Right from the beginning, Shawn's arrest and then sentencing has been a hard pill for me to swallow. No mother wishes to see a child in prison, but when it happens...what then?
For me, it couldn't have come at a worst time. I was still deep in the grip of my breakdown, still not able to function mentally and emotionally...and I know that I wept a lot during this time. I couldn't believe that my son, a big, huggable teddy bear that everyone loved, could do something so terrible. It just didn't fit.
Shawn's case was high profile, this was a big deal in a county that is one of the biggest in New York, and as much as I wanted to be there for my son...I couldn't. I couldn't make myself go to the court hearings, I didn't want to be seen by the public or in the media...as I said, I was having a very hard time coping.
A war raged inside of me then too...unending questions, uncertainties, blaming myself, even though I did my best to bring my son up right...and the list goes on. I didn't know what to think, what to feel, yet at the same time, I was feeling broken hearted, lost, and extremely sad. This was my first born, one that I was so proud of...a hard worker, a good father, and a loving son.
Even from the beginning, I knew...just knew...that things would not end well for him. He kept getting dealt lawyers that were worthless, he had confessed just to get the investigators off his back...and none of us in his family had the money to hire a lawyer that was worth anything. That alone made me miserable too...I could do nothing to help my child.
I remember how I felt...especially then...gone were so many things that had become part of our lives. Shawn loved (and still does when the chance arises) to cook and he'd have us there for dinners frequently. Gone were the days of spending hours in a garage taping off a vehicle so he could paint it. Gone were the times that he would come and take me out to lunch or even breakfast...just because. Gone were the times where he would help me with a vehicle, either getting one for me or fixing the one I had. This was the greatest feeling of loss for me...too much changed too quickly...and I had a hard time dealing with that too.
There was also the aspect that now I was looking at seeing my son in prison for big part of his adult life, and that meant trips to the prison to see him. This is when reality really sets in...being there inside a prison...knowing that this is where your son now is...placed amongst inmates that are ten times worse than your child ever thought of being: drug dealers, embezzlers, child molesters, cold blooded killers with no remorse...and here is your child, stuck inside a place no rational person would want to be.
What is a mother (and father) supposed to feel? How are we supposed to cope? There are no rules to follow, no ethic code to go by...it's an individual issue that has to be handled in the best way we can.
It's not easy and never gets easier.