Mourning the loss of proud momma moments

Once Charles started down the path of drug addiction, I struggled with the loss of normal but even more than that, I grieved those moments in life that are rewards for having raised a child.

Who doesn’t love when a child accomplishes something that makes us feel proud? After all, it’s those highlight reels what still dominate the Facebook feed.

There were moments I can now look back on that make me smile but as the drugs took over my child, they became rarer events.  Slowly, I had to adjust my expectations. With each police run in or failed drug test, our hope drained a little more and I went from thinking about college to wishing he’d learn to manage his mental illness and develop positive coping skills to just hoping he’d live.

There were so many times I salivated over a potential proud momma moment only to have it ripped out from underneath me leaving me feel as if I was soaring from the top of a trapeze and then crashing to the floor having missed the safety net.

In conversation, I often didn’t have that much to add about Charles and no one wanted to hear the ugly stuff.

What was I going to say? “Today, no police came to our door.”

When those devastating moments were first happening–the drug tests that showed opiate use or the arrests–the emotional crashes were epic. As I attended my support group and things got worse, I adjusted my own expectations, realizing I had to live for myself and my own accomplishments. Not his.

After he died and I got his music lyrics, I realized I did have proud momma moments to savor and share which will be included in my book. Little did I know, he was accomplishing things only I was not aware of them.

So I will end with this piece from “Helping,” from Families Anonymous.

“I will have no thought for the future actions of others, neither expecting them to be better or worse as time goes on, for in such expectations I am really trying to create or control. I will love and let be.

All people are always changing. If I try to judge them, I do so only on what I think I know of them, failing to realize that there is much I do not know. I will give others credit for attempts at progress and for having had many victories that are unknown.”

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Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and currently working on getting a book published. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. 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.

9 thoughts on “Mourning the loss of proud momma moments”

  1. And then there’s the dreaded “what do your kids do” question from a new friend, or the “what are your kids up to” question from an old one who has no idea what has transpired in your life. I’ve gotten good at simply providing the name of the city where my son lives and redirecting the same question back to the person who asked. Most people are so happy talking about themselves, they never realize I didn’t really answer their question.

    1. Wow. Very clever. I didn’t know about my son’s addiction long enough to face it on a regular basis. But I guess when they did, which was not often because they treated him like he was dead already, I just said he had become addicted and we were a mess. Not sure what I would have done long term.

  2. So true. This is a hard lesson to learn as a parent of a child who suffers with addiction and mental illness. I have often learned over time to celebrate the smallest of victories because with people who suffer from the low self esteem that comes with this disease and mental illness – it’s small steps in the right direction. Every morning I wake – I can find gratitude in something my son has achieved / even if it doesn’t align with the dreams I once had. His dreams deserve to be applauded, his achievements as small as they may seem to other parents bring immense joy now that I can accept and embrace that his life needs to be on his terms. Not mine. The greatest love is the one that comes with no expectations but with acceptance
    Thank you for this reminder AM

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