No I Didn’t Leave Grandson at a Rest Stop

Thought I would explain why Mr. Grandson suddenly dropped out of the picture. He was the whole reason for my wild camping adventure in the first place. He flaked out at the last-minute and announced he was quitting the National Guard. And no I didn’t forget him at a rest stop 🙂

Now on the face of it, you may think hmmm that’s not a wise move or even hoorah. However, that was our main condition for him living under the roof of Mr. Husband and myself.

3 months ago he arrived at the airport here in Big D. He was 23 years old, broke, skinny, tired, scared, had a variety of unaddressed medical issues and a substance abuse problem. I knew all this from the beginning. We were hoping to help him get on his feet.

We had 2 conditions for his remaining here. 1) no substance or alcohol use and 2) he had to honor his commitments to the National Guard. We wanted this second condition because we thought he needed the structure in his life and his insurance was dirt cheap. A much-needed benefit considering the state of his health.

Over the next months I chauffeured him to countless doctor appointments, substance abuse counselling 3 times a week and so on. He cleaned up, gained 35 pounds (our grocery bill almost tripled), and even began to speak in a respectful alert tone of voice.

So he got big and healthy, regained some self-respect and then went to the other extreme and got all cocky. The day before we due to leave to drive him to Guard duty in New England he announces he was quitting. Mr. Husband and I were heartbroken and felt sort of suckered. I don’t think Mr. Grandson thought that the reaction would be immediate. He hasn’t experienced much of that in his life. I told him quitting was a deal breaker and that we would take him to the bus station.

As he was packing his bag, we approached him and asked one last time, “why are you doing this?” He straightened up, looked us in the eye and said “you told me you wouldn’t be behind me if I quit the Guard, every action has a consequence.”

Wow, he had come a long way. He had enough mental acuity to take a concept we were trying to teach him, turn it around, and throw it in our teeth. At that point I decided that he had to leave immediately, not 6 hours later. He finished packing and we drove him to the bus station, sporting a ticket that we purchased, of course. Haven’t heard from him since.

I was heavy hearted, emotionally whipped, and all packed up with nowhere to go. The next morning my mom said “why don’t we just go instead of sitting around the house moping.” And so we did.

I hope that Mr. Grandson got something from his 3 month stay with Grandma and Grandpa. There is another way to live and life doesn’t have to be a constant stream of melodrama, emotional pain, and failure. Maybe someday he will look back at this time and think that it did him some good. All I can do is hope and pray for him.

13 responses

  1. Sorry to hear how this has turned out. You and your husband really did you best for him, but sometimes there is only so much you can do. I think it was good that you stuck to your conditions, even though it must have been heartbreaking to do it.

    1. Thank you, Lisa.

  2. You did all you could. I hope that knoweldge serves you well in the nights ahead, when you’re lying awake pondering his situation.

    1. Me…lay awake at night?? Ok it happens all the time. I know I did the right thing, but it still sucks.

  3. I am so sorry. He used it as an escape, didn’t he? His pain must be deep, to want to go back to where he was when he arrived.

    Hopefully, as others have said, he will turn his life around, but clearly it will not be until he is ready. We really can’t help those who refuse to help themselves, or just cannot see the issues in the first place.

    1. I crashed at Grandma’s house a few times in my wild and crazy younger days. It did help me. I hope it helps him. An old southern saying is “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” applies here. Mr. Husband and I did what we could, now it’s his turn to make his path.

      1. That saying also came to mind when I was writing my comment above – but I didn’t write it down. I agree. Favourite saying of my father’s too. Tough love is, well, tough, but if we don’t do it, we end up being “enablers” and that does no good at all either.

  4. You did the right thing, the right way at the right time. And I suspect that over the long haul, even how it turned out will have been right. Just not in the moment. But being right isn’t the same as being easy. And it doesn’t really help how you feel. Sigh… Wish I had something to give you, but all I’ve got is a pocketful of clichés and good thoughts…

    1. Sometimes doing the right thing hurts big time. While I was on the road I was busy with the adventure. Now that I’m home it’s hitting me hard. But, thank you, your words mean a lot to me.

  5. Wow, this is tough! My mother has one of my nephews living with her at the moment, under not dissimilar circumstances, though my nephew’s issue is legal, not substance abuse.

    Sounds like you did all that you could. I think, however, that you might be surprised how much good this does him in the end. You certainly did the right thing. Hang in there!


    1. Thank you for your kind words Kathy.

  6. My heart is breaking with yours. But I’m so glad you didn’t bend. You started the changes in his life, and hopefully someday in the near future, they will sink in. It finally did for one of my grandsons. There’s still hope.

    1. Thank you Pat. It is comforting to know, from the experience of others, that there is hope for him.

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