the art of surrender

I had finally surrendered

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.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

6 thoughts on “I had finally surrendered”

  1. “ 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.” This. This understanding is transformative. Thank you, Anne Moss.

  2. Thank you Anne. This helps me today.
    My son, Michael struggled with addiction to heroin for 20 years.
    I fought to save his life that entire time.
    I have gone over and over the last 3 months of Michael’s life. Everything I could have done. The text my husband wrote but forget to press “send.” Why didn’t I jump up and down and do something when Michael showed me the massive needle mark on his right arm??? Why didn’t I go visit him more? How in the world could his father (I’m not married to him now) be so horribly abusive to Michael?
    Michael had a life of hell. I am his mother.
    And I am crying.

    1. Twenty years. Amy, that’s a long time to watch a child suffer. We tend to look back and judge those what-if moments with all the knowledge and emotional stability we have now. I struggled with that for such a long time. That scouring over the last months or weeks is part of the process of surrendering. And healing. That’s what I see now. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. I completely understand, Anne Moss. I was headed that way. I tried and tried to fix things, to no avail. I was getting better and reading and learning what not to do, and what I could do, but he cut me off at the pass, and left. Today is one of those days where I stare at the clouds and wonder which one Whitten is on, and why it turned out this way…

    1. I think there will always be some level of struggle with this. I was just starting to figure it all out. There I times I feel cheated and want to scream, “I was almost there.!”

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