My daughter Elizabeth has clinical depression; has had it for several years and will probably continue to fight it for the rest of her life.  It's been a long, wild ride with her...and during these years of struggle, when friends asked how Sam was, I always answered "Oh, Sam is great.  He's a lovely kid, never a problem, never a worry."  Well, he's turning out to be less simple than that.  We've found that he's been writing some pretty angry things on the internet, to the degree that we worry about whether he might hurt someone.  As usual in these things, there's much more to it and many more nuances and aspects to it, but it's been a little scary.  Now he's seeing a therapist to figure it out.  We're keeping Pine Rest open, I think, and the whole experience has been really tough on Camilla and my relationship.  Our respective reactions to this latest might be the thing that brings it all to an end, actually.  Sigh.


The kids and I went to a graduation party yesterday.  The original plan was to get there at around 4:30, stay for 45 minutes and bug out for the beach together.  It was tricky - be fully engaged with the kids and get out of my own head, or see my friends, who I really need right now.  Well, we ended up going a bit later so I could see Jim and Paula, and I'm so glad I did.  I wasn't able to tell them everything that's happening - it's so hard in a group situation like that - but it was enough.  Enough to remind me that there are things outside my brain, like lost parents, and lost pets, and kids getting 3.0 GPAs out of the blue (really!  Elizabeth!), and...well, it was lovely.  As always.

So we didn't get to the beach until after 8, by which time the sun had gone for the night behind heavy cloud cover; with no wind, the lake was completely calm, and between a grey flat lake and grey flat sky it was hard to even make out the horizon.  Sam immediately asked if he could go for a walk, which (finally) brings me to my point.

Betsy and I were just sitting and reading, and when I looked up a few minutes later he was just a tall, skinny, slightly awkward speck a few hundred yards away.  Just walking.

For some reason this soothed me.  Something about him just deciding to go his own way by made me think that he can figure things out.  Who knows.  I think of solitary walks as meditative, and maybe that's it - this didn't feel like withdrawal or isolation but more like something resembling self-interest.

After all the things we (and I) have been through lately, for some reason it felt like we're all going to be okay.  My heart will heal over, scarred and a bit tougher than before, Betsy will continue to find her voice and her path, and Sam will dig out of whatever hole this is.  He's a smart, funny, lovely kid that is looking for himself and trying to figure out what that even means.  Maybe that's what he's doing right now, plodding his way down the beach and out of sight.

AuthorMatthew Riegler