshua to admit this heater thing was silly.
Lord God, that time was a low point for us as a family. Joshua drove my nerves into the ground. But still, I never knew he planned to die by suicide. I’ve failed as a mother, Lord. Why did I not recognize that his erratic behavior meant something as serious as death? Please, Lord, forgive me for all my failings as Joshua’s mother. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen.
~Your Mother Memories
~Your Prayer of Praise~
~A Scripture of Encouragement~