It’s like he died. But he hasn’t, he just lives in Woodville.

It sounds like a joke, but really, it’s not. He is 24. He moved out, and left a note on the bench. He changed his phone number, and blocked me on Facebook. He ‘allowed’ me to message him via messenger for a while, and then cut me off from there.

I have a 24-year-old son, whom I cannot contact. I don’t know where he lives or works, who his friends are, what he does on his days off. I have a strong idea it involves a lot of weed, but, to be honest, I have no idea. I don’t know what he looks like. Does he have piercings? What colour is his hair? A beard? Has he got more tattoos?

He is hurting, I know it. He is my son, I know him, I recognise the actions. It is painful and heart-breaking to see him hurting, and it is painful and heart-breaking to feel so powerless, to live with a sinking sad heart all day. It is painful and heart-breaking to be hurt by him.

To have days where I forget about thinking about him leaves me filled with guilt, to think about him fills me with sadness and loss. I can’t ‘win’; I don’t even know what I am losing against when I don’t win. I don’t know what winning is. I can’t even think some days.

I am embarrassed and ashamed of him, or me, of this situation. I feel betrayed. I feel like I am meant to be a good parent, I tried hard to be a good parent, and this situation makes me feel like I am not a good parent. It makes me ashamed of my parenting, it makes me question my parenting. It makes my eyes leak with tears. Tthey blur my vision, they run down my cheeks. Some days I cry silently, almost beautifully, no emotions, just tears flowing. Other days I ugly-cry, great sobs wracking my body, my face screwed up in anguish, shoulders heaving. My heart feels too heavy, I want it all to go away, I want to go away, to sleep, lie flat, feel small, invisible, like I am nothing, like I am not there. I want the weight of blankets on my body, pressing down on me, soothing me. I cry all the time – I don’t really, it just feels that way.

I feel resentful that this takes up my brain space, when that space is reserved for study, that’s my thesis space, not a space to worry about sons that I should not have to be worried about. I resent that these words flow, are forming without my thoughts, the ideas flow, easily, onto the page. But, I should be working on my theoretical framework, due in four days, those words are the right words for a good parent to be writing.

I can’t even consider how to hurt someone the ways he has hurt people around him, the lies he has told, the messages he has sent. I know that’s not him. I know there is good in him. I know he is pushing back, I know he is hurting, and wants to hurt back. I know the behaviour is childish, it’s the same as a four-year-old telling me ‘I hate you.’ It doesn’t feel good, it’s not the way things should be. I hate him, I hate what he has done, I hate how the family has to accommodate him, I hate that an adult tantrum has to be leaving and no contact, it’s a lot bigger than slamming your bedroom door and sulking. I hate that I hate him. That’s not ‘good parent’ behaviour.

How does he come back? When does he come back? How do children come out of their rooms when they have gone off to sulk? The uncertainty is very challenging, it’s shitty, I hate it. I am mad at everything. I am mad when number four does something dumb. Rather than ‘ah-well’, I go right to mad. I’m mad when stuff at work doesn’t go well, I feel a minute off exploding or bursting into tears all the time. I spend energy pretending things are A-OK, that I am coping. I use words like ‘it is what it is’ and try to sound sage-like, wise, resigned to the status quo.

I’m not. I want my son back. I want my family whole again.

 

Such beautiful, important, and heart-squeezing writing is coming out of this group. If you would like to help mothers on low incomes to attend our first BRILLIANT + AMAZING Writers’ Retreat, please visit our Givealittle page. Every dollar helps. Thanks!

 

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