I belong to several family support groups online. Occasionally, while visiting these groups, I read posts that are very powerful and that I think would be helpful for others to read. Today, I am sharing with permission posts from two moms who have lost their sons to addiction. They have what none of us want – perspective on life with a child struggling with addiction, after their death. What they have to say is so important and heartfelt.
Thiis first post is from a mother who was leaving one of the support groups. She explains why.
“Hi, I have to leave this group. It’s too much for me right now. I am so sorry. I know it’s your safe place to vent but the posts hurt me more than they help me. It is not judgement, I have been in your shoes and I remember the hurt, and the anger and all those things that seemed so important.
But my son lost his fight to addiction and in one single moment for me it all changed. You see I would give my life to say my son was anywhere, in prison, in detox, in treatment, on the streets or passed out in his room. I would give every last possession I have if his stealing it would mean he was still here. I would give anything to hear his voice or see his smile for one more second - drunk, high or sober. I would give anything to worry, to pace the floors, to wonder where he was, who he was with and if he was using. I would do anything.
I wish I listened more and dictated less, especially when he talked about suicide. I wish that we had celebrated his life while he was here instead of after he was gone. That we had celebrated who he was underneath the drugs and alcohol instead of just condemning the choices his disease made.
And so, because I know your struggle and how important a safe place for you to vent is and because my heart cannot take being here anymore, it is with love and gratitude that I must say thank you but good bye. I wish you all the best and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.”
Below, another mother writes about why it is important to always show love to your child who is struggling with addiction:
"I was asked to write my own post on this topic and so I will. It's something that is dear to my heart because of what I am currently living through.
My son Matthew struggled with addiction for over 11 years. It was a roller coaster ride as I'm sure everyone can understand and relate to. In many ways, I was lucky because, though we had many difficult times, Matt and I remained fairly close. He never stole from me, though he did take advantage and manipulate me. He loved his family.
I won't take you through the whole story, you all know it, you all live it every day. The important part is this. In Matt's final couple of years I received a lot of pressure to "let him go", "cut off communication", etc. etc. This was something I was just not capable of. I had long since stopped giving him money. But I was the wrong person to tell not to feed her child or let him come over and shower. We kept up our relationship. He had burned his bridges with so many people, lost friends etc. But he knew I loved him. He called one night tearful, "Mom I feel like you're my best friend". Can your heart break and sing at the same time? He knew I was going to tell him the truth. He knew what I thought of some of his behavior but he also knew there was no way I would let his behavior keep me from loving him.
As you may have figured out by now Matthew died on 5/19/13 of an overdose of fentanyl and alcohol. He was in a sober living house (so much for that). Two weeks before he died I had made a whole bunch of food and brought it out to the house, lasagne, a roasted chicken, potatoes, gravy and peas from the garden. Homemade salsa and chips, muffins etc. I can still see the huge grin on his face and feel his hug when he saw all that food. Two weeks to the day later, he called in the evening. Nothing important, he sounded good. We chatted briefly, laughed and then I told him, 'love you' and he replied, 'love you too'. Five or six hours later he was gone.
My point is don't take for granted that you have more time to make things right. Make it right now if it's at all possible. Even if they are not speaking to you, text them and tell them you love them. Offer to meet them and buy them lunch. Make them a sandwich. Show them how glad you are they were born.
I'm not judging what anyone else does. We all do the best we can and make our decisions based on what is best for ourselves and our families. I'm just asking, pleading with you, don't put love off. Don't put it on the back burner thinking you have time to make things right, you may not have time after all. And even if they don't respond, you will know you tried. God bless all of the beautiful mothers on this site. Love and hugs to everyone. MaryBeth Murtha"
God bless all of the mothers who are grieving the permanent loss of a child, and those who are grieving the loss of a child who is still alive but no longer the person they once knew. Please always remember that where there is life there is hope. Continue to show love and never, ever give up!