Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I know I'm 3 days late to say this. But I did get a chance to talk to both my Mom and my Stepmom on Sunday and wish them H.M.D. I had even sent them both a card with a refrigerator magnet that looks like one of my cats. However, Mother's Day wasn't altogether happy, at least for Mom.

I was preoccupied with the final, matinee performance of the Symphony season in St. Louis, and the party that followed at a chorus member's house in Illinois. That was where I was when Mom returned my voicemail and I got to tell her a joke (poking fun at her Italian background) and wish her H.M.D. Unfortunately our conversation didn't stay nice for very long. In fact, people started drifting out of the area where I was talking on my cell phone, perhaps alarmed by the tone I was taking with my dear mother.

Being lectured by Son #1 probably isn't a really fun way for a mother of three to spend part of Mother's Day. But I couldn't help it. The bad news about Sons #2 and 3 made me hot under the collar. And it also probably contributed to her own not-very-happy Mother's Day.

Son #2 - Ryan, whose picture and health problems I have shared in a previous post, may not have cancer; but he still has problems. Health problems, relationship problems, childcare problems, and very serious money problems. The relationship and money problems are not new for him, though both have reached a previously undreamt-of level of awfulness. It isn't my place to tell the world about them, so I'll just say this: Keep him in your prayers.

Son #3 - Jake, my half-brother, who just turned 21 at the end of March, and who still lives at home with Mom, has his own problems but he's not dumb. He and I both know Mom is doing something unwise and wrong in her hope of "helping" Ryan, which is what I lectured her about in front of my Symphony Chorus friends. But seeing as Mom spent part of Mother's Day visiting Jake in jail, he may not have much credibility on the subject. The reason Jake is in jail has to do with mental illness and court-ordered treatment and the stupid governor of Nebraska deciding that sending sick people to jail is a better idea than putting them in a hospital.

The word "non-compliance" should be struck from the vocabulary of anybody who has anything to do with behavioral health. It leads to bad ideas, such as the idea that a screwed-up kid who is so depressed or scared that he doesn't want to go to his psychiatrist, even though he is under a court-order to do so, is therefore a criminal. The proper place for Jake at such a time is a safe, caring hospital environment, not a hoosegow where he is liable to grow even more depressed and scared. He needs treatment, not punishment. I probably scared away some of my fellow choristers by declaring aloud that Mr. Mike Johanns (left), late governor of Nebraska and now U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, is a colossal jerk for bringing this state of affairs about in the state where my mother and half-brother live. In fairness to Johanns, Dave Heineman, who is now the governor, has done nothing to improve things.

This makes me angry not only because it is unjust and stupid, but also because the safety and well-being of my brother is on the line. My mother has told me about a previous instance when Jake was "taken down" by the cops because he didn't "comply" with his treatment. She worried that he might harm himself, so she called the jail and asked them to watch him; they said they would check in on him every 15 minutes or so. What a caring, professional attitude! A suicidal kid can do a lot in 15 minutes! Of course Jake didn't ingratiate himself to the cops by calling the arresting officer "Barney" and a "doughnut-eating porker." You go, boy!

IMAGES: Photographic evidence that my mother's three sons weren't always the fat, stupid jerks we are now. At one time, we were good-looking jerks with loads of potential. What happened? Anyway, from the top: Ryan, Jake, and Robbie at age 13, 1, and 14 respectively; a more formal picture of the same; Jake at 2 or so, going for a midnight snack; 12-year-old Jake trying out the gangsta look. Now that you have seen the adorable little boy inside the 21-year-old emotional mess, won't you pray that God would help and heal Jake? And also, pray that God would visit the powers that be in Nebraska with at least a spark of human compassion and just-plain-common sense!

No comments: