As much as I want you to get well, I love you even if you don’t

killed himself

This is what I wish I had said to Charles.

I was so stunned when I found out he was addicted to heroin. And while I know I felt that way, I didn’t express it just like that. I needed to. Our loved ones who suffer addiction need to hear it.

What kept Charles from ending his life before were thoughts of his family.

He pinned up pictures of us wherever he went including that awful trap house place where he was staying in the end to remind him that he had a family who cared. They were reminders during those difficult and irrational moments when the suicidal thoughts would hijack his brain and take it hostage.

I want those of you whose kids are still alive, still suffering, to know what I didn’t know until after.

Charles needed to know I loved him unconditionally no matter what. And he needed to hear it out loud and often. Not just, “I love you,” but that whole “even if you never do” part, too.

“If you relapse, I love you. If you tell me you hate me, I love you.”

“And Charles, even though you are dead, I love you.”

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on 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, coping strategies/resilience, 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.

10 thoughts on “As much as I want you to get well, I love you even if you don’t”

  1. I feel ya. So many times I’ve gotten lost in that “should have said” conversation with Daniel only to be startled back into the reality he’s dead. Hate the intense disoriented wave it sends through my body each time. But that’s the way it is forever now. No available undo/redo option.

    1. Things are preventable only if it’s on your radar. At all. It wasn’t on mine and I think at least one mental health professional could have brought it up. I did ask them early on but the just glazed over my question. That is why I went public.

      1. He took his family picture with him everywhere? He KNEW he was loved by you.
        My Scott knew I loved him I matter what…but there were moments that the demons screamed louder.

        1. Yeah. That’s true. It’s hard to overcome them. I did make an error in judgement in the end but I have to remember that I also did many things right and in that moment with no information on which to base a decision, I could hardly have made the right one. It took me three years to understand what I should do. I wasn’t going to come to that conclusion in that state of mind

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