Lost And Found

Lost And Found

I haven’t really went into much detail in regards to some of Williams’s behaviors except the moments of aggression. So aside from his up/down moods, aggressive behaviors, and anxiety he also struggles with eloping or behaviors where he will wander off at no notice. These behaviors by far have been some of the most frightening moments of my life as his mother. Any mother who’s child has wandered off with no notice knows exactly the feeling I’m talking about. I’ve felt my heart drop more than I ever wanted or imagined when William would elope.I haven’t really went into much detail in regards to some of Williams’s behaviors except the moments of aggression. So aside from his up/down moods, aggressive behaviors, and anxiety he also struggles with eloping or behaviors where he will wander off at no notice. These behaviors by far have been some of the most frightening moments of my life as his mother. Any mother who’s child has wandered off with no notice knows exactly the feeling I’m talking about. I’ve felt my heart drop more than I ever wanted or imagined when William would elope.

Elope: According to Merriam-Webster dictionary elope (verb), also means to escape or sneak away.

In Williams’s cases he would elope or wander off from anywhere in the most clever ways. This type of behavior started as early as three. I knew William had a tendency of wandering away from me, so anytime we were out in public I made sure he was holding my hand or right next to me. At this point, William had no real medical diagnosis. So on one particular occasion my family and I attended a family reunion in Los Angeles, California in July of 2014. Our family had rented out a massive ballroom in the hotel, where we ate, socialized, and had fun entertainment for the children. William was amazed at the hotel and so excited to be around family in another state. One of my family members wanted to take William to get his face painted while I was sitting with family and I remember stating to the family member to keep a close eye on William. A little time went by and the family member returned to the table without William; nervous, I asked curiously where he was, in which they stated he was at the face painting booth. I tried not to worry; I knew we were surrounded by family and we were all looking out for each other. As time passed, there was no William. I then started to look around to see if I could spot him, again no William in sight. After gazing over the ballroom, I seen family members gesturing for me to come toward the door. As I got closer to the entry way, I seen the hotel security who looked very upset. William was standing right by the security guard’s side. I stood there dazed for a moment, without really hearing what it was the security guard was saying because I was in a state of fear and shock; all I remember hearing was they found William outside near the city buses. In a very stern voice, the guard also said we needed to keep an eye on him because the surrounding area was filled with homeless people and the area outside the hotel was dangerous (we stayed at a hotel right outside of LAX). Lastly, I remember saying thank you and walking back to the table with William. Talk about a walk of shame and guilt. I felt like I failed William as his mother. Here we were in another state, and my child wandered off. Anything could have happened to him and that’s all I was thinking as I walked back to our table. I knew in my mind, all William wanted to do was to go back to view the buses we had seen earlier and stand by the automatic door that would open once you walked up close. I couldn’t even be angry or upset with William because this was truly an innocent act. All of William’s actions of this type seemed so innocent but I knew this was a behavior that could hurt him or unfortunately be fatal. Once I made it back to the table I just sobbed on my mother’s shoulder. The pain and fear I was feeling inside was indescribable even still today, I can’t put into words how I felt/feel. I will say this, no mother should ever have to feel that type of pain as if you lost your child entirely. William was found safe, but thinking of all the possible things that could have happened worried my mind. My mother held us both, I cried like a young child and William fell sound asleep in my mother’s arms.

Many of you may wonder, what have I done or tried to do to prevent these occurrences? In a future blog you’ll read how I installed special locks on my home to prevent William from leaving in the middle of the night. I recommend installing a security alarm system in your home. My family is military, so we always make the decision to stay in base housing versus the surrounding city; this helps to provide an extra layer of security because most base housing units are secured with military police. My last recommendation would be to visit your local law enforcement offices with your child, introduce them as well as explain their mental health diagnosis/challenges and leave an address on record if your child is ever found wandering.

*Special Note: I always have special note, it’s something aside from just reading the blog that I just always like to add. Everyone including your family members may not fully understand what it is you’re going through or the deep challenges you may have with your children. It is up to us to help them understand their challenges, so that when things like this happen, they too can be aware of the unfortunate possibilities of your child eloping or whatever behaviors your child may experience due to their mental health diagnosis. No fault on my family, this is my/our responsibility, even if it is to step away for a short time.

This post doesn’t end here, I plan to share more incidents of “lost and found” because unfortunately this is not the only occurrence. Fortunately for our family, through our lost and found incidents William has been brought back to us safely. Some stories don’t end that way. So to those families out there who don’t have a safe ending we send our love and prayers.

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