Our family just doesn’t feel complete without all my children there. What can I do? I am powerless over people, places, and things. Those include my son, Mitch. After many unsuccessful attempts to make amends, I learned it was less painful and healthier if I quit chasing Mitch. He has a deep resentment for me. I am not powerful enough to remove it. While I understand this logically, my mother’s heart misses my son. Our relationship has been rocky for over 10 years, so his rejection wasn’t a complete surprise. I wasn't prepared to have an invisible son. My mind understands, but there are no brain cells in my heart.
A Mother's Grief
I am like so many mothers who have lost a child to addiction, but because he is alive I don't know how to grieve this loss. He chooses to live without any contact with me. He has chosen his drug over his own mother. When this kind of thinking does more damage than good, I use the tools of Al-Anon to remind myself:
- Take It Easy
- I didn't Cause It, Can't Cure It, Can't Control It
- This Too Shall Pass
The ghost of my missing son can’t be dealt with logically though. The grief process seems to be unending and unpredictable. I often have felt I am making real progress living without my missing son until I am suddenly struck out of nowhere. I am once again struck with the realization he won't be there. It hits me. The family photos will be happy, but still missing my son's smile. The jokes and stories will be entertaining, but lacking Mitch's special brand of whit. I am grieving all over again when I should be looking forward to seeing my other four adult children and their partners.
Healing Takes Time
The only remedy for me is to feel it. To lean into the pain and befriend it instead of trying to outrun it. As painful as it is I know it best that I accept this truth; Mitch does not want to be around me today. That may change tomorrow or next month or never. I don't know. I only know I am hurting today and I can lessen my own pain by accepting the fact that Mitch is doing what is best for himself. That is what I would want him to do. He sees things very differently than me, but that doesn't mean he is wrong or even less right than me.
As I feel this new wave of pain and confusion I know I am joined by many other hurting mothers. It is puzzling to feel happy seeing my children together as well as deep sorrow that one of them has chosen not to be there. Accepting reality as it is is the next step for me. For me it is the path to serenity when the road becomes too hard to travel.
A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Madeline Schloop
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