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Monday, September 21, 2009

In Memory of My Son . . . Updated Again

I had to put this continuation in a new post. I guess blogger can only take so much, too. ;o)

His memorial begins here. Please follow the link, and start from the beginning, if you have not read the initial post yet.

Eric had an exceptionally difficult time in dealing with the loss of his Nana. She was more or less his mother and, as I had said before, they were very close.

After some time went by, and after several conversations over the phone, Eric had decided he wanted to come live with us in Maine.

I was very excited that he was, again, going to be with us. I knew that he was extremely depressed with his Nana's passing, too. However, I was not prepared for his dramatically altered perception on life, as the result of her death.

He was still the same boy I knew in Texas. He still had his personality. He still looked the same. I could see in his eyes, though, that he would never be the same again.

We still talked openly about his feelings, but something in him was missing. He was an extremely confused, angry, grief-stricken shell of the boy I once knew.

His Nana defined his existence, and now she was gone. She took a very big piece of his heart with her, and (little did I know) he would never learn to cope with her loss. He would never understand why God would let this happen to such a wonderful woman. He would never make peace with her death and move forward to his own life. He did try, and try very hard to move on. But, it wasn't enough.

We still had our front porch conversations; we still had that bond. I swear, I did the best I could to carry him through this overwhelming trial in life.

"Nana would want you to remember all the good times you two had shared."
"She would want you to go on to make something out of yourself. She'd want you to be successful."
"She would want you to share your love for her with your own children, and never let her memory slip away. She lives on in you!"

My words just seems to pass right through him, though. He was not, and would never be, the same. I did the best I could do to help him voice his feelings; to help him, once again, find his way. What do you say, though, to a child whose world has just crumbled right before their eyes?

It just wasn't enough.

After a while, he had decided that he missed his brothers and sisters back home. He flew back to Texas, and still called every once-in-a-while to talk. And we did. We talked for hours, just as before. It was always the same, though.

"I miss her so much! I don't understand why God would let such a callous thing happen to her! I just don't understand it . . . not at all!"

Eric had been in Texas for a year at this point. The calls became fewer and fewer. After speaking with his other relatives, I learned that he had turned to drugs to (somehow) relieve his pain.

He and Tabby were living with their mother in Houston. At one point, his behavior became too overwhelming for all of them. He had attempted suicide on occasion, which ultimately landed him in a psychiatric facility for months.

When he was released, we all breathed a much needed sigh of relief. Finally, he had received the help he needed all this time. Finally, he was better!

He seemed so chipper in our conversations, he named his feelings, and told me he was better able to cope with all of his emotions. I was so incredibly happy for him! I had my Eric back!

Another year went by. It was an exceptionally difficult year for us, though. My [then] 11-year-old son, Koby's kidney disease had progressed, and he was [then] in End Stage Renal Failure.

Koby's story is here.

The year was filled with specialists appointments, and a myriad of labs to monitor his kidneys' function. He was in and out of the hospital so much, I swear we lived there.

During this same year, Alex and Kaleb had been going through their own testing. Alex was diagnosed with moderate autism, and Kaleb was diagnosed with APD (Auditory Processing Disorder).

I had also lost my grandmother to cancer, my uncle to a heart attack, and my father was diagnosed with cancer.

Robert was working 18-hour days, leaving me to deal with every aspect of it all. With that said, I was simply too overwhelmed to devote hours of time to Eric over the phone. He knew, however, that life was very busy for us. He seemed to understand, and we talked as often as possible.

In the midst of all these crises, my husband was up for orders again. So, I began research the potential locales to determine which would be the optimal duty station--the one that could care for all our children's needs.

We moved from Brunswick, Maine to Chicagoland in June of 2006. We had thought that Koby would be seeing a specialist in Chicago. After arriving, though, we learned that Tricare was only contracted with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin . . . seventy-five miles away.

We were up there at least three times per week, as Koby's failure progressed rapidly. We had to work quickly to find a match for Koby. I was tested, and was a match by blood type, but still had to be tested to determine the level of commonalities concerning the histocompatability ratio.

My brother volunteered to be tested as a potential live donor, as well. He knew I wouldn't be able to care for all the kids, if I were to be Koby's donor. So, he stepped up.

He was a match on all levels! Joel moved in with us, just before Thanksgiving of 2006. We continued our trips to Children's of Wisconsin to complete all the other steps involved.

The surgery was scheduled for the 19th of December. Koby's kidneys were functioning at only 19% just one week prior to the transplant.

I talked to Eric just before we left for Wisconsin to fill him in on Koby's situation, and check in with him. We talked about Nana, and how Christmas would never be the same without her. Eric and I cried over the phone to each other that day. He assured me that he would be alright, and told me that he would pray for a successful surgery and strength for us all to get through it all.

The surgery was a success! Koby finally had a new lease on life. His life would be improving exponentially since he had received his new kidney.

The next few months would be spent up in Wisconsin four days per week for follow-up care. I called Eric on Christmas day to let him know the good news.

I kept him updated on Koby's progress. We spoke in January. We spoke in February. Anytime he had called, no matter what was going on, I had made certain that I spoke with him.

One morning, just as we were leaving for another trip to Wisconsin, the phone rang. We were running very late, though. So, I let the call go to voicemail.

After returning home that evening, I learned that it was Eric. His message said, 'Hey Girl! I just called to talk. I know you're busy, though. Give me a call when you get the chance.'

He didn't sound too happy. I returned his call that evening, but it went to voice mail.

I called again the next morning . . . still voice mail.

For the next couple of days, I kept calling. But, he did not answer.

In the evening, on March 6, 2007, we received a phone call from Texas. Eric had been missing for days, and they were looking for him. They had talked to some of his friends who informed them that Eric was severely depressed, and told him that he was going to kill himself.

The phone rang again.

There was a body in the park. Eric's step-father was there. The police, however, would not let him through to the scene.

My heart had sunk!

I just knew he was gone!

I just knew it was Eric!

For the next hour, I was begging the heavens to spare our family of this misery.

"God, please don't let it be him!"

"PLEASE, GOD! PLEASE! Don't let it be him!"

Continued here . . .


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Mom's Fortress of Solitude by Angela McCoy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

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Angela McCoy is a freelance writer/editor, military wife and work at home mom (WAHM) to four boys with special needs. Her writing encompasses a myriad of topics -- Autism, ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder, Cystinosis, Fanconi's Syndrome, kidney transplant, and more -- influenced by her two teenagers and seven-year-old twins. She considers writing to be therapeutic and utilizes her skills to counsel and inspire her readers. Angela is a quick-witted, 'no holds barred,' tell it like it is' humorist who has learned that laughter truly is the best antidote to life's adversities.

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