Just before Christmas, my son, his girlfriend, and me, all travelled quite a distance to attend his sentence hearing. This was the first time I had actually been in court with my son. Sadly he’s had a few appearances in the past. He’s always wanted me there, but always under immense pressure from his father, my son has changed his mind at the last minute and told me not to come. Every time. And it’s always broken my heart. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve always simply gone along with my son’s wishes so as to avoid causing him any further distress by insisting I attend court.
My son has always felt under immense pressure from his father, to do as he wishes. Actually more like do as he instructs. My son, bless him, doesn’t yet know he has choices, and that he is in fact allowed to say no to his father. He just hasn’t learned how to do that yet. Sadly for my son, his father is a narcissist so of course my son believes he is solely responsible for everything that is ‘wrong’ in his father’s life… Utterly tragic.
I digress, but i will return to this subject.
So, a few days before Christmas, on our way to court (I’m driving), and the conversation is constantly on me being asked what I think the judge will decide? My son’s anxiety levels are through the roof. I can feel it as he’s sitting in the passenger seat next to me…
Oh my God I just want to reach out and grab him and cuddle him and not let go and tell him I love him more than life itself and tell him he’ll be ok and tell him that no matter what I’ll always love him and tell him that he is a wonderful and kind and compassionate and funny and loving and thoughtful human being… But instead the conversation is tense. He’s continually asking me what I think the judge will decide? Why haven’t I written a letter in support of him to present to the judge? Why do I think the probation officer wrote this in the report? What do I think the probation officer is recommending in their report? Why am I driving so slowly? Why am I driving so fast? Why this? Why that? What if this? What if that?… And all I can do is stay calm. Not get angry with how he’s speaking to me. No matter what he says. Just say everything with love… Because my boy is petrified of going to jail.
So we get to court. Literally just on time. So that adds to the stress. Im parking the car whilst my son and his girlfriend run into court. By the time I get there, my son is already in the dock. A huge glass case at the back of the court. Out of reach of everyone but the court officer. I haven’t been able to hug him). So we listen to the prosecution sumarising. My son has pleaded guilty to two charges. Then we listen to his defence barrister. He outlines the fact that my son is a drug addict. That its been documented over many years that he’s had a serious drug problem. Its been documented over years that his drug problem is clearly linked to his criminal behaviour. But that no professional that he has come into contact with over these years has ever offered any intervention for his problematic drug using, despite the fact that its been abundantly clear from his court documented history. This is the first time my son is admitting his drug problem. This is the first time he’s ever asked (me) for help. But today is different. Today the court is being presented with the chance for him (my son) to go to a rehab, arranged through a very well known charity (who have to remain nameless unless I get their permission to mention them) which has been arranged by both of his parents (note: it was in fact only arranged by me – his mum – his father had nothing to do with it. My son asked me for help. He deliberately didnt ask his father).
Then its time for the judge to sum up and decide. Does he send my son to jail, or does he send him to rehab? The judge during his summing up, agrees with defence that my son clearly has a drug problem, and that it is clearly linked to his offending behaviour. And states that it is clear that he will reoffend should he not receive treatment for his drug using….
So he sends him to jail….
My jaw drops… I’m in shock. I look round to see my son and I only catch the most fleeting of glimpses and then he’s gone. He’s standing up. Obscured by a pillar. Then tears start to trickle down my face.
And just as I hear the judge announce the sentence, and as if in slow motion, staring at the judge, I hear myself utter the most crudest of words under my breath.