A parent feels responsible for their child. And to some extent for their child’s choices. That’s normal.
A parent who loses their child to suicide has an especially heavy burden. It can eat them up – literally destroy them from the inside out.
For several months this burden took a subtle, general role in my grief, in my thoughts. “Why didn’t I drive to his Dad’s that morning?” “Why didn’t I see his anger was a sign of depression?” “Why didn’t I talk to him more about Alex’s death?”
As time has passed the sharper thought is “I caused this because I moved from Worthington and because I quit my high-paying job.” As I was trying to follow what I thought was God’s will for my life I put a spiritual target on the whole family. It’s my fault you’re gone.
I read the last four months of your tweets yesterday. I haven’t decided if that was a smart move or not. “My parents are telling me I have to learn to be financially responsible but you quit your job because “god told you to” fuck you.” Wow. Really Drey? My worries that my decisions had impacted you negatively – at least in your mind – were now confirmed.
So did you see me sobbing after reading that, son? Did you?
Did you hear me call your Dad asking him if I had been a good Mom?
How about when I asked him if he thought you knew how much I loved you? Did you hear me ask that question?
Did you hear your Dad choke back tears?
Did you hear the song lyrics he shared with me?
Did you hear the other things your Dad said, son?
Do you see the lives you nearly ruined?
Do you see us fighting for air? Trying not to drown in this?
What an entitled, privileged, spoiled man you had become. It was probably just a phase… You would’ve matured. But you robbed us of getting to see that.
Dear God help me rest in You during this new, lovely phase of grief I seem to have entered. My son – the person I loved more than life itself – was at times a little jackass. Grace abound. Thank You God.
We talked in grief group last night how we tend to immortalize our lost loved ones into these perfect beings. We only remember the good and forget the bad. I think it was mighty healthy of you to be able to go to that spot today on your blog and feel the anger. I am a bit too afraid to do it yet. I only want to think of Matt in a perfect light and yet as any addict, there was so much deception and lies. I just kind of sweep that aside. But remember that Drey was just a boy and all kids that age are self centered. That is how they roll. So if it hadn’t been the job and the move it would have been something else. Because to a 17 or 18 year old boy, it is all about them. I am proud of you that you let that anger out! That took guts big time.
Sent From My IPad
“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died — you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.”–Elizabeth Edwards
Best Regards, Ellen Schoonover Personalized Assistance Area Consultant International Professional Relations, Inc. (IPR) Cell: 614-208-3746 firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh friend thank you. Thank you very much. I was just telling Robbie that I don’t like how I’m feeling but I think it’s a necessary part to figuring out where to “put” this tragedy in our lives as we go forward without my boy.
Have you read A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis? It’s a good read about his thoughts around his wife’s death. In part it hits on the subject of only remembering the good instead of the whole person. I think you’d like it.
I am so sorry for your pain. In retrospect, I am simply amazed that so many teenagers and young adults survive all the awful, stupid, and bad decisions they make. Even though I lost my 17-year old differently in a car accident, it still occurred (as much as we know) because he made a really bad decision to pass another car when it wasn’t safe. Today’s the 6-month anniversary of the day he had his accident, not the day he lost his fight for life, and I am feeling my own version of your pain. They are so self-centered at these ages and no matter what good parents we are, they are still clueless, hormonal, not yet formed human beings who make really bad decisions. And we have to remember that they are just not our fault no matter how natural it is for us to look back and second guess the choices we made and the acts we didn’t do. When I look back, I wish I had installed one of those safe-driving devices in our son’s car, I wish my husband and I had modeled slower driving and less impatience — there are a hundred thousand wishes that our son was alive.
Wishing you (and me!) some peace — Laura
Thank you for sharing about your son and your feelings. This is a hard journey isn’t it? I will pray for you – especially as you continue to live through your”year of firsts.”
Your son might have been difficult and self-centered at times. That’s part of maturing and it’s completely normal. That doesn’t mean you love him any less or that he loved you any less.
My son was 23 and not completely grown up. Despite being gifted intellectually, he was still young and stupid sometimes, although he really was on the verge of adulthood. That’s why insurance companies keep rates high for boys under 25 years old. All the brain research shows that the brain does not reach adulthood until 25.
The tragedy is that our boys will never have the chance to finish growing up and maturing. They’ll never reach that moment of enlightenment when they realize that their parents were always on their side in everything we did and said.