My heart sank when I saw the reality before me.

Something had happened. We didn’t know what at that point, but I was certain of it.

Dominic does estate planning: Trusts, Wills and all the “ancillary” documents are a part of his daily work for clients. When Isaac turned 18 we prepared a Health Care Directive, HIPAA and Power of Attorney document for him. Having these documents in place were an absolute necessity in the days to come.

This is a complete side note and feels more business minded than anything, but I wouldn’t have known if this wasn’t what we do and wasn’t a part of our experience. Once your child turns 18 they are considered an “adult.” They may still be on your health insurance, you may still pay all their bills, but if they have not given you legal authority to access that information, you will be kept in the dark.

If they are in the hospital and have not given consent to release information to you, the hospital can not speak to you. It seems cruel because YOU ARE THE PARENT for crying out loud, but it doesn’t matter, it is the law.

Thankfully Isaac had signed documents that we had scans of on file. When we started to make calls to the local hospitals we would tell them that we had a signed HIPAA and Health Care Directive and could email them over, could they just confirm if our son was a patient.

In the meantime, my dad and mom had decided to drive down to his apartment. They lived a full 2 hours closer to Isaac than we were. My dad had helped him move in, so he knew where his place was. I hadn’t ever even been there! I was 11 days post op and still very weak myself. We didn’t know who his roommates were or if they even knew anything.

Andrew answered the door when they arrived. Andrew was a non-trad from California. He was so kind. Honestly, I don’t even know his last name. I texted him a couple of times in 2017 but have lost his number. I wish I could get in touch with him…

Andrew was the only roommate that Isaac connected with while he lived there. Andrew was a Christian and really tried to encourage Isaac in the 5 months he lived there. From what Andrew shared the EMT’s arrived at the apartment after Isaac called 911 on his own. He had cut himself and gotten scared, he called for help and they took him to the hospital.

One of the things I will never forget about Andrew…he told my dad – “You tell Isaac that everything is cool. He can come back here. I understand depression and anxiety and there is no judgement here.”

Isn’t that incredible?

Here is some stranger basically (Isaac had just moved in days before), who from the start made sure that Isaac knew that he didn’t need to be ashamed. There is SO MUCH shame in mental illness of any kind in our society. Andrew recognized how Isaac might be feeling and quickly sought to dispel those things.

We can learn something from people like Andrew, can’t we?

In the weeks and months to come Andrew and his fiancé would be some of the only people Isaac talked about. I know he had a hard time letting people in and yes, he did continue to struggle. But Andrew provided a safe place for Isaac to land from the very beginning and I am forever grateful for that.

It is my hope that by sharing here, and in honor of my son and Andrew, I can be that “safe place to land” for someone else.