A let­ter to... my lost sons

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Dear Tim and Harry

When I got mar­ried in the late 80s, I couldn’t wait to have kids. So when you were born, Tim, I was de­lighted.

Even­tu­ally, you came along, too, Harry, and Tim loved hav­ing a lit­tle brother.

Some­one to play video games with, kick a ball about in the gar­den.

When you were tiny, you adored your mum, too. Al­ways want­ing kisses and cud­dles, cry­ing for me on the first day of school.

But while I loved be­ing a mother, as time wore on, I was less happy as a wife.

Your dad worked long hours, while I brought you both up.

I tried to plan ex­cit­ing trips and days out.

Once, we went to the sea­side and had a ball play­ing in the ar­cades, eat­ing fish and chips.

But it couldn’t all be fun and games.

I was also the one who had to ask you to do chores, make sure you’d com­pleted your home­work.

‘Has she been nag­ging you again?’ your dad would ask when he got home. I hated be­ing the bad­die. And, over time, your be­hav­iour to­wards me be­gan to change.

‘Pass me the re­mote, San­dra,’ you asked one day, Tim.

For a mo­ment, I was stunned into si­lence.

‘I’m “Mum” to you,’ I said firmly.

But from then on, Tim, you be­came dis­tant.

I thought it was be­cause your dad and I of­ten ar­gued.

Even­tu­ally, the bick­er­ing got too much and I asked your dad to move out.

But he wouldn’t go without a fight.

In fact, sev­eral fights – which he picked in front of you boys.

‘Let’s not do this in front of the kids,’ I’d beg.

One day, he broke down sob­bing in front of you both.

‘You’ve bro­ken Dad’s heart,’ you shouted at me, Tim.

And with that, my own

heart broke, too. When Dad moved out, you both stayed with me.

He’d visit, but some­times can­cel at the last minute.

‘Dad isn’t com­ing today,’ I’d tell you.

But you blamed me – es­pe­cially you, Tim. So when you turned 18, you went to live with your dad, didn’t you?

Re­fused to see me.

I was dev­as­tated, my own son had aban­doned me.

‘What­ever I’ve done, I’m sorry,’ I begged you. But my pleas fell on deaf ears.

Harry missed you like mad, spent week­ends with you and your dad.

A few years on, I re­mar­ried, and you Harry seemed to get on with my new hus­band.

But, soon af­ter, you came home from school one day and called me San­dra.

Just like Tim had done. Please, no! It was deja vu as you iso­lated your­self from me. I knew I was los­ing you. Then, one day, I caught you with your phone on loud speaker, let­ting your dad lis­ten in to ev­ery­thing I said.

I was only mak­ing your lunch, felt be­trayed.

‘Can you take me to the bus stop?’ you said.

And as I watched you pack a bag, I knew you weren’t com­ing back.

That was over five years ago now. I’m still try­ing to get in touch with you. I’ve missed so much. Christ­masses, birthdays, grad­u­a­tions...

Not see­ing you both hurts a lit­tle more ev­ery day.

I don’t blame ei­ther of you for leav­ing, I just want you both back.

To be part of your life. So I’m writ­ing this let­ter to tell you I’ll al­ways be here, when­ever you need me.

Af­ter all, there’s noth­ing like a mum’s un­con­di­tional love.

Miss you so badly,

Mum xx

As I watched you pack a bag, I knew...

It hurts a lit­tle more each day...

Mem­o­ries of when you were young

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