Psycho: my son lives on the street


While a vast census operation of homeless people has just taken place across the province, we sometimes forget that behind each homeless person, there is a particular story, with parents, brothers and sisters, and sometimes even children who suffer in silence.

• Read also: Beyond Roaming

• Read also: Nico Racicot in « Anna and Arnaud »: playing « the truth »

• Read also: Overwhelmed by Lyme disease, the daughter of the President of the Jean Coutu Group takes her own life

Francine Ruel wrote the story of her son, Étienne, who has lived on the street for a long time, in her novel Anna and the child-old man. This bookstore success then inspired the series Anna and Arnaud currently airing on TVA.

But the reality of his daily life is much sadder and heartbreaking. “I was between tears, anger, pain, helplessness, describes the author when she realized that her son was living on the street. I live in the countryside. He didn’t want to live with me, and I wasn’t ready to take him either. I was knocked out. We can’t believe that, we can’t imagine it can go that far. »

His son Étienne came to this situation after a descent into hell. Because he was a heroin addict, his girlfriend left him, he lost his home, then his job. He went to rehab, but relapsed. “Jean-Marie Lapointe, who helped me a lot throughout this journey, explains that very clearly. He says that falling into the street is done in the snap of a finger, but getting out of it is much more difficult.

help or harm

Like many parents faced with the same situation, Francine Ruel tried to help her son by all means. « I have tried everything. I got her a place in a rooming house, I paid for it. But my son doesn’t accept rules, he has a problem with authority. He went there for two days and then never went back.

Through the podcast series From Arnaud to Étienne, the harsh reality accessible on, which she was able to listen to, Francine Ruel above all made a bitter observation, the same as many parents do after a certain number of years spent supporting their loved one on the street. « I’ve been supporting my son for 29 years since his accident. We realize that the more we do for them, the less we help them. We are not doing them a favor.”

She also realized that she was less important to her son than she thought. “A dependent person’s parent is not important. The only thing that matters is consumption. The other thing is that I unfortunately didn’t feel the beginning of a desire to get out of it. It’s called slow suicide. »

Take back your life

As part of the documentary rebuild link (broadcast on November 22 on TVA), Francine Ruel was however able to have an important conservation with her son. “I told him that I am now 74 and very tired. I asked him if he gave me permission to let go, and he gave it to me. I do it a little more each day. I am getting better and better and I would like him to be better too.

Series Anna and Arnaud, which stars Guylaine Tremblay and Nico Racicot, airs every Tuesday on TVA. It can be caught up on TVA+, where all episodes are available for latecomers.

Have a traveling loved one

According to Francine Ruel, there were three stages in her journey.

“First, how do you mourn a living child? Second, my shrink who told me for several years that he was an adult, that I had to give him back his life and try to take mine back. And the final conclusion is that you cannot help someone who is not ready to get help.

The author and actress has also understood that giving money and paying for everything may not be the right way to help.

“I often thought of giving money for rent, but it was his drug that I was paying without knowing it. Even today, I am saying no, I will not pay. Otherwise, it’s endless. But it’s hard to look at your child and tell him to deal with his troubles. »


Back to top button