As my journey continues north along the coast of Maine, it is clear that the dichotomy of things happening in my life open up a host of storylines in each day. I’m not just on the road driving, there is a whole life happening far far away that is tethered to me. My journey is not free from distraction, or life’s complications.
This trip was born out of loss. I embarked out into the world in this van six months ago with nothing left to lose. Today is my six month vanniversary, and it is bittersweet.
As I hug the coastline, and explore the little islands and rocky shores of New England, things out west with my son seem to be imploding and exploding. I’m making new friends, taking photos of sunrises and venturing around little fishing towns. He’s failing, falling apart, using drugs and crying out for love. I feel guilty, and I am torn.
Questioning if I should have let him live with his dad, I am filled with remorse and regret. My son isn’t getting the help he needs. When he moved, he was supposed to get treatment, care and therapy. Instead, he lives in a house where he is neglected, abused and unwanted. He is learning what his father is really like, and that he has a true narcissist for a parent. No matter how much I tried to shield him, I couldn’t. My son aches for the love of a father, who has no compassion, no accountability and no capacity to be loving. My son is in agony.
And, right now, I am powerless.
Dipping down along small windy roads that travel across narrow bridges, muddy shores and little towns, I ended up finding small lighthouse in a town called Castine. The path started between a roped walkway and a wall shedding white paint onto gravel. I follow the path down to a ledge of trees, where it splits. I go right and hike down to the coast where there are big rocks and piles of seaweed. The highest rock is bare, and I climb up onto it. This will be my mediation spot today.
Closing my eyes, breathing in, attempting to settle, my mind is electric and thoughts are popping repeatedly and on top of each other, like the effervescent bubbles in a class of freshly poured soda. Pop, pop, pop … pop pop pop, pop. I breathe, attempt to stay with my breath, but my mind is alive with so many questions. Using the other senses, I inhale the sweet salty ocean air, follow the waves, listen to the bird songs, and tune in to the dribbling water moving down the rocks into little pools. For a few seconds, I use my surroundings to anchor me. Pointless!
The fear, anxiety, and worrying for my son overtakes me again and again. I cannot settle. This isn’t working. Frustrating, self judgement and angry I can’t enjoy this beautiful place. Yes I can.
Breathe. Start again. Start again. Start… never mind.
Instead, I try something different and open my eyes and look out at everything. The vast expanse of the bay and the colorful leaves on the trees out in the distance are truly glorious. A seal swims close, slowly, he is enjoying the calm. He reminds me I should too. He dives and I lose him.
Breathe, start again.
Turning to follow the streams of water dripping down off the rocks on the wall, I listen for the light plunks of the droplets landing in little puddles. Inhaling, the sap of the pine trees is quite strong. Birds sing to each other in the distance, I can notice the sounds of their language is familiar and comforting.
Closing my eyes, I start again. It isn’t much, but I do quiet my mind a bit. It isn’t much, but I had a moment of stillness. I cherish that little fraction of a slice of my day where I could be with what is, and let the popping, racing thoughts of fear dissolve into the present.
Life keeps happening with or without me. My son continues to struggle, my friends continue to live and people are out there doing what they do. I think a lot of my failings as a mom is that I tried so hard to control this outcome not happening, and it happened anyway. I saw this coming and couldn’t stop it. My heart breaks I couldn’t protect him from the agony of life’s journey. I tried hard.
I can protect me from hurting by taking care of myself.
I am hoping he calls me soon, with a clear mind and a place of readiness to do the work he needs to do to get his mental health in check. He’s such a beautiful soul, with light and potential. He is creative and needs to fly, not live in a cage. Seeing him imprisoned kills me. I want to set him free. One day, I hope he will let me try.