This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

It occurred to me that I should contact my son’s ex-girlfriend to see about getting his things from their apartment. I didn’t even know what was still there, but I knew I was interested in getting at least one certain item back for him.

Her response: “Susan . . . I’m sorry. I threw everything out.”

I was standing in Kohl’s when this text came in, and I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. My hand flew to my mouth and I just walked around in a daze for a few minutes.

Is this what people do these days? Has it always been this way? When one person gets angry with another, do they just throw away everything that belonged to that person? Even as I was texting to ask her about the stuff, I had a sense that she probably had thrown everything away. I just hadn’t counted on what it would feel like to realize what got thrown away. Gifts to him from us. Family members who have loved him and who still love him.

I remember choosing the entertainment center for him for Christmas a few years ago. He’s always deeply loved movies, video games, and electronics. It was a sleek, low-slung black wooden center with glass doors which would house his beloved movies and xbox and tv. Whether or not allowing those things in his room was a mistake (it may have been), I knew he would love this entertainment center. And he did. It was his Santa Claus gift that year. And now it’s gone. Thrown away by someone who was angry with him.

The one item that I really cared about was a weighted blanket his Nana bought for him about a year ago. Weighted blankets are soothing for persons with sensory issues. I’ve always felt like I missed his sensory issues when he was a child, so I was excited that he was going to be able to have this blanket. I had gotten to select it and chose a fabric and color I knew he would find soothing. And now it’s gone. Thrown away by someone who was angry with him.

I suppose it might be cathartic to throw away someone else’s things when you are really angry, but I simply cannot imagine doing so. I do want to be clear that my purpose today is not to reflect badly on this young woman. To a certain degree, I can understand. I am not angry with her, nor wanting to solicit any judgment toward her.

Wow. At an Al-anon meeting recently, someone said we who love addicts and alcoholics should afford them the dignity to live their lives the way they want to live them. And maybe it’s not that different that the stuff got thrown away rather than sold for cash, which is where other possessions have gone. It all seems such a waste, but I do choose to allow my son the dignity to live his life the way he chooses to live it.

But it still feels like a loss to me. I wonder if it is in part because I have tried so hard to find something that would change his experience of the world as a painful place, because I know I have definitely tried to do that. Here comes one more lesson from the Universe to remind me that I’m not the person who can change things for him. It will take me awhile to get over this, but I will. And I guess it’s part of his journey to experience this and deal with whatever comes of it. But it still feels like a loss.

I do hope I don’t end up being the one who tells him everything is gone. Heck, maybe he already knows. I’m usually the last to find things out, anyway. I don’t know. I just don’t know. Good thing there’s an Al-anon meeting tonight and I already have a babysitter.

3 thoughts on “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

  1. When one doesn’t have recovery-in this case (Alanon) the addict can send them over the edge! I have often heard it said that the family(loved ones) become sicker than the addict. The rollercoaster ride that one rides when having an addict in your life can make you CRAZY. There are consequences for ones behavior–on both ends.

    Glad you were able to go to your meeting.

    Liked by 1 person

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