Hello again 3am...

Another sleepless night and I'm having to admit defeat. Tomorrow (well, later today), I'm going to apply for another intermission of my PhD. I can't do this thing where I'm supposed to function like everything is normal, everything is all right. It's not. I'm terribly worried about the Grumpy Old Man, he is so upset, so hurt, and of course he's just trying to hold it all in because he's afraid of what might happen if he lets it all out. I admit, that thought scares me, too.

I can't see how I can go to uni every day and do research and writing and leave him at home with his thoughts and three kids, it won't be fair to him and it definitely would not be fair to the boys.

And then there is the thing where I'm just not getting any sleep.

Today I found out Erik has himself a new phone, an iPhone 6s, and a new number. I know this because he added it to his Apple ID account. I guess he's determined to cut contact with us. I don't know how he got such a late model phone, he certainly has no money to buy one, and he is too young to sign a contract for a phone. Has his girlfriend's mum really bought him a brand new phone? The 6s only came out last September, surely she's not upgrading already, and even if she was, wouldn't she give her old phone to her own daughter? Did he steal the phone? Is that where he is now in his journey of self-discovery, stealing merchandise? Hopefully not, but then that only brings me back to the question, why would someone give my child such an expensive gift?

It frightens me. Him getting a new number frightens me.

Right now, his head is full of how awful his father and I are, me in particular I know. How much we have restricted his life - he doesn't acknowledge the desperation we have felt over his behaviour at home and at school. He doesn't acknowledge that he has bullied his brothers and deceived his parents on a daily basis. He doesn't acknowledge that he has broken school rules and lied to his teachers time and again, causing them stress. His head is full of everything we won't give him and everything we won't let him do. I don't know how to begin to change that in him.

Tonight I helped Lukas move his room up to where Erik's room had been. We have decided to let him have the tv and PS4 in his room now because it was only him and Erik using it, and now that Erik isn't here anymore, Lukas might as well have it in his room. Lukas needed a power board, and so I went to the top of the linen closet where I'd hidden the power boards months ago because Erik kept stealing everyone's chargers to charge the devices I'd confiscated from him when he repeatedly refused to turn up to class or hand in any assignments for VCE Art Studio (one of the classes he wanted to repeat this year when he saw no point to it last year).

It occurred to me that the younger boys have suffered so much because of Erik. When we set consequences for his behaviour, it often impacted on the other boys. If Erik couldn't play on the Playstation, I had to pack it up so no one could play on it because he'd just bully the other boys until they let him play. Same with his phone, when I took his phone off him because he refused to answer it and tell me where he was when he repeatedly turned up late from school, I had to take their phones and iPods of them so he wouldn't steal theirs and use them instead.

His behaviour has impacted so deeply on them. They have all expressed relief at being free of those threats and it breaks my heart. Twice as much because they also feel bad for feeling that way and they are all feeling some level of rejection that he has just left without saying goodbye, without explaining why, and without making any effort to be in contact with them. I know Lukas has tried to text Erik several times and Erik has ignored him. Lukas who was always by his side, who kept his secrets, and who kept him company. Lukas is angry now.

Bryn says he feels safer now, but he has cried the most since Erik left. It is such a tug of war in him, he loves his brother as much as he feared him. Bryn has long felt rejected by Erik, going back seven or eight years, really, I think Erik saw Bryn as a threat to his relationship with Lukas, still he misses him terribly.

Ari went to bed the other night chanting, 'I love Erik forever and ever.' I think maybe he thought if he said it enough, with enough fervour Erik might hear it or feel it wherever he was.

I can't leave these boys and their father alone to go do a PhD, we have to get through these holidays somehow and I have to be here to see us through them.

How will we ever get back on an even keel, now?