My Savage Mind

I have been reluctant to post lately. I write about what I think about and right now I just think about Kade.

The reluctance is from worrying I might upset or offend someone. Or because I think people will just simply get tired of listening to my voice mourn. Tragedy scares people. Especially if it’s too close to home. We think, “What if we are next?” Or “If it happened to them, it could happen to me.” That causes people to shut you down or out. So I’ve just been quiet.

Today is a really bad day. The kind where I want to take a pill and go to bed. Asleep is safe and quiet.

You know when you go to the dentist and they numb your mouth and it feels like your lip is as big as that kid’s on Fat Albert? It’s really NOT big, it just FEELS huge. Sensation issues.

Today I’m having a sensation issue. I’m sad. Down. Beaten.

And I can feel it in my face. It feels like I slathered something all over my face and it’s made it swell and pull down. Picture gnomes with strings giving my skin the ol’ heave-ho. I can feel the corners of my eyes and lips turning down. (I’m not being dramatic this time, I promise)

That’s how wretched this is. Your face rebels against you. I can’t take too deep a breath, I’ll cry. I have no energy. It’s an effort to make the trip to the bed to go to sleep. And that’s what I want to do, sleep.

I had to fill out a questionnaire for a new counseling service and the questions were difficult.
-has my energy level changed
– has this affected my work or school situation
– do I feel shock
– do I feel guilt
– am I angry
– what’s my support system like
– am I angry
– am I confused
– am I numb
– am I hopeless
– am I sleeping too much/not enough
– has my eating changed

I began answering these and I stopped a minute. I had all of this before Kadey, it’s just much worse now. So, how do I answer this? It provided a scale from 0-4. Mine were mostly 4’s, which I am comfortable with right now. I could go higher up the scale had there been bigger numbers. I feel like I’m ‘supposed’ to feel this way right now, although I do know not everyone handles grief even remotely the same. But in my head, I feel how I’m supposed to feel. For this.

But what about before?

What about 6 months ago, before this hell?

Why was I on this scale at two’s and three’s before my heart was so broken.

After I filled that out and emailed it back to my new counselor, I started cleaning our bedrooms. Stripping beds, sweeping, dusting, lighting candles, feeding Jud and cleaning out his cage. I got incredibly busy pretty quickly. Then I wondered about that.

After a lot of soul searching….that’s a lie.

I turned my mind toward a couple of issues and God put it on my heart right now.

Why am I all of a sudden so busy? Where did this energy come from? This motivation?

I did all of the things above in about forty minutes and I didn’t think about anything but my next step and wallpaper and craisins. I had turned my mind off. I didn’t want to wonder why I felt like maybe I was a mess before Kade. I was no longer dwelling on Kade at all for a bit. It was all about me. So I got busy. Tasking. That fills your mind up.

My lack of energy and motivation and sadness are all linked to Kade right now. If I fill my mind with something else, my flaws, my ‘depression’ I quit thinking about Kade. I’m knee deep in my own self-perceived failures. That takes up SO MUCH room in my head when I camp there, that it blows my son right out of my mind. This was all subconsciously working, but the Holy Spirit had gotten hold of something and he wouldn’t let go. So I had to start thinking instead of pushing it away.

So why am I, a basically happy person, answering such high scores on a depression scale and thinking to myself, “I was like this before, just not so bad”?

It took about three minutes to come up with an answer, and two of those were shushing the dogs up so I could think.

Multiple Sclerosis. This insane disease that has ravaged my mind and body. Over the last six years, I have sunk deeper and deeper into depression and didn’t even realize it until I had to put it down on paper.

On one hand, it’s crazy what your mind will protect you from. In the other, it’s crazy how deep your mind will let you be in denial.

It’s also amazing how when faced with another tragic circumstance, you can immediately shut down all thinking and have no idea you’re doing it. That is, until the Holy Spirit’s biff thunks you a couple of times. Once He has hold of you, He won’t let go of your mind and emotions, your soul, until you give in or deny Him entry all together. I don’t deny anymore. I did for years and years. Then I figured out the funniest thing. It’s easier to give in! Who’d have thought? You think that closing your mind off to hurtful things, things that require steadfastness and growth, will protect you. Obviously it won’t. (You can use me in your example of foolishness in your paper or sermon) I learned a few years ago, it’s so much easier to accept than dismiss. He’s the only one that knows what’s happened, happening or will happen. So you have to just listen.

I had clamped down on the way the MS was truly affecting me. I had (partially) been successful in hiding that from myself. I’m sure everyone around me knew, idk, I haven’t asked them yet.

I’m going to have to dig all of this up. Which would be overwhelming to me even without Kade. So I’m kind of scared. I don’t really want to do anymore soul-searching right now. But apparently I HAVE TO. Because once God has his hand on my heart about something, I have learned I have to face it.

That kind of makes me mad, it’s like, ‘Hey God, NOW? REALLY? Haven’t you been paying attention to the horrible shame my mind is in right now?! Then you threw this on the pile?! Really?!”

Yes. He does. That’s my flesh talking and sometimes you want to smack your flesh around a little. Or many times, I guess. The point is, He does know. He knows it must be the exact right time for it or He wouldn’t have biffed me.

My face is still sagging sensationally. (Oh brother) I’m still sad, so so sad. But my bedrooms are clean. Always look for the silver lining.

I start counseling tomorrow at the Center For Good Grief at NEA Baptist. We have supported them monetarily since they started the center. I am always humbled by things like that. Thanking God I don’t need their services, I’ll help those who do. Now I’m in the latter category and I’m even more humbled and thankful.

Keep praying for our family. Keep praying for Elizabeth. We are all struggling right now. His date is right around the corner, then his birthday on the heels of that. It’s like a weighted blanket, so heavy there is no throwing it back. You’re just stuck under it, hot outside, cold inside and nauseous all the time. We need your intercession. Thank you for reading this and taking note of us.

Oh, and I’ve decided not to be quiet anymore. About my Heath issues or Kadey. It’s my voice and I should be able to use it. No, no one has ever said anything or eluded to their distaste. This is all something I’ve worked up in my own mind. That’s something else your flesh wants to do, listen to the enemy. I find great comfort in writing, so the devil wants to kick that idea right out of my head. What better way than a big dose of self doubt with a sprinkle of ignorance.

Thank you for being my perpetual reader. 💙 Stay with me as I walk through this valley.

Kadey

My children went to a private Christian School for a large part of their lives. Belle didn’t get to experience that and Kyler got just a few years. Kendall and Kade got the most.

Kendall was in the fifth grade when Kade started preschool. The school was in the same building as our church, which we had all spent our entire lives in. It was a large congregation and we were friends with most, familiar with the rest. This was a home for us. My parents and grandparents attended church there, as well as most of Bill’s family. My point is, this wasn’t a strange place or a ‘new’ place.

Kade was petrified. I would drag him to his classroom, screaming the whole way. Him, not me. (yet) Kennedy would be skipping along, happy as a lark and I had Kyler on one hip. We would be at the door to the classroom and I’d be juggling Kyler while trying to pry Kade’s fingers off of the door jam. He had a death grip on it and he’d be wailing like I was leaving him forever. The teacher would finally be free to help me and we would finally loosen Kade’s grip enough to yank him free and drag-walk him to his chair. Meanwhile, Kennedy would have taken his place at the U-shaped table and would be happily waiting on the morning snack to be handed out. We’d get Kade to his desk and then I’d then I’d have to drag Kennedy out of the room, screaming and crying to stay. This went on every day for two years of pre-school and kindergarten year. I cried a lot.

This mortified Kendall. He was quiet, reserved, disciplined and respectful. Kendall was a good student and very social. His screaming little brother was something that made him cringe.

When they were in first and seventh grade, they took their lunch every day. I packed awesome lunches 😂 One day Kade went to ‘check on his lunch’ , something he did a lot, and his lunch box was empty. Omg the hysteria that followed. 🙄🙄

Kade didn’t report this to his teacher. Oh, no. He snuck out of his classroom and went looking for Kendall. Kendall’s class was on the opposite end of the building and upstairs. Kade couldn’t find Kendall’s classroom so he just started screaming Kendall’s name. The teacher came out to see what all the commotion was about and Kade was in full-blown panic mode. He refused to go back to class and just clung on to Kendall. They escorted Kendall and squalling Kade to the office to call me. I went and picked the little one up, the big one wanted to go back to class. He was red-faced in anger and embarrassment. I was trying to comfort them both and sort of trying not to sit down and cry.

I went to church camp at Camp Indogan in Angola, Indiana. I went every year from about third grade to my sophomore year. Most years I went twice. I loved this.

When it came time for my kids to go, I was so excited. Kendall went first, then when the younger kids were going, he was in an older group. But the three middle kids all went together. Their friends were there. My cousin, Tana, who we have always been extremely close to, was one of the counselors. Kade lost his mind. The first year he went, he got the ‘Where’s my brother’ award. Kennedy and I have talked about this recently. She said she was embarrassed by him making such a fuss. He cried all the time and clung to both her and Kyler. They wanted to have fun, Kade was miserable the whole time.

And we made him go. I thought it would be good for him. I had no idea what was going on in his mind.

Kade struggled in school. He learned differently and none of us knew it. He was treated by his teachers in Indiana and by Bill and I like a little trouble maker. He stayed in trouble at school. We eventually placed the kids in public school. It declined rapidly for Kade. He started fighting. He was so angry. He was expelled his seventh grade year.

We made the decision to move to Arkansas. Academically, this was the best decision we made for Kade. He went to school in Tuckerman. Many of the teachers there had been Bill’s teachers when he was young. Kade was a SODEN. And that meant something in our community. He was suddenly proud. He still got into trouble for fighting, so we got him involved in MMA. He could punch anyone he wanted, as long as they agreed.

When Kade was grown, we talked about his issues from his childhood. His explanation for his actions, his reasons, took all the breath from me. We had no idea the damage we were causing.

His whole life was fear led. If he wasn’t with me by a certain time each night, he knew I’d die. If he didn’t turn the light on and off a certain number of times or touch the doorknob or wash his hands, or tap his head or close a door, all seven times, I might die. His fear was attached to me. And we were pushing him into the nightmare.

He explained that when I left him at school, he would think about me being in a car crash on the way home. When he went to church camp, it was a terrifying week of waiting on someone coming to him to tell him I was dead. That’s why he always wanted to be with Kyler or Kennedy, so he wouldn’t be alone when he found out his mom was dead. He hated staying at my Mother’s house, wouldn’t stay with friends. Even as a teen, eighth and ninth grade, he would start off staying the night with someone, but 90% of the time, he would call me and have me come and get him.

Of course we had no idea. He had great teachers who had no idea. We didn’t talk about mental illness in children. There was no Facebook or Instagram or any other kind of social media. The internet was expensive dial up and I certainly wouldn’t have known what to search for on the World Wide Web.

We just told him to straighten up, man up, shut up, do it, do it, do it. And when he failed, in his eyes at nearly everything, we asked him over and over again, “What is WRONG with you?!?!” I couldn’t understand why he could just get his shit together. Neither could he. And all he heard was “You’re failing”

By the time I understood, it appears it was too late. All roads point to my failure of Kade.

And I tried so hard to be a good mom. Kade thought I was the best mom. He told me all the time. Because what he remembered was the mom who played games and introduced old movies and made iced sugar cookies and bought him all the art supplies he wanted and sung him sweet songs real low, where he had to be so quiet and still to hear me.

I was a good mom. But it didn’t matter. Because I didn’t have the right information, the right tools, the right things to say. Until he was twenty. Then I never shut up. And we worked so hard and I prayed so hard.

I think when your mind tells you ugly things all the time, it’s too hard to decipher it all. Kade saw nothing good about himself and he couldn’t imagine how you could either. He was so full of shame, regret, remorse. He couldn’t function. He couldn’t catch up and grab on. He couldn’t figure life out because all his ears heard were lies in which he was a failure.

I have regrets. That’s normal when a family goes through this. But I know a purpose can rise from this. It would make Kade feel proud that his story might help someone. That’s what spurs me on. Good from bad. God help me.

Teach your children about the Holy Spirit, our helper. You won’t always be with your child, the Helper will. Teach them what an intimate relationship with God looks like. And if you don’t understand your child’s behavior, dollars to donuts, your child doesn’t either. That’s a red flag. Go get some help. If the first place you land on doesn’t work out, don’t quit. Dig.

I wish I would have.

Please continue to pray for our family. The loss keeps getting heavier for some of us. The weight is suffocating. We need your intercession.

#kadesmom

Kadey

Kade had colic beginning at about six weeks old until he was nearly four months old. You could set your watch by it. He started screaming at 6:00 pm and stopped at 9:00 pm. Every night. It scared Billy Don and I so badly when it started, we thought something must be terribly wrong with him. Bill would take our older son, Kendall to Dairy Queen each evening and they would eat inside then go to the park or on long rides, maybe go visit the Grandparents. It was summer and we lived in an old farm house from the 1800’s that the farmer Bill worked for furnished as part of his pay. It was a neat old house with lots of floor to ceiling windows in every room. It had tall ceilings and real hardwood floors. And no air conditioning. I lost every bit of my pregnancy weight in two months. Sweating and walking. Sometimes I cried too. It was exhausting.

Kade was a trying child. He was curious as a cat and was forever getting into something or creating messes or scaring us to death.

He emptied an entire can of comet all over the bathroom one day while I was changing my sheets. It took me more than an hour to clean it all up. When I finished, I took all of the towels, washcloths and rugs and shook them out outside the back door then put them in the wash. When I got back in the bathroom, he had done the exact same thing with a whole container of Johnson and Johnson’s powder. I sat down in the middle of a fog of talcum and cried. Then got up and cleaned it again.

He drove Nana’s car into the side of her house when he was three. It pushed the wall of her bedroom in several feet. Kendall was in the backseat and never even looked up from his book. I cried hysterically at the thought of what might have happened and didn’t.

He hid in the dog house when he was about four and when I went running to the phone to call the police after several minutes of panicked searching, he came out and said, “Here I am Momma!” I paddled his butt and bawled the whole time I did it.

He got stuck in the clothes dryer because he thought it would be funny to hide from me and shut the door behind him. I found him by following his hysterical cries that time. This time I laughed instead of cried.

He started talking about ‘bad guys’ when he was three. He was afraid to go anywhere. We were cautious about what the kids watched and listened to. We still have no idea why Kade was always scared.

Kade had a terrible temper. He got mad at Kendall when they were four and ten. Kade chucked a rock at Kendall because he was provoked in some way and Kendall fell off his bike and broke his arm.

He took a stick and ran it down both sides of both of our neighbor’s cars and left nice, deep scars the length of the cars.

The strange thing was, he was always startled he was in trouble. Most of the time he couldn’t figure out why anyone was mad at him. He wasn’t malicious or pernicious. He was curious and inquisitive. He just wanted to ‘see what would happen’ in almost every scenario I’ve described.

He was also the sweetest baby you’d ever have the privilege of holding. He hugged on everyone he met. He said, “I love you Momma” or Sis, or Kendall or Daddy or Kyler. He wanted to nuzzle in beside you and just be held.

And he wanted to please. That lasted his lifetime.

It wasn’t until Kade was eight that I really noticed the different way he handled things, felt things, thought about things. That’s when the fear he never escaped escalated into something that was a hindrance to him. That’s when the OCD really started. I don’t know if it started before then, that’s just when I remember noticing small things that, at the time, I didn’t understand at all. I had no idea what was happening.

That’s when the anger began to rear its head.

That’s when I realized that Kade wasn’t just ‘ornery’, something else was going on.

Unfortunately, these things weren’t even on most people’s radar at that time. No one spoke about this stuff. I don’t know if others talked about childhood depression, OCD, anger issues. At school he just got into trouble and at home he got more of the same.

I had four children, a bad marriage, a business to help run. I had no idea what I was doing. And I was doing my best. I know that in every fiber of my soul. I tried so hard at everything. But I was lost and floundering. The chaos between my husband and I created a space that left my children feeling so insecure. I just couldn’t see the forest. I certainly couldn’t see Kade. Not the way I wish I would have.

Kade always just had a hard time.

The one thing I think made Kade’s life nearly impossible was that he couldn’t feel love. He always felt unworthy and left out and unloved. If you know our family, if you know me and what kind of mother I tried to be, you’d think I was just pulling that out of my behind. The thing is, what I know now, it wasn’t my parenting, it was Kade’s brokenness. I didn’t know he was broken and it wasn’t addressed at all. Not for years.

We created the perfect storm for Kade’s ending. He was reeling and we had no idea.

When I finally figured out something was seriously wrong, he was a teen and it was like trying to shut the door on the barn after the horse was out.

Next week I’m going to talk about what school was like for Kade. He struggled so much.

I’m hoping that these steps I’m writing about will help me understand and come to terms about Kade’s death. I’m praying it will help me put the puzzle pieces together just a little bit. Or God willing, a lot.

Kade had mental health issues from a very early age and I had no idea. Hindsight is 20/20. That’s the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever had to dwell on. What I didn’t know then that I know now. It leaves me wretched and fractured. Please pray for me.

I’m also praying these will help someone else. Trigger something about someone you love because you recognize them in what I write about my sweet son.

He was, just my sweet son. Being here without him is an anguish that’s unexplainable.

Thank you for sharing in this with me. I hope you continue to walk through Kade’s story with me. Please share these. This is part of the good from the bad for me. Trying to help someone else.

kadesmom #mentalhealthawareness