Wake Me Up When September Ends
There are many ways to lose a child. Some die from terrible illness. Some in tragic accidents.Some are murdered senselessly. Some die in war.
My child died by his own hand. The death certificate states it bluntly. Self-inflicted gun shot wound.
I found him. As horrible as that was, to me it seemed right that I should be the one. I bore him. I loved him most. It spared someone else the horror.
I'd like him to be remembered for the way he lived and not for the way he died. He was a wonderful son. Gentle, kind, loving, sensitive, helpful. He was bright, well-read, educated, hard working and successful.
He was a wonderful brother. Thoughtful, fun, giving, caring, involved, and so proud of his younger brother and sister. He taught them so many things, how to catch frogs and tadpoles. How to fish. He took them on hikes in the woods and taught them to identify footprints and wild flowers.He read them stories and went to their elementary school concerts.
He had demons. Alcohol, manic depression, over-sensitivity, negative thinking, and abuse from an older cousin that I never knew about until he was twenty. He desperately tried to overcome those demons through treatment and therapy. He finally lost the battle. He finally became overwhelmed--and no longer in his right mind, he took the only route of escape he could see.
My life instantly became divided into two parts.Before and after. This year in September it will be twelve years. I dread September now.
At first my mind insisted on going over and over events, conversations,interactions--struggling to piece it together. To make some sense of it, to understand why. Gradually, I gave up, knowing that no answer would ever be found. My mind went over and over my failings, what I should have done, should have said. I read many books and came to realize all suicide survivors deal with these feelings.
A mother never gets over it. A family never gets over it. Time does bring some measure of peace.
I sit at the pond and talk to him. I feel his presence there. It was our special place when he was alive. He loved the pond. We sat there together nearly every day feeding the fish. He bought me koi as birthday presents every year and he stocked the blue gills the first year the pond was dug when he was twelve. It is my sacred place where I go now to visit with him.
I am thankful that I am a spiritual person. I am thankful that I truly do not believe that death is the end of our journey. I don't know exactly what happens next, of course, but I know he still exists in some form.
Living has wounded us all in one way or another. This is my deepest wound.