Having a child struggle with substance misuse made me feel like a failure. Hadn’t we talked about drug use? Hadn’t I been open about losing his cousin Reese to the substance use disorder?
People didn’t want me to talk about him. I think they thought steering the conversation to another subject would help me “forget” it. I felt like a dismal failure then, too.
Other people’s kids were doing normal kid things. My oldest was, too.
They were winning awards, doing well in sports, getting good grades. What were they doing that I was not? Comparison really is the thief of joy and I tried not to let my mind rest too long on that subject. It’s why I left Facebook for a couple of years. My highlight reel was hardly worth posting.
I thought it would get better. And when it didn’t, after his death by suicide, those feelings of failure intensified.
Even now, those life moments–graduation from college, marriage and more–are a sharp reminder that Charles won’t ever reach any of those milestones.
It took me a long time to divorce guilt. I just had to surrender to it. Let it go and understand that I had to understand that “God” is not on my resume and I didn’t have control over the direction another human being took. All I know is that my child loved me. And he didn’t end his life because I didn’t love him enough.