My deepest regret

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.

Dear high and mighty parent

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

9 thoughts on “My deepest regret”

  1. It’s an impossible line to navigate between support and enabling . It is an absolute tight rope, and the line is so thin, we are either enabling or supporting, and the distance between the two is about a centimeter. I learned a great deal from attending The AA meetings in rehab with my child. The men who got up to speak, shared their past lives of deep manipulation, and hurting those closest to them. They were unable to feel regret, until they were clean of drugs. They all admitted, the more the family helped, the more advantage they took of their family members.

    If they survived to rock bottom, that’s when they made the change. Drug addiction is a vicious cycle, often sweeping our most tender hearted and compassionate up in addiction. All of us can only hope and pray that our loved one is the one that hits rock-bottom, and survives it, to potentialy live drug-free. I was fortunate, my son has been clean over 6 years, and before Fentanyl hit . It had absolutely nothing to do with anything I did or didn’t do. At any moment I could’ve lost him, there were dozens of those times I could’ve lost him. And if I didn’t lose him the one week, the next week was still dangling there, like a spider in the web.

    The regret must be overwhelming about that final day, but we need to know, that there would’ve probably been many future potential final days to come, and there were probably many potentially previous final days that had come and the child miraculously survived. I follow God as my example, he fathered Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Seth, and the billions who followed. Almighty God had a very difficult time saving his children from harm and destruction. At least we should know we are in great company . Now I find Robert Henderson’s book, “the courts of heaven,” very helpful for praying over my family members. I realized we have an accuser, who’s accusing our family members and ourselves every day in the courts of heaven, to deprive us of the destiny God wrote for each of us in the book of life. Robert Henderson leads us to a prayer of entering the heavenly courts on behalf of our loved one, repenting for them, and anything ever said about them, that can give the accuser ammunition. We then plead that Jesus’s shed blood on the cross, has met every legal mandate of all of ours and the sin we repented for the family member.

    We then ask God who is our loving father but also our Righteous Judge, to render a verdict on behalf of our loved ones, for permission to walk out the destiny God has appointed to them. I realized that Prayer is not on the battlefield, Prayer is in the courtroom. I believe the book is on Amazon, I just found it a wonderful template for prayer. I also have also worn out my book by stormy omaritian , The power of the praying parent . I hope these may possibly help parents struggling right now. The bottom line is, we all have free choice, and although God is in control, he also gifted us with the free choice to make our own decisions, good and bad ones. GOD has suffered as much as all of us have, with his gifting of his children with free choice.

    1. And after I wrote it, I came to a similar conclusion to the one you wrote above. Thank you for reminding me of it. It’s that fine line between helping and enabling is a line that is so hard to see when you are in that chaotic storm known as addiction. Only parents like us really know how helpless and how ugly a disease it is.

  2. Don’t you love those moments when you’re preoccupied with something else that takes your mind off of fixating on these thoughts you mention. But it always returns. Thank goodness the intervals increase. Else we would go insane.

  3. Anne, I too have struggled with trying to understand my role in my son’s last moments and how I could have changed the course of events. Like you, I have to believe that I did my absolute best because I couldn’t look in the mirror again if I thought otherwise. The decisions that parents are forced to make when their child is addicted to heroin are so counterintuitive. We are wired to protect our young at all costs and that awful line between support and enabling is impossible to navigate with confidence when all we want to do is fix it for them. You are not alone in your suffering. I know that doesn’t bring your precious child back, but maybe in sharing the weight of the burden, you are able to find enough strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and live.

  4. Dear Anne Moss,
    This is just for you…not for posting please…

    My heart goes out to you as you have these heart-breaking feelings…
    I have wanted to connect with you for some time, as I had an experience last year that changed everything for me in my sorrow at my brother Ric’s suicide 7 years ago.
    I was seeing a hypnotherapist, and she asked me about my life. As I shared the pain about my beloved brother’s decision and loss, she told me that she was able to connect with the departed.
    We spent an hour at my home while she connected with him and shared his message.
    He is fine, and sorry that he caused so much pain to his family (he left three teen-aged children)—he was not able to think of us when in so much pain and now knows how much we suffered and miss him.
    We are all eternal, and have purpose in each existence. Our souls can choose to leave and to continue again to complete that purpose. My brother and I are soul-mates and have been together before—I am his keeper.
    I do believe in what I learned that day for many reasons, as I have others tell me about him, and I have seen him …
    Connecting with my brother again brought me joy again.
    Sharing with you in hopes of bringing you hope, and some peace…

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