I’ve never been a parent with my head in the sand. I was never a parent that blamed others for my children’s shortcomings and stuck-on-stupid moments. In fact, if you will ask my children, they will tell you that any time they were in trouble over something, I considered it ALL of their responsibility, not anyone else’s. I would tell them a thousand times over the years, “I’m not raising them, I’m raising you.” I was never one to tell my kids they couldn’t hang out with someone because they would “get them into trouble”. To me, that was just an excuse for bad behavior waiting to happen.
My children always had a house full of people. I knew things about your children that would have gotten them beat, but I beat them myself and sent them home and welcomed them back the next time. If you doubt any of this, you can ask Dillon Winemiller Allyson Laine Barnes Cody Gates or Max Hibbs. They have all been on the other end of my stick at one time or another. I didn’t ever let my children place blame for anything ignorant they did on anyone else. I made sure they knew, there was only one person they could control, and that was themselves. You are responsible for your own actions.
I also have been a suspicious parent. Much to my children’s consternation. Something would go terrible awry and they would try to blame someone else or get out of it by lying. What they didn’t understand then was, Billy Don Soden and I wrote a book of lies, so they couldn’t fool us very much. Sometimes they got in trouble even when it wasn’t them, my philosophy was, better a safe beating then no beating.
I have always kept a close eye on my children. I still do. If you know me at all, I don’t have to explain this.
I am saying all of this because I want to address a few things about Kade. There is a lot of talk, there always is. But I want him honored not pittied.
Kade was a happy person. I don’t know how many people said, “He always put a smile on my face”
Kade was also volatile. He went from pretty-stinkin-happy to I’m-gonna-kick-your-ass in about two seconds. He had some demons. It’s so hard to fathom, even as I write this, I find it hard to say, but Kade didn’t feel a lot of love. He was always like that, We all loved him so fiercely, he didn’t see it. He was always worried someone one was mad at him. He covered this part of him up with gruff. His heart was too big and he just felt so much all at one time. He didn’t know what to do with it.
Kade also drank too much. This was an issue in our family for a long time. He didn’t drink every day. He didn’t stay drunk from day til dark. But sometimes, he would start drinking and Hyde would take over. It was such an irrational thing, There was no reasoning with him about anything when he reached that point. He was just manic. He rarely got to this point, but it was a ride he couldn’t get off of. When he reached this point, he felt everything the hardest. Sad, mad, sorrow, guilt, shame. It was all so overwhelming to him. This is what kept me up at night. This is what I prayed hardest about. I prayed every day for God to take this demon from him. Kade prayed too. Then he would be ok. He would go on with his life and I kind of waited for the next time to not come.
Kade committed suicide. He did it. There is no getting around that fact at all. No matter how you want to dress it up, Kade killed himself. But Kade would have never done this in his right mind. He was drunk. Blind drunk. The one where there is no reasoning and he is madder than most of you can even hope to comprehend. The kind of drunk where he would feel so much anger that he didn’t know what to do with it. And now he can’t take it back.
Kade wouldn’t have done this to us. He wouldn’t have done it to his brothers, his sisters, his friends. He wouldn’t have put Elizabeth through this for anything. And he NEVER would have done this to me or to Bill. He was worried about me every day of his life. Not a day, not a few hours, went by that Kade didn’t check in and see that I was ok. He never would have done this sober.
But he wasn’t sober.
And here I am, writing this horror show down for the world to see.
Kade wasn’t an unhappy person. I don’t believe for a minute that he was contemplating suicide on any level at any time. He was drunk, irrational, scared of something that wasn’t even happening and decided to be dramatic to provoke a reaction. This is not the reaction he envisioned.
I know my children. I know when they are full of crap. Ask them or one of their friends, they will tell you story after story of crazy Momma T when they did something ignorant. This isn’t something a mental intervention could have stopped. Everyone keeps saying “I wish he would have talked to me”, the thing is, he did talk to you. He told you a big ol’ windy story and laughed and moved on. I don’t think this was preventable on an emotional level. This was an alcohol induced disaster. Kade needed help with drinking. He was an alcoholic. But Kade never would have done this intentionally.
And the thing is, if he had done this intentionally, I almost think I could cope better. If I thought that he was so depressed that he thought being dead was better, I could handle this better. I would know that he wanted this. And that would be so terrible. But this is worse. Because I don’t think in any recess of my heart and soul that this was the outcome he wanted. He would take it back in a minute. An ‘accident’. That word diminish the incredible weight of this. I can’t hardly take that he would be so mad at himself. There is where my struggle is. This is the nightmare for me. This is where the enemy steals all of my peace. Because I know Kade didn’t mean it.
Where there is peace, is in my faith. My kids are so worried about me. My health, my sanity.
When I was at the hospital with Kade, while we were waiting on Mid America to get there, I prayed….. God has been preparing me for this. I knew he was preparing me for something. My relationship has changed with him on such an incredible level in the last five years, I thought he wanted me to write a book. I mean, that’s what I thought my testimony was going to be. Imagine my surprise as I sit here today. I’m kinda pissed actually. I just wanted the book adventure, and I got this instead. But what that tells me is, His grace is sufficient for me. I talked to Kade, I held his hand and laid my head on his chest and listened to his heart. I got to hold him and love him and talk to him until I had said all the things. I told him I wasn’t mad. I told him I would be happy and I wouldn’t let this destroy me. I told him it was okay. So I will be okay. Because that’s how I will honor him. And I have been thanking God so much for letting me have that opportunity. So many don’t. What a gift that was.
Jesus loves me, this I know.
I know Kade is at peace. I know that he isn’t hurting. I know that he is sitting somewhere on a river bank that looks a whole lot like the bottoms. He is sitting there with Sam and Tyler, Hunter and Austin. They are all trying to get him to nail his lip to that board and he’s telling them that he’s pretty sure that’s not allowed in Heaven, then he grins and says, “Man, you’re so burnt, go find a freaking nail”
He’s okay now. I don’t have to worry anymore, I can’t tell you how calm my soul is. I think the kids think I’m all quiet and scary and I might be planning something crazy like stealing his body and putting it on a skateboard to drag around behind me. I mean, I am still Tracey. But I’m not in denial. I’m not repressing or compressing. He’s whole and I will see him again. And I can’t wait. I will miss him with every breath I take. My quietness is peace, not plotting.
I know I worship a sovereign God and he has allowed this for a purpose. I am just continually looking for a purpose. So far, his purpose has been to save lives through organ donation. Someone got the call this weekend that changed their world. They get to live. They were able to use all of his organs, his eyes and tissue and his long bones. Wendi, the most amazing woman who has been taking care of Kade and I at Mid America, has been keeping me posted about who he’s helping. I cannot tell you how incredible that feels. I have such happy moments. Good out of bad.
If you or your loved ones have a substance abuse problem, reach out to them. No, wait, that’s not enough. Smack them. With something really hard. Don’t hold back. Don’t make excuses for them or let them make excuses to you. Address it head on. And trust me, we all did. If it ends as badly for you as it did for us, get on your knees. Mine are worn out. But you’ll be ok, So will they. Kade is ok.
And if you aren’t an organ donor, become one. God has allowed helping others to be such a balm to my soul. I just wish I could explain this peace to you. You always hear, “Peace that passes understanding”…I sang it all my life, now I’m wading in it. Thank God. Thank you God.
I thank God for every minute I got to spend with him and I pray it’s not too long before I see him again. I love my son. Everyone else did too. He was okay most of the time. I would give anything to hear him explain this one. I’d get my paint stick out and paddle his ass.
I love you Kadey.