Question: Dear Luise: i am so depressed i cry everyday. and dont know what to do. i brought my children up alone no friends or family . in manchester.my youngest son who is now 22 years lived with me still. i had a chance to move back to cornwall with my other son his partner and my daughter and 2 grandchildren. aged 3 and 8 years . i dote on them and they love me to bits. i out of the blue was offered my own flat in cornwall so i had to move within a week. my son knew it was in the offing and to cut a long story short he didnt want to come./ and decided to stay with his girlfriend and his job. it hit me a lot harder than i thought they even said they would move here in about a year and a half . but thay is along time and i have tried to convince him to come here now. one of the reasons we moved was itsa asafer place for everyone we had an awful time there . but i worry now he has stayed about him. but he wont budge and now he wont even talk to me if i ring he makes the excuse his battery is going. but 22 years i mioss him so much and i feel guilty i left him and he had to find somewhere uickly i feel i put him out of his home he had his own room and it wasnt his fault we wanted to leave. i feel so bad and i cry all the time now. he gats angry if i mention him coming here. but itis so lovely a place so tranquil and no chance him being hurt why does he resent me because i wanted better for us all. i miss him like a part iof me has been wrenched away i am heart broken and cant cheer up. it was a choice either stay there give up the flat and not see my grandchildren. i would really appreciate your advice i am so depressed. P.
Answer: Dear P.: I have been through a parting of the ways with one of my grown sons. All I can do is to share with you what I learned. I had expectations regarding how it would be after he grew up. My expectations were simple and seemed totally reasonable to me. In choosing not to let them go, I went through endless heartbreak, tears and self-pity while feeling a deep sense of undeserved rejection and injustice. I thought I was the victum of circumstances beyond my control. Not so. My depression was about being too immature and self-involed to grow beyond being a mother. I wanted to stay there.
What I learned was that no one is ever responsible for fulfilling our expectations. They are ours. The job of raising our children is one that is completed when they become of age. We did our best. That’s all we ever could do. As adults our children get to make their own choices and to learn from the consequesnces of those choices…(or not.) It’s their life. We can’t make sense of the senseless and we can’t focus our lives around them any longer. Our job, once they are adults is to step back and let go and not feel sorry for ourselves in the process. We were whole people before we became parents and it is absolutley necessary that we get on with our lives and become whole again…beyond the parental role. We don’t have to like it and it may not be easy. If we don’t choose to do that, we become the “children”, whining and crying that our needs aren’t being met. It was never about our needs and it never will be. We, too, have choices…we can wallow in self-pity and waste the rest of our lives or we can focus on moving forward. I found all of this incredibly painful and unbelievaby difficult but I made it. 🙂 Blessings, Luise