When Charles called me that last time and maybe when I found out he was addicted to heroin 4 weeks prior to his suicide, something in me changed. I have wallowed and bathed myself in guilt for having felt defeated and not being on the top of my game during that time. There were multiple layers of issues, all of which we tried to resolve. It was all so much.
For the three years prior to his death, it was all about desperate attempts to save his life. What parent wouldn’t want to do that? Historically, he never gave any indication he’d comply or participate, making it hard to keep my own self-defeatist thoughts from taking me prisoner. He shared so little including that he had, for years, been plagued with thoughts of suicide. I had no idea.
During that last phone call before his death, I recognized I was not able to save another human being from himself. He had to be invested in that process, too. I do believe now that his last phone call may have been a step in that direction and he was unable to make that move given his emotional state. But the fact is he didn’t share that with us at any point in his life so I was in a blind alley. And we stayed in a blind alley for most of that last five years.
It took me almost two years to piece together what was happening to him at the time. The thoughts of suicide, the deep depressive state compounded by his going through withdrawal. I can hardly hold myself accountable for not figuring it all out in two hours. I needed information in order to make a decision on what to do.
I think that week I had finally surrendered to the fact that I couldn’t keep him alive. That process left me more emotionally drained than I had ever been. Looking back, we had tried and it felt as if we were losing.
Surrendering is like “letting go” and coming to terms with your own human abilities and limitations. As a mom, I thought keeping a child safe and alive was the foundation of my job description. The last time I looked “God” or “superhero” wasn’t on my resume.
Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up.
It’s an honest personal inventory assessment about coming to terms with how much control you do and don’t have over another human being. It means continuing to take action steps when appropriate. And accepting that full control wasn’t yours in the first place.
When you surrender, you find more peace and calm and you can step back and see the bigger picture.