In a couple of weeks, Antonio will have been gone for a year. It's hard to believe I saw him so often before that. I miss talking to him a lot. There are so many things I wish I had said. I haven't spoken to him since he left, other than a couple of short facebook messages. He stopped responding to me about 6 months ago. I am not surprised. I vowed never to support him making (what I consider) bad choices & I am sticking to my guns. I likely will never make such bold NEVER statements again. I am 38 and still learning these things.
Losing him was so difficult, but necessary. One of Meg's sisters described trying to help him as fighting gravity. Wow, that was right on the money, that statement. Thank you Babs! We needed someone to give words to how it felt to work so hard and still lose him. Meg and I had to evaluate everything we deemed important in our lives after he left. I enjoyed being Antonio's mom. I don't want to be anybody else's mom.
We both believe that service work is the key to having a full spiritual life. It has been tough being without that for the last year. I am still not ready to take on any other service work right now.
The skinny about what happened is Antonio doesn't understand the value of telling the truth. Basically, after he arrived in Denver, all of his stories fell apart. It was heartbreaking. It still stings a year later. I am still hurt that he was SO dishonest with me so often. I had a false sense of what I had control over and what I didn't.
I miss this little guy. I miss the guy I thought he was. I miss being his mom, but I am happier now than I have ever been. It's just different than what I thought it was going to be like.
The five years I worked with Antonio taught me so much, but the best and most impactful thing was not to speak on an issue unless you personally have experienced said issue. I thought I knew what growing up in poverty in asheville was like. I didn't until I worked with Antonio. I thought I had great ideas about how to impact young black men before I worked with Antonio. My ideas to help him could not over come his background. I thought I had ideas about welfare and what purpose it served. My ideas about poverty and welfare have changed completely. I don't have any big answers, but I do have a clear image of the problems. The problems that exist in Antonio's world are vast.
I guess thats how life goes sometimes. You live, you learn.
I pray Antonio makes it to adulthood, relatively safe and sound. I pray that someday there won't be a hole in my heart where our relationship used to be. Time will tell. In the meantime I plan on focusing on every wonderful & amazing thing I have to be grateful for.... like all my great friends, my amazing family, my wonderful partner Meg, my most awesome of all cats, Mambo, and my wonderful life. I will let the universe work out everything else in it's own time.