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Sadness,grief and regret over sons incarceration

Community Member

Hi, I am new to this but  need to talk to someone, anyone, I am a mother of 4 children , three adults ages 25, 29,32 and a 10 year old son from from second marriage. My eldest son was convicted of  a crime and is now in prison,he is 32 and the whole experience has devastated me , sitting through the trial I cried the whole two days everyone was looking at me  obviously knowing I was the mother ,then his sentencing was a day I shall never forget I had to write a letter to the judge about my son, about his drug use, about his father not being in his life since we divorced and his downfall, I also wrote about  how I loved him would stand by him, I'm sorry I failed him  and he turned to drugs too take away his pain, but underneath all that was a wonderful creative boy who just took a wrong turn, the judge  starting reading my letter word for word out to the court room, I looked at my beautiful boy and there were tears running down his face, I think he finally realised what he has done not only to himself but to me as his mother, that image is burned into my memory ,for once in my life I could not protect my child and it killed me, his sentence was given and they took him away, he will be released about september. I cannot tell  anyone and the stress is unbearable,I have to lie to people to excuse his absence , he is clean and sober now and has turned this life around he is doing all the courses to correct his life while in prison and is deeply regretful of his choices, I do not excuse his behaviour  but I am his mother and I have to stand by him, I look at all the other families visiting in prison and it is so sad it affects the whole family. This is the first time I have said this out aloud it is so hard to live with this "secret",I just don't know how to live with this.

570 Replies 570

Morning Lauren

I will never know if he got my letter unless he writes back to me. It is hard at times but I am getting through, sometimes better than others.

Morning July

Glad to hear you are doing well, my son was going to be sent to a prison farm the last time in was in custody but they thought him too much of a risk (drugs) so he never went.

Yes your son has to make all his decisions, you can guide as i tried to do but it is up to him if he takes your advice or not, its hard. You are going to have to draw on strength you didn't know you had, sorry but I am trying to prepare you.  It isn't going to be easy but I think you already know that.

Today you have gone back to work, I so hope it is working out for you, will be thinking about you all day and sending positive vibes in your direction.

I saw my shrink yesterday and she said if it wasn't for my son and my aliments I wouldn't be seeing her, I doubt that with how bad my depression has been but then she and I do to some degree feel it is linked into my son and the stress he has caused and is still causing.

You are so right it is always there hanging over our heads.  My son is never far from my thoughts and I wish i could wave a magic wand and have all his problems disappear, have him in a job and earning good money so he doesn't feel the need to dabble in drugs to earn money.

Hope all is going well for you.


Hi Anne,

Thankyou for your positive vibes...it must have worked cause my days back at work were fine, I actually had a lot of people coming up to me saying "welcome back and nice to see you", a couple of people asked was I on holidays and I just said, yeah had a bit of time off and that was it, no one questioned me ,  its just my paranoia I guess and feeling I am "wearing my secret" on the outside when its on the "inside". It was nice to be in the real world again and not spending my days worrying ,it distracted me from all that is going on in my life.

So true when you said I will need all my strength when my son comes out, I just spoke about that with my counsellor actually , I said my whole family life will be turned upside down when he's here and that will put some strain on me, and like you I had to reach out for help.....emotionally, when all this happened I couldn't deal with it on my own, and with my work incident and my son going to prison it did tip me over the edge.

I thought I was going mad and having a breakdown and looking back, I have survived that initial down fall so I feel if I can go through that I should be ok. Even my cousellor said I must have such inner strength go through everything and still be supporting everyone else, but I am just  a normal mum trying my best like you.

My son hasn't touched drugs for 18 months so when he gets out if he went back to that life I would be crushed after everything we have done to help him, but I have to give him a chance at proving himself and I don't think in my heart he would go back to that, he has come a long way and he has realised the damage he has done to me, himself and his family, but time will tell.

I hope you are doing well and thanks again for all your concern its nice too know there are lovely people in this world and its not all bad.

Take care


Community Member

Hi Donna,

Just wanted to say hello and see how you are going, as you said your brothers trial started on 20th July, I hope you and your family are staying strong . I know how hard it is sitting there through a trial, its heartbreaking knowing there isn't a lot you can do, apart from loving and supporting that family member.

Keep yourself well and keep the faith, we are here for you if you would like to vent, our thoughts are with you as you go through this journey , all the best.


Hi July

I am so pleased for you that you had no issues with going back to work, how wonderful, I am so excited for you.  You can now put that worry behind you as you have enough other stuff to worry about. You can now enjoy your work place and work mates without being concerned about what they are thinking.

Thinking back I don't know how I got through many years ago when everything started, I did see two different psychologists when I felt I was at breaking point, the first one was good but the second one was useless, that was when I went back to my old psychiatrist because I knew I couldn't do it on my own. That support from someone who is removed from our friends and family is invaluable.

I am still waiting for a letter which looks like I won't get, but I still keep checking the letter box everyday with hope in my heart and then that is dashed when there is nothing there.  I wish I could put him on the back burner of my mind but can't do that. So I try to move on and fill my days with other stuff.

That is also becoming hard as I am living with, at times, chronic pain which doesn't help my depression any. Yesterday I spread sugar cane mulch over my garden, it is only very small bordering the fence line, I live in a unit so there is really no front yard, (the grass is about 4 metres long and about 2 metres wide) however that made me feel good to look at the garden afterwards.  What I am trying to say is we need stuff in our lives that gives us pleasure to help make the unpleasant and stressful times more bearable.

Hope you are doing ok.

Hi Donna,

I have been thinking about you heaps and hoping you are coping alright.  It wouldn't be easy sitting through a trial, I don't know how long it goes for but lets us know how you are going if you can.

Lots of hugs


Hi Anne,

So true, the little distractions in life make the harder times bearable and I know I am lucky in many respects, but my son has taken over my whole focus this last year and a half, its been hard to escape at times and I know I have neglected some other things in my life, I hope that changes with time.

But I had to prioritise and he was top of the list, but I still have a marriage and one daughter with two kids, another daughter now 9 weeks pregnant and an 11 year old son in year 6 about to start high school next year, all of this on top of my son in prison.....no wonder I lost the plot , I put my self last and thats what has caused me so much stress and with the problems at work, it was a recipe for disaster.

I just hope we are on the rise above all this , couldn't get much worse really, I guess this has proved I am much stronger than I ever thought I was, but I don't want to be tested again....thats for sure.

I know its hard waiting for a reply from your son, maybe he isn't sure what to say at this time, but you are right carry on with your life and when the time is right it will all fall into place, don't despair, time can be a great healer and he must be going through a turbulent time right now as well, so I would just keep that door open for him.

I'm sorry  about your chronic pain and yes that would certainly contribute to your depression, have you tried different medication , there  are pain specialists who might be able to help you with that, ask your G.P. worth a try, it could change things and make your quality of life better.

I am going to visit my son this Sunday, now he is at the prison farm, the visits are 2 hours long which is good and in a more relaxed outdoor setting its like a big camp ..sort of, so you feel more at ease and like you are out in the outside world for that brief time, it is sort of transitioning them to the real world again, my oldest daughter went last Saturday with his two nieces and they had a nice time kicking the ball around and playing and acting like  family, it is really helping him to feel part of the family again and for him to know we want him to be involved and he's important to us.

I hope you have a good week and take care.


Hi July

I feel a bit that way about my son being a focus in my life but differently to you.  He is in the background, a shadow following me and with me at all times.  Yet, I have no contact, I wrote to him about 6 weeks ago but now don't think I will hear back from him, it's been to long.  I am in the process of going back to my maiden name so will send him another letter telling him what I am doing, he deserves to know.

I too have another child, well he is 38 but still my child that also deserves my attention. For that reason we are going to the movies tomorrow and will be eating lunch first so will spend some quality time together.  We are going to see Antman, I think we will both enjoy it.

As far as my pain goes I can't take anything as I have a fatty liver and what ever I take adversely affects my liver.  My psychologist suggested a pain clinic but I have been before and don't really want to go down that track again. My GP and I have tried several things and the end result is always the same I have to stop due to it affecting my liver.

It must be such a difference to go and see your son in a humane outdoor environment where you can walk around in a nice area and not be locked in a visitors yard, what a difference.  Sounds good to me, almost normal I suppose.  Things sound like they are going well for him, the system must be trusting of him and how he is going or other wise they wouldn't have sent him to a prison farm. Just keep thinking, he is one step closer to coming home.

Enjoy your visit.





Hi Guys

I have received  a letter from my son today, a bit shocked.  He sounded like the old son of mine and signed it off by saying Your pain in the a*se son P.  He didn't say how long he is in for or what he did, don't think he knows how long he is getting yet as far as I know he hasn't been sentenced yet.

Maybe the fact that I turned up in court and contacted his solicitor he thinks that I am still there for him.  I don't know.  I feel in so much turmoil as the said he si back with his old girl friend and that is the one that got him hooked on the hard drugs in the first place.

He is talking babies that he wants and he wants me to have a relationship with his girl friend again.

Anyway we can start again and take it slow.  At the moment it is all a bit much for me.

Part of me is happy the other is scared stiff.


Hello July,

It's been a while, in fact not long after you posted I replied to this thread. I am that guy who was a prison officer in the 1970's and I think I painted a picture of life in jail that your son would undertake.

I am not a reader of many posts but I'm thrilled you have moved forward. In fact I've noticed you are reaching out and comforting other mums here that are in a similar situation.

You don't even know it....that you are a wonderful human being.

Tony WK

Hi Tony,

Yes I couldn't forget you, you were the first person to reach out to me and it really meant a lot.

Thankyou for your kind words...it brought me to tears, in  a nice way, it has certainly been a journey for me but I have stood strong and I wouldn't change a thing, my son needed to be taught a valuable lesson and I believe he has, he is a different person now and as I have said before I think prison has saved his life .

To see him clean and sober and bright in spirit and mind is all I can ask for as a mother and I am so proud of him and what he has achieved. He has written to me and expressed his love and thankfulness that I have been there for him through thick and thin....but there was never a doubt in my mind, he is more precious to me than anything as are all my children, and I will always be by his side.

Thank you again and I hope my story and the people reading it realise there is always hope, through the dark times we need to keep looking for that shining light, sometimes it just takes a while for it to break through.

Best wishes


Hi Anne,

I am so happy you got a letter from your son , that is a great start and I know as his mother your heart would have felt that love melting away your pain a little, the main thing is , it is a beginning to open up that relationship again and to keep that going, I knew he would come around, one letter at a time and for him know you are there is so important for him.

Don't befriend the girlfriend that brought your son down, that will only justify his bond with her, keep contact with your son and say to him , he is your only priority right now, I wouldn't even talk about her, he would be trying to keep his old contacts which need to be broken off to give him a chance at rehabilitation.

Take it slow but this is a good sign he has written to you, be happy for the little things and take one day at a time.

Don't worry to much about that girlfriend , they will be separated by prison and that will more than likely terminate  that union in time, and he will come to see she is of no value in his life , that drug lifestyle only ruins people and nothing ever comes good from it, so give it some time and it will dissolve.

Take care and cherish the small steps.

All the best