My Son Broke My Heart

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graduationToday my son came home from school with a look on his face that was all too familiar. It was the same look I had on my face as a kid when I’d come home from school. The same look I had while I was fighting back tears and trying my best to convince everyone nothing was wrong. As soon as I saw his face I knew there was something wrong; I knew my baby was hurting. The pain in his eyes was screaming so loud I had to fight back my own tears while I asked what was wrong. It didn’t take long before his entire face turned red and those baby blue eyes filled with tears.

I was nowhere near prepared to hear the words that would come out of  his mouth to answer my question. I never in a million years would imagine my 9 year old would utter those words at this age, or any for that matter. But he did. “I want to die mommy, why can’t I just die.” I was rendered speechless for what seemed like an eternity while I sat there holding and rocking him trying not to let him see my tears. As I was rocking him I could feel his body shaking and listening to him gasp and cry tore my world apart. While trying to find words to talk to him I was unable to formulate a single thought as there were hundreds flying through my brain. I eventually pulled myself together, knowing I had to be strong for him.

I shushed him for a while, trying to calm him down so I could try to understand what had happened, why he would say something that severe. I asked him what made him feel that way, did something happen? Sobbing and fighting back tears he said it again “I just want to die. Everybody hates me. Please let me die.” Why? How could this angel believe anyone, let alone everyone, could hate him? This child with a smile so bright it could light up the darkest room, and his laugh that is so contagious could make the meanest man crack a smile? What had made my son feel this way, and how can I fix this? How can I stop my baby from hurting so bad that he says he wants to die?

After he had calmed down a bit more I asked again for him to please tell me what made him feel this way. He told me it started with his school. The kids were picking on him and calling him names. The teacher made him feel like he was stupid. With his learning disabilities and the school’s resistance to a specialized program to help him learn it’s been very hard.

And then he looked me dead in the eye and told me I don’t love him. I can only imagine the horror on my face as I looked into his eyes. I felt my heart drop to my stomach and felt like I had just been shot in the chest. Could he really believe I didn’t love him? I asked him if he really thought that, did he believe I didn’t love him. He started to tremble again as he was crying, clinging to my shoulder. “All I want to do is make you happy and I never do. I mess everything up.” I looked him in the eye and told him that no matter what he did I could never stop loving him. That I would love him no matter what, and nothing in this world could even come close to stopping that. That he is the only reason in this world I have to smile and laugh and cry. That he is the single most important thing in this world and that without him I would be lost and alone. He looked at me and asked me “How?” At this point I explained what unconditional love is, and gave him the example of him being mad at me when I take away a game. Even though he may get angry, he still loves me.

We eventually both calmed down and moved on to doing homework. I don’t think I will ever heal from hearing my sweet child say those terrifying words. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust him to be out of my sight for fear of what would happen if those feelings strike again. The only thing I can possibly do now is sit and wait for an appointment slot to open up so I can get us started in therapy. We have at least a 4 week wait before the only office within 150 miles opens for new clients. Until then I don’t know how I’m going to make it, let alone my son. At this point I feel so lost and helpless.

Any encouraging words are welcomed with open ears. If anyone can give me any ideas on how to help us both cope with this until we can get professional help I would greatly appreciate it. This is the worst feeling I’ve ever had as a mom, and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh wow Amber, thank you so much for sharing this post again – I saw your tweet about it. I can’t imagine how you must’ve felt not only seeing the pain he was in but hearing those words come out of his mouth. We, as adults, how much words can hurt. He is so lucky to have a great mommy like you. One to show him that he is loved no matter what. My 8 year old told me recently she needed to lose weight because she is “fat”. She is anything but. I had that same sinking feeling you had and just prayed that I would find the right words. I think always making ourselves available to hear them no matter what it more important now then ever. Best regards.

  2. says

    Oh, I couldnt imagine what I would feel if my son said that to me. My baby is almost a year so we havent gotten there yet but it would absolutely tear my heart out. The most you can do is show and tell your son how much you love him and be there for him – it seems you are doing everything you can right now. He is a beautiful little boy!

  3. says

    Have you considered homeschooling? Before we did so my oldest son displayed some of those same struggles and feelings. He is now a much happier and confident boy than he was when we first started. His anger tantrums occur vary rarely, he is able to focus his studies on areas that he enjoys most. We still have struggles but they are nothing like before. Please let me know if this is something you want to learn more about. ((hugs))

  4. Erin R says

    I have no solutions for you because I do not know what the right thing to do is. But I want you to know that you and your son are in my thoughts and prayers…From the little communication we have had and from what I’ve read on the blog, you are loving and caring mother and I know you will do what’s best for him and your family. Best wishes!

  5. Sonya says

    I am tears reading this too. Bless his little heart, and yours. My boys are much younger, but I think I would be at the school in the morning to talk to the principal and the teacher. That is so wrong and he is precious!!!!! He also has a great mom. I think you did a great job handling the situation.

  6. cathy says

    Your son is so beautiful! I was brought to tears reading of his pain. I was bullied by my older sister and had similar feelings growing up but i unfortunately did not have a parent with your awareness or one who had the ability to be receptive to my pain and hurt like you are to his. My advice is to talk to his teacher/school psychologist and to continue to always make him feel accepted and loved and special. Say the words but more importantly take the time to show him by action and physical touch and listen to his concerns and validate his feelings (he needs to know that they count and are not easily disregarded!).. How that alone would have made such a difference in my own life. Let him know he is seen and heard. Let him know he is accepted and loved every day and that you are there for him always no matter what. I am speaking from my own childhood experiences and what i feel would have helped me feel bettter about myself. It breaks my heart to hear of any child who somehow learned this untruth- that they are unloveable. He is very lucky to have a mom like you- one who without a doubt is concerned, one who is a comfort and one who is present for him! I wish you both the best! Hugs!

  7. judy gardner says

    i am so, so sorry to hear this! i have been in your son’s position myself, only i was an adult. if you think it would help to hear my story, please email me! i dont mind telling my story if it could help someone in any way. i will say that in my experience, knowing someone loves you makes a world of difference! keep on telling him that he is your world and hold on until he can see a doc. my prayers are with you both, and again, please feel welcome to email me if you want to! take care!

  8. Susan V says

    I agree with the earlier posts. Talk to his teacher first. I would probably talk to the principal if you think you are getting nowhere with the teacher. A good school counselor that can be his advocate would also be good. My daughter had trouble fitting in when we moved to a new town last year. She has been seeing the school counselor once a week, and it really seems to help. Her teacher is also on our side and gives us advice on how to help her adjust better. I also agree with speaking with his Primary Care Doctor about anything that he or she might recommend until you can get in to see a specialist. Hugs to you and your son!

  9. Shannon G says

    I don’t know if this would be of help or not but I highly recommend if you are religious… praying together every morning and every night. Another thing that I would recommend is picking out things about your son that you feel are good, positive or special things. Writing all of those things down on a piece of paper and then every morning picking out a few of those things that would be easy for him to remember and telling him that you believe those things are true about him. Explain what those things mean if you need to and then get him to say those things out loud a few times and then tell him to remember them all day long no matter what anyone else says.

    For example:
    I am smart
    I am kind
    I am funny
    I am caring
    Etc….

    There are also books you can find that are children based and they talk about children with special needs and how they cope and make friends, etc… Maybe reading some of these together might make him feel a little better as well.

    I hope some of this helps.

  10. says

    Wow! I imagine your are totally reeling, I know I would be. Kids can be cruel and we even expect that from them, it doesn’t make it right but how can we blame them if the teacher is participating in the same behavior?

    I would talk to the teacher and gauge your next action based on their response. However I think I would involve an administrator at this point. The school principle supervises the teacher and need to be part of the process. If you don’t like his or her response then keep going up the latter.

    Public schools are mandated to accommodate special needs children, a learning disability more than qualifies your son for services that he needs and deserves. Per Federal law if they cannot provide those services then they need to find someone that will. Being resistant or unwilling to provide those services is not an option and a deviation of federal regulation.

    If your son doesn’t have an IEP then request one and hold them accountable to the plan. Make sure you educate yourself on the laws and your rights.

    Here is a link to get you started: http://ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html

    In my past life I was a coordinator for these services, you are welcome to email me and I am happy to talk you through the process.

    I also think that in terms of the suicidal components of your son’s communication, I might call the place that he is scheduled with and inform them of his comments. They may be able to bump up his appointment. Not knowing his disabilities and how he processes my first inclination is that he may have used those words as the only way to express the level of grief he was feeling. But I would still be guarded and concerned over his word choices. Again without knowing his specifics I am inclined to air on the side of caution.

    Now in terms of his you don’t love me comment that of course was not a direct hit on how he think you feel about him. Poor guy was just grieving and feeling so unloved at that moment and seeking affirmation. Good for you for sticking to it and giving him the words and comfort he was so clearly seeking. It’s so important to keep an open dialogue.

    Having two special needs children of my own I know the heartbreak, worry and confusion that comes with this territory. I imagine you are filled with hurt for your baby and totally pissed that the school in which you entrust him with has let him down academically and emotionally. Asshats.

    {{hugs}}

  11. says

    Oh my! My heart just broke with yours. I wish I had some great advice for you, unfortunately I don’t. The only thing I can say is that growing up is SO hard. Don’t take it personal (I know that’s easier said than done), he’s just having a really rough time. Be there for him and get some help (like you talked about). I’ll be praying for your family!

  12. Carol L says

    This is the hardest thing a Mom has to endure. He’s at such a vulnerable age. My 7 are grown now but I went through this when my son was 8. I cried with him. :) Then I went to the school with him the next day. I agree that first and foremost you talk with his teacher and the counselor at school. I hope it all works out because one so young feeling like this hurts you as well as him. So many kids being bullied and/or pushed around verbally it’s sickening. Let him know these kids who deliberately pick on him are the ones with problems not him. And that it’s okay to feel scared and just as long as he’s talking and not holding it in is a good sign. That’s very important. If he’s talking and always open about what’s hurting him he’s not internalizing it and thinking to heavy with it. You’re in my prayers and hope all goes well.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  13. amanda says

    first off i would be having a meeting at the school and get him out of that class since this is not the first time you’ve had problems with the teacher. second go to the school bord, they have to provide everything they can in order for him to learn, i dont know what disability your son has but like if he needs a aid with him in class then the school has to provied it to him, its against the law for them to not provide what he needs. threaten them with a lawsuit if you have to.
    also call around to the other school districts and see if another district has the programs your son needs.
    or home school is another option, where i live its all done online.
    also call all the therapy centers and tell them to put you on the canselation list, you know if someone cant make their apointment they can call you that day to come in.

  14. Liz says

    I would talk to his teacher that he mentioned first and foremost. Can you send him/her an email? If not, I’d be walking him into school tomorrow early and getting to the bottom of it! Hugs to you!

  15. says

    This is tough! So sorry you are both going through this. I think calling your pediatrician for help on how to handle this would be a good idea. I hope it gets better and you find answers soon!

  16. says

    It’s a truly horrible feeling. My daughter suffers from depression and my son has emotional disabilities along with ADHD. It’s not easy to parent a kid with special needs and other kids can be so cruel. If it’s possible, I would encourage you to get him on a 504 plan. Check with your doctor. Helping him feel like he fits in is so important. Both of my kids go to counselling and are making slow strides. See if there is a school counselor that can talk to him in the mean time and I will keep you both in my prayers.