My birthday, in July, presented a quandary. For years my family celebrated special events together but last winter was horrific, and I still hadn’t recovered. Sam went off his medications and the results, while predictable, were a major setback for all of us. He became delusional, manic, and unable to care for himself. I testified at his probate hearing to have him committed. This was the second time I’ve done it, and will be the last since it nearly destroyed me. As an added bonus, my relationship with Sam is not as close. Still, I don’t regret what I did; he would have wound up in jail, or worse, if someone hadn’t stepped in. If he ever decompensates as severely again though, I will leave it to someone else—the mental health professionals, a friend, a pastor—to do the deed. He wound up spending seven weeks in the state hospital while I spent one week in a private one, threatening suicide, after he told me I was no longer his mother.
We are in the process of mending our relationship, but when my birthday approached, I didn’t know if he would go out with the family. I wasn’t sure I wanted him to either. To my surprise, he agreed to join us at a restaurant, and, all told, it went better than expected, and things are continuing to improve. He recently said, “I love you,” something I never expected to hear again.