This past Friday I was visited by my (former) son, Jordan. It’s so freaking complicated, but the nutshell is, I’m the fourth mother he’s known in his lifetime. He’s lived through unspeakable things which I helped him to deal with as best as I could. I had custody of him for four and a half years before he took off in the dark of night to live in a tent.
Anyway, he confessed that he and his girlfriend are homeless. He is by choice, she because she’s battling addiction to meth and has made questionable decisions for her safety and well being.
“I had no choice. I had to go get her from Asheville. She was living in an abandoned bar getting beat up and raped by a bunch of guys. I couldn’t leave her to that.” He told me privately. “I can’t go home to my mom because she doesn’t want Angie living there. This is all my fault.”
“There is no fault here. The choices made are ones where you know the path won’t be easy.”
“I know you’re all right about this, but I can’t just leave her.” He started to cry.
“Look. It’s not about who’s wrong or right, it is what it is. You’ve made your choice. Whether I like what you’re doing or not is on me, not you. I love YOU no matter what.” I stated while adjusting in my chair. “If one person tells you you’re wrong, they’re full of shit. But if more than one person is telling you the same thing, it just means it’s a truth you’re not ready to face yet.”
As he lit a Pall Mall cigarette, I inwardly cringed when he leaned forward, tears streaming his cheeks, “I don’t know what to do.” He exhaled sharply.
“Let’s not make any decisions tonight. I’ve already got you a room at the Comfort Inn. You can stay there tonight. Tomorrow, when I get finished with work, you come over then we’ll make a plan.” I said relaxing a bit.
“Okay. That’s a good. I can do that.” He choked. Angie sat in the car playing on her phone she just got back. “Thank you.”
“The room is already paid for, just show your ID at the front desk.” I nodded towards his truck. “If you plan on sacrificing everything for her, make sure it’s really what YOU want; not what someone else says is the right thing to do. I spent so much time trying to make sure everyone around me was happy, I forgot I existed. I don’t want that for you.”
“I know. I can’t leave her. She was getting beat up. I couldn’t leave her there.” I longed to hug him, but he’s not touchy-feely.
“Do you love her?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“If you know, you know. Stupidest thing ever.” I waited as he went to extinguish his cigarette. “It matters if you’re doing it for you and not someone else.”
“I know. Thank you.” He climbed the stairs. He collected his things, took the information I gave him on a small piece of paper and crumpled it into his front pocket. “Thanks.” He smiled through red-faced tears.
“You’re welcome. Don’t forget, I work until 1 pm tomorrow, then you’ll come over and we’ll make out a plan, okay?” He paused half way down the stairs.
“Yeah.” He smiled genuinely up at me as he got into his truck where Angie awaited him. She waved as they drove off to the hotel. I felt a boundary go up as I waved back.
The next day happened to be sunny. When they showed up, keeping social distance, we arranged for them to stay at a campground in Oliver Springs. I sent them away with two tents, two chairs, and enough hope to make it through the night. With a bit of tribulation, off they went.
I received a message the next day:
Hey. Checking in. We’re okay. Clean, Fed, safe and got tires and alignment. Waiting for it to be done now. I have almost 300. Gonna put up 100 and if at all possible more than that. Got a bag of tobacco and rolling papers so we don’t go crazy and strangle each other lol. Thank you for helping us so much and being understating (sic.) I love you and I’ll pay you back asapJordan Glenmark
I replied with “Thank you.”
This isn’t the lowest either of us have been. Even though it’s hard for now i feel blessed. You and freddy mike and tammy and a couple work buddies are a few reasons for that. You’re wonderfulJordan
“Thank you” is the last message sent from me.