It’s been 14 years…is it easier?

The pain was so great! I did not think I would be able to go on living without my son. But I have. How have I gone on living? One moment at a time. Then one hour at a time. Then one day at a time. And I continue that way, one day at a time.

Even though it is 16 years since Ryan died of a suicide by cocaine overdose, I am easily brought right back to that moment when triggered. The anniversary of his death, September 21st is still the worst day of the year. Yes, it is easier than it was, but the loss never leaves.

It was a traumatic death and one that I have learned to cope with and live with but I have been a changed person from that moment on. I will never be same person that I was before Ryan died. I’m different but I keep trying to find joy in life and hope for the future.

I think that one of the post trauma challenges that I am still working on, is the fear that one of my surviving children is going to die. This causes me to be a meddlesome over-worrying mother. I need to know where they are and that they are okay. I’m a little better at it and find prayer helps me a lot. I pray for them and leave them to God. They boys themselves are helpful because they get annoyed with me when I’m too controlling!

I won’t go into my loss of belief in God and how I have regained that because I’ve done that in previous posts but I am just happy that I now have a belief and a faith that is stronger than it was.

It’s a long road; that is how life is. It is a journey of valleys and hills. But there’s also the meadows.

I’ll always love you Ryan. I will always miss you. I will always keep your memory sweet inside me.

A Father’s love

I was fortunate to be with my dad when he left this world. As a family we were all there with him to say our goodbyes and send him off. It was very calming and good. We sang and recited Psalm 23 The Lord is my Shepherd as best we could from memory.

I was tired physically because I’d spent the last two weeks at the hospital with him and also looking after mom who was at home alone.

I was the last one to leave the hospital.  I just needed the time to be alone with dad. I tucked him in and tidied up the room. The undertaker came and took him away and I went home. At peace.

My Father’s love for his family was there with quiet words of advice, a laugh or a joke, a helping hand whenever needed and a listening ear on the other end of the phone line.

It wasn’t in hugs and kisses, I love you, or praise. That wasn’t his way. But you knew he loved you. You knew he was always there for you and that he had your back.

I like to picture God that way. He’s a loving father who is always there on the other end of the line. And He’s got my back.

The broken

My mind wanders and fades off into the night

darkness overtakes me and I scream silently

please bring it back to the daylight

to the walls, the windows, the ceiling above me

I am still here, I am still real

yet I am still in this pain

that I cannot escape

my mind it wanders and drifts off into a sea

cold water, heavy water overtakes me

and I cannot scream

please bring it back to the land

the rocks, the trees, the clouds above me

I am still here, I am still real

I can feel me

I can feel my pain

a heart broken, taped together

to keep on beating

another breath

 

 

How do we remember?

Is it with flowers?

placed on a grave on a warm sunny day?

or is it with tears shed alone

in a place where none can see

is it with statues erected in the town square

or is it with words etched in the bark of a tree

a tattoo of  a loved one’s name

or a tear drop under the eye

is it with a prayer

whispered in the wind

or is it down on our knees

with a candle burning bright

how do we remember them

when they’ve gone from this earth

and we’re left here behind

because they’ll never be forgotten

our love goes on til our end

and someone else questions

how to remember us

 

 

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What is after?

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Is there a  world for us

after we leave this one that we know?

One where  you’re waiting for me

to hold you again; I pray that there is

And what is that world like?

Is there chocolate? pizza? or lemon meringue pie?

Does the grass grow green and the sun shine?

 

Will the birds there fly with us?

There must be birds there

because they have wings

Would we have wings too?

Would there be angels there with wings?

That would play harps to soothe us to sleep

 

Is there life after this?

Where there would be no pain; just love

Where we could sit on a beach

and watch the waves gently meet the shore

and see the whales breech and the dolphins

laugh and spin, inviting us to join in

 

Separate we are now

Will we be together again?

Where I can feel all that I felt

When first I held you in my arms?

Where the sun shines, the birds sing

and the wind gently whispers your name

 

A little prayer goes a long way

Since I started praying things have been happening. Can’t explain it, other than the praying. It does take practice and commitment and a reminder to myself to slow down and say a little prayer. I’ve tried so many things to heal myself of the pain and loss of losing my son to suicide. Didn’t feel God for so long. Really believed He didn’t exist. So I started praying to Him. Nothing loud and drastic happened. Didn’t hear a voice from above. But I did hear a whisper. I did feel like He was listening.

When I’m alone I pray out loud, well it’s talking really, to someone I believe is listening. I used to talk to my dog or talk to my family members in Heaven, now I talk straight to God, most of the time. I still talk to my family, of course.

So what has happened? Nothing major that anyone else would notice. But I know. I’m seeing miracles all around me that I never would have noticed before. The most incredible miracle is me. I feel different. Since I started praying for faith, I have been feeling better because my faith is stronger. It is still a work in progress but I love the feeling that I have inside. Haven’t felt this free since Ryan died.  I am making steps in the right direction. The upward direction. And I’m going to keep trying.

I pray for peace in my soul.

I pray for faith in God.

I pray for patience.

I pray for love.

I Pray for kindness.

I pray for forgiveness.

I pray to be filled up with good stuff and I pray for the bad stuff to be removed.

Amen.

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Taking suicide personally

Someone dies. By suicide. By their own hand. By their own choice. We blame ourselves. We take it personally. That’s the really hard part in being left behind by suicide.

That person was in pain. The pain was in their mind. They saw no other way to stop the pain. That was all consuming.

But for us left behind, the pain just begins as we struggle to understand. It’s too late for us to respond. Too late. And we have to go on. It isn’t all about us.

God knows. He was there.

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How could I go on? It’s a Miracle.

And here I am still alive 12 years later. How? How did that happen? Well it wasn’t easy. It was messy and blundering and screwing up and giving up and then trudging along.

My oldest son, Ryan, died by suicide when he was 21 years young. September 21, 2006. Life changing for the rest of us in his family left behind. Yep, for sure. But I found out that you can’t always just give up, crawl in a hole and fade away to nothing. Nope, you have responsibilities; surviving children, family, a job, a house. You’re forced to go on. That’s good. I plodded on because of my three boys. The twins, Andy and Ben, had just turned 11 and William was 14, just starting High School.

I’ve been told I’m strong, I’m resilient, but really I’m just trying. That’s all you can do, is try. You might not be great, you might not be with it all the time but you’re trying. Like Pink says, “Try, try, try”. I think I’ve tried a lot of things. It’s been 12 years of searching and trying to find something that helps. Trying to find reasons for something with no reason. Trying to find answers to questions that couldn’t have answers. And most of all for me, trying to find God.

I felt that God left me that day. It was instant. An emptiness. A vacuum.

I have spent years trying to find God again.

He was there all the time?

He was with me in my anger, in my confusion, in my feelings of abandonment, in my guilt, in my walk through the valley of death?

It sure didn’t feel like it, but looking back it is amazing that my family has managed to somehow survive and go on, not perfectly and not unscathed, but we have united together to continue our lives and to help others and to remember Ryan.

I was searching in the wrong places for God, for answers. It’s part of the grieving process with suicides, I’ve read, to lose your faith and I think that if you don’t have a strong foundation of belief to begin with then you have nothing to help you begin your search. I don’t know why I had to go through all of that. But I did and so have others.

Then happened the miracle.

One day, I picked up the Bible and began reading it again. After all, what did I have to lose?

And it made sense. I kept reading. I looked up at the sky, again, for the millionth time and I prayed for a closeness. I prayed to feel God. And I did. Can’t explain it. Maybe it was just the timing, maybe I was ready, I don’t know and I can’t explain it, but to me it was a miracle. I felt such a sense of peace. I hadn’t felt so calm and peaceful since Ryan died. I felt that God was there.

All I can say is that I feel like a miracle has happened in my life. I feel healing for the first time. It feels good and I’m going with that.

I miss you Ryan and always will. You will always be my baby. I know you’re okay.

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Visit with Ryan

It’s peaceful here today. Spring has arrived. The snow is melting. I come to visit my family and friends. I visit my son. It is a place of quietness where I can talk to him. Even though I talk to him all the time wherever I am. It’s different here for some reason. It may be because of all those who lay nearby. Maybe it’s the finality of death here, the reality of it.

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