Friday, July 7, 2017

Fucked up for real

I feel like I really need to blog tonight. Thoughts and feelings are gushing out of me like an open wound and I need to set all my thoughts straight.

The past 16 months or so have been really fucked up, hardest I've ever dealt with. Don't get me wrong, there been lots of happiness and goodness too, that's what gets me through it.

To summarize some of the good things, we set a date for our wedding, January 16th, 2016. A week or two before that date we found out we were pregnant, which is something we had been trying for. Grayson Burke Bishop was born on August 18th, 2016 and he is very healthy, developing well and he is just amazing.

To summarize some of the bad things, for most of the pregnancy we had to deal with a fairly serious bought of pre-eclampsia, several moments where we almost had to make the call to airlift to spokane for an emergency birth, when he finally came he didn't get into position well enough and we had to an unplanned C-Section, that went well until a very severe infection kept Tawni, the baby and I in the hospital for the first 4 weeks of his life. The struggles we went through to sustain her milk production during that time. Shortly after bringing my wife and son home, our younger teenage son started lying to us about having a girlfriend, we found out they were doing inappropriate things on school property and he was lying a lot, we discovered they were planning on having sex and we shut the whole thing down. Then our oldest son flipped out because he was having trouble with his grades, he started spending 4 hours a day talking to his mom and basically withdrew from our family. Then my step dad developed cancer, which has been causing a lot of issues with his epilepsy including multiple seizures, including one causing a fracture in his L1 vertebrae. Then, on a normal trip to their grandmas house, our eldest did something very inappropriate and hurtful, it caused him to be so ashamed of himself that he attempted to commit suicide later that day. As a result, he is now living with him mom in Phoenix.

And that's just the shit I remember.

To start from the beginning. Things were going really well, our wedding was amazing and everyone was very excited that we had a new addition to our family on the way. Due to the pre-eclampsia Tawni had to stop working much earlier than planned, which put is into a bind. You can read more about that whole story at our gofundme page where we attempted to ask for financial assistance. It was very difficult to re-live it as we wrote it all out, so I don't plan on going through it all again here.

Fast forward to after we brought the baby home, the summary above talks about the situation with our younger teenage son. Its as simple as I described there, we found a lot of really inappropriate conversations on his phone, we contacted her dad and the school, took his phone and grounded him for an extensive amount of time. We talked to him a lot about what the results of his actions could have been and one of the things that really seemed to drive home is when we told him that the way he and this girl were talking to each other isn't something we had ever done with each other before.

He was partially grounded for several months, we slowly let him earn privileges back, saving things that were part of the problem for last, like hanging out with his friends and finally giving him his phone back. Ofcourse he only had it for 1-2 days before we caught him with a secret Snapchat account with an inappropriate name. So he lost it again for awhile. Overall we feel like we handled this situation well, it all seemed to get through to him and overall his behavior improved a lot.

For our eldest son's grades situation, we had a rule in place that you get partially grounded if any of your grades are below a B-, but the partial grounding would be lifted as soon as you raised your grade. We did this assessment once per week. In 8th grade this drove him to keep on top of his grades, he would sometimes be partially grounded for his grades, but he was highly motivated to get them fixed and would usually have it lifted within a day or two. So we felt like this rule was working. The main goal was for them to be encouraged and motivated to know what their grades were and keep up on doing everything they can do to keep them up. This is also paired with getting paid for grades at the end of each semester ($25 for each A and $10 for each B, nothing for C or D and if you have any Fs, you get nothing).

Heading into Freshman year, he struggled, it got him into a situation where the rule basically kept him grounded for quite a long time, but instead of talking to us about how he was feeling, he talked to him mom, more and more. He stopped hanging out with anyone, he was always late for dinner, he was always angry, he was spending several hours a day talking with his mom. Kept talking about how much he hated it here and how much he wanted to live with him mom. Talked about how he would drop out of high school as soon as he turned 18 so he could move down to live with him mom.

Finally one day it all blew up and he while he was flipping out we finally started getting information from him and realized what was causing all of this. We altered the rule to provide the same level of encouragement and accountability, but not cause him to be perpetually grounded all the time and his mood changed completely. He knows from prior experience that we are willing to change rules and improve them if they aren't having the right effect, he apologized for not talking to us sooner, and realized we would have changed the rule much sooner if we had known it was causing him to feel this way.

After that things started feeling like they were finally improving. All four of the kids seemed to be doing really well. Everyone was getting happier, grades were going up and the baby and my wife were very healthy.

Then on a trip to grandmas house it all came crashing down. Our eldest son did something inappropriate. I'm not going to go into any details here, but it was bad, but not against the law. We brought him home right away to talk about it, he was clearly nervous, we had him go to his room for a couple of minutes so that we could talk before bringing him up.

When he came up he was acting nervous. At first he didn't want to sit down, I convinced him to but all he did was lower himself to the ground, but stay on his feet. He was keeping his hands in his back pockets for some reason, I called it out and he said he just wanted to keep them there. I didn't even suspect what had happened.

He very quickly admitted to what he had done, a good start I thought. Unfortunately he very quickly said he had a solution, he said he thought it was best to kill himself. We were shocked, I can't possibly describe to you the thoughts and feelings running through my head during this conversation. We tried to appeal to him from many different angles, bright future, friends, family that will miss him, all the things he would accomplish, future wives and girlfriends, children, grand children. The conversation went on for a good 20-30 minutes, but he never let go of suicide being the only solution.

He got nervous and stood up, so I stood up with him, ready for anything. At this point I was very nervous for him, and very nervous to have the baby and Tawni in the room, not really feeling like I knew what he was going to do next. I got him to sit down on the couch, still keeping his hands in his back pockets for some reason.

I felt like at times I had convinced him that this wasn't the answer, I felt like I could see in his eyes that he was convinced a few times, but he remained adamant, which confused me. Finally it came to the point where I told him very frankly that if I couldn't talk him out of this, then I would need to involve the police.

Tawni ran to the bedroom with the baby and dialed 911, Jadon jumped up and started screaming the F word, I didnt want to hurt him and I didn't want him to leave, so I jumped onto him on the couch to hold him down, he got a good kick into my stomach during the stuggle. He is stronger than me though, so I had to let him go, or else one of us was really going to get hurt. When I jumped on him his hands finally came out of his pockets and to my horror I saw that he had already cut both his wrists multiple times and he had been hiding it by keeping his hands in his pockets. I screamed to Tawni that he had already cut himself.

When I had to let him up, I told him to just stay here and wait for the police, but he ran outside. I followed him as best I could, down around the block and up the next street over. I called the police myself to give them an update on his location.

I don't think I understood what pain and anguish really were until I was running down the street with my sons blood on me.

They picked him up, he gave himself up right away. They put him in protective custody for a bit, took him to the emergency room, spoke to an emergency counselor and we picked him up. While in the emergency room, we got a call from our other son that Grandpa had had a seizure and was being airlifted to spokane.

Its been rough ever since, easier as the weeks went on, but nothing will ever be the same again. I'm not going to go into any more detail at the moment, but ultimately I decided that since he so desperately wants to live with his mom, even though its clearly a worse place for him on multiple levels, I felt like suicide was on the table if he stayed here, and the chances were reduced if we lived where he wanted. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make and part of me has regretted it ever since. In so many ways its for the best, except for him, in every way living down there is worse for him other than finally getting what he wants. Worse schools, worse environment, less accountability and responsibility.

Then a little over a week ago my step dad had yet another seizure. Not sure how many he has had since the cancer treatment started, 5 or 6 at least (but only 2 in the 25 years previous). His back was bothering him, so two days ago he had an x-ray done in spokane, by the time they got home they had messages telling them to take him straight to the emergency room, he had broken his back. They think he fell against the toilet during his seizure possibly. I think he will be ok, but its really wearing on him, on all of us.

So to summarize, this has been a fucked up year. I love my wife, I love my kids, and I'm doing the best I can, but lately it doesn't feel like my best is enough anymore.