Guest Author - Susan Hubenthal
NO, NOT MY SON!
A wretched sound came from somewhere deep inside. It began as a
moan and grew into a deafening wail. "No, no, oh God, NO!" The
screaming was coming from me. My thoughts were bouncing around wildly.
Is this a nightmare? Am I asleep? I gasped for a breath, did I hear correctly,
or is this some kind of cruel joke?
Kelly? Dead? I couldn't comprehend what was being said to me; I was
trying to focus on the words. How could this be? Frantically I began to ask
questions not wanting to hear the answers. "Not my sweet baby boy, oh no,
please God, no!" I was suffocating and I wanted to run. I wanted the words
Kelly Arthur Hubenthal was born August 7, 1967. He was so small, and
frail, he weighed little more than six pounds. Kelly was nine days old, the
first time I held him. I wanted this dear sweet baby boy with all my being!
He was so precious and innocent and he filled the void in my heart and
made me feel complete. How I loved him! Kelly was the first Grandchild, in
our family, and he was MY son!
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I
should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Dear Father in
Heaven, watch over my son, and make him a good citizen and a loving and
giving person. Amen." This is the prayer I recited almost very night of
At a few months of age, I began to notice a "squeak," in Kelly's
breathing. He was sick most of the time, now. I would rock him for hours
and sing to him and I would stay up all night keeping vigil over him and the
Asthma? That squeak is asthma? Oh, God, please help him!? Kelly
continued to be a very sickly baby, adolescent and adult. His asthma was
severe which caused him to miss a lot of school. Kelly was prescribed huge
amounts of medications, allergy shots, and there were many, many
hospitalizations. He had been given massive amounts of drugs to save his
life, including steroids.
Kelly grew up in hospital emergency rooms and doctors offices. The
medications had horrendous effects on his mind and his body. His behavior
became extremely difficult and sometimes combative, but the alternative
was to let him suffer and possibly die from these breath-robbing attacks. I
put his life in the hands of God and the specialists.
I began taking Kelly for psychological counseling when he was about
seven years old. He seemed different from other children his age. He had
unexplained anger, he had trouble concentrating; he didn?t get along well
with other kids and he was easily distracted. Counseling continued
throughout much of his life. There were psychiatrists, psychologists,
hospitals, tutors, special learning centers and medical experiments. The list
is endless, and the cost was more than any parent should have to endure, and
more pain than any child should have to experience.
Around the age of fifteen, I suspected Kelly was dabbling in drugs. At
16, his friends brought him home, one night, unresponsive. They dumped
him on the garage floor. Nearly paralyzed by fear, we rushed him to the
hospital having no idea what was wrong. We were told that he had
consumed so much alcohol, that he had become unconscious. As he was
sobering up, in the emergency room, he became extremely hostile, foul
mouthed and angry. I knew I had to do something before this went any
farther. The very next day, I began to seek out substance abuse professionals
and did a lot of praying. My gut feeling brought me to the brink of terror.
Kelly was in deep trouble. He must be stopped before he kills himself!
I tricked Kelly into going to a counseling session. I told him it was for
family therapy. Kelly was evaluated, and he tested positive for drugs. In that
tiny room, with no windows, the walls began to close around me. My heart
was pounding so loudly, I was certain it could be heard over the silence. Out
of the corner of my eye, I could see Kelly glaring at me with contempt. He
had just realized why he was there.
My icy cold hands trembled as I listened to the nurse explain what
would happen next. The voice inside my head kept asking questions. "What
did she say about a strip search?" I tried to appear to be in control. I didn't
want to cry. It couldn't be happening! I wanted to wake up and have it all be
gone. I prayed for courage, and I hoped I had made the right decision. The
aides came and took Kelly to his unit where he would be locked up for the
next several days. He would have no privileges, no phone calls, or visitors.
"Please," my inner voice cried, "Please, let me say good-bye to my son."
I ached to put my arms around him and make all the hurt go away. Kelly
was glaring at me with hate in his eyes. "What did I do? Where did I fail?
What made my son turn to drugs?" I didn't know how to fix it, or to make it
better. As Kelly was led down the hall to his room, he turned and looked at
me pleadingly and begging me not to leave him. "Please, Mom, let me at
least come home, pack some of my clothes and we can come back, later." I
felt like my insides were being pulled and twisted. I swallowed hard and
quietly, but firmly, said, "No." I knew if I took Kelly home he would run
away and I might lose him forever.
Five months after that horrible day at the rehabilitation center, I was
beginning to feel that I had my son back. He was doing his schoolwork and
he had a part-time job. He seemed to be happy, and he certainly was a lot
healthier. Kelly was showing signs of maturity and consideration for others.
The caring Kelly showed to other recovering kids touched me greatly. He
had great dedication to his program and was working the steps toward
recovery. He was changing and I was proud to be his Mother.
Kelly's Dad was his idol and his hero. He loved him fiercely, but, when
Kelly was eighteen years old, his Dad committed suicide. After that, Kelly
had many relapses. He was in and out of rehabilitation facilities, in and out
of trouble. He was entering his 20's now, and his teenage years were just a
blur. He hadn't finished high school, he couldn't hold a job, and he drifted
here and there never finding anything positive in his life.
He had also been in and out of Job Corps. His Grandpa convinced him
to try one more time to get his G.E.D. He agreed, and returned to Job Corps
in different state, and there he blossomed! He was class President and he
made a beautiful speech at his graduation where he acknowledged me for
never giving up on him. He was well thought of by his peers as well as his
teachers. I was so filled with pride, love and joy that day. There was
renewed hope that he would be able to be self-sufficient, independent and
find happiness at last!