When I go upstairs, and I open up the closet, I see pieces of my son’s life in his clothes, his shoes, his slippers. I venture into the small bathroom, and open the drawers, I see remnants of a dream and hope—-his shaving supplies, his toothbrush, soap. All these were left hastily when he ran from my home back in December 2011. When I go back into his room, I see pictures of happier times—-a framed picture of him with his son, Aaron, a bible. I still see snippets of a life that could have been but is now in shambles, thanks to mental illness. It is so easy to play the wishing, and “if only” game. “If only” this had happened or that had not happened, then all would be right with the world again. But, I quickly realize that I cannot turn the clock back to a particular time and preserve what sanity there was. I live in a treadmill world, where I am walking and walking, getting nowhere fast. It is a roller coaster where one minute things look promising and people are congratulating me (to which I say that I am cautiously optimistic) and next I have been catapulted back to the starting gate. It is hard to accept that this seems to be his life, and is now my life. I must separate myself from this nightmare and not think about this 24 hours a day. I read an article on line yesterday how the mental health system has improved in NJ. I beg to differ. It is a shame that a “civilized” country like the US can have such a deplorable mental health care system. Their idea of helping is to keep a patient for about a week or two, adjust their medications, and then dump (yes that is what it is) them out into the streets. They say they don’t want to release someone without a place to go but a homeless shelter does not, at least in my eyes, qualify as a suitable place. It seems that you cannot get your loved one into a group home without greasing someone’s palm. So, here I wait yet again, for some word from my son who was released (dumped) out with others two days ago. I have no idea where the hell he is. I called the two friends he has left, his father (who did hear from him, thankfully), but no contact via text or phone. I have repeatedly texted him to no avail. He has pulled this on me before and no matter how much I ask him to please not go missing on me and to please keep in touch, he still doesn’t seem to understand the torture he puts me through when he disappears. At this point, the most I can do is wait and pray and go about my business. I do believe in the power of prayers and hopefully they will pull him through. I must have a positive attitude and hope but sometimes I am hopeless. Hope is everything and when that is lost, everything is lost.