A let­ter to...

my used-to-be son

The Guardian - Weekend - - Family -

I am writ­ing this let­ter with pain in my heart and tears in my eyes. I am say­ing good­bye. Good­bye to the pain and frus­tra­tion I have en­dured over the past 22 years, watch­ing you go from be­ing a hu­man to liv­ing like an an­i­mal to feed your var­i­ous ad­dic­tions.

You were so bright and in­tel­li­gent. You loved the theatre; we used to go to­gether and en­joyed it so much.

I know you have had some knock­backs, but who hasn’t? Though I urged you to move away, and of­fered money to help you into re­hab, it is clear you are en­trenched in this life now. In your face are etched the lines of the ruin: heroin or crack.

I have hung on to you for all these years be­cause there was no other fam­ily around. But enough is enough. I need to find some peace of mind and hap­pi­ness be­fore I go to my grave.

The way back to my heart will al­ways be open, but un­der strict con­di­tions: full re­hab, a steady job and be­com­ing in­de­pen­dent be­cause, although you are nearly 40, you have been co-de­pen­dent all your life.

I now ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­abling you all these years, but feel it is time for you to stand on your own two feet. It breaks my heart to write this, but my pen­sion can­not con­tinue to in­crease the bank bal­ance of drug deal­ers while my own dwin­dles.

I hope and pray that you will be locked up, be­cause you will come out clean and look­ing healthy, as you did in 2009.

I don’t know where you are liv­ing. It doesn’t dis­tress me any more. I am very, very tired.

I had hoped I would have some­one to care for me in my later years – even just to make me a cup of tea in the morn­ing be­fore I strug­gle out of bed. But I am con­tent with not hav­ing to go to bed full of anx­i­ety that you will turn up at my door and de­mand money while deal­ers wait out­side.

Oh Lord, why did it take me so long to put a halt to this wretched life you clothed me in?

Ah, but it’s over now. Do not write to me if you are sent to prison, be­cause I will send your let­ters back.

I am just re­lieved that you are no longer in my life to cause me emo­tional and fi­nan­cial pain. Do what you need to do for your­self – you have noth­ing I need.

Good­bye, your used-to-be mum

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