Letting Go

Family relationships


For the past year or so, the relationship between us and Son 1 has been, well, to put it mildly, strained.

Although the relationship was wonky when he started dating the Fiancée, we made huge efforts to work through some of the issues…the key one being Son 1’s desire to get a degree. We held up our end of the agreement with paying him a weeks’ wages, so he could study, even through multiple changes of courses, withdrawal from subjects and failures. The major crunch day came, it seemed to us, on the day we said we would no longer support his study due to the fact that he did not hold up his end of our bargain when he was expelled from uni for failing too many subjects…In our view, it should not have been too difficult, we were not expecting prize winning results – we only wanted him to pass, to finish.

We were accused of putting too much pressure on him, creating an environment when he wasn’t motivated to succeed on his own by giving him too much help (Fiancée), forcing him to do it our way or no way…

For months, I tormented myself with what I, as his mum, could have done better, how I/we could have handled the situation better, how I could have helped more. There were nights I couldn’t sleep for all the thoughts of the loss of the relationship we had had, for the loss of my only son. It hurt so much. I cried. I cried a lot. I grieved deeply. I tried so hard to keep positive that it will all blow over and we would go back to the way we were – having a laugh, enjoying meals and sharing our lives. I tried to keep that tiny thread of connection. A text here, a short call there, just checking in. But it was hard, one directional work.

Photo by Elisabetta Foco on Unsplash

In April, I texted that I wanted to meet and talk about some things. I was highly emotional – my Husband was depressed and suicidal at times, not working and I was stressing over everything, including the finances, which meant maybe taking back the car Son 1 had. When Son 1 arrived at the cafe, I was met with a stiff, unsmiling, unemotional robot. All I wanted was a brief glimpse of the caring, loving boy/man I had seen grow and known. A hug and “it will be alright mum” would have gone a long way to help me feel better. But this was not my son. A stranger would have connected to me with more sympathy. I left the cafe in tears and a heart in shreds. Little has changed since then.

I realise now that the person I met is not the person I knew. He has changed, I believe, under the influence of others. Gone is the ability to see from others’ perspective, gone is the acceptance of consequences and responsibility for his actions, gone is the spontaneous laughter and fun, empathy and understanding, gone is the thinking of others, gone is the big heart and ability to forgive, gone is the son I had.

“If you can’t do anything about it, then let it go. Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change.”

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

I have to now accept that people do change, not always for the better (IMHO). I can do nothing more. Perhaps they will change again at some later stage, and try to bridge the chasm that their unreasonableness, stubbornness or blindness has created. Until then I just have to let go of those future dreams that involve Son 1 and hold on tight to the memories.