When my child killed himself, the first thing I thought about– when I could, in fact, think– was that he left because of something I didn’t do right. How crummy a mother was I that my child checked out on me? I saw it as a failure at the one job that meant most to me in the world, ushering my child to successful adulthood.
When I look back and start to beat myself up, something that doesn’t happen as often as it once did, I have to remember I didn’t know then what I know now. And I can’t judge myself through a lens of today’s knowledge. There’s a reason they say, “hindsight is 20/20.”
I still haven’t answered the actual question here.
Am I a failure as a mother?
I’m not in a place where I can say, “I was a damn good mother.” I can say, however, I did the best I could with the resources available to me. I can’t make someone accept care no matter how much he might have needed it.
That’s not what did it, though.
Do you know when I was able to move past the “failure” notion? When I met other mothers and fathers who had lost a child to suicide or overdose. They were all such normal, good, caring parents and some of the most wonderful, thoughtful people I’ve ever met. And then there are some I have not met in person that I had the same impression of. Good people. It struck me as unbelievable this could happen to them. That’s when I understood this happens to good parents.