I should have done more
I should have done less
I should have done something
To avoid this whole mess.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
Everyone engages in this type of endless rehashing when something does badly. Of course, when your child dies, you beat yourself up endlessly.
I hear stories, parents who lost children to suicide or overdose, and I think, “yeah, I kinda get how they feel.” We must have missed something. We dropped the ball somewhere along the line.
We raise our children. We try our best not only to teach them right from wrong, but also smart from stupid. We tell them, beg them and plead with them to not put themselves in situations which could be dangerous, but mine did it anyway, ergo I must have done a poor job, he didn’t get the message.
I could have been harder on him, but maybe I should have been more understanding. I should have punished him more, or less. I don’t know but I should have done something different. Guilt is confusing.
I can understand that I didn’t make the bad choices that night, but I can’t shake the feeling that I missed played my hand somewhere along the line. I feel like I failed. If the loop had been closed, if he’d gotten the message, he wouldn’t have been in a car that night.
I didn’t make the bad decisions that night, I get that part, but he shouldn’t have made those decisions. He shouldn’t have even thought about getting in the car.
He wasn’t supposed to come home that night. He was supposed to come home in the morning. He was supposed to do the smart thing, but he didn’t.
I’d like to tell you how I worked this out and wrapped it all up in a nice bow. I can understand on an intellectual level that this tragedy wasn’t my fault, but on an emotional level it isn’t that easy. I just get caught in a loop.
I feel guilty, get angry and then I feel bad about being angry.
Reconciling this is really hard.