My son died by suicide.
I’ve practiced saying that until I can say it without flinching. Expressing it this way was the request of another mother whose son died by suicide. She wondered why we blame suicide victims for their last act by saying they “committed suicide.” Why is there still a stigma associated with suicide, anyway? Well, fuck stigma. My son died of an illness just the same as if he’d died from heart disease, cancer, or COVID. It was the mental illness of depression, but it was an illness nonetheless.
In some ways, his death was a shock; I truly didn’t see it coming. That said, in hindsight the clues were all there. I’ve had the normal “what if” thoughts, but I know in my heart there was nothing I could have done—he was determined for it to be successful. But still, I wish…
The grief has been new territory: the best comparison I can make is a concussion from a blow to the head. Though I’ve never had one, I imagine it to include the same fog and reduced mental capacity and occasional stopping dead in my tracks unable to function. Except for when it’s like a hard punch to the gut, without the physical blow.
The only consolation is the huge gift my son’s life was, though it was too short. He was one of the three true loves of my life. He was laughter when I was down. He was help when I needed it. He was a light in many lives. Though I miss him like crazy, I have peace that he’s no longer hurting and a deep faith that I’ll see him again. Until then, Bryan, “I love you a Brazilian.”
“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.” —Dr. Seuss