I will always come get you

charles and mom

I remember telling my children this. “If you have had too much to drink, I will come get you and I won’t ask questions.” And I followed through with that.

But when Charles wanted me to come get him in that last phone call, although he didn’t literally say, “come get me,” I didn’t. At first this was a huge boulder to carry and I punished myself constantly for it. And while I have forgiven myself, it will always sting.

The disease of addiction and all of its chaos scrambled my brain. The fear of the disease consumed me and made me catatonic. It was literally my worst nightmare and so overwhelming I shut down. I would have bounced back, gotten educated but I simply was not there yet as it was all too new and I had not yet adjusted.

The bills had also consumed us and now we were facing thousands and thousands more which left me feeling even more helpless since the bank account was not filling itself. I had sold everything I knew to sell but still came up short. I let my fear of failure in my own self overcome me. That’s what addiction does to moms and dads. It’s very hard to separate the emotion from the events happening because their life depends on making the right decision. And even the right one can be wrong and result in death.

I didn’t go get him. And it took me years to figure out why I didn’t follow through on that promise.

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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.

13 thoughts on “I will always come get you”

  1. I can’t read this again. Not right now. It’s more than eight months since I responded the first time. Lately, it’s like reliving it all over again.
    I just wish to God I had called for help to go find her that night.
    I wish to God I had gone with my initial gut reaction I wish I didn’t listen to my logical self that night. She might still be here. I guess this is part of this horrible process. I absolutely hate it. I would give almost anything to have done something different that night. Anything. I don’t know how to accept this again. To think that one decision changed everything.

    1. Tell yourself today that one day you will forgive yourself. This is part of the process but there is a day when logic and your heart are in sync and together they realize that this torture does no one any good. And you are finally able to let go of the guilt. Moving forward carrying this baggage is not how your daughter would want you to live. There is much you know now that you did not know then. So just repeat after me, “One day I will stop torturing myself and forgive myself for all of this.” That is the beginning of making it happen one day. We tend to put a magnifying glass on that which we did wrong not giving ourselves any credit for all hat we did right.

      But I know the place you are in and I can tell you that a lot of healing happens in that place. You ARE healing. And sometimes that hurts like hell. Your daughter grew up in a house filled with love. Do remember that.

  2. The “what if’s” are endless, and moot. Why do we think we have control over outcomes, we were never meant to control. Control is just an illusion. Let’s stop beating ourselves up- we all did the best we could at the time. I appreciate your honesty, and understand your guilt. Why couldn’t we keep our child on Earth? No answers till we join them- no offense, but it’s how I cope with Curt’s loss. He’s not coming back. Sending you prayers of peace.

  3. As an oncology and hospice social worker I used to tell patients and parents of pediatric patients that you made the best decision you could with the information you had in that moment. When we look back we always see more clearly, mostly because we have so much more information. The difference in your case is an immediate consequence. I’m sorry the “what ifs” further complicate an already traumatic situation. ❤️

  4. My son lived in Finland the last 9 years of his life–I would have flown there to get him if I had known how close he was to the end of his life. No matter that he was 39 years old–he knew his mom loved him unconditionally. But again, could I have spared him a life of depression, anxiety, hopelessness?

    1. If I had known. If I had been in the state of mind that was clearer. So many ifs. And so much suffering we didn’t know about until after. That’s what got me through it. Knowing what I knew after was not what I knew then.

  5. I did same with Jill. She was sad, very sad. She asked to come home. I said yes. She didn’t ask me outright to come get her. I told her as before to see about a bus ticket as she had done before. We ended up getting her a plane ticket for the one hour flight home that evening.
    Instead she went to a hotel for unknown reasons and never made it home. I’m still grieving I didn’t go get her. I know why, but it doesn’t seem a good enough reason. All the previous chaos, repeated history. It’s not, considering now I’ll never have that chance again.

    1. We torture ourselves for a while before it becomes a sting that you know what to do about because you have developed the tools necessary. Addiction is a slippery slope and even if I had saved him that day would I have been able to save Charles from the clutches of heroin. I knew him and he was too fragile. He was not going to live through it. I do know that in my heart. So you will work through it because you are actively doing it. It’s just very painful

  6. You did the best with what you had
    We don’t ever know the supposed right things to do
    We are human and living each moment as a first
    I salute your honesty

    1. It took me years to come to that conclusion. Over a thousand posts and a 350 page book (still a manuscript). I realize now as long as it took me to understand addiction that I was not going to have the perfect answer that day.

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