My Son Disappeared When He Was 15 – 10 Years Later, I Found Out the..

Despite our best efforts, the prognosis remained bleak, and he left us within two months. The pain was soul-crushing.Our son Robert remained my only ray of sunshine until his uncle, Tom’s brother Mike, came into the picture. I suspected he had had feelings for me since high school, but I had chosen Tom and never looked back. Now, our grief united us once again.I didn’t love him, no. But I thought Rob would benefit from a father figure, and frankly, our house could use a strong helping hand. And so, I decided to marry him.At first, things seemed to look positive for us. I still missed Tom, but drowned my grief in work and found myself drifting away from my son. Fortunately, I thought, Mike had my back and gave Rob the upbringing he deserved. After all, every day I came home to countless stories of them hiking, attending theme parks, or simply playing catch. Rob even grew to call Mike his dad. For two years, I blindly believed we could overcome the void Tom left in our hearts and become a happy family. Boy, was I wrong.

Everything came crashing down once again when Rob left. That day, the home was unusually silent when I returned from work. Mike sat me down and, with tears in his eyes, explained that he found Rob’s note on the fridge: Dear Mom and Dad, I’ve decided to leave because I thought it would be better for everyone if I wasn’t around to bring up more bad memories and sorrow. Please understand that this isn’t because of anything you did, but a decision I felt I needed to make for the sake of peace at home. I promise to take care of myself and hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me someday. Remember that I love you both, and this is the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make. Take care, Rob The next ten years blurred into a never-ending search. The police didn’t bother looking for a runaway teen too hard. On his 18th birthday, they called us and said, “Let’s just let him go. He doesn’t want to be found anyway.” Oh, but I never stopped looking. I searched crowds in our town, held vigil, and even kept a lit candle on our windowsill. I knew this irritated Mike, who desperately tried to get me to move on after all these years. And on the tenth anniversary of Rob’s disappearance, I finally gave in.After exploring various options for starting anew, we purchased a stunning colonial property two states away from our old home and left the latter to my sister, Schuyler. I couldn’t fathom someone outside our family owning the house. Having moved so far, we slowly disconnected from my side of the family. Imagine my surprise when, one day, someone very familiar burst through my door. That evening, I was packing my husband’s suitcase for a business trip. Suddenly, the door flung open. When I raised my eyes, I dropped the neatly ironed shirts I was holding. The person on the doorstep was my sister. But before I could greet her, she rushed to the suitcase, screaming, “Open his glasses case! He’s the one who hid Rob from you!”I watched in a stupor as she frantically rummaged through my husband’s belongings, her hands finally clutching the familiar glasses case. However, I was in for a surprise when she opened it. She revealed… a phone. “Look,” Schuyler said before opening the call log and handing the phone to me.I lowered my eyes, feeling conflicted, and my heart skipped a beat. The log was filled with dozens of calls to Robert. Every month, my husband took this burner phone and called up my son to…“He told him you two would be better off without him,” Schuyler explained.Turns out, I’ve been living a lie all these years. Every hike, every theme park trip, Mike used to show Rob how much of his life I missed. When I became distanced enough, he started on the second part of his plan, persuading Robert to leave us for the sake of our family. “Look, how much mom has to work to feed you,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if she spent that money on herself? Wouldn’t you like to release her of the burden that you are?” He suggested Rob stay with his aunt, and my poor kid complied, thinking I had no room for him in my life.