Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Story of Deliverance - Part VIII

It is the end of Mother's Day 2007. My children, grandchildren, and parents were with me today for dinner after church. It was especially wonderful because Kevin was with us - he has missed the last two Mother's Day celebrations. Please go to his wife's site to read his latest chapter, then come back and read my response. If you have not read our story to this point, you will find all of the chapters linked on my sidebar.

Last night after Feisty's birthday party, Kev and Sema, DC and I went for a refreshing, enjoyable walk through their neighborhood. We had a great time together and it was such a blessing. On the way home, DC and I were listening to a Dallas Holm c.d., which we've had for years. There are many songs on this c.d. that I have always loved, but this one had not struck me until hearing it last night. The song is called "I've Never Been Out of His Care." It is written by Phil Johnson. The words that came alive last night are a perfect explanation of why Kevin is still alive today. The first verse and chorus say this:

The eyes of God are upon me, He sees everything I do.

The arms of God are around me, He keeps me safe and secure.

And He knows where I am every hour of every day

He knows each thought I think,

He knows each word that I might say.

And although there’ve been times I’ve been out of His will,

I’ve never been out of His care.

If you have read Kev's latest chapter before coming over here, you know what I mean. He is a walking miracle. I mentioned in Chapter VIII that our friends took him back for the 5th time as a welder. He talks about "using" one night and getting caught the next day. Apparently, this was a fairly common occurrence back in the manufacturing plant, but he pushed it a bit farther than normal and got caught. I am glad he did. But this firing was such a blow, because these friends bend over backward to rehabilitate and restore people to their jobs, and give them chance after chance. He felt like such a failure to be fired from this company.

In typical form, which I did not want to believe, Kev asked to borrow my car to go look for a job in a town a few miles away. Against my better judgment, I trusted him once again and let him take it. When he wasn't home by dinnertime, I was alarmed. The little town was only 5 miles away. The call we got hours later was very mixed up and nonsensical. He was somewhere in the depths of Denver, lying through his teeth about everything that had happened that day and everything that was happening at that moment. Bottom line, my car was wrecked. He was able to drive it to the halfway point between Denver and home, so we headed down there to help him get it home. At a point a few miles north, it was no longer driveable, so somehow we called a tow truck to meet us there on the dark, cold interstate highway. DC sat in the car waiting for the tow truck while I sat in the truck with Kev. It was then that I truly knew something was way off. He was making no sense whatsoever. It was past 2:00 a.m. when the tow truck finally arrived and insisted on taking the car back south again instead of to our town. It would be over two weeks before we'd get it back because the repairs were so extensive.

When we got back to our town, Kev wanted to stop at Taco Bell because he was starving. I said no, I just wanted to get home, and I had dinner left that I could heat up for him. I heated it and took it up to his room, said good-night, and collapsed exhausted into bed.

At 5:30, when I got up to get ready for work, I noticed that the light was still on in his room. I knocked, opened the door, and found the food, untouched, on his bed. I thought maybe he had fallen asleep downstairs - I had found him slumped over the computer one morning, sound asleep, and hoped that had happened again. When he wasn't anywhere in the house, my heart began to beat in my stomach. I looked out the kitchen window and screamed for DC to call 911. There was Kev, sitting up in a lawn chair in the back yard. I thought sure he was dead, but didn't know how he could still be sitting up. I ran out there and found him stiff as a board, not dead, but unconscious, and very, very cold. Somehow I got him out of the chair onto the ground. The paramedics arrived in the fire truck, and the police came as well. We live on a culdesac, so it created quite a stir in the neighborhood.

Kev was taken to our hospital and I went on to work, so angry that I didn't care to talk to him at any point in that day. The feelings that writing this bring back are chilling. I had finally reached a point of total loss. This was the 3rd overdose in a few months, and the first of 3 wrecked cars. DC and I decided after work that we should visit him at the hospital. He was not there and nobody could or would (thanks to HIPAA) tell us where he might be. My thoughts were that he had bolted from the hospital and was dead in a ditch somewhere.

That night, we had a get-together with a 4x4 group from church and we went, pretending nothing was wrong. We certainly were not going to share this with these people in a social gathering. There was nothing we could do about Kev that night, and we needed something to take our minds off of the trauma. We did leave much earlier than anyone else, though, and headed home to receive a phone call a short time later. They had taken him to a mental health facility in a town 30 miles east of us. They can only hold them for a few days. We went to visit him one time, and then went to bring him home. He was there without any shoes or change of clothes.

Sema was on her way back here about this time, and arrived shortly after this episode, in time for all of us to go to some family counseling at the facility. He was able to go for a minimal cost for a few weeks. I don't know how much it helped Kev, but I did gain some help from these sessions in beginning to understand the physical and psychological grip these substances had on our son. I don't know if more time there would have helped or not. But once again I had hope.

Kev and Sema rented a cute little house downtown, close enough to his new job at the bronze sculpture company that he could ride a bike. Things started out with great anticipation for a clean, normal life. But it wasn't long before it was obvious that he was still not well. Sema would call and ask if we knew where Kev was. That always made me sick to my stomach. She ended up in the hospital with surgery on a non-existent appendicitis - long story - but Kev acted so strange. I was with her all night and day. He took the day off to be with her, but only came in and out sporadically. It was very strange.

Kev and I did spend quite a bit of time in the waiting room in the middle of the night talking to one of his pastors, who came when he was called after midnight. I realize now that Kev was most likely under the influence at that moment. But he was telling the pastor things I'd never heard before and I was horrified.

Thanksgiving Day they came to my folks' house for dinner - very late. Kev was again acting so strange. He went back and slept the afternoon away in my mom and dad's room. He had swelling in his arm and he was telling Sema all sorts of stories about why this was happening. We were all worried, but just could not believe that he was still doing this to himself. We still didn't really understand, I guess.

The day he bolted from his work place and locked himself in his house (you can read more about this in his post) was the same day that Sema found out her parents were not going to be allowed to leave Kenya to come and visit her for Christmas. The American Embassy would not grant them a visitor visa. In retrospect, I am very glad they weren't here, but at the time, it was a huge blow to her. (Sema eventually was able to work out a trip to Germany to visit her sister, and her parents were able to get there too, for Christmas). She had just learned this news when she got the call at work from the police that Kev was barricaded in their house. Her boss took her home and called me. I couldn't leave at that moment, so DC went home to be with her.

I again did not want to talk to him. It was two days later that he called and asked if anybody was ever going to call or visit him. I told him that frankly I didn't have a clue what to say to him any more. It was then I learned how seriously ill he was and that, again, he could have died if God had not had His hand on his life. He eventually had two surgeries on his terribly infected elbow (see Kev's story), and was on the most potent antibiotic there is, intravenously, for 10 days because of a blood infection.

I finally went up to visit him. I found him lucid and repentant. Different from every other time. Every single person who came into his room when I was there - nurses, nurse aids, social workers - had a special love for him that was supernatural. I ran into a nursing student who had grown up in our church and had begun a very troubled life when her parents divorced. She had found her way and was about to finish her nursing degree. She was not able to care for Kev because she knew him, but she told me she was praying for him. I just bawled and thanked her. But everyone that went into his room those many days was sent by God. They loved and cared him back to health.

Sema would not see him, and I don't blame her. I couldn't not see him because he was my son. But the trust issue was huge. He could not go home to his wife and we told him he could only stay with us until he was healthy and had found a place to go to get the help he so desperately needed. The search for that place was much harder than we anticipated.



MugwumpMom said...

Some journeys are soooo difficult, with lots of questions and yet you walked through this with such integrity and strength. Again, thanks for sharing. I'll go read Kevin's now.

Danielle said...

Happy Mothers Day and keep sharing! You give me hope and encourage me!

Diane said...


What a beautiful Mother's Day! What a day for Praise!

I am so thankful that God spared Kevin's life! My heart is overwhemed by joy for the very ordinary gift of spending a Mother's Day with your entire family. What an extraordinary God we serve!

I will be posting shortly my own extra-ordinary Mother's Day as well!

Kristen said...

Like I commented to Kev, as the story gets further on, these later installments seem like just yesterday, but also so long ago. I'll never forget Thanksgiving that year and his horribly swollen hand. And his time in the hospital and even after he got out and was back at home. He came over to my house quite a bit during that time. It's good to know that even the nurses recognized that he had better things in store for him.

Lori said...

Blessings! I can't wait for the rest of the story.

Nancy said...

WOW, just when I think the worst is over... another chapter begins with more trauma! I am not sure how you endured all of this, but I am sure your trust and faith in God was your mainstay. I read Kevin's story first and I could just feel his pain, and what a blessing that he got beyond all this. I also could feel your love for Kev... the love that only a Mom could have. I think that your support and constant steadfast love gave him enough hope to pull through all of this. You are an amazing lady and an inspiration for all of us. Thank you for sharing this.

Midlife Mom said...

Only by the grace of God did you all come through this nightmare! ONLY! Now I am going over to read Kevin's story. Again, thanks for sharing this with us and hopefully it will help someone else that is going fown this path!

Barb said...

I'm sitting here reading this with my mouth hanging open, Dawn. Truly, I have no idea how you got through this. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel if this were my child. I honestly can't imagine it. It just doesn't compute, it's so horrendous.

With every chapter you and Kevin post, I am more and more amazed that he not only survived but actually recovered.

You have been down a rough road, my friend.

Susie said...

My mind just is finding it difficult to take this all in. As a parent, I can't imagine how terrified, worried, angry, heartsick and confused you must have been.
The stress in your life must have been almost unbearable.

Linda said...

It must have felt like walking through your worst nightmare. I just can't imagine Dawn.
How wonderful that this Mothers' Day was so different. The miracle of the way God poured His love out to Kevin through so many different people is just amazing. God has something very special in mind for Kevin. I can't wait to get you all out of this mess to the happy ending!!

Linds said...

I am drained every time I read your story, Dawn. And Kevin's. But I am also amazed at your strength, faith and love.This is a remarkable story abotu a remarkable family.

Diane J. said...

Every time I read a new chapter in Kev's story, I wonder just how much worse it can get. It just gives me chills to think how many times Kev was so close to death, yet God preserved his life.

I'm slowly catching up with my blogging buddies. Happy belated Mother's Day, Dawn. It sounds like you had a good one.

Love and hugs,


Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Amazing story - I seriously think you guys should be working on putting this into a book; it would be such an encouragement to others, that with the grace of God you made it to the other side.

Tammy said...

Dawn, I think Susie said it well for me...I'm having trouble taking this all in and I can't even imagine the pain involved for you...and for each of you who loved him. And of course, for him, too.
God is so merciful, though, isn't He? I'll be reading Kevin's chapter, too...

Maine Mom said...

Kevin definitely had divine help during this period of his life. How blessed he is! This experience you and Kevin are sharing is a testimony of how drugs destroy and control lives. Drug addiction is not something that can be ignored or will just go away. My heart goes out to you, Dawn for all you have gone through.

PEA said...

You certainly lived through a mother's worse nightmare and as you said, with all that he went through, the abuse he put on his body, it's a miracle that he's alive today to tell his story! I can't even imagine the pain you all went through and how hard it would have been to get the trust back in your relationship!! xox

SiouxSue said...

My goodness, Dawn, it seems Kev's addiction was really holding him. That's what Satan does, if he can. But the joy you must have left in finally finding him in a place of God! Wow.

kpjara said...

It amazes me how this story continues and then I'm reminded...all of our stories continue.

Thank God for a GOOD ending, immersed in His love and forgiveness and redemption!

groovyoldlady said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I have a post up by John and Abraham Piper on parenting prodigals...

Brenda said...

Dawn, it just keeps getting more amazing. As I read, I have to wonder how in the world he continued to be able to find employment. I can imagine that it must have seemed so hopeless at the time, but having the advantage of seeing from the other side, it's so obvious that God's hand indeed was, and is, all over that boy.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the pain - and the victory. There is hope for our prodigals!

Rachel said...

hi dawn, i can't believe you guys suffered through so much without even telling anyone. i really feel for you.