Susan's Blog

Monday, April 25, 2011

Letting Go Is Overrated

Nat made his nightly call tonight and he sounded so small, so quiet.  I felt that familiar pang immediately, of wanting to go to The House and look at him and get a sense of him.  Of course I could have, if I wanted to.  But I also didn’t want to.  I am tired, I need to be here.  And nothing is wrong with him or The House, I know that.  It is just a pang, or a ping, a question.  Is he okay, the words whisper and blow coldly across my heart.  I know he is.  But I just can’t let go.

Letting go is one of my most difficult, biggest struggles.  I know how to do it, how it actually feels to let something go.   I have certainly let many things go in my life, or I’d be miserable, or insane.  But I have so much trouble with it.  I can’t visualize how it feels to drop someone from your everyday consciousness, even one or two relationships that are clearly not good for me.

But I don’t mean Nat.  I’m certainly not trying to do that with Nat.  Others tell me I have to let him go, because he’s grown up.  The problem is, I don’t believe that he is grown up enough.  Stop telling me I have to do that, just because he’s 21.  And stop telling me I am treating him like a little boy.  He’s not.  I have the utmost respect for him.  He is not a baby even though his words and expressions are sometimes so innocent and youthful.  No, it is none of those things.  He and I are just not there yet and that is going to have to be okay.

I don’t have to let him go yet.  We have time before that.  I should be letting him go when I’m older and closer to not being able to care for him.  I don’t mean last possible minute; I just mean that it doesn’t have to be now.  I have to believe that when the time is really right, it will be easier for me.  Just like letting him move into The Residence:  it was doable; not easy, but doable when he was 18, far more than it would have been when he was 11, when we first considered having him live away from home.  Back then, because of Resperadal, we had the choice at last, we had a calm island we could all get to, and so we were given time to work things out with Nat so that he was okay again.  I consider Resperadal a gift to our family, a gift to Nat.  That drug allowed us to hold onto him until he and we were ready for that big change.  And lately, he has not needed it quite so much, so we have been decreasing his dosage.  That he can handle that is another miracle, another gift.

When I hear his wistful voice these days I wonder how I can reach him, if he doesn’t live here most of the time.  I am not wondering how I can stop wondering.  I am not looking to let all that go.  I have done a lot of that stretching, and so has he, but now, enough.  I need to feel close to him again.  I need to hear the fullness of his voice and then I know I have done my job.  For today.


it doesn’t have to be now.

trust your mama gut, lady. from what i’ve seen, it’s one of the best.

it doesn’t have to be now.


— added by jess on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 10:06 pm

My biggest fear is my youngest still being here and something happens to my husband and I. Yes, all the legal i’s and t’s are done but….. He’s not going to live here in adulthood. I have to know he’s somewhere that should I be gone, he is safe and cared for.

Nobody says we have to like it, but IMO it is necessary. Besides, once he’s moved and comfortable, you can still visit, go for coffee, bike ride, Disney World etc. But I think the most important thing we can do, is find them a place of their own.

— added by farmwifetwo on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

Yes… I agree about where they should live in a location sense. I was talking about emotional letting go… I am still committed to having him live in the group home I’ve designed, once he’s 22.

— added by Susan Senator on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

I could write volumes about this subject but won’t. Just too much to say. I know I am a “wimpy parent” but I’ll never emotionally let go with not having my guy live with me. I’m just grateful for any time that “the place” allows me to have him. He did spend the night in his room at home on Saturday and Sunday night, spent Easter at home with the family. That’s the times I live for. I miss him when he is not at home and count the days until he is. And, the age he is will have nothing to do with it. I consider him living away from home just another way in which autism has screwed me, and him.

— added by Sharon Jones on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

My oldest son is turning 27 next month, and for the most part has not lived home since high school. Neuro-typical,as “they” call it, he has always been very independent and completely self-supporting. That being said, his last visit home, at Christmastime, was the first time I really felt in my heart, he is a grown man, he doesn’t need me for anything anymore. Even though he has been a successful, independent adult for years, it took till he was 26 years old for me to feel that in my heart…that the apron strings had been truly cut. It hit me like a ton of bricks, btw.

— added by Eileen from Florida on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

It’s almost humanly impossible to be totally invested in caring for and raising someone (NT or special), and then letting them go.
I wish I could be Buddhist about non attachment and desperately need to achieve that emotional distance and calm, but am not able to achieve it.
Then there is also Stockholm Syndrome.

— added by S on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 11:12 am

Hey, you are a mom! I thought we don’t ever have to let go, really. My mom is still sappy and sentimental, and it makes me feel great that she’s that way.

Sometimes I drive by the twins’ school hoping to see them out on the playground. I never feel the need to do that with my neuro-typical son. With him I know that he can fend for himself, for the most part. With the twins it’s so different.

— added by Alice on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 11:47 am

As a mother I don’t think its truely possible to let go. Being connected to your children goes with the territory. As I have told both my sons(neuro-typical and special) “I am your mother, and will always will be. It is my job to worry about you.” This will never change – no matter how old they get.

— added by Kathy on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Well said, Susan. Practically speaking, I’d say you’re doing an admirable job of letting go with every step you take towards helping Nat to live more independently. As for the emotional letting go, you’re taking it one step at a time, feeling out what’s right for you both, and I don’t see anything wrong with that!

Nat has made so many great strides over the years. Your connection with him, even as you both adjust to living apart, has been a huge part of that, I’m sure. If staying close now enables Nat to stretch himself, to accrue more life experiences which will guide him in the future, how is that not a step towards preparing him for life without you someday? I don’t buy the idea that you need to step back to allow Nat to move forward. It’s a dynamic process, and I think you and Nat are both on the right track.

For now, your connection with Nat is helping him grow and stretch, which I’d say is an important step to preparing Nat for life without you someday.

— added by Anjanette on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Whoops, I didn’t mean to repeat myself with that last paragraph, that’s what happens when I write more than I can see in the comment box!

— added by Anjanette on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm

For a few years now, I have been a Sedona Method coach, learning and teaching and experiencing the many ways and benefits of letting go. Although it isn’t specifically dealing with letting go of a person, I wrote an article here about the evolution of letting go, in terms of the emotional baggage we all carry around with us. For myself, letting go has been very useful in getting unstuck, yet there are now even more advanced ways of becoming free, which are easier, non-dualistic, and effortless. For anyone who thinks letting go is not easy, reading The Evolution of Letting Go may help.

— added by Colin on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 10:16 am