16 Mar here am i, blame me.
I want a second chance. I miss my son so much and I cannot stand this new existence without him! I want to make a deal with the universe or God or whomever – I want to get Mason back. Can’t I just rewind? What kind of bargain can I strike? I will be a better mother. I will spend more time looking at his face and listening to his words. I will hold him more, hug him more, shmuvver him more. I will let him lay on me every single time he wants to instead of pushing him away because I am hot and it’s 126 outside and he’s a sticky boy. I will share my bottled water with him even though he backwashes! I will tuck him in at night, every night, and tell him how much he matters to me. I will do more and be better.
Can I go back to being 24 years old? I was young and wild then. Not an ounce of sense and so independent. Can I seek out a mentor? Can I learn faster and become smarter and make different choices? Maybe I need to go back further, rewind some more.
Can I start at the beginning with a mother and father who love each other and make healthy choices for themselves and their children? Can I grow up in a loving home with stable parents and be encouraged to pursue my dreams? Can I have a tender mother figure to brush my hair and teach me kindness, humility, and empathy? Can I learn early on that authority isn’t evil, and it is okay to be submissive in certain circumstances? Is there a way to teach the young girl I was that I deserve love and I don’t have to fight for it? Is there someone who could come along and show me the right way to love and be loved… maybe help me understand the consequences of choices? Is there anyone who would be willing to teach me about my worth? To help my self-esteem? To love me unconditionally? To prepare me for the royal life I was designed to live?
That’s where it starts. At the beginning. Every single day, in every way, parents are molding their children and modeling behaviors that will inevitably shape who they are and the choices they make. My parents influenced my journey, my choices, my personality, my strengths, my weaknesses, my beliefs, my habits, my flaws, my mistakes, my successes. In the beginning, parents are our whole world and we watch them so very closely even when they think we don’t. They can set us on the right path or they can point us towards destruction. Whether they like that responsibility or not, it is theirs.
Then, somewhere along the line, we become accountable for our own actions. I’m sure it occurs at a different age for everyone… some of us race out of the home as fast as we can, desperate to live our own lives. Others, like my niece Teenut, have a safety net so deep and wide that they take their sweet time growing up and are still closely connected to their parents well into adulthood. Oh to have that luxury…
I want Mason back. I promise to be a better mother. I promise to apply what I have learned since his death and create an even more amazing life experience for him. My eyes have been opened, fully, and I want to make things right. We had a great life. No ifs, ands, or buts about it… but he deserved more. I can make it even better knowing what I know now. Can I have him back? I will do more for others. I will serve more, love more, be kinder, help more often. Whatever it takes. I will do it. I just want my son back. Is there anyone anywhere with the ability to give me a second chance? To give my son a second chance? Can he borrow a ‘chance’ from someone who has already had so many?
At first I thought I needed to go back to June 3rd, 2013. Back to the day he left. Back to the chaos of that day, the 47 different conversations, the information overload, the fear I felt for my child’s decision making, the panic I experienced at being out of town when my son was misbehaving. I thought that if I could just go back to that day, I could change what I did and said and have a different outcome. He was being a normal teenager. His actions were mild compared to what I did when I was his age. Did I over react? Did I scare him to death??? How did it ever occur to my son to harm himself? How did that idea ever cross his mind???? How did he figure out what to do? What was he thinking? What did he feel? Did he anticipate this outcome? No possible way.
Mase would jump a thousand times for me just so I could get a picture of him midair that we could laugh about later. Mason would sing happy birthday on video for my best friends, and make up nicknames for people to include them in our ‘club’. He would hold my hand, eat olives and goat cheese and crackers on the back patio when my father died, and talk to me about what might have been. He would snuggle with me before firing up his xbox for a work day. He is the kind of kid who chops down a neighbor’s tree if he thinks it is aggravating his mom’s allergies! He has noodle races in the pool with his little cousin from Australia… over and over and over as we all squealed with laughter. He finds every opportunity to laugh and doesn’t miss a beat.
Mason made a snap decision so completely out of character that he shocked every single person who knew him well. I own the blame. I will carry that for the rest of my life. I was just being a parent, yes. I did nothing out of the ordinary. If it hadn’t ended up like this, I wouldn’t have given it another thought. However, now it is all I can think of and it replays in my heart over and over and over. I am responsible. Someone once said, “Mason got the last laugh on your control issues.” How cruel. How very cruel. Another person said, “It’s your fault that Mason is dead” and then wrote to me and said that I started this blog so people would feel sorry for me. True story. People actually took the time to put these comments into writing for me to keep forever, not that I needed it in written form… once things like this are said, they are forever etched in your mind. Evil like that cuts deep, wounds forever, and scars permanently. I don’t ever need to look back at their writing because their voices are ever present in my mind.
It is true though. The blame is mine. I am the parent. My son was too young to know better. His brain wasn’t fully developed, his common sense was still under construction, and his self-esteem was still under my influence. In church circles, we talk about ‘the age of accountability’ as if we know what that is… well, my son hadn’t reached that. Of this I am sure. So the responsibility falls on me. If he went into the grocery store and threw gallon jugs of milk everywhere, I would be held responsible. If he threw rocks at a car, I would pay the price. If he damaged someone’s property, if he ditched school and got in trouble, if he did ANYTHING at all, the blame would fall to me.
We do it all the time with other kids don’t we? If a kid is a jerk, we blame the parents. If the kid does drugs, we fault the parents. If he was a bully or a smart ass or promiscuous, we would all point the finger at the parent and shake our heads. When a kid is fat, it’s the parents’ fault. When they go to school unwashed, we condemn the mother. When they are unsportsmanlike on the football field, we look at dad and think, “Well that’s where he gets it from.”
So it falls to me that in a moment of pressure and panic, Mason didn’t know what to do. Is it because I hadn’t properly equipped him? I wrap myself in that blanket of shame every day, multiple times a day. Why didn’t I do better? I loved him so much. I was so thankful for him. I thought he was amazing and knew he would lead others one day. I fought for him, protected him, prayed for him. I just didn’t do it well enough or right enough or often enough? I don’t know. I cry my eyes out because I cannot figure it out and I panic because he lost his life over this and I am not learning the lesson! Why can’t I get it? Was this a punishment for me? If so, the punishment is too much. It is too big. I cannot recover.
The heart and mind are always at odds in times like this. Your heart holds on to emotion and your mind corrects your heart with logic and facts and reason. But the heart is stubborn and usually wins. My heart wins over and over and over, and it doesn’t show any love to me. It only loves Mason and it holds me to blame for all that went wrong, from the beginning of time. My heart keeps a record of every wrong, of every failing, of every mistake, even though it isn’t supposed to work like that. My heart knows I am to blame, and will not listen to my mind when reason tries to start a conversation.
My mind believes Mason was influenced by the world he lives in (which is much different than the world I grew up in). He spoke a language I didn’t speak and dealt with challenges far beyond my scope of understanding. All kids do today. All kids. Try as we might, we don’t get it. We never will. We can only pour into them all the love and guidance and hope we have for them… and then trust. Trust that the universe is kinder to them than to others. Trust that angels protect them from harm. Trust that good will happen to good people and bad will happen to bad people. Trust that our God will save them.
And when the opposite happens, and our trust is destroyed and our children are lost and everything we have done for 5,221 days is burned up… When ashes become ashes and dust becomes dust, and our nest is empty, and our hearts bleed, and we look around at the world we thought we knew and are left blinking stupidly into the light of day not knowing what to do next… what then? What do we do then?
Our hearts take over and we blame the parents. I am forever aware that the blame is all mine.