‘My high was our son’s milestones, your high has was a piercing hot needle into a vein. I couldn’t save you.’: Special needs mom pens letter to ex-husband battling addiction

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“A letter to someone I once knew…

You once had eyes that were clear. You had a voice that was calm. Your body stood tall, full of confidence. This letter is for you.

I am writing you this letter, even if it may never reach you.

My special needs son has a long list of ‘can nots’ that are a part of his life and pierce my heart on a daily basis. This is something you don’t see and never will, ever.

My high is seeing my son achieve new language, using a fork for the first time, being able to put on his shoes unassisted.

Your high is pressing a piercing hot needle into a vein and letting the heroin run rapidly, ultimately causing havoc on your life and those surrounding you.

This letter is to remind you, I never forgot. This letter is to say I am still angry you caused so much pain and hurt. This letter is to explain I now know I couldn’t save you.

I couldn’t save you because I only had enough room on my life raft for my son. You simply couldn’t be saved. Not by me, anyways.

My son needed me more than you did. My child, my son mattered more.

I couldn’t save you because the only thing that mattered to you was letting go and losing the person I once knew.

Something that used to pierce my heart and everything would go numb is knowing you don’t care. You gave up.

You cared more about your next fix. Your crisis was running out of blow and not having a bottle of Jack Daniels.

My son’s crisis was regression with smashing televisions. Throwing himself into the floor and wall. My son’s crisis was elopement down the street into oncoming traffic. My son’s crisis was sleepless nights and smearing poop all over the house.

One day, someone asked me if I was ever worried about this world not having you in it. You once had a purpose, had a meaning, had something to offer. You once had a place in this world.

I knew with clear eyes and a calm voice the person I once knew was to never be seen again. That someone I used to know is a faint memory.

I only had enough room on the life raft for my son and me. Consistently, I am worried on a daily basis about what I would do without my son in this world.

My son is joy. My son is sunshine. My son is mine to protect and guide. The life raft would have sunk and I would have lost my joy, my sunshine, my son.

If I would have let you on, the someone who I used to know, I would have lost the only thing that ever mattered. I cannot live this life without my son, and he can’t live without me.

I couldn’t live this life with someone I knew who was long gone and never going to return again.

If this letter reaches you, know I tried, but you needed to help yourself first before I could help you.

I’ve found myself thinking extensively about the past lately.

So here are some things I’d like everyone to know, since I have never been given the chance to speak. Take this as my letter to the many.

No amount of messages and apologies can make up for anything, ever. The past speaks volumes. You just can’t ever make up for the amount of time that has passed and the lack of responsibility some refuse to acknowledge.

No one can ever make up for the amount of birthdays that have been missed. You can’t change or rewrite the history, it’s just a fact.

We can’t turn back time and start to tell everything that has been missed, because where does one even start?

Raising a child with a severe disability, it wasn’t my job to hold anyone’s hand.

And well, there was more than a missed school enrollment. There are numerous years of birthdays and endless trips to the park completely missed.

You had missed the wins and the struggles Avery experienced. You never saw what Christmas looked like or Avery’s love for all things Halloween.

There has been a constant struggle to keep Avery’s quality of life sustainable, but you wouldn’t know it. You will never know what brings Avery joy. All because of the time missed.

And do not be mistaken or confused at all. Avery does have a dad.

Avery’s dad tucks him into bed and has taught him many new life skills, which speaks volumes.

Avery’s dad has been present for every assessment and meeting that has taken place, which has helped him enormously.

Avery’s dad helps him calm down after every meltdown, which I couldn’t have done without him. Avery’s dad had to consistently put Avery first everyday.

It is not my fault how this story came to be. It is not my fault who was dealt what cards in life. I believe with my entire heart regardless what cards you are dealt in life, you rise above.

You make a life worth living and being your best version of yourself. Our family deserves happiness, just like everyone else deserves happiness.

Avery has a dad who gave him a beautiful life, and if you truly cared, you would continue to walk away.

I shed no tears and feel no sadness about how this story unfolded. Everyone made their choices, and now everyone needs to live with them.

I’m sorry you feel like you don’t have a place in Avery’s story. I’m sorry you feel like you deserve a chance. But the door I would let anyone through is bolted, boarded, and sealed shut.

Avery is 10 years old and has lived his best life. Avery doesn’t know he lost anyone he needed to know because most weren’t ever in attendance.

The amount of time lost can never be made up for. The endless amount of stress and trauma our family has been put through left a scar that won’t heal.

Be thankful for the life Avery was given. Be happy we wake up each day making sure he is loved.

Just imagine what my face looked like when it’s been years and you decided to reach out. We moved on, and I suggest you do the same.

I can’t even imagine now what our life would have been like had I had let the addict stay involved. Caring for an addict and a child with special needs was not something I was ready to do.

I couldn’t imagine trying to save you from addiction.

I’ve seen what addicts can do to families, because our family could be the poster family for how shattered life can be when you have an addict in it.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Emde of Journey for Avery. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Katie here:

‘Bleach can cure anything, Katie. Don’t you want to cure your son?’ What I thought was a ‘moms tea party’ turned into a dark autism bleach cult.’: Mom stresses ‘beauty of autism’ after cult discovery

‘All the progress he made is gone. We’re back to square one.’: Mom to son with nonverbal autism discusses impact of COVID-19

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