Lost

After my 30 year old son threw me out the day after Thanksgiving, I sat with the pain until after Christmas.  I thought the pain would fade, but it only intensified.  It was eating me up from the inside out.  I thought we had a good relationship, and then this.

So I wrote him a letter, asking what I had done to cause him to do this thing.

A couple of weeks went by.  He was kind enough to send me a note saying that he wanted to take time to sit down and write me a well-thought out letter.  I waited eagerly, hoping for a positive answer.

What I received tore my heart into even smaller shreds.

He detailed grudges that he held from childhood, that I thought had been addressed during the two years of intensive family therapy at the therapeutic boarding school I sent him to as an alternative to jail after he got arrested when he was 16.  I guess that wore off.

More grudges for things I had done unintentionally, that I did not know had bothered him, or even knew anything about.

Worst of all, he disapproves of my current lifestyle, my past lifestyle, and I got the impression (or maybe her wrote it) that he believes I am irresponsible, and worries that I will run out of money (possible, since I have given so much of it to him, in one way or another).

I waited another few weeks, went through the letter with my therapist, discussed the triggers…

Being thrown out by my own son would be bad enough.  For krissake, I wasn’t drunk or abusive or anything that would merit being shown the door.  But since my mother used to do that all the time when I came to visit her, hoping once again that I would find her transformed into the Mommy that I never had, the trigger was like a hammer brought down on my head.

And his letter, so full of judgement and criticism, triggered my childhood of constant criticism by both parents.  How can I relax if I never know whether what I’m doing will be accepted or considered wrong?  How can I trust him ever again, since he holds grudges even for things I didn’t know were wrong, in his eyes?

And who the hell does he think he is, to judge his mother?  I have never abused him: the opposite.  I have struggled ever since he was born to find ways of helping him to be happy.

As one of my first boyfriend’s Irish mother said to him when he criticized her, “Don’t you judge me!  I wiped your shitty ass!”

I wrote my son another letter, explaining that we are different people with different values, and just because someone is different doesn’t mean they’re a bad person (you’d think someone would know this by the time they’re 30, but I guess not).

I also reiterated how much his behavior had hurt me, and how my current financial situation is largely due to the more than $200,000 that ate up my retirement fund, plus having to borrow another $75,000 from my parents, who amazingly mortgaged their paid-for home to save his life.  He has never thanked any of us, nor offered to pay us back even a fraction.  I have never mentioned the money thing to him before, not wanting to lay a guilt trip on him.  But since he brought it up, and since he is behaving like an entitled brat, I let him in on the secret.

I have not heard back from him yet, and I wonder how he will take these harsh realities.

I also told him something of my health issues, both physical and mental, and that since I have no one to care for me and I refuse to go into a nursing home, at some point this life will end, either naturally or, if the pain is too severe, by assistance.

I feel that I have lost him.  This too is triggering, as I had the same feeling when he was a lying, stealing, addicted teenager, running with others of the same ilk, in and out of every kind of rehab, even a stint of involuntary hospitalization that turned out to be a nightmare.

He managed to either fake his way through the programs or get himself thrown out by fighting or otherwise flagrantly breaking the rules. 

Finally his stepmother threw him out, and he ended up in a homeless shelter, where he broke the rules and I don’t remember what happened after that because I was having my own catatonic breakdown and two hospitalizations.

During those times I felt like I had lost my son, but he was still alive, which was worse than having lost him by death in some ways.

If he had died, at least I could have grieved him and kept the good memories.  But losing him alive was unremitting torture, as it is today.

Why, all of a sudden, have I become a villain?

I think I know.

Now that he’s become known in the scientific world, he’s emulating his famous scientist dad.  He’s dressing like his dad, even talking like him.

I’m sure people ask him what his mother does, and he doesn’t know what to say.

He’s not proud of me; in fact, he’s embarrassed, because I am disabled by mental illness, I don’t work, and I don’t even have a home.

He writes that he wants me to settle down and have a real bed for him to sleep in when he visits.

Funny about that: when I did have a real home with a real guest bed, he never visited.  Of course, my real home was in Israel, and although I offered to pay his fare countless times, he always had an excuse why he couldn’t come.  But he was happy to go to Hawaii with his dad.

I told my mother, who is not the greatest role model; nevertheless I told her, and she said, “Let him go.  He’s never been a part of our family anyway.” 

That hurt me even more, and made me wish I hadn’t said anything.

Thirty years ago today, I was great with this child.  I have a photo of myself in profile, naked and glistening with oil like a wrestler.  I am very short.  I looked like I had swallowed a giant watermelon.  I was so happy.

Now, I wonder whether having him was the right thing.  He has never been happy.  He screamed constantly for years.  He started seeing a child psychologist when he was three.  My ex-husband started sleeping with him when I started my internship, because otherwise he just screamed all night.  This child drove a wedge between my former husband and I.  I’ve observed, during my 20 years practicing pediatrics, that a sick child will either cement or destroy a marriage, depending on the health of that marriage to begin with.  I consider the child to be a symptom of family dysfunction.

Usually divorce will help the stricken child; in our case, that was not to be.

Anger, and more anger, has been this child’s life.  I thought he had developed coping skills and self awareness.  I was so proud.

Now I am lost in a sea of pain.

If I had known then what I know now, I believe I would not have conceived him.

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74 Comments

  1. There is nothing you can do about how other adults choose to act, related it or not. His blame is likely a deflection mechanism of something else. I am sorry to say you should let it go the best you can, but that is what I think you must do. He will be what he will be.

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    • Thank you, Josh. I bless you that you should never know this particular kind of loss. I know that you have had more than anyone’s share of loss should ever be, and I respect your advice. xxx

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      • I am very sorry for your loss, but glad you do recognize it as such. Many people wouldn’t accept it.

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        • I tell you, Josh, I’ve been around the block with this kid who needs to grow a pair and be a man…it may seem harsh, but sometimes I think he needs a tragedy in his life, to wake him up…But maybe he’d just see that as justification for his anger addiction. Being addicted to anger means you never have to be accountable for your own feelings and actions. I’ve done all I could, and I guess it’s time for me to sign off of this case.

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  2. Oh, how I understand the torture. I don’t know if you’ve read my blog but I have a son who, thankfully, is not abusive like yours (except when he’s drunk.) The question you ask yourself about judging is exactly what I actually wrote to one of my daughters. I simply said “who are you to judge me unless you have been there and been me?”
    My son is a drunk and I don’t believe he will ever recover but he is nothing like your son. I echo Joshs’ advice…let it go and let HIM go. You gave him life and you gave your life raising him. How dare he treat you like that. Take your love away and stand firm. It he has any decency at all, he will come to realize how important a mama is and will make amends. If he doesn’t….he wasn’t worth your love and sacrifices.

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    • I hear what you’re saying…But I can never stop loving him. I don’t have to take his shit, I don’t have to forgive him….if he wants forgiveness, it will be crawling on his knees.

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      • I agree. You will always love them…not what they do but it is so hard to understand the why. 😦

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        • Yes, we can’t understand the why, because it’s something we would never do…it’s not in our character, not in our blood, not in our genes. I do read your blog, and I know that you know where this deviant behavior comes from.

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      • You don’t have to forgive him but you will probably feel better if you do. Sometimes, as parents, we have to step away and distance ourselves from our children. They come around. I just hope he doesn’t wait too long 😦

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        • I do forgive him, but I can’t forget being thrown out in the rain like…like…I don’t know. I would never do that to anyone I claimed to love. Very childish and triggering, as that is what my mother has done to me all of my life.

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          • Oh I totally get that. Trust me, I’ve been on my own since I was 15.You’ll NEVER forget but you CAN move on.

            My mother and I were discussing this just this morning, about how children nowadays feel the need to distance themselves from their parents in the most horrendous ways. I couldn’t see kicking my mother out of my house but my father…. that’s a WHOLE different ballgame. I don’t understand how a child can act like that toward the parent who has done nothing but love them and done the best they can for them.

            You said he’s finally getting recognition from the science community. You know some of those types have that stigma against the mentally ill and, perhaps, that is the reason he’s dropping you by the wayside. He’s afraid you’ll hold him back from fulfilling whatever dream he thinks he needs to fulfill. Childish, yes. It is what it is. Accept that you’ve done the best you could by him and hope he comes around before you’re gone. It’s him who will have the regrets, not you.

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            • I hope to God that he has enough sensitivity to have regrets. Thank you for writing such an insightful comment. His father abandoned him when he was five. I had to literally bribe the asshole to get him to take his son three days a week.

              Now that baby boy is a big shot scientist, his father, who is also a big shot scientist, has taken him back and they are big buddies. I don’t fit into his father’s side of the family. So I can see why I’m now poison. I’ve reached my limit. It’s up to him, if he wants it to happen. If not, of course there’s nothing I can do about it.

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  3. Blood is a funny thing called relations
    I can’t say that will ever be rite
    My brother plays the game by his own rules
    He never considered me or my feelings
    Just tries at every turn to suck me dry
    I wish I could tell you……..
    But life will always throw you a curve
    The best you can do is either….
    Or get out of the way
    I hate all of this
    I know what it is doing to you
    I am sending lite,love,hugs,and wiggles
    As always Sheldon

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  4. So sorry to hear that your son is being so mean to you. Hugs to you.

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  5. i’ve been absent for quite a while, but know you have been going through a great deal of difficulties (because I still get emails when you post and can see the first bit written). This is the post that drew me back in to comment….I cannot imagine going through such an experience with a child. I mean, I’m having a very minor version of this with our soon to be 18 yr old….but a lot of that is his age/maturity. He is the first of our kids to be openly critical of me/my actions, and it hurts. So, I cannot imagine the depth and breadth of your pain, but want to tell you that I care, that I am praying for you and your son and while I believe you have every right to defend yourself and write to him the things you want him know, his feelings and actions cannot be controlled or altered by anyone except himself. So I pray that you can, while loving him, disconnect yourself from him as long as he wants you shut out from his…to protect yourself and take care of yourself. Hopefully your son will do some growing and changing and will contact you again someday (so make sure he always knows how to get in touch with you). Of course, that is from my perspective, and you have every right to handle this as you want (that really doesn’t have to be said, but I wanted to say it anyway). Take care of yourself and feel the love from all of us reaching out to you ❀ Sara

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    • Thank you so much for coming in, Sara. You have good advice, a good perspective. I know life is not easy for you, either. Yes, my email and phone number will always be the same, and I can always contact him through his father, if the need arises.

      Blessings xxx

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      • Yes, life isn’t easy…sometimes it’s downright difficult to keep going on. However, good things are in the works and that’s what keeps us going. First, we are moving back to our beloved Washington state this summer (it’s our happy place, our home, where our daughter/her hubby live, where my husband wants to die). And, even more exciting, our daughter and her hubby are going to have a baby! Our first grandchild! And we should be living out there by the time of birth in early August. So we have great things to look forward to, to keep our hope going. And that is huge right now, especially for my husband who is so close to ending it all on his own terms due to the horrible pain and discomfort and sickness he deals with every day. Many blessings to you, Laura, and Peace to your heart

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        • Oh, I’m so happy you’re moving back to Washington, for all the reasons, and it will be so wonderful for you and your husband to greet your first grandchild! Washington is a compassionate state in many ways…

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  6. Laura, dear Laura. . .

    One of the hardest things a child has to face in life is realizing that their parents are people. They aren’t superheroes or supervillians, they’re human beings who, if we’re lucky, just do the best they can. It sounds like your son isn’t finding it in himself to understand this right now. He may not ever; lots of children don’t.

    The other side of this is that as a parent, you’ve got to think about how your son is a human being. I know I don’t have any children of my own, but I’m sure you remember me talking about the Daughters of My Heart (who are now 16, 12, and 8). I defy anyone to say I don’t love them as if I had borne them. But you know what? Some days I don’t especially like them. And they’re too young to have really done anything hurtful to me!

    It sounds like you both have circumstances to work through in your relationship, but remember that you can only deal with your end, and perhaps the best you can hope for is an armed truce. I hope you get to a better place than that, because you both deserve some peace.

    One way or the other, remember that you like someone because, you love someone despite. Trite but true.

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    • Incidentally, based on a lot of what he said, he may not like your lifestyle because he’s worried about you, which he may be hard pressed to realize. Yeesh, if I had a buck for every time I nagged or even yelled at my parents from a place that seemed like anger but I can see with the lens of time was actually concern, I could move to La Jolla and like out my life comfortably by the sea!

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      • Well yes, he is worried about me. In my last letter to him I explained that some people are sessile, and some are migratory. Both have their place in the world. Even though they might not understand one another, they have to trust and have faith that just because someone is not like them in their habits or ideals, that does not make them irresponsible…simply different. Of course, when someone is a child, it’s natural to see one’s parents as complete fuck-ups. But when someone is 30, has had years and years and years of therapy, he should know that the way to someone’s heart is not by ejecting them on a holiday. Of course he’s worried about his mom. Freud would say…oh shit, I had the term a minute ago, but I forgot it. You probably know what I’m trying to say!

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    • Good wisdom, dear Ruby. Good to see you here!

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  7. This is painful.

    It’s hard to know what to say…It’s hard to know what to think…but Josh is right, you are not responsible for the choices made by a thirty year old man.

    I am going to digress into the territory of pat answers and say that all children harbor grudges against even the best parents, and to some extent hating them is part of the process of separating…but that is usually over by thirty—however, today’s thirty-year-old is emotionally and physiologically younger than we were when we were thirty…

    And he may be emotionally younger by virtue of his troubled adolescence. It’s possible that the real source of his anger is fear…it’s possible when he looks at you he sees a frightening future.

    Based on what you describe of his youth he might think, “If I don’t watch out I’ll be homeless, depressed and suicidal like Mom…”

    Ruby Tuesday also says something that makes sense, he may be trying to ‘snap you out of it” — whatever ‘it’ is…

    Your Mother really does sound like a complete –whatever–

    “I told my mother, who is not the greatest role model; nevertheless I told her, and she said, β€œLet him go. He’s never been a part of our family anyway.”

    Wow! How much time did he spend with her?

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    • Not much. But then again, my parents rarely visited, and I was a busy doctor, so it was hard for me to get away. In my travels so far, I’ve met many grandparents who get in their RVs and travel from one set of grandchildren to the other…I told my mother about this and she wrinkled up her face and said “why would anyone do THAT?” I guess it’s a generational thing…even my therapist, who is maybe ten years older than I am, takes frequent time off to go and hang out with her many grandchildren. My son is my parents’ ONLY grandchild, yet they treated strangers more cordially. Then again, when I came from Israel to visit my parents, I had to make my own bed. For some reason my mother refused to make a bed up for me, even though I had traveled halfway round the world to visit. She did make a bed for my son, though…

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    • I totally agree with Robert as to the blame most if not all adult children have for their parents, whether or not it is merited. It is developmental. Some move past that stage in their separation and individuation, some do not. That does not in any way excuse his behavior, though. He is responsible for his behavior. He did not offer you basic human decency. Totally unacceptable.

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      • Very aptly put. I had a conversation with him a few days ago about what had happened and his motives, and he angrily referred to his grievances again, and showed absolutely no remorse when I told him how his throwing me out had ripped me to shreds. He was cold and untouched. I tried to explain to him that it’s OK to have moods, but it’s vital to think of one’s effects on another person, and to cultivate kindness. I don’t know whether he heard me, but I am not going to contact him again. He is not trustworthy. He does not merit my attention. That sounds harsh, but he earned it.

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      • I agree with you Kitt.

        It sounds like he is not willing to take responsibility for his behavior; and at some point blaming our parents, even if they were cruel and unloving, is just another way to shirk responsibility for our lives.

        One thing that I love about the mental health bloggers on WordPress is that they work to meet their responsibilities and usually write about their struggles to ffind ways to manage symptoms that often feel overwhelming.

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  8. Very poignant, from the heart, … a pain that only a mother knows who has lived this… I am so deeply sorry that you have…it is a grief like no other
    Always sending my love to you, Laura -CC

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    • Thank you, CC…you really understand. Your support helps me a lot xxx

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      • I do understand. I know every situation is different, but at their core, it is about a mother’s love.
        In answer to the question I see you keep asking in comments..Yes, I have often asked myself if I had it to over would I have ended my pregnancy, knowing what I do now.
        My answer is often times a yes.
        I have even had the strength to write about it and try to process this. Or moments of utter despair, I’m not sure.
        It is a long journey. Often times my answer is a no. Of course, every situation is different, but I wanted you to know that I think that is a question asked often.
        Always with support and much love, CC

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        • I conceived my son purposely. I was using the sympto-thermal method of family planning, which is very accurate. I had recently had a miscarriage at 4 months, and was on the rebound from that. My husband didn’t really want to conceive again, but I sort of tricked him, since I knew I was ovulating. I knew that he also knew, since he was the one who handed me the thermometer every morning so I wouldn’t have to move (and thereby raise my temperature), and my temperature chart was on the wall over our bed, so he knew I was fertile, yet didn’t use a condom. But the intention to conceive without mutual agreement was there, and I always wonder if that intention might be manifested in my son’s chronic confusion about life.

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          • I think, that well, again, I can’t speak for all women and mothers, but many wonder about the conception of their children, Laura.
            I would wonder that question were I in your situation. My third son, I conceived willingly but with resentment really. I was married and felt obligation. My bond with him is much different than with my other two.
            I have been wanting to write about the different bonds with children for quite a while now. It is something I have been thinking about for a long time and I have not found anything solid written on it.
            At least not how I feel about it.
            I think our guilt plays into a lot of how we view our children as they reach adulthood.
            Probably some of it is founded, much of it is not.
            Being a mother does not make us superheroes. it makes us women that are human. The fact that we question and continue to love and ache shows that we tried, and continue.
            It is a very complex subject. Beginning with conception.
            I think that there as you said, was knowledge on the part of your husband knowing you were ovulating, not really wanting a baby, yet not using a condom? Perhaps, yes, he may have had resentment, but yet no condom. Surely, that manifested somewhere between the two of you..and children do pick up. Those are the things I feel mothers like us need to process.
            Because at some point, our grown children also have to do their own work. That does not mean stop loving them. I don’t like giving advice unless asked. I only like giving support. I think that is a good observation, excellent actually.
            Go gently, Laura, the pain is great, the love is deep, and you have you to take care of, as well.
            xxx, CC

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            • Deep insights, CC. He was conceived in love, but as soon as he was born his father became jealous, since my attention was now divided. I wanted more children, but after my son was born I pretty much had two children to take care of, and undiagnosed bipolar. After 11 months of no sleep because the baby screamed all night unless held, and husband refused to help, I had my first breakdown. Things disintegrated from there. I’ve read that children of depressed mothers have attachment issues, and that is right on, in my personal experience.

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              • Yes, and thank you. The attachment process. You see I think it actually swings on a pendulum of over-attachment bonding to the opposite when we are unavailable. In regards to being in a depressive state.
                That is the missing piece I was looking for. This is not healthy. I think we tend to overlove our children. We tend to come from unhealthy parenting styles and parents. OK, I am thinking out loud. I have much to think about.
                But you are so very right. And so very right about jealous fathers so many times. It is all so very hard.
                In the end, your love as a mother shines through. That says what I need to know. No one is the Madonna. It is time we stop thinking as if we ever could be or ever were.
                xxx -CC

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          • Painful story of paternal ambivalence and neglect. Perhaps your son is projecting some of his anger at his father for his father’s rejection onto you.

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  9. Maybe he’s just an asshole.

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    • Well, he is certainly behaving like an asshole, isn’t he? The problem is that I know who he is, at his core: a deep, loving soul who is buried in anger and fear, and expressed his feelings in hurtful ways. I don’t know what to do with this.

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      • I think that the fact that you can see those positive depths is encouraging – I wish you lots of love and strength for the excavation πŸ™‚

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    • Great comment! Love you…

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  10. your story here today is so similar to my daughters’ and my story from last month. people say oh its just kids, just teens….but i’m not sure.

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    • I’m sorry you’re going through this too…”children are a vale of tears”. I don’t know who said that, I guess it’s one of those “sayings” that’s come down the generations.

      Teens, yes. As a pediatrician, I tried to comfort my patients’ tormented parents by telling them that “teenagers are just two year olds with wheels” (and now, unfortunately, drugs). Someone else here mentioned that the developmental task of teenagers is to find themselves as separate beings from their parents. Unfortunately, they have no experience (I remember my parents using those exact words!), and in the best of worlds they stumble and plant their faces and get up, having learned a lesson. These days it’s not so simple. Their role models are not Joe DiMaggio, but horrid rappers who teach them that drugging and whoring, stealing, shitting on other people is not only OK but desirable. Our culture has devolved. Kids are drowning in it.

      My son went through all that as a teen. But now he’s 30, soon to get his Ph.D in a field of biology that boggles the mind, but emotionally he’s still that lost and struggling teenager who lashes out at the one person who’s stood by him and never let him down. It’s a question I’ve heard and wondered about: if you knew then what you know now, would you have brought them into the world at all?

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      • yo know the reply–yes, we would have. because we were over the moon and we would be sure to never do those things ‘wrong’ that our parents did. we were sure we would never make those mistakes (and we didn’t-we made new ones!). without this protective kind of emotional cove, then you would be right, and no one would have kids, which is what rational exchange theory teaches. but we are not dealing in rationality, but in emotionality, where the ‘rules’ are fluid, moving and constantly reshaping to fit the desires and wants of the mother to be. how do we even have a chance…of course we want to be mothers, to mother, to create a child.

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      • hi Laura, just one question/comment here to add to what I said elsewhere. Regarding the question “If I knew then what I knew now…”, I am wondering about your persistance in asking this question…what is its’ importance to you? where does the question come from in your life? (have you heard it from someone else? etc) and what are you getting out of continuing to ask yourself this? I don’t mean any of that in a negative way at all…it’s kind of just the therapist in me, and I hope you don’t mind. If you do, please let me know. Just trying ot be of help because the question itself and your attempts to answer it seems to be hurting you (?) And, we would never had the capability to know what the future holds, so it’s not even a reality-based question. Maybe asking yourself the questions I posed would give you a direction to resolve this? I’m not saying it’s wrong to ask your question…questioning can help us to learn about ourselves. I hope this is coming across to you the way I intended because it doesn’t really feel like it. I’m not even sure whether to post this…..I guess I will, just please know it is out of care and concern for you.

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        • Hi Sara. Yes, I’m very clear about this. Now this is going to sound very strange, but you have to understand that I have “second sight” which means that I can see something of the future, but not necessarily clearly when it comes to my own personal life. When I chose to conceive my son it was with the knowledge that he would be a very important contributor to the world in some way. And indeed that is playing out, as he had discovered and is fine-tuning ways of delivering drugs without “collateral damage” to healthy tissue. This will revolutionize cancer treatment. So he is fulfilling that prophecy…But at what cost? Thirty years of pain and grief, with brief periods of feeling loved, generally when he’s been rejected by someone and needs love and comforting. I have never been cold to him, never rejected him, always been there for him…so, am I simply the vessel who gave him life, the extended teat from which he has suckled, and now that he’s published his first paper in a famous scientific journal, he doesn’t need his funky old mom who lives outdoors with her scary dog? I know he worries that I will wind up dead. Well, I will. Sooner or later.

          Do your kids know that their father plans to end his life on his own terms? How do they handle that?

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          • Thank you for sharing all that with me, Laura. It helps me to better understand you and what you’re going through. I think my questions still remain in play though, because even with your “second sight” you still had no idea he would have the troubles that he does, and resulting behaviors. It’s okay for you not to answer, though, here or within yourself, because it’s a personal choice and I respect your right to it very much.
            About your question: It’s not set in stone that my husband will take that option. I say on his own terms for several reasoons, only one of them being the option to choose when he dies if he absolutely can’t stand living any more. (he feels the desire to do so quite often here because he can’t even get opiate pain meds prescribed to him here…we think in part due to him being a recovering person, and in part being in a high meth producing area where all the are scared to prescribe it; like that makes any sense anyway). So, in part, being able to have better health care and pain management in WA is part of “on his own terms”. He feels helpless here to do anything for himself…I cannot tell you how many doctors we’ve been to trying to establish care and get him pain meds. A majority portion of the docs in our area just plain don’t ever prescribe narcotic pain meds as a rule. Because I have asked Tom to hang on until we get out there, and he is joining in the feeling of hope and the dreams of living there, holding his grandchild etc., he does hang on by his fingernails sometimes…yes, I have some degree of guilt about it, but he and I are truly soulmates, understand and love each other to great depths and communicate very well, so I know he hangs on because he really does want to, and my encouragement helps him to do so.
            So back to your question: because we are uncertain as to whether he will take that option we haven’t talked about it with our children yet. They of course know that he doesn’t have a lot of time left, so they are preparing in that sense. And, it’s been very difficult for them. In WA the process you have to go through to legally take your own life you see a doc who decides to give approval or not based on your health etc, and if s/he approved then the meds to do so are prescribed. So, if the point comes that he makes a doctor appt for this, we would then talk about it with our kids. Our youngest son is planning on staying in MO here for at least a while, due to the current job he has being a big boost to educating him and giving him experience in his career. We would want to make sure he had enough time to come spend some time with his dad. Our oldest son has autism and intellectual disabilities. It’s very hard for him to understand certain kinds of things, and it wouldn’t make sense to him that it was okay for dad to do this but not okay in general. So, I’m not sure we would talk about it with him more than the time has come. Our daughter will understand and be okay with it for sure. We just want to talk about it with her face to face and will be able to do so when we move out there. Most of our values have indeed “stuck” with our kids, so they will be okay with it, especially knowing how much their dad is suffering. They are compassionate and loving kids, including our oldest despite the autism. I’ve never seen or heard of an autistic person being so thoughtful (in some ways, like when in a store mentioning who would like certain things and/or buying said things for the person, etc) of other people because it’s hard to see past the self (more signficant with increased severity of autsim; so not as much w/ many aspergers folks). Anyway, I’m getting off topic here. I hope I answered your question, and I’m sorry I got so wordy *sigh* It’s just how I can get when I write. Time for me to sign off for now as I’m very tired and hurting more than usual. Take care, Peace and Blessings to you

            Reply
            • I’m sorry to break this to you, but due to the three-fold increase of deaths from opioid overdose, we docs have been told by the CDC to pretty much stop prescribing meds for “non-cancer” pain. The state medical boards are enforcing this by threatening the licenses of docs who continue to prescribe pain meds. And even if someone has a legitimately painful condition and has been on morphine patches, etc, for years, many people are being suddenly cut off and having to go through withdrawal on top of everything. I predict the suicide levels are going to go through the roof because of untreated pain. The good news is that you’re moving to Washington, so if medical mj helps, at least you can get that there.

              I’m sure you already know that 50% or more of people who get the barbiturates don’t take them. They say just knowing they have the means to exit if they choose gives them the strength to go on living. I can relate to that. I have so many lethal things in my environment that it’s comforting to know I have the choice, anytime I’m certain I’ve had enough.

              No, I could not have foretold that this child would grow up so selfish. He does have very high functioning autism, but unlike your sweet son he never developed a “theory of mind” and cannot separate his own feelings from “how it ought to be” to “everybody’s different.” He has been angry and dysphoric all his life. I feel very sorry for him. I hope he’s able to learn compassion eventually. He’s never enjoyed doing things for other people. I’ve tried to help him develop empathy by volunteering at food kitchens, etc, and after the first time, he refused to go again. I’m so glad your autistic guy is so thoughtful.

              Gentle hugs–Laura

              Reply
              • Thank you for your taking the time to share everything with me that you have. Yes, I am very aware of the uproar due to increased overdoses w/ opiates and the direction it’s leading the CDC with the new guidelines for prescribing them. It’s very frightening for those of us with chronic pain, isn’t it? Whether we currently use opiates as part of our pain management plan (I have for 14 years now) or might need them in the future, it really is a scary situation. It’s also terribly misunderstood by most of the general public, especially by folks who have loved ones addicted to opiates and/or have lost someone to an opiate overdose. I can understand their initial desire to greatly restrict access, but I wish they would take the time and energy to do a bit of research. First, so many people don’t even get their opiates by presciption (even if they initially did). Also, there is a huge ignorance and misunderstanding about the differences between “physical dependence” and “addiction” and it hurts those of us with chronic pain. Yes, my body is physically dependent on my pain meds, but I am not addicted or an addict! Addiction, as you know, is a bio/psycho/social/spiritual disease that progressively worsens if left untreated. People with chronic pain using opiates, as prescribed, do get scared and desperate when in a situation where our access to our scheduled meds is threatened…suddently having to stop would put us in a horrible withdrawl, as you said.
                Honestly I could continue to shout from soapbox about this for a long time…there are so many different areas to touch upon that are important, but as a physican I imagine you know most all of it *though there are too many docs out there that don’t know enough and it shows in their treatment of patients* I have a great deal of anger towards the doctors that have added to the problem by ridiculous over-prescribing intentionally or not as well as those who don’t care to or know how to properly monitor use. Anyway…I actually spoke w/ my doc on Monday about the CDCs proposed guidelines to get his take. He hadn’t been able to properly view the most recent guidelines proposed when he looked, but he say say that it’s increasingly difficult for docs to treat chronic pain patients and he doesn’t appreciate having the government make decisions that affect the way he sees fit to treat his patients. I agree.
                I pray the when the prescribing guidelines come out that they aren’t as restrictive as being for only for cancer patients. You’re right about the drastic increase in suicide that will happen resulting from that simply from the withdrawl and with future suicides from not being able to cope with the chronic pain. God knows that the possibility of both scares me as far as my ability to stay sane enough to not end my own life. I’ve been able to notice that place in myself when I am so depressed clinically and the line starts to blur so that I start thinking it’s a real solution…and twice checked myself into a psych facility. But, my pain was not anywhere near the levels it is now, even with opiates (which I wasn’t taking at those times). I’m scared I might actually end my life in the midst of withdrawl or intense pain that I can’t treat away and is relentless. And I don’t want to do that!
                There is only one person on that CDC committee that advocates for chronic pain patients…that’s scary and unfair, but I am grateful that at least there IS one. When the CDC was trying to have these meetings in closed sesssions (illegally, of course) there wasn’t anyone on the committee like that. {great big sigh}
                Praying, hoping, crossing fingers and toes, etc that the guidelines do not end up too restrictive. Thanks again for all your input, Laura. I respect and appreciate you and what you share. Blessings and Peace to you.

                Reply
                • You really hit the nail on the head. What we need is consumer advocacy (us) to demand open hearings. As you say, there is a huge difference between dependence and addiction. Hell, if my supply of benzos got cut off suddenly, I’d have life threatening withdrawal including seizures. If my lithium got cut off, I’d kill myself. Am I addicted? Who cares? These things help me keep on living, if only marginally. Benzos also get stolen and diverted. True, an overdose is unlikely to kill anyone, but combined with alcohol and other drugs it’s possible. The CDC is raving about prescription pain meds being a “gateway” to heroin. Well, that might be so in vulnerable populations like teenagers. What this means is not that we don’t treat their pain, but that we don’t just hand them the bottle and hope for the best. I really think the current epidemic of heroin addiction in young people is a symptom of the decadence our society has fallen into. This didn’t start happening until the 90’s. Those were the years kids born in the early “yuppie” years were getting into their teens. Most of those kids are way too privileged, too much time on their hands, no empathy (I raised one of those). The focus should be keeping drugs out of their hands, although I know people whose kids steal their parents’ pain meds even when they’re locked up. Any ideas?

                  Reply
                  • I wish I had a solution. I do think a great deal of it has to do with responsibility…of prescribers, of pharmacists, of those whose monitor, and of patients who take the meds. But, that alone isn’t enough because those are all individuals who have free will. Certainly when parents lock their meds up they need to be sure they are buying a secured locked situation, not just some cheap lock box that can be broken into in under a minute. I would have hard time affording the sturdier safe/box but I’d damn well find a way to get one if I needed to in order to keep my meds safe.
                    So much of the herion problem has nothing to do with prescription opiates at all. Though you watch, if they restrict opiate use to cancer patients there will be a huge increase in heroin use because it’s the “best replacement” for prescription pain meds. Then, there will be increased health care, actions w/in the legal system, etc which is not only a tragedy for chronic pain patients but also for the cost to society, monetarily and otherwise.
                    I’m praying for reasonable guidelines, because at this point that is all we can do (the time for commenting/input on this being closed). Yes, we all need to do our part to raise awareness and educate and be advocates for ourselves. I try to do my part to educate through my online platforms like facebook, pinterest, etc and to discuss it in person when the situation is appropriate. I could do more, though, and will increase my efforts as I am able. It’s ironic that we need to be our own advocates while coping with the limitations of our chronic pain both physically and intellectually.
                    Take care of yourself…Peace and Blessings to you

                    Reply
      • As you know, if he isn’t receiving treatment for his own mental illness, he’s likely acting out. Do NOT take it personally. (I know that is an almost impossible task as a parent.) Forgive me for commenting so much. I guess this hits close to home today.

        Reply
  11. I’m sooo sorry, this must be extremely painful. Hugs to you 😦

    Reply
  12. sandracharrondotcom

     /  January 19, 2016

    Heartbreaking. I don’t even know what to say their than you would know in your heart if you had not been a terrific mother to him. I suspect you’re absolutely right in theorizing that he’s emulating his father. Reading this is scary because I have an 18 year old who is already alluding to my flaws and how I’m screwing him up. Perhaps I’ll know your exact sort of pain one day soon. Take care sweet woman and know how many of us are sending only good, loving thoughts your way.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Sandra. An 18 year old is fine to be airing out grievances. Hopefully you can sit down with him and give him safe space to tell you all the ways you ruined his life. Of course you probably didn’t ruin his life, but he sees it this way, so giving him the opportunity to get it out of his system will do two things: he will be able to vent, and he will learn that it’s safe to vent.

      The only thing you need to say is, “I’m listening, I want to know how you feel, your feelings are important to me, I’m sorry you feel that way, I love you,” and apologize for anything you really DID do that you regret. Like, I apologized that I am a workaholic and left my son with nannies too much. I admit that I am sorry about that, but I also admit that I am human and have my flaws.

      Your teen needs to hear that you also are human. And he needs to hear that you are doing the best to can to help him grow up healthy, with the resources he needs in order to live a happy, healthy, productive life. This part of the conversation needs to come only after he has had a chance to really vent (don’t worry if he yells, but throwing things or other physical threats are not permitted), so that he is hopefully open to hearing your side of the story. A “talking stick” is sometimes helpful–or an agreement that whoever is talking has the floor, and interruptions are not allowed.

      This is how we did our three years of therapy. Hope you can get to a place where your son can feel comfortable telling you what’s on his mind.

      What’s scary is that we had that, but it got lost just recently, when Mom turned into an embarrassment rather than a mentor.

      Reply
  13. Laura, what you went through was v painful. None of my words could take your pain away. Good that you gave him a wake up call by writing him a real letter, showing him the fact file. I hope he wakes up and smell coffee. There is a human side in me that says that he can go and be happy with his dad. Rather than being in pain with him I feel its better to stay away from such people, who ever they are.

    There is a spiritual side in me that says , our life follows a pattern. If we hold on to some pains and experiences and memories they are bound to repeat in our life through some other people.

    That was the best spiritual answer I got when I kept on hitting my foot at the same place. I have improved and I have tried to let go lot of things that bothered me but what my aim is to completely unhook myself from those events and memories.

    Love and light

    Reply
  14. I am reminded of the poem by Kahlil Gibran “Our Children…” It is very painful to be rejected by one’s child. I cannot imagine anything much worse. Your son has his own karma and destiny in this world. All you can do is detach with love. Many blessings to you.πŸ™

    Reply
  15. Painful story. I send you my condolences. Your son is not yet compassionate, nor does he have insight into his own behavior or illness. Perhaps someday he will. Perhaps not. Take care of yourself. You did the best you could. Parenting a child with mental illness is incredibly challenging, especially when we struggle with our own illnesses.

    I know what it is like to parent a baby who cannot soothe himself. I sent my son to a child psychologist when he was four, and to a child psychiatrist when he was five. My husband and I handed our son genetic disorders, including migraines, depression, anxiety, eczema, asthma, allergies, immune system deficiencies and sensitivities to light, sound and social stimulation (ALPIM? – anxiety, laxity, pain, immune, mood). We are not easy parents to have. I have bipolar disorder. My husband is anxious. Somehow we survived as a family. Then, again, all our illnesses are spectrum disorders and manifest in different ways.

    Prayers and love sent your way. I pray also for your son. He, too, needs God’s love.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your support, Kitt. You have so much on your plate, it blows my mind. Thanks for taking the time to help me. I’ve made the decision that I don’t want to be around toxic people, and that includes him if he is toxic, which he is right now. I think he is totally bipolar I and of course he will have to run smack into a wall before he will be capable of seeing it. In the mean time my job is to stay safe. So the ball is in his court.

      Reply
  16. so, anyone who uses opiates that does not have cancer does not have a legitimate or real pain, and should suffer, even tho we have the meds available to treat their condition and help their functioning improve. ya, that makes sense.

    Reply
    • Stupid, stupid, stupid. They have no idea.

      Reply
      • and this is really happening, already, today, all over. they are saying anyone who uses it is an addict no matter what. they are criminalizing opiates just as they are concurrently decriminalizing pot. and its all due to the DEA needing something to make a drug war against.

        Reply
  17. Laura I am so sorry for your loss. I dont have kids but I bet the pain is unbearable. Such rejection and in such a cruel manner. Sending you a hug of support. XX

    Reply
  18. I don’t really “like” this post. But I don’t have any words. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve read your words and I’m going to do my best (such as it is) to keep bothering the Almighty on your behalf.

    Reply

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