Today my son came home from school with a look on his face that was all too familiar. It was the same look I had on my face as a kid when I’d come home from school. The same look I had while I was fighting back tears and trying my best to convince everyone nothing was wrong. As soon as I saw his face I knew there was something wrong; I knew my baby was hurting. The pain in his eyes was screaming so loud I had to fight back my own tears while I asked what was wrong. It didn’t take long before his entire face turned red and those baby blue eyes filled with tears.
I was nowhere near prepared to hear the words that would come out of his mouth to answer my question. I never in a million years would imagine my 9 year old would utter those words at this age, or any for that matter. But he did. “I want to die mommy, why can’t I just die.” I was rendered speechless for what seemed like an eternity while I sat there holding and rocking him trying not to let him see my tears. As I was rocking him I could feel his body shaking and listening to him gasp and cry tore my world apart. While trying to find words to talk to him I was unable to formulate a single thought as there were hundreds flying through my brain. I eventually pulled myself together, knowing I had to be strong for him.
I shushed him for a while, trying to calm him down so I could try to understand what had happened, why he would say something that severe. I asked him what made him feel that way, did something happen? Sobbing and fighting back tears he said it again “I just want to die. Everybody hates me. Please let me die.” Why? How could this angel believe anyone, let alone everyone, could hate him? This child with a smile so bright it could light up the darkest room, and his laugh that is so contagious could make the meanest man crack a smile? What had made my son feel this way, and how can I fix this? How can I stop my baby from hurting so bad that he says he wants to die?
After he had calmed down a bit more I asked again for him to please tell me what made him feel this way. He told me it started with his school. The kids were picking on him and calling him names. The teacher made him feel like he was stupid. With his learning disabilities and the school’s resistance to a specialized program to help him learn it’s been very hard.
And then he looked me dead in the eye and told me I don’t love him. I can only imagine the horror on my face as I looked into his eyes. I felt my heart drop to my stomach and felt like I had just been shot in the chest. Could he really believe I didn’t love him? I asked him if he really thought that, did he believe I didn’t love him. He started to tremble again as he was crying, clinging to my shoulder. “All I want to do is make you happy and I never do. I mess everything up.” I looked him in the eye and told him that no matter what he did I could never stop loving him. That I would love him no matter what, and nothing in this world could even come close to stopping that. That he is the only reason in this world I have to smile and laugh and cry. That he is the single most important thing in this world and that without him I would be lost and alone. He looked at me and asked me “How?” At this point I explained what unconditional love is, and gave him the example of him being mad at me when I take away a game. Even though he may get angry, he still loves me.
We eventually both calmed down and moved on to doing homework. I don’t think I will ever heal from hearing my sweet child say those terrifying words. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust him to be out of my sight for fear of what would happen if those feelings strike again. The only thing I can possibly do now is sit and wait for an appointment slot to open up so I can get us started in therapy. We have at least a 4 week wait before the only office within 150 miles opens for new clients. Until then I don’t know how I’m going to make it, let alone my son. At this point I feel so lost and helpless.
Any encouraging words are welcomed with open ears. If anyone can give me any ideas on how to help us both cope with this until we can get professional help I would greatly appreciate it. This is the worst feeling I’ve ever had as a mom, and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.