On September 21, I received the worst news of my life. My 22 year old son, who had been suffering from depression for 9 years had taken his life. I had moved to my new home in August. My son lived with my ex-husband since the divorce 3 years ago, and we had a close relationship. On Friday, Sept. 20th I was at work. I am an RN and had started my new job on Sept. 3rd. So many changes in my life at once. It was supposed to be a happy time. I left work and didn't get very far and ended up in a car accident that did some significant damage to my car. It had to be towed and I was 3 hours late for getting home due to organizing the repair with the auto shop and picking up a rental car to hold me over. I received a call from my ex husband saying my son had left the house in a bad mood and he wanted me to call him to see how he was and what was going on. I called my son at 6:41... no answer. My son's car was found by his ex-girlfriend at 10:30pm at their place of work. She ended up calling the police because he was no where to be found. The police set up a K-9 search team and searched for him throughout the night all while keeping in contact with me to keep me updated. this had never happened before, and he never not came home at night - ever. He also never declined a call from me... ever. I called him 81 times that night.... left messages and texts... no reply. At 12:30 I received a call from my sister saying he was found alive and well. I called the detective in charge of the search and he told me that the state police were involved and they were going to call me right away... ten minutes later, they pulled up in front of my home. That is when I was told that he was found and not alive.
I am lost, I have no idea how to move on. I feel like I am in a tunnel and the world is going on... and I am not. I don't know how to deal with it. I feel like I am going backwards. As the days go on, I feel darker... more lost. I don't know what to do.
Words cannot express my sorrow for the loss of your son, Michael. I truly understand all your emotions. I lost my son Garrett, just 3 weeks before his 22nd birthday 7 1/2 months ago March 3, 2013. I work/volunteer in the mental health field ~ I was bowled over by the news delivered in person by my mother who drove into town to tell me. Like you, the image of my son and what he did to himself left me with ungodly nightmares. My Dr. gave me a medication I used for 3 or 4 months that stopped that. Was married for over 30+ years and have been going through a bitter divorce for the last 2 1/2 years. Garrett, like your son, was diagnosed with depression in his junior year of high school but his father was more concerned with outer appearances. I read through all the comments to your post ~ everyone shared wisdom and true empathy. I would suggest when you are up to reading a book I was given called I Was Not Ready to Say Goodbye. It touches on all the stages of grief, how we can pass through and return to any of the stages. As moms, we all feel responsible for the well being of our family members. Guilt is a horrible feeling. Neither you, I, nor any other parent could have changed the path our children set. I read in another book, Gone But Not Forgotten (christian book store) that the peace attained or demonstrated is in their mind the release of pain they are about to find. You mentioned peace in Michael just prior and I heard the same from co-workers of Garrett's. It's one day or one moment at a time. Hugs and peace to you today. Janet in VA
Thank you Janet. I used medication for only a couple days. I had panic attacks that were uncontrollable. I can not, however, use them now because of my job. I work in a very busy ER, that sees about 93,000+ patients per year. I know I went back too soon. I was back at work only 4 days after his funeral and I have to get up at 1am to do a 3am - 3:30 pm shift. I had to as the life insurance is not paying out due to him taking his life. So not only do I have the stress of the death, but I am responsible for the entire burial/funeral, plus some loans I co-signed for him. I was out of work for 1.5 weeks, unpaid, which made it difficult. I also have moved and started a new job only 20 days prior to him going missing and 21 days prior to his death. I am under a great deal of emotional, as well as financial stress. I try to read about grief and it just makes me cry. I do, however, have the support of a good friend that lost his daughter that is spot on, with having the same feelings I am going through. He did not lose his daughter to suicide, but his loss of his daughter hurts just as much as the loss of my son. It has been helpful. Now that all the busy arrangements are done I find that I don't have those distractions to protect me from what I am feeling now. It's tough
Tammie please try not to feel guilty. You even said it yourself you tried everything. It is only human to feel like there should have been one more thing to try or one more phone call I know I felt the same way with my brother. The past few days have been bad ones, kind of like one continual anxiety attack that won't end, but I forced myself out of bed & got myself to work. I know in my head I'm going to be okay, the worst has happened and I am still alive. I may not feel like I am but I am. I truly thing grieving from a suicide is different, people do treat you different. You said about a wedge between you and your siblings, this has driven a wedge between my parents and me. We haven't spoken since June. It's awful, I feel like I lost my entire family within a few months, thank god for my partner who has been my rock through all of this. I just try to take it minute by minute and remind myself that as much as I miss my brother, he must have been in soooo much pain, that now he is out of his suffering.
It's hard to not have guilt when it is your child. I am not saying my pain is any worse than yours, but I am saying that as a parent, we want our children to know that they can always come to us.... a soft place to lay their head at night. The one thing I had that I am grateful for are his journals. He kept daily journals since June 7th of this year. In them, though, he mentioned I hurt him when he was down. I made him feel like a "lowlife"... He felt like I kicked him when he was down. At the point that he wrote that, he was hospitalized and I was desperate to get through to him. I told him that the choices he was making at that time would land him in only two places... dead, or in jail. I told him that he needed to make better choices and I could only show him the door... He had to walk through it. I was desperate to try anything to make him work towards making choices to better himself.
Unfortunately my parents weren't like you, they didn't try everything. He called to say goodbye and they knew what he meant but they didn't take him seriously. He was only 1 1/2 hrs away by car, they didn't try to get to him, they didn't call the police and they didn't call me. I know he didn't call me because he knew I'd be there ASAP. My parents did call the hotel he was staying in (he & his wife had just separated) to have them check on him & they were the ones who broke down the doors & called EMTS. (this was about 7 hrs. after his phone call, there was plenty of time) He took his life with a combo of narcotics and alcohol. I do blame and I can't help it.
Your welcome. I'm really nervous about seeing my parents this weekend. Part of me says not to go to the unveiling because of them & the other part says I cannot let them run my life, I want to be there and I am going. We'll see which part of me wins. I hope if I go that my father doesn't cause a scene, I wouldn't put it past him.
I realized the other day that in a couple of weeks it will be the one yr anniversary of when I last was with my brother alive. It was his son's 1st birthday party, it was a weird day, we didn't know he and his wife were fighting but you knew something wasn't right. But that was the last time I saw him alive . Now his son's 2nd birthday is coming up and I can't believe how much has changed in such a short time. Makes me cry.
Caryn Hersh said:
I did see him every couple weeks up until July when they moved to Florida. That is where her family is so she has a lot more support. When she was ib NYC she really didn't have any one. Unfortunately my partner has been out of work for a year so money is super tight other wise I would be going to Florida all the time. My sister in law and I are very close. We do Skype all the time so I talk to my nephew and he sees us.
Well I went to the unveiling and I survived. But I am so relieved it's done. Now I feel I can start to live my new normal. That was the last thing I needed to do with my parents, now I feel as though I can breathe, I don't feel as suffocated. I also saw one of my brother's really good friends' and found out he had so much guilt in him, he felt that he should have done more. I told him a few things he didn't know and that seemed to release that burden he had been carrying for all those months. That in itself made going worthwhile. I also had a really long talk with my sister in law and then the next night her mom, they both make me feel so loved and welcomed into their family.
Caryn, I am glad you went. Sounds like it was good for your soul. I too, am having a difficult time with all of this. I feel like I am going backwards. My family is there, but I feel I have to call them or they won't budge. I am finding myself just turning inward and it scares me. I am starting therapy on Monday. I need it. I am afraid that if I don't I won't be able to function. I decided to go to a psychiatrist and work on my grief. I am not able to do group therapy because it's just too sad to listen to everyone's story. It adds to my depression. I need to learn to deal with my own tragedy first and then I think I can move on to helping others. I feel almost selfish saying that, but it's true and I need to be true to myself in this attempt to heal.