I know in Charles’ final hour, he felt abandoned.
Heroin is not a party drug. It’s a loner drug. The solitary nature of the drug is so counterintuitive to Charles’ outgoing personality. It does not make you a fun person or one that everyone wants to be around. Just the opposite.
When Charles called me, I was his last shred of hope in an effort to save himself. His mother. I can still hear the despair in his voice. I think he left this earth thinking we abandoned him because he was addicted to heroin. I hope he knew we loved him. I’m going with the fact he did because I can’t bear it otherwise.
It was that moment I could have softened and said, “Where are you? I’ll come get you.” But I didn’t, even though alarm bells were ringing in my head. Why not? Because I thought I had to hold my boundary. Why did I go so f-ing catatonic at the moment he needed me most?
At the moment when I needed my own brain to behave and act in “normal mom mode” it went haywire on me. Scrambled signals coerced me into thinking I needed to wait when all I needed to do was act.
I don’t get a redo.
You don’t want to be the one walking through Target talking to the air and telling your son who died by suicide that you love him. You don’t want to be the one screaming at your windshield because you can’t reverse time. You don’t want to be the one that wakes up daily realizing the nightmare is real.
You know in your gut when something is wrong. When you get that inkling, don’t shut it down because you don’t know what it is.
Don’t dismiss them as “wanting attention” or think they are joking around. Take every threat seriously. Give them attention. What does “offering attention” cost you anyway? A few minutes of your precious time? Why do we resist offering compassion when someone reaches out desperately for it? How else would anyone get help?
I have learned to live with my deepest regret. I have forgiven myself for it. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. Some days a lot. Others not so much.