My son’s mother just passed away

My son’s mom passed away a week and a half ago, She died in a car accident She was an addict and hasn’t been in his life for about 10 1/2 years. I’ve had full custody of him and he is 16 now. I broke down crying when I heard the news. Not for her, but for him. She moved to NC about 6 years ago. We are in Virginia. She maybe saw him an average of 1-3 times a year. That’s because my wife traveled for work so we would take him in the summer time. She made no effort to really have any kind of meaningful relationship with him. She didn’t pay child support, was in and out of rehab, didn’t really call that often, rarely got him Christmas or birthday presents or cards, and would tell him inappropriate things. She told him she had a couple abortions. She also told him that she wanted to have a kid with this guy she liked. She said this to the son she doesn’t take care of.

Anyway, I’ve been kind of balling my eyes out on occasion because I was always hoping she would get her shit together and they could have some kind of relationship when he grew up. Obviously that can’t happen. I feel like she abandoned us all over again. I’m left trying to pick up the pieces again except he’s not 6, he’s 16 now. I’ve realized to survive and to be able to take care of my son, that I buried all of these feelings or resentment. I didn’t argue with her or force her to have a relationship because she made it clear that recovery was her priority. I knew she was fragile and I didn’t want her to
Relapse so I just kept on trucking and self medicated with alcohol until a few years ago when I started working on myself. I have all of these feelings pouring out that I guess were always there. I don’t know how to handle them. I’m getting an infusion today. I’ve done talk therapy, but I don’t know what the outcome of that should be. I feel like there should be more structure and homework, but the few therapists I’ve seen just don’t seem to help. My wife thinks it makes it worse because it dredges up the past. I’ve recently been doing hypnotherapy which I guess has helped me feel repressed emotions I held in. Right now I feel like my anxiety is through the roof. Chest pains, panic attacks, crying. I feel like Robert Deniro on Analyze This. I know I’m depressed too. It’s hard to get out of bed, most times I don’t. Has anyone had a similar situation? How did you handle it? Any advice is welcome. I’m struggling. I was struggling really bad the week prior to her passing. I’m so worried about my son, along with everything else. It’s just too much.


@fpeot1 I’m so, so sorry. I wish I had the perfect words to say to make everything better. You’re grieving on so many levels and on behalf of everyone else besides yourself. That is too much for any one person to bear. Be kind to yourself - it’s okay that you are not superman.

My husband and son had a similar situation with our son’s bio mom. It was a constant source of pain. In his case, he decided in his late teens/early 20”s that he was not interested in having her in his life. She had not done so much as a call or card or anything for a decade. We were very worried about how him and he felt about it all. He said he actually felt relieved that it was his choice whether or not to have a relationship with her. Now - I have no doubts this is a scar he will always carry. There’s no way to completely erase that pain. In your case it’s the double grief of her abandonment and betrayal plus the death of hopes you might have had for her somehow miraculously becoming the person you wanted and needed her to be. I’m so sorry - that’s awful. My hope is that as painful as this is for you and your son that it is - by force, sadly- a resolution of sorts and that you can now start a new healing process and no longer be held hostage to her behavior.

I’m glad to hear you have an infusion today and hope it helps to bring you comfort. Be good to yourself in whatever little ways you can. I hope you have the kind of relationship with your son and wife where you can discuss your many levels of grief (and anger… isn’t it said depression is anger turned inward?). As a stepmom and wife I certainly have my own anger and grief about the pain inflicted on my son and husband.

Again - may your infusion break the chains of grief and anger and help you find the strength and peace you need to get through this terrible time. It will get better. YOU will get better. :heart:


First of all let me just say, your son is so fortunate to have you as his Dad! That is not to discount any of the pain he has/is experiencing with his mother. To have the foundational support and love you are giving him on a continuous basis will help him get through these difficult times.
Speaking as someone who has experienced extreme grief from the time I was very young, I would have given anything to have the love from one parent that I feel you having for your son.
I pray the infusion gave you some comfort today. Grieving is an incredibly complex process. Give yourself time and space, there are a lot of feelings to experience. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your son.:heart:


I had my infusion today and I feel somewhat better. Does anyone ever feel unresolved after an infusion? Sometimes things come up that are really beneficial, but I feel like if I had a little extra time I could have fixed it or figure it out. That’s what happened today. My doctor really is the best. He listened to me for like 20-30 minutes. I know he’s not a therapist and he definitely didn’t have to. Everything I told him about her was negative. Before he left the room he said, “Tell me one positive thing about her from before.” I told him a funny story. He left, and I went on my trip. It had been maybe 6 weeks or more since my last one. The mixed emotions probably had something to do with it too, but it was harder to navigate than normal. I started to remember positive things about her before she became an addict and when she was a good mom. I think I needed that. I need to tell my son that he came from love and from a good place. His mom had a hard life and she wasn’t a bad person, she was just trying to survive and made a string of bad decisions. You can’t erase the bad, but you also shouldn’t erase the good. It’s hard to do especially when the bad was most of his life. It made me sad and made me realize had I’m actually grieving for her too. I loved her at one point in my life and she knew me better than anyone in the world at one point. I just think about how choices can alter your timeline so drastically. I hope my son chooses to use his mom as a cautionary tale instead of following in her footsteps. I love this community on Osmind. I was gone for a while, but I think I need to stick around more often. There’s comfort in numbers.


Words of wisdom, to be sure. I had this problem when my daughter passed a year ago. These words would have benefited me. Seeing clearly without judgment is a skill that has always eluded me.

I never know quite what to say when someone is faced with something like this. Anything I write seems so hollow. All I can tell you is that I’ve learned the hard way that the only way to really get past grief is to embrace it fully, feeling all of the hurt until it’s done and past. If you try to steel yourself against it, you’ll tie it to yourself so you can’t move beyond it. I’m sorry that you have to endure this. If she’s the mother of your son you held feelings for her yourself at one time, but as with my daughter, I imagine that you had to wall them off in self defense. Those walls are now crumbling.

Orson Scott Card wrote a novel entitled “Speaker for the Dead” as part of the Ender’s Game series. A Speaker would simply tell the life of the departed - all of it. No secrets, but no judgments either. I would choose to have a Speaker when I’m gone. So, I imagine, would you. Be well.

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Well, here is my story. I don’t have any advice, but here is my advice.

25+ years ago I fathered a child. The mother never put my name on any forms, and she connected with a group that put her with the adoptive family during her pregnancy. I gave her regular money, probably nothing close to what court ordered support would have been. (Not sure why, but I am trying to be as generic as possible to avoid privacy issues). I saw the child the day after (it) was born, declined to hold (it).

(IRONY: My clinic just called to check on me, and I scheduled my next injections)

I spent many years beating myself up, because I felt/knew that I was existentially responsible for someone (as opposed to financially responsible…adoption). Every year, approaching birthday time, I would suck myself into a downward spiral of self destructive behavior (drink, smoke, etc., and/or, different years).

Fast forward a bit. Through a mutual friend I found myself in contact with the mother. I asked a few questions about our child. Positive answers, but guarded. I was shown a picture, looked like me. But I commented that the picture looked to be about 1/2 the age (it) should have been. I also talked to a co-worker who was an adopted child. I figured out that a sudden appearance of the bio father after +/- 10 years asking questions was creating a bit of panic. I let it go.

But. I also realized (and it took more than a few years to figure it out and for it to sink in) that I could/should let go of my emotional baggage. There was no way that I could have financially or (more important) emotionally supported a child at that time.

It has been easier for me since then, but every now and then I still feel a wave of regret/remorse/guilt. I still have to remind myself of all the above.

In addition to that, I have to remind myself that someone that could support a child but could not conceive their own were able to have a family.

Yes, I am existentially responsible, but I can stop the moral argument there. The kid had a better life than I could have provided. Until I reached that/this point, I would regularly consider suicide, probably as atonement for my transgression.

Where is all of this going? I don’t know. Confession. Hell, 25+ years later I still haven’t told my mother.

I know that the adoption was open, mother was known to be bio mother to the child. I never requested anonymity. Had I been required to provide, I would have with no argument. I never denied responsibility for that life.

Perhaps I am trying to say, give your child the information. At 16 he is not a legal adult, but at 16 he can make some well thought decisions. He is his own person, not a “mini-me”. He is old enough to have seen his father and his mother, and their behavior, and to have ideas about all of that.

No need to “poison the well”. He can see what is displayed. Just provide information as requested. Just information, not opinion. Not that I am saying you are/will. While I will freely admit to being an idiot, especially now as well as when I was younger, I also will give myself credit for clarity of vision. I know bullshit when I smell it (or step in it).

Should my child request contact, I will freely provide any information (it) requests. I no longer feel ashamed. I still occasionally feel guilty, for whatever that is worth. Hasn’t happened yet (approaching 30 years).

Yes, I self medicated. If I am honest, still am. I have to ask myself if ketamine isn’t just another version of that.

I don’t think so. The results last longer than the “buzz”. Ketamine doesn’t only provide “numb” until it wears off.

So, here I am.

Give your son love, information, and trust. We all carry scars in one form or another. It seems to me that if he has all of the info and the knowledge that his family love him, and that they trust him to be responsible for himself, he will make decisions that are in HIS best interests.

Having said all of that, I will say, Be Strong. Luck figures into the equation, but don’t count on it.

Somehow, in spite of what brings us to where we are, we all weather the shit storm and come out on the other side, mostly smelling like roses.

Speaking from ignorance (and a little education), don’t look to give your son answers. Give him the information and the tools to make his own decisions. I think it will all turn out OK that way. He won’t feel resentment feeling like he was manipulated. Maybe it will be painful, but (humorous and/or cynical) why should he be any different?

For What It Is Worth, (to you, your child, your ex, and my child),
All My Love


Damn salty, that was refreshingly honest and coming from the other side it helps me get a better perspective. I knew she was struggling herself with depression, ADHD, and anxiety. Using was Her self medication. I guess in a way maybe she was doing what she thought was best for him, and that was not be in his life. I never thought about it that way. I think the thing that hurts and I’m holding onto is that she was actually a good mom before we split up. I was hoping when she sobered up she would return to that. I guess sometimes shame and regret is a hard pill to swallow. This session today made me realize I can’t just hold onto the negative. I need to remember that she was not a bad person deep down. She was struggling to survive as most of us here are trying to do.

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There is a folksinger, Andy Breckmann, called “the Woody Allen of folk music”…

“…cockroach crawling on the wall,
Asshole at the shopping mall,
…trying not to get killed…”

We do the best we can at the time with what we have. (Mostly…I realize that there are Monsters in the world). Us, our parents, thought they were doing what was best at the time, based on what they knew. I don’t blame my parents for what I am now. Was there influence? Hell yes! Was it their fault? Hell no! I learned. I made my choices. They did their best based on what they believed were my best interests.

But they also turned me loose at some point. I remember when I got an invitation to a party that my friends were having. When I asked for permission, I was told “You are 18 now, you can decide for yourself. If people have been drinking, if it isn’t safe to get home, call and let us know so we don’t worry.” And I did. In a way, I felt guilty, but I also reveled in my new freedom.

And I guess I have turned out OK. I have a child that I have never met. But I have had 2 successful careers: a good job that I realized after 17 years, “Now that I am grown up, this isn’t what I wanted to be when I grew up.” So, I went back to school and started over again. Now I have been doing that for 17 years.

Shame? Guilt?

As Dear Old Dad says, “I’m guilty of everything I’ve ever done.” He has also commented that guilt is a worthless emotion. If you can and should do something to right a wrong, Do It. If you can’t, Quit worrying about it.

Be strong.
Do the right thing.
Only you can decide.

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I am new to all this and thought I could share in this.

My ex was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to myself and our son. Our son came out as trans when he was 12 to me and we kept it from my ex for a couple of years. When he finally found out, it was awful. I was accused of causing our son " to hate men so much, he doesn’t want to be one!" My ex used this as fuel to focus his anger. On the night he started hitting me, I snapped and got an Order of Restraint. He the switch the table and sued me for divorce! Since he was disabled, he tried to take everything. I ended up losing my parents house (his name was on the deed, but I made every si gle payment) then forced our son into counseling with him (I wasn’t allowed since I was the toxic parent). Fast forward 2 yrs and $15000 later, I got the divorce, majority of the money buy had to pay him alimony (the least amount in our state was $100). He continued to harass me each month when he thought I was late with the $, but had to endured his harassment. He was a big trigger for my anxiety and panic. The ex died suddenly 2 yrs ago and now I am facing intense guilt and anxiety. My so is in a safe and secure relationship, but I still carry the baggage. I thought I was doing okay until the anniversary of his death. I am a nurse and have been working with the Covid Pandemic. Now I am dealing with anxiety, panic, and PTSD. I have started working with a local doctor who uses K as part of his practice, but utilizes labs and natural elements before considering using K. He wants to absolutely safe before using K, which I appreciate.

Two things are in my way, first the doctor. Sounds odd, but I worked with him 20 yrs ago when he was a resident. Liked him, but am feeling a bit anxious about him knowing me before. Second, I had a huge falling out with my brother who set off a lot of triggers for me (he has always treated me as the “little sister” and can’t see me as a adult plus cannot wrap his head around d why I really don’t like when he teases me about past events. According to him, I have no sense of humor, I only think of myself, and I am distant from the family). This has set off a week long panic situation followed by shame. I am isolating myself and am fearfully of my next counseling session with my doctor. I am taking the natural ingredients he has recommended, but my anxiety continues almost non-stop.

I realized ending my marriage made me feel like a failure, but once he started physically abusing my son and me, I had to get out. Now 4 years down the road, my son is doing well, I am working and paid well, but feel as if I am falling. It took me 4 months to try this therapy and I know it is still early in the process, but feel more fragile now than ever!

I am encouraged by everyone’s postings and am hoping to gain some clarification in the process. Thanks for listening to my rant. I am trying to remain hopeful!


Thanks for sharing. This community is a good one.

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I had to take troches today. It feels like when she died it just opened all of these very strong unresolved feelings of abandonment, sadness, anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety. The times I’ve done Ketamine I just start balling. I can’t stop. It’s almost like it’s all the stuff I held is uncontrollably coming out. I don’t know how to deal with this. I was in a tough spot mentally before she passed. I haven’t even seen my son cry yet. I’m just feeling a lot of feelings for him to never get to reconcile since she wasn’t in his life. They rarely saw each other. By her choice. There’s a celebration of life, and I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t really want to go but I want to support my son so I’m going to go.

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As far as your doctor issues go, this is your healthcare, you get to choose. Maybe tell him about your discomfort and/or find a new one. 2 years ago when I started my K journey there was one clinic and one of the healthcare organizations was starting to do IV and the spray. Now it seems like there are about a dozen private providers.

I have a brother that never calls me (I call him), but he doesn’t call our dad or send even so much as a “Thank you” for Christmas gifts or birthday cards. Several years ago dad sent him a letter and told him that if this one went unanswered, he (dad) wasn’t going to keep pushing the issue. Recently I tried to initiate some sort of reconciliation between them. My brother claims that he stopped trying (?!) while dad says he has heard nothing. I am staying out of it, but I trust dad more than bro. I guess that means that at least one of us is distant. But, (humor approaching), to quote a couple of songs: “…she says she thinks the world of me/As long as it’s between us…”(Jez Lowe) and a whole song by Paul Thorn, “I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love”.

Failure? As Edison said about his light bulb experiments, I didn’t fail, I just learned a lot of ways not to do it.

Has your son seen you cry about it? Maybe he needs “permission” to let go. After all, crying is still not widely accepted as a “manly” virtue. I think it is great. I wish I could/would cry more often. I might feel better more often. Crying does have some evidence of being something of an excretory function.