Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 23: ADHD, Donald Hall, "My Son, My Executioner"

Yes, I spent this morning with my son at church.  This evening, I helped my son with his bath.  As I was searching for an image for this post, my son suggested putting the word "epic" in front of the word "executioner."  "That will give you the best picture," he said.

My son is still struggling with his ADHD.  Last year, his medication worked well.  A few months ago, he started having outbursts at school again, had trouble concentrating.  At home, he's been flying into these uncontrollable rages, where we have to restrain him sometimes so he doesn't hurt himself. 

I thought we were through with this struggle.  Things had been going well for so long.  However, like any kind of illness (physical or mental), ADHD is not really curable.  It's treatable.  I will never be able to stop taking insulin.  My wife will never be able to abandon her bipolar meds.  And, in reality, my son has a lifelong struggle with his ADHD ahead of him.  He will switch medications, add medications, subtract them.

I wish I could cure my son.  I can't.  All I can do is hold him so that he doesn't harm himself.

Donald Hall has a poem about his newborn son.  It's beautiful and strikes at the heart of what being a parent is all about.

Saint Marty loves his little executioner.

My Son, My Executioner

by:  Donald Hall

My son, my executioner,
       I take you in my arms,
Quiet and small and just astir
And whom my body warms.
Sweet death, small son, our instrument
      Of immortality,
Your cries and hunger document
Our bodily decay.
We twenty-five and twenty-two
      Who seemed to live forever
Observe enduring life in you
And start to die together.

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