Jan is a member of my family mental illness support group. (Jan is not her real name.) She writes:
I got online to write you because I've had a tough week, but thinking of you and our support group helped. I so wish I could come to the meetings, but I pick up my kids after school and so it makes it really hard.
I'm writing to send you love and to essentially say I'm in awe of all the members of the group for enduring to the end with your ill family members. Jason (not his real name) is really hard to raise, and lately I've been really discouraged and have lost much of my joy over it. But truthfully, he's about 8 times better than he was plus he's starting therapy next week. Yay!
I keep looking at our situation and essentially thinking I only have 6-10 more years of trying to raise my kids through school. Maybe I'll create a breakthrough with Jason in the next couple of years and he will suddenly be controlled and respectful.
But then I'll think of our many group conversations and I'll remember that I may never really be done raising him. And once again, my spirit will become swelled up with an abounding sweet respect for all of you who are committed to your children in an extraordinary way -- with intense love and compassion, continuing to endure, worry, and often take care of your adult mentally challenged children.
Often (as it is for me), you're frustrated, sometimes feeling abused and taken advantage of, sometimes living in worry or fear for your children/adults. You hang onto two things: You were blessed with these human beings at birth or through adoption. You know they deserve better in life, and sometimes you succumb to the thought that you deserve better also.
And the other thing that is much easier to hold onto, is the deep down love you feel for them and the love you know they feel deep down as well. For me, that last part is easy. Jason is one of the few people who can get me to absolutely crack up. It's easy to tell him, "I love you." And he says it more often than anyone else does in my life.
So thanks for being a great example of not giving up. When I read your blog, it described to a tee what I'd been processing this past month and why I'd missed you and the support group so much lately. I'm proud of you for starting the blog and the conversation that each of us has to start with the greater communities.
Thanks for reaching out to me on your blog this night when I've felt so hollow and withdrawn.