Letters They Never Read


Well-Known Member
I'm sorry I've been away from the boards for awhile. It has been a rough couple of weeks. I've been hiding and licking my wounds.

Had to get this out.

difficult child,

When I think back on all the hours I spent poring over letters to you, trying to capture the perfect phrase to impart guidance or wisdom to you, to help you stay on or get back on a path that wouldn't destroy you, I wince. A small symbol of the many hours I have spent caring more about your life than you do. So this one will not be pored over. It will be straight from the heart. It will be for me, not for you. And like the other letters, in all likelihood you will never even read it.

So now you are back in detox. And you tell Dad you might have to go to the hospital for a staph infection, because you were injecting drugs into your veins in your foot. And just 3 weeks ago we drove to the coast to kayak and look at the algae, and I praised you for how well you were doing in your sobriety. And you let me. You told me even more good things about how well you were doing, things I didn't know. And it was all a lie. You weren't doing well in your sobriety, nor were you even sober. And you never even paused, not for a second. You enjoyed my attention. And what I thought was boosting you up was probably to you quite hilarious, how effectively you had fooled me.

You couldn't even be honest with me yesterday, when you told me you were going to detox. You told me the house manager didn't see that you were using again, but you didn't like to be around his place. I guess no one from the sober living house told you that Dad and I went to see you last Sunday, when you weren't returning our calls or texts. I guess none of them told you how foolish we felt when we found out you had been kicked out several days earlier and that you had not been sober when you left. I guess none of them told you how Dad and I both teared up and choked up and asked the other residents if they even knew where you were. I guess they didn't tell you how they all stared at the floor when we asked that, and that your roommate could barely meet my eyes to tell me you were still in the area but he wasn't sure where. I guess even then they were trying to protect you, from what I do not know. I don't know if they even saw what it does to a parent, to find out that their son is missing and has been BS'ing them for several weeks at least, that the only thing he has learned from his stint in a sober living house is how to hide his substance use better.

So I'm the fool, once again, for believing you. Fool me once, once again. Shame on me indeed. And now I'm angry, but I can't be, because that's kicking you when you're down. Because you're sick. I guess that's what's expected once again, that I'm supposed to accept this now, like I have every other time, and make concessions for your "illness."

I realized something this morning. When I pray every morning for you and for the strength to meet the challenges of the day, in all likelihood my prayer at some point will be that I will be able to summon the strength to survive the death of my child that day, a death by his own slow hand. I am going to have to get the call or the visit from the officer, go to identify your body, make arrangements for your cremation. Decide where you would have wanted your ashes scattered, which dream you would have wanted to live if drugs hadn't taken it away from you. Do I take your ashes to Mt. Katahdin, because you wanted to hike the AT more than anything (before the alcohol and hangovers made it too exhausting to even contemplate)? Do I give them to XXXX, because you never could accept the end of that relationship, even though you abused each other and you chased her away with your parasitic behavior and manipulation? Do I sprinkle them on the beach, because for a few months you had a fellowship with other young guys fighting addiction, before you pissed it all away once again?

I once took care of a young man who was dying of cirrhosis caused by his alcohol use. His parents and brother were there for his death. It took a couple of days for him to die. I found it so strange, that there was so little emotion there. There was none on the patient's part because he was too far gone mentally to even be aware of his surroundings. But there was no emotion on the family's part either. It was as if they were waiting for a bus or something. I wondered how they could be so cold. But I know now how they felt. They had grieved his death, bit by bit, for years. They had slowly accepted over the years that every hope they ever had for him, no matter how modest or how ambitious, was unrealistic. He had died to them long before that day in the hospital. They were just there to formally see it through. I guess that will be me someday, formally seeing it through. I guess that is the life that lies ahead for me, and I am powerless to stop it.

So what is there to say? I hope it sticks this time? I hope you can be honest? I hope you can find some shred of something in your life that makes it worth fighting for? All true. All said many times before. I hurt when you hurt? Duh, but irrelevant. I don't know anymore. I don't know what to say. I'm all tapped out. I love you. I guess that’s all there is to say, maybe all there ever was to say. I love you.


Your letter is amazing. I'm sorry it had to be written at all.
Hugs from one momma to another.

ME 42
husband 40
DD1 18
DD2 9

My oldest moved out a week after turning 18. I'm really struggling. Looking for advice.


Well-Known Member
OH Albatross!!! Oh I am so so so sorry. I hate that this happened to you. I can feel the shock and grief of discovering he had left his house right through my body, as though it were me. I remember your practical, kind, mom-ish posts about your weekend visits. Wow. This is awful.

Your letter, my friend, is perfect. He may indeed not read it, but you have said it, you have gotten it out. It is not like a snake sitting in your heart and strangling the blood flow. You said it with purity, honesty, clarity. It is a beautiful beautiful letter. I hope he does read it, and he may. My difficult child did...in fact I think he read it more than once. It didn't change his path (much...maybe a little for the short term), but he read it. I think yours will too.

And for today, as I know you have done with my difficult child (Echos son who lives under a bridge, then and now)...I will pray for you, for your son, for your family, for your broken mommy heart.

The quakers (my other three kids went to a quaker school..jewish dad, buddhist nee protestant mom, quaker school...go figure) say "let us hold him/her in the light." We'll hold you in the light, all of us here on the forum. I could feel your shock at the transitional house because we share that life...all of us do. I hope that helps you just a little in this darkness.

Albatross, The only thing I can say is that my heart is aching for you and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I do trust god to continue leading you through the muck, with your journey of letting go with love.


one day at a time
Oh Alb. I am so sorry that you have been going through all of this over the past two weeks. I am just so sorry.

Your letter is right on the money. It shook me to my core. The honesty and the right-where-we-all-live authenticity of your letter is....well, it is real. I could claim each word myself.

I think there is value in writing---and sending---these letters, value for you and for me.

In the dark of the night, in the dark night of our souls, when we are in agony, like we so often are, those of us here on this board, we will KNOW that we spoke our agony and that we spoke that agony to the one who holds the keys to the kingdom.

It may not change one single thing.

But we will have said it. We will air it out in the clear light of day. We will have spoken our love and our despair, because of that love, over our adult children.

There is value there. Value for them, surely, in some small or large way, and value for us, and then, value for those we share the letters with.

To love like this is a gift and a curse.

We are here for you Alb. We are here. Warm, warm hugs.


Well-Known Member
Oh Alba. I'm speechless. What a powerful letter! I'm so sorry that your son has chosen the wrong path and you are hurting once again. Please know that you and your son are in my prayers. Stay strong! Hugs to you my friend!

Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app


Well-Known Member
You never know when he MAY read a letter. Mine never did. I don't write them to send anymore. I write them just for me then I throw them away. That can be very therapeutic too. I got tired of 36 saying, "Oh, that letter you sent? Yeah. I saw you were b**** and acting all sad so I just threw it out. Plus it was too long." Thanks.

But I sure felt good writing it!!!!

amelia d

Hope outweighs experience
Wow..what a beautiful, eloquent and painful letter. You brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry that you have had to experience this pain and feel like you (and your husband) are the only ones emotionally invested in this relationship. You deserve better. You can't be the cheerleader all the time..even if you own the pom-poms (a little levity). I wish you love and luck, and will pray that your son finds the strength and humility to help himself.


Well-Known Member
Albatross, so powerful and true. So many of us can relate to being blind and made a fool of and having that knife in the heart ,
taking your breath away feeling. We just love them. They ruin it.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I am so sorry Albatross, so very sorry. Your letter brought tears to my eyes for the pain of it, the recognition of that pain in my own heart and the pain we all share here.

Your letter is eloquent, poignant, profound and filled with love and truth. I hope he reads it. You needed to write that truth and send those words out to the universe, to allow us and all the forces 'out there' to hold those words in a sacred place, where all our mothers pain and fathers pain lives............

I am sending a prayer for you and your son............and the hope that your heart is a little lighter having said the truth of your heart.........


Very powerful letter. I could change just a little and send to my 33 year old son. But he is homeless 3700 miles away and has no address. I did email him one about a month ago. He said he did not read it because it was just bs. So maybe he did since he said it was bs. I pray our sons can turn their lives around but also trying to accept that it probably won't happen in my lifetime. Prayers for you.

Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app


Well-Known Member
Alba, so poignant and moving. Thank you for putting pen to paper and expressing so eloquently what so many of us feel. I hope things get better for you...for all of us. But if it doesn't, we can at least help each other to live another day for ourselves. Hugs.


Well-Known Member
Thank you so much for your responses. I have spent today swinging between numb and crying. I don't know why it has hit me so hard, THIS time. But I am so grateful I have you guys to understand and listen and I appreciate all of your words very much.


Well-Known Member
I was thinking of you the other day Alb - thinking that you hadn't posted for a while and wondering how you were - and now I know how you were and why you hadn't posted for a while.

This thing we're dealing with comes in waves doesn't it? For a while we can float along, not getting too ruffled, keeping most of it below the surface. Then the breaker hits us out of nowhere, and all of a sudden we're swimming against the tide again, trying not to drown, flailing around not knowing which way to struggle to reach the air.

So, he's let himself down again.

Your letter is full of honesty Alb. No pussyfooting around, no struggling to find the right platitudes to not upset him, the right encouraging, soft words to try and keep him on the right path. Just honesty, telling it like it is, straight down the middle.

Well done Alb. I’m there too. No more softly, softly, encouraging and coaxing, agreeing with the nonsense for the sake of a quiet life.

Enough of that.

Just honesty.

It's a great letter Alb. I hope he reads it. I hope he absorbs it.

Welcome back!


Well-Known Member

That is a beautiful letter and I hope your son reads it, too. I am so sorry. You were cautious about being optimistic and you wanted, wanted to believe things were better. It appeared as if things were looking up and I hate that your son did this - to himself and his family. I hope today is better for you and that you can get away this weekend, perhaps?
Hugs...and I sure wish i really could hug you very tightly right now.

Stay with us. Please post whenever you need to talk about it.


one day at a time
I don't know why it has hit me so hard, THIS time.

Because it just has Alb. You are going to be okay.

This is the hardest stuff in the whole world. I have friends who are dealing with all kinds of things, like Parkinson's disease, and aging parents, and adult kids who live at home forever, and a husband dying in six weeks of pancreatic cancer...and all of that is awful too.

This isn't a "whose deal is worse" contest, but I honestly do believe that what we deal with here on this board is one of the hardest things to endure, ever.

It is worse than death, I believe.

Just let it flow Alb. We care. We get it. We have fallen down too and struggle to get back up and get back to level ground.

We're here for you. We are.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
This is one of the most beautiful, painful, achingly honest things I've ever read. I think it's good enough to publish, if you choose to share it beyond this group. I hope writing it gave you some release, even if it doesn't change how things are right now.

Thinking of you, your family, and your son.


Well-Known Member
This thing we're dealing with comes in waves doesn't it? For a while we can float along, not getting too ruffled, keeping most of it below the surface. Then the breaker hits us out of nowhere, and all of a sudden we're swimming against the tide again, trying not to drown, flailing around not knowing which way to struggle to reach the air.

I love this. This is so exactly now it feels...a big wave right out of nowhere, just when I was floating on my back peacefully (I have fantastic floating skills), or walking on the beach..then flailing, choking, afraid, confused, tossed in the surf....then spit out on the sand, gasping, heart pounding, scared scraped up and mad at myself for putting myself in that position. And the ocean rolls on regardless.

I LOVE this.



Well-Known Member
Staff member
Honest and powerful letter. I too am sorry that it had to be written. Sending good thoughts for continued wisdom and strength.