43 year old homeless son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Dsmom, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Dsmom

    Dsmom New Member

    I am a 65 year old married woman with a 43 year old homeless son. He is an only child and I am not married to his father. He left our alcoholic (step-father) home at 14 and went to live with his father in California. His stepdad quit drinking that summer (and has not drank since). Long story short, his dad was/is an avid pot smoker and allowed our son to smoke. He dropped out of school at 17. He joined the California Conservation Corp and was busted for selling amphetimines. By then, his stepdad and I were in Oregon (my job had transferred us from Ky to Or). Son was released to us as a means to avoid jail time. I stipulated that he would have to get ged, a job, etc. of course, that didn’t happen. So, I took him to a local homeless shelter and turned him out. My thought was that tough love would do the trick. It didn’t. Over these many years, his stepdad and I have given him at least a half dozen vehicles, untold sums of money, phones, etc. About 13 years ago he met a homeless woman and now has a 9 year old son who lives with his other grandma in NYC. She has told grandson that his father is dead...and we really don’t know where the mom is. I gave him a credit card to use when he was battling for custody of his son, and subsequently have been paying the balance down. Yes, I did cancel his card. He is on SSI so he does get about $900/month. For the last two years, he believed the other grandma had put out a “hit” on him and so has lived on Indian reservations, national forests, etc since then. (No, he is not Native American...he just has a good rapport with them) A kind man and his family have given him a tent to use on the man’s gold claim, so he and his three wolf dogs are about 4 1/2 miles back a dirt road. This kind man has told my son that upon researching, he has found that the hit has been taken off of him and it is now time for son to get a job, a house etc for himself and dogs. Son is currently 1200 miles from us. He called this am stating he needs to get back to home state in order to deal with ssi requirements. While I am sure there is truth to that statement (his mail comes to our address), I also know through the kind man that he just recently gave son the ultimatum. When I told son this am that he was going to have to make some tough decisions...ie perhaps getting rid of couple of dogs in order to actually find someplace to live; making the 4 1/2 mile hike in and 4q1/2 mile out in order to try and find work, etc. he was having none of it. I am caring for bed-ridden husband (on oxygen for last 8 years). I have approximately $15,000 in savings, work 2 hrs a day, and know that when current husband is gone (no, I don’t have a time frame on his emphysema) I will have to be caring for myself. I know I need to stand strong...but I also feel a wavering. Thank you for understanding.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi. I am also 65 with a husband and a 40 something year old son and three younger kids than him. I can only tell you what I would do then.you have to decide.

    You are still working hard and caring for your husband, as I would in your circumstancs. I dont have a homeless child. Mine all work and dont need me that way, not that we have not had issues but none as serious as homelessness,not working etc. We other stuff though or why would I be here?

    If my precious husband (stepfather to two of my four kids) were sick under no conditions could any difficult.adult child I have come home and disturb him. Nor would I give that necessary amount of money away. You need it. Your son is on SSDI so he qualifies for services like Section 8, Medicare, food cards and Work Rehab services. It is harder for us to do all that at our age and I believe that this is our time to care for us first. We already did our best for them and the kids are adults now but still young enough to start a new life. If her wont do it, the onus is on him. Did you depend on Mom at 43? There are Community Services for people who cant or wont work.

    One of my kids is autistic and works and also gets SSI, lives on his own, has never been homeless and is very well liked. He follows society's rules and lives a pretty normal life and asks for nothing.

    What is your son going to do when you are not here?

    I always wanted to know that my kids were all set so we made them be independent from us. If it hadn't happened, I would be very sad for my child but would not help with much money and definitely not by housing him. Not at this age.

    I hope you can find a solution that works for you.

    Hugs and keep posting!
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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  3. Dsmom

    Dsmom New Member

    You bring tears to my eyes...thank you so much for your kind thoughts. I am grateful to have found this website. It is so easy sometimes to think you are alone in certain situations. While it is so sad to get just a glimpse of how widespread adult children problems are, again it is a “comfort” to know I am not alone. I will update as circumstances warrant.
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  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    You are most definitely not alone!

    I am so sorry about your husband. Please try to take care of yourself too.
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  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome! I'm so glad you found us here but sorry you had to. You will find much needed support here.
    My son just turned 37 and is finishing up his parole. He was arrested 2 years ago for assault with a deadly weapon (knife). He was homeless when he was arrested. My son has spent the majority of his adult either in jail or being a homeless drifter.
    I like you have spent lots of money trying to "help" him. My husband and I have gone above and beyond to try and get our son to see that his poor choices are getting him nowhere in life. I have spent years being stuck in the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) and it has gotten me no where except older with nothing to show.
    I made a decision a long time ago that I was no longer going to allow my son to hold my emotions hostage. I also came to understand that my "helping" was actually doing the opposite. When we continually step in to rescue them we are actually robbing them of the opportunity to struggle. Yes, I said struggle. When they struggle they are forced to figure things out for themselves. In all the years my son has been homeless he has managed. Sure, I've had desperate calls from him telling me he was going to starve to death or freeze to death but I did not cave in. I directed him to get to a shelter.
    Just as @SomewhereOutThere said, your son is on SSDI and qualifies for all sorts of help and benefits. Sure, it would be so much easier for HIM to have mom take care of everything but this should not be about what makes it easier for him.
    You need to be taking care of YOU and your ill husband.
    I can only tell you what I do, and that is to not enable my son. Of course I hate to see him live his life the way he does but it's his choice.
    There are too many parents that continue to enable their adult children to the point of burning through their retirement and some have even lost their homes. The thought of an 80 year old woman taking care of a 60 year old adult child is just wrong. I will not be like that.

    We all have to make decisions that we can live with. I use the past history of my son to predict his future behavior and with that, there is no way I would ever allow him to live in my home. I value my peace and will not give that up.

    I'm glad you are here with us and I hope you will keep posting and reading what others have posted.

    ((HUGS)) to you...................
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  6. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Welcome- you found the right place. We all understand what you are going through. The only thing I would add is that you need to keep your health and happiness the priority (and your husband's). Your son is an adult, although he doesn't act like one, and therefore needs to fend for himself. I know how difficult it is as a parent, no matter how old our children are, to see them suffer. Especially the self-imposed suffering we all must watch. But we have to allow our adult children to live their own lives and make their own mistakes. Hopefully they learn from them. All too often, they don't. Sending peace to you.
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  7. Dsmom

    Dsmom New Member

    Thank you all...this is just the support I was craving. May you all have a blessed sleep.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son is 30 and homeless. There are a number of similarities in our stories.

    Your son and my own have similar lifestyles. They crave the absence of rules, for one. They resist structure and they seek to use the goodwill and caring and generosity of others to avoid taking responsibility for themselves. Their helpers after a time set necessary limits, because our sons do not quit taking and using. They consume kindness. There is not reciprocity. And they do not care about the cost to others. Only to their own comfort and discomfort.

    You are in no position to sacrifice for your son who like my own son, has become a parasite. I used to think that I did or did not do things for my son, in order to teach him, or in order to motivate him to decide to be or do better. Now I think differently.

    I am learning to put my own welfare first. I can set limits with my child, who is my only child, because that is what I need to protect myself and my well-being.

    They are adult men.

    I am longing for my son. I have traveled to see him 3 times and he has stood me up. The trip takes me 6 or 7 hours and I am devastated when he does not show up. Yesterday I went in the rain. (I am older than you are.) I have begun to feel that he may be using hard drugs.

    Or else, why would he not want me to see him? This causes me no end of fear and pain.

    The man who has been my partner put it to me this way, when I described to him my pain. He said this: You would like J to go on a long ocean voyage, isn't that so? (I had told M how I wished my son would be a merchant marine and travel the seas on cargo ships. He is multilingual, loves to travel and gets along with people of different cultures.)

    Think of J on a long voyage and he will be traveling the seas as long as he needs to and when it is enough he will return.

    And with this I felt a little better. Because it is true. These men-children of ours are living their lives in ways they have chosen. They may want to make us and others responsible for some of their basic needs, or bail-outs, but they are no longer children, and they get SSI. They know they are able to work to augment their payments but they choose not to.

    Why should you put out what you don't have to give? It is wrong to him and most of all, it is wrong for you. There is no reason whatsoever to feel bad or responsible. I still hold myself responsible for how my son is living his life. I tried. And I tried and I tried. And I still believe it was my own wrong choices that caused this. This is stupid and it is wrong.

    We have no control and we had no control. Both of us, each of us, needs to stop that. And focus on living well.

    I am glad you found us. I hope you stay. Posting on as many threads as possible helps.
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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Copa this is no way your fault. Our guilty thoughts lie to us. Few children have such interest from a mother than J had. He was able to travel! Cool! He saw in you an example of a smart and hard working woman who succeeded by her efforts. And you loved him so.

    What else could you or anyone have done?

    You give yourself too much credit for J's poor choices. Would you tell another mother in your situation to blame herself?

    Please truly stop blaming you. We cant control even beloveds. And its not up to us to do so.

    Peace and love and do be good to yourself. In no way did you cause this. Please have a good day.
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  10. Dsmom

    Dsmom New Member

    Today is my son’s 43 birthday. I want you all to know how helpful your comments have been for me today. I texted him happy birthday wishes as reception where he is in the desert is fairly spotty. He texted back to say two of his friends from Northern California were going to come out and pick him up and take him back to the reservation in northern ca. Said that although it is filled with violence and drugs, he would at least have a roof over his head and a place for his dogs. Asked me to not be mad at him. I responded that I was not mad. And told him he is an adult male and must make his own choices in this life of his. I also told him his level of success would be determined by his level of sobriety, which due to the influence of the kind man has been 100%. I know in my gut, my son will not maintain that once he is back in his old stomping grounds. BUT I also know (from my prior experience with dealing with an alcoholic) that I have no control over that.
    Again...thank you all for your kind, encouraging words. You are helping me to maintain an inner level of strength that I had misplaced.
  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Great job on how you responded to him!!
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  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    He sounds sweet and kind. Like you.

    I am drawn to Native American culture like your son

    I hope he can stay sober. At least he is in a warm state. And he has friends!

    Sending hugs!
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  13. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I don't know what city he's in, but my town has a lot of resources for the homeless. In addition to the meals they can get at the shelters, there are food trucks that go by several times a day. Local churches are always giving out food and water. It always puzzles me that most of the homeless don't take advantage of the other services we offer. Homelessness has gotten so bad here. It seems like we offer more than most cities. It has cost our city hundreds of millions. The problem just keeps growing because homeless people from all over the country come here after hearing about all the things we have to offer. So, depending on where he is, he may have unlimited access to a wide variety of delicious food. Here, they feed the homeless very good food because our homeless problem is totally out of control.
  14. Dsmom

    Dsmom New Member

    Right now he is in southern AZ, below Prescott. His biggest “problem” are his 3 wolves. He has had his family since the late 90’s, and they pretty much dictate where and how he can go. They are not quite as big of an issue when he is on one of the reservations. I have tried to talk him into letting a couple of them go...to no avail. He started out with one; bred her; kept an offspring; so he has probably the 6th generation now. I have to keep it in my mind and in my heart that he is a grown man, making his own choices.
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Its clear. He wont give up the wolves. Oddly I get it. I am a crazy lover of all four legged creatures.

    Im glad he is safe and warm now. I am sure he knows how to get services but obviously is not going to live in a govt. apartment where they would never take the wolves. It isnt hard for the homeless to find food and a food card helps. And Medicaid.

    He IS an adult. Some kids who bring us here have no interest in conventional lives and are just sort of free spirits. We can only wish them well and pray.

    Love and hugs.
  16. Dsmom

    Dsmom New Member

    Thank you for that. Yes, he has never been interested in a conventional life. My dad, who has been gone for 14 years now, once told me my son marched to the beat of a different drum. I try to keep that in mind.
  17. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, dsmom

    It sounds like your son has found his own solution! That is great news.

    I’m sure he can deal with the ssi from where he is at. It is a federal program, not a state program, and he isn’t the first person on ssi that has moved to a different state.

    Let him deal with his own stuff. You have too much on your plate as it is.

    Stay with us and post.

    It really helps.

    Oh, by the way, I lived in Prescott many years ago. It is a great place, and we loved living there!
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