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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Rowing Through All the Variations of Sad...

I feel them right now. All of them. Sad for him. Sad for me. Sad for all the other people who love us. Sad about how it is going down. Sad about the past. Sad...that is my overarching feeling at the moment. But with sad, as I have aged, comes a resignation, a feeling that things, despite the sadness, are as they should be.

Youth afforded me a feeling that sad was something avoidable. Something that was wrong and could be fixed. That is leaving me with age, I seem to realize that as one ages, the sad is just part of every day living and cannot readily be avoided.

I mean I wish it could be. Still. But I do not engage long in fantasies like that. Too painful and too delusional. And too unlikely to lead anywhere productive.

Again, my son is at the top of my mind and heavy on my heart. And sadness is prevalent with every breath I take.

I am sad for him. Sad that I cannot be the mother he wants and needs. It is excruciating to know that your child needs something, anything, and is denied it. Most especially feeling loved and valued by your mother. I believe he knows on some level that I love him and value him, but somehow me being me, and him being him, a lot gets lost in translation. It takes my breath away when I think of how much he needs and how much he doesn’t receive. Not because I am not giving it, just that he needs something from me that I do not seem to possess despite years of trying, years of therapy, years of loss and the attendant carnage of love unlanded...havoc wreaked on those beings in the crossfire and the living room furniture.

I am sad for me. I love him! I want a closer relationship with him but something happens when we are next to each other for more than an hour or so, he demands things from me, and I have a choice: acquiesce or wind up in a battle. I did the former for years, which only made the later worse. And now I find myself in no man’s land, where we are both lost, unfulfilled and sad. Well, I am sad. I am not sure what he is...

I am sad for those people who have been caught in the crossfire of our love. My daughter, my parents, our animals. There is havoc that has been wreaked, and their lives altered and shattered to varying degrees.

I am sad that a mother misses her son and I believe on some level a son misses his mother. How can two people love each other so much and be so apt to completely misunderstand each other? It really doesn’t seem possible, and yet, it is.

Sad that I am missing out on his senior year of high school. Sad that I won’t be there to see him go on dates, football games, homecoming, prom...sad that I won’t see him maybe even graduate...sad is just pervasive where he is concerned now.

Sad that neither of us can seem to get our needs met. It kills me to think of his outburst last Saturday where his pain leaked out all over the house, angry words, hate filled threats, agony expressed, and landed deeply within me, but me impotent to do anything to change it. In fact, the more I tried to help, the worse it got. It is almost like having Midas’ touch in reverse where he is concerned, everything I touch for him, turns to shit instead of gold. I hurt him, as I try to help.

But even with all the sadness spread in all directions, I am ok. And I think he is ok. We both move forward in our lives. Me, here, him there. And that seems to be what is best for us both. He needing to be away, and me needing that too.

So while I swim in the sadness, sometimes feeling like it will take me under, I can see that sad is just the ocean we are wading through, pulled by the strong undertow of our love, gone so wrong, but still love all the same.

I find myself at 3 am, writing about him and me, mostly to maintain a connection that feels tenuous. Feeling overwhelmed but safe somehow. Praying that he might be able to feel that too. That he might be sad, a little lost, but also have hope that doing something different might yield different results.

I am me. He is him. And there is only so much either of us can do about who we are. I have worked hard, and I know he has too. And I fall back on the belief, the idea, the conviction that I would rather him be happy and live the rest of his life without me in it, than to hold him to me, intertwining him with my life, and making him triggered, angry and feeling so sad that I cannot meet his needs. I feel releasing him to his life, his future and his privacy, the best thing I can give him right now, even though it breaks my heart into a million pieces.

I always hear people in recovery speak about how much they regret their mothering when they were drinking...and for years, most especially before actually becoming this mother person, I sat smugly in my thought that sobriety, spiritual growth and evolution would rise me above the fray of parenting horrors. That my efforts at a life based on spiritual principles would lift us all above the waterline. I sit now in my very nice home, that sobriety brought to me, estranged from my only son, whom I love, cherish and miss with all that I am. Knowing all too well, that sobriety promises nothing short of miracles, but that those miracles often come in loss as well as gain.

I am a living, breathing example, of a mothering life lived sober, that demonstrates, that your children and your relationship with said children isn’t given a pass. Sobriety doesn’t save them from your alcoholism. It only grants limited reprieves. And then, there is always their addictions that inflict what they will, causing heartbreak and wreckage of their own accord.

So I sit this morning, writing mired in all the variations of sad. Knowing that any other time in my life, this much pervasive sadness would threaten to take me out and down. But, for now, I am living, showing up, feeling my feelings, even the ones that make me want to run, hide, feel shame, and guilt and self loathing, and create a space for them just to exist, even as they threaten to overwhelm me.

I have room in my life today for oceans of sadness. I have a life raft, somehow, in all the intervening years, I have developed a resilience that beckons me to continue to row, even though I see no land in sight. There is a faith that if I just keep rowing, if I just keep attending to the sadness, I will eventually move through it to more comforting shores...that I have come to be a person who is strong enough to live with hard emotions, that do not make me want to drink, or die, or run. I can just put the oars down for a minute, and lie back, looking towards the heavens and trust that even the painfully hard things, have great gifts, even when I can’t see them from where I am. So for today, there is nothing to do but love, to pray and to trust that all the variations of sad will take me to another place in time, a place where he might meet me someday. And that a happier future might await us both.

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