Fred died today, not a problem, he was old and had been ill for a while and it was just his time. Why am I telling you this? Trauma Queen has a post here which reminded me of a couple of sets of parents. the first was a mum who worked in the hospital, her son had 'gone off the rails' when he was 12. The usual, he was being bullied so started missing school then he joined in with a few others and began shoplifting then more serious thefts and assaults until he was spending most of his life in jail. I first met him after he had been assaulted, fairly serious but the police still came and arrested him on discharge. Mother was absolutely distraught but was completely aware of what her son was doing but as she said "He's my child and always will be." I still see his name in the local paper being involved in theft and assault and his mother still cares about him.
The other set of parents had 5 sons, they grew up in the same area that I did so I was aware of them but never knew them. Throughout the 70's, 80's, and 90's the parents, and us in A&E, watched these young men become more and more dependent on drugs. They would sometimes get clean and settle down. Could not get jobs but at least were going straight. Then one by one they would slip back into drug use. This became their lives, cycles of drugs, prison then release and a methadone programme. Eventually, one by one they all died from HIV related illnesses. Their parents, Fred and Joan, both very nice people could not understand how their family turned out the way they did. What did they do that caused all of their sons to become dug addicts? This thought has haunted their lives and yet throughout it all they remained supportive and loving. I once watched Joan take one of her sons shoes home when he was in hospital to keep him in - her words were "If he has no shoes I know he will be here where he is safe", did not work. He discharged himself against medical advice with a chest drain in (we took it out before letting him go) and he walked out in his socks. He had managed to stay with us for 2 days but the call of the drugs,and his equally addicted friend, were too strong. Strangely, every time I met the sons they were never violent or aggressive, they had been well brought up and never gave us any trouble. They were just drug addicts.
So, rest in peace Fred, I have often admired you and your wife that you never gave up on your kids and hope that if I was in your place I would be as tolerant.