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.”