One of those sleepless nights and sadness-filled mornings


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I had two texts from my son yesterday:

“I love you mum, I hope you know that.”

“I’m not OK, I’m fighting this depression, there’s no-one to talk to here.”

I've tried texting him back and phoning but his phone's dead as usual.

Now I need to listen to my own advice about dealing with this sort of thing and knowing that he's survived a few rough winters and that he's probably fine, just having a bad day yesterday, and there's nothing I can do anyway.

I also had a call from my ex’s aunt at the weekend letting me know that my ex-father-in-law, the kids’ grandfather, died on Saturday. The kids hadn’t seen him for around 15 years, but I suppose I’d better let them know. This is likely to complicate things with my son and bring up thoughts of his father, who he also hasn’t seen for 15 years.


Scent of Cedar *

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It isn't that the things that happen when we love difficult child kids are so difficult, it is that the time between difficult things can be so sweet. We begin to reach a new normal, we become acclimated to our lives and our losses. We even reach a place where hope brightens the edges of things again and we come to believe joy is possible. We retire that harder, more brittle part of us that was able to stand right up to whatever was needed, or that was able to refuse to do one thing more.

We lose sight of that place of courage where we stood, where it was possible to look it all in the face and get on with it.

Life is too sweet to go back there, to go back in...but we do it. There was someone who posted here about not judging our difficult children. I was offended at first, thinking that of course I was not judging them. But then, I realized that even to regret their choices for them was holding them to a standard I had chosen for my life, but they had rejected, for theirs.

That helped me a little, to think of it that way.

I am sorry to hear that the grandfather has died, Lucy.



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Staff member
Lucy, I'm sorry. I know how much those phone calls impact us. You're right of course, there is really nothing you can do, especially since you can't reach him anyway. And, yet...............our minds just leap right on into the anxiety and fear for them................those thoughts of fear are so difficult to let go of...........

When I am in those impossible scenarios, what helps me is to remember that it's the thoughts that have hijacked you, nothing has happened, the thoughts have dragged you to that I make every attempt to drag myself back from that thinking.........back to the present moment, where I can (most times) realize that right here in the NOW nothing has changed. Deep breathing helps too.

I'm sorry about your ex father in law.

On these kinds of days Lucy, do something especially nurturing and kind for yourself.

Wishing you peace and sending a big hug.


Active Member
Hey Lucy, I was just thinking, maybe now is not the right time to tell difficult child about his grandfather passing, especially since he hasn't seen him in 15 years ? Since he is fighting depression and all right now. It must have tore your heart out to get that text from him last night. So sorry.


Well-Known Member hard as this is, and, trust me, that sort of a text tears a mother's guts out and I know this...if he needs to contact you badly, he will find a way even if he has no cell of his own. Or he will show up at home. Your son in particular is quite a survivor and knows how to reach you if he needs you. Of course, the hard part is that YOU can't contact HIM, but...yeah. There's nothing to do but wait and hope for the best. Maybe he did find somebody to talk to so he forgot about his texts to you or, more likely, didn't realize how much they'd upset you. He seems like a nice, good-hearted young man who would not hurt you on purpose.


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My ex was a menopause baby from a very old fashioned mother and father. When I chose to get a divorce they were outraged and cut off all ties with me and their two grands. They were never close to start with.

Years later ex had remarried and his brother called asking if I knew how to get in touch with ex, his mother was in a nursing home not expected to be here much longer and was asking for him. At this point ex had not contacted his kids for years.

I contacted his new mother-in-law and gave her the message. I heard nothing more from anyone and years later I found out the mother had passed about a month later. Not one person, even their father, called to let my children know. I made sure the new mother-in-law had my contact info.

That was a turning point for me, I felt as if my children were being punished for my choices. About three years ago I wondered what I would say if and when (and I know they will) some of his relatives, or him, contact me to get in touch with my children.

At least your ex's family thinks of you


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LucyJ -- Times like this can be so hard on our hearts -- especially during winter time when we know it can be so cold out there for those who may be homeless (permanently or intermittently). I agree that your son sounds sweet. And, also, I really have to applaud him for not only recognizing his own depression, but saying it out loud. That's a huge bit of wisdom on his part.

My wish for him is warmth, safety, and someone nearby to talk to.

My wish for you is peace, comfort, rejuvenation, and good news from him soon.

Take care, LucyJ


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At least your ex's family thinks of you
I'm sorry you've had such a rough time with your ex's family Tired. My ex's aunt is the only one who has kept in touch with me or my children, but it is useful to be kept up to date with bereavements and so on and it is good that the children have one link to their father's family. Actually I have always thought that one of the best things about getting divorced was that I was no longer related to his parents or siblings as I'd had such negative hassle from them throughout my first marriage! Apart from the one aunt, I've never heard from any of them. Hurrah!

Times like this can be so hard on our hearts -- especially during winter time when we know it can be so cold out there for those who may be homeless
Yes, this time of year is tough. It's very hard to not think of him, when I am cold even in my centrally-heated house.

How are you doing today Lucy?

Thanks RE. I've been out, keeping busy, doing some shopping for christmas presents and bought a pile of thermal socks for my son. I'm thinking of driving to the squat tomorrow morning, with the socks, a flask of coffee and a bag of pastries. I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not yet. I'm working this evening so won't really have a chance to talk it through with H, but I think I'll probably go, as it's what I want to do. I hope I'll find him as I haven't been able to get hold of him on his phone. I know hot coffee, pastries and thermal socks isn't a magic cure for depression, but it might help a bit (and it'll help me feel that I've done something useful).


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Staff member
A flask of coffee, some pastries, warm socks and a mothers love go a long, long way Lucy.

When I was giving my daughter tons of money she never appreciated it. Once I detached and set boundaries, now I drive her to work on occasion and she hugs me and is so grateful.

I think they come to realize, when we stop enabling, just how much they really do love us, separate from their needs and their past notion that their needs were our daughter's gratitude for those simple motherly gestures that come so natural to us has expanded in the exact proportion to my having valued myself enough to set those boundaries.

I think what you're doing comes from the heart and of course is no magic cure, but a true gesture of your love. And, it warms our own hearts too, to give those nourishing things to our kids.


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Hi Lucy, just wanna send hugs and love. It hurts terribly when our kids are unable to be reached.. I remember those nights, and the crying and worry. Don't give up, things could change, have hope sweets..


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Thanks so much everyone for all your replies.
The warmth and positivity has helped to ease my sadness as usual.

I'm going to make one of my 'Red Cross' parcels of socks, coffee and pastries and maybe some other bits and pieces (like a big jar of peanut butter). It's a 2 hour drive to the farm squat, so I hope he's there. Still no answer on his phone. I've decided to go anyway and, if I can't find him, then hopefully some of the other hippies will have seen him and can let him know that I was around when they see him next. If he's there, great (hopefully) and if he's not then I can share the coffee and pastries with some other mothers' cold sons and ask someone to leave the socks in my son's treehouse. I think I trust them not to wear them instead. Am I naive to trust them? Maybe. But the homeless community seems to have its own strange standards and I think he'll probably get most of the socks!

I hope we all have a peaceful nights sleep tonight and our grown children are all safe and warm, wherever they may be.


one day at a time
Lucy, I've been away for a while, but following along on this thread. I am thinking of you this morning, with your socks, coffee and pastries.

I think socks are the perfect thing to take. The best thing. Plus yourself.

I also believe that ultimately, it is other people who are going to come alongside our precious difficult children and help create the turning point, not us.

When they are at their most scared, like us, we want our mothers. We just want that comfort. I am 58 years old, and when I am distraught, the first person I want to run to is my mother. For what? Not really a solution, but for comfort.

I think that is what the call to you was about---that mother-comfort.

It is so very likely that he has moved past that moment now, and has found some sort of resources or maybe just the passing of time, to get him through that period.

I still think a loving face with socks and coffee is a gift of encouragement, and that is a good thing.

Please let us know how it goes. Warm hugs, Lucy.


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The forest was a magical place yesterday morning. Everything was covered in a thick frost and it was a bit like driving into Narnia.

I was met at the farm gate by an obviously-pregnant dog, but no sign of any human occupants. The mud was thick past the gates so I abandoned my car and walked the half mile to the derelict farmhouse in my wellies. My son was there, with around 10 others, they had a good log fire going in the makeshift stove and the air was thick with smoke. I felt very welcome, especially as I had come bearing pastries! and my son was genuinely pleased to see me, even though he was too muddy for a hug. Several of the others made half-funny comments about how their mothers didn't love them enough to make the journey there. I hope they were joking as otherwise it felt a bit sad.

Anyway we stayed in the communal room for a while and talk quickly turned to political unrest so I suggested that my son show me around to see what they had been doing since I last went there. It was a chance to talk to him alone. He's committed to this lifestyle, but he said he feels lonely and miserable and became quite tearful. He said he feels so angry all the time and wants to take direct action against various things that make him angry - the government, fracking, commercial companies, water companies, banks, ... the list is endless. He's angry about pretty much everything and says the world is f***ed and it's on a course to self-destruction. He says his life isn't important.

It was hard to listen and hard to know what was the right thing to say without winding him up any more, but I did try and reason with him about a few issues, or at least try to be the voice of realism. I stayed for 2 hours and had mixed thoughts as I left, but we agreed that I would drive there again on Dec 27th and bring him here for a couple of days so he can see his sisters. He wouldn't come for christmas as the whole thing is just too stressful for him and I think it would be stressful for us too, so that was an acceptable plan. I did tell him that his grandfather had passed away, but he didn't want to talk about it and didn't want to even think about his father, although he did say "I wonder what he would make of all this?" and looked around at the farm squat and laughed.

I'm glad I went. I didn't sleep much last night, but I'm still glad I went.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I know hot coffee, pastries and thermal socks isn't a magic cure for depression,

There is no magic cure for depression, of course, but there is love; and there is being truly seen; and there is watching the faces we love light up when they see us.

And that goes both ways.

Hot coffee, pastries, and thermal socks....

I love this, Lucy.