Posted by: Jody Glynn Patrick | 08/03/2015

The aftermath of a child’s suicide.

broke heartFrom Roseanne, a bereaved mother replying to another mother’s post on this site today:

I feel your pain ever day. I had my daughter for 42 wonderful years she was my best friend but she had a problem with alcohol and didn’t always make sound decisions. She hung herself on 4/27/15 in our home we speculate and pray that it was an accident and not on purpose. I worried about her all the time she was away from me but I never worried about her when she was in our home; she was safe there or so I thought.

I have to put a fake face on every day for my son because he is a wonderful person and doesn’t deserve to loose his mother. He found his sister and it was so hard on him. He was afraid that he wouldn’t be enough to keep me alive and to tell you the truth, it is the only thing that stops me from joining my daughter. I talked to her on the day she died and thank God my last words to her was I love you and she said I love you too.

I wasn’t aware of how much she was drinking or how depressed she was and I sob so hard I can hardly breathe because I failed her. I do a lot of silent crying so no one can hear me and worry about me. Why didn’t I know the pain is unbearable and every time I think of her I gasp to breathe. I too wonder what I could have done to change the outcome and brushed off her complaints about always being the one in the house who messed up something.

I tried so hard to be a good mother because I didn’t have one. So now what am I but a failure as a mother? She was my best friend. How could I not know the depths of her pain? I think everyone is tired of hearing me cry about her but the truth is I will never get over her. I just will keep living for my son. So every day I drag my body to work go home and out on a false face. No one understands she did exist. They go on with their life and mine is shattered and I have to keep it to myself. The gut wrenching pain is unbearable.

I only lost one child so your pain is triple mine and to see that you survive your loss is a inspiration to me. I’m so sorry for you, but you’re not alone in your pain.

A child’s suicide is the ultimate slap, and its sting would be mind-numbing if it weren’t so sharp and insistent. It hurts like a burn, whose scar tissue will be composed of guilt and bewilderment. The parent walks in a society in which mouths whisper condolences but they still suspect that family, friends and strangers wonder how it was that they weren’t able to predict or stop their child from killing themselves. That’s what the parent feels because that is their own internal dialogue. It is the burning question.

The child who chooses suicide, regardless of the “child’s” age, is choosing a way out. There is something about their pain, or their outlook, which makes this a choice worth taking. If drugs or alcohol are involved, we know that the choice may not be one they would make sober. If they were sober, we know it isn’t a choice they would have made had they not been depressed, or had they been able to see beyond the immediate situation. But they were depressed, or they were short-sighted, or they were silent sufferers who gave us not a hint of the depth of their despair. Or they were curious about death. We can’t ever really know why they jumped off the edge.

What we do know is that we are left with funeral arrangements and a different life ourselves. We are left with the clean-up, the suffering they jumped out of and pushed us into. We are left with a profound sense of loss and futility. Yesterday we were parents — even sometimes of a difficult, troublesome child. Today we are not parents of that child any longer on this earth, and yet we remain parents in our hearts and minds and soul. And we suffer.

In that suffering, many parents will consider taking our own lives to “join” their loved one, as Roseanne expressed. And so one devastating decision, one wrong choice, one shortsighted solution, may claim another life. Even as a parent understands completely the chaos a suicide creates in the lives of others, they consider it now for themselves.

This is what makes grief counseling so important and so necessary for parents of suicidal or murdered children. Like after a suicide, when a child is murdered, the living parent often considers murdering themselves when the pain of the “after” is too great. We consider mirroring the act that took our child for two reasons — 1) the hope of reunification, as expressed by Roseanne, and 2) the wanting to pull our hand out of the fire burning it — in this case, the fire is the pain of losing a child.

It is hard to stop the madness when we cannot stop the pain. And no one can stop your pain, Roseanne, but know that a good grief counselor can help make it tolerable. They can provide a place where you can take off your false face and talk about your daughter and about what this loss has done to your family and your life. And know that you can talk about it here, as well, with us. We do understand and want to embrace you as you work through these hard feelings in this new life.

Too all of you who participate with comments and postings, know that you are helping mothers like Roseanne even when you voice your despair. The fact that you go on, and that you can write a year, ten years, or 20 years later, shines a light for her. She knows that because you share the pain of a dead child (how we hate the word “lost” as if we misplaced them), you understand. We all get it. And as we share that assurance, we als0 find hearts out there big enough to help us with our grief, too.

 


Responses

  1. There are days I look around at all the families with their wonderful lives! They tell me me you are so blessed, your son is with God. I have to just smile and nod. Then I get so mad, because they just don’t get it. My son died and there was no way I could stop it! I failed as a mother! It was my job to protect him! I have a wonderful husband who has lost his son and friend. I have another son who gave up so much to care for his dying brother. My living son suffered at the age of 29 so much that I worry about him all the time. My living son is expecting a son of his own that will be named after our son Who died. Again, all the people say, oh how God has blessed you. Why don’t I feel blessed? It is my husband and son that keep me here. I understand when you say you failed and how you will stay here for your other child because you love them. But every morning that gut wrenching pain returns. We hit the one year date and I have been so tired and it takes all my energy to get up! My husband wants his happy wife back. I need to become a better actress. My prayer for you is strength. I think it is our strength and love for our families that keep us moving.

    • Jeanette I have exactly the same feelings everyday and would not be here if I did not have my wife and children to care for after losing my only daughter who I loved more than life itself,X

  2. I get the same thing all the time I should feel blessed for what I have my head knows that’s true but my heart doesn’t listen. I still can’t understand to this day why my daughter took her own life I get so tired of people posting the wonderful accomplishments of their children my child was kind of a screw up because of her epilepsy she had short term memory loss she didn’t accomplish anything in her life except to fill everyone else’s life with joy and laughter. She wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but she loved more than anyone else in our family she was always the one to remind you to tell someone how much you appreciated them. She gave so much joy to the world and its that that we all miss the most. She was child like at age 42 and her favorite time was spent with her niece and of course me her mother we were best friends. Because she wasn’t smart or had a degree or didn’t accomplish anything in her life she still was a person of value and I never want the world to forget that she exhisted. I know there are a lot of people out there who feel no sympathy for me because my daughter chow to take her life and their child had no choice But the bottom line is it hurts more than if some one had taken your child’s life because you forever live with the guilt of what did I do wrong. And I will never know if there was something I could have done or said to change what happend so every day until I die I will lived with the thought of why didint I do this why didn’t I question that. I miss her so much just the thought of her make me gasp for breath but that is something I have to hide from the world because the world doesn’t understand So I go throug every day crying with a rag over my mouth praying to God that I didn’t fail my baby how could I not know she was sucidall I feel so bad because whenever anyone expresses joy for their daughter I cry because I have two sons and I don’t have a daughter anymore what w failure I am. My poor baby girl she was he most kind gentle sole and wasn’t made for this crude world. But stupidly I thought my love concer all what s fool I was I’m so sorry for falling you my baby girl and I will love you until I,take my last breath. It’s so hard to go on without you it would be easier to lay on your grave and just stay there till I joined you. Why didn’t you tell me my heart is broken in places that I never knew. Exhisted. But for your brothers I have to pretend I’m ok when I’m really dying inside. Sorry I failed your sorry I didn’t love,you enough sorry I wasn’t w good enough mother and mostly sorry I will never Hear your voice or see your face again I love you

  3. God bless you both.X

  4. Holidays are here and it’s only worse I feel so alone in a house full of people me and Deanna were a team we were always together who will I sit by at the thanksgiving table. Who loves me as much as she did I’m so broken since my daughters death. I have to be strong my 37 year old son who found her hainging in her room has been diagnosed with PTSD. He is coping better than me but he has his wife and daughter and me I feel alone. I live with them and they try their best to include me but I’m so unmotivated to do anything. I know on thanksgiving I will have to to be happy so I won’t ruin it for the family but inside my heart is breaking. I can’t tell my son because he is already afraid he will loose me too because he said I lover her more than him. So I’m trying to be the best mother possible and be supportive of him but it’s so draining. I would rather just curl up and go to,sleep and never wake up but I can’t because that would only leave another pain on top of the pain everyone is feeling at the loss of Deanna.

    I want my daughter back I miss her so much how do I survive

    • Hugs!!! You will get through it, have a “plan B” or a place you can escape to if you feel a cry coming on, or be able to take a walk to help alleviate the stress (I have found walking works the best of anything I have tried). And remember the whole family will feel your daughters absence, you will not be alone. Maybe include her in your dinner prayer (if you do that). Try to remember some happy Thanksgiving memories that include your daughter and the rest of the family that you can share with the others.

      • I cried the night before thanksgiving but I manage to keep it together for thanksgiving because I didn’t want to ruin it for any one else. But I miss her and I keep see her laying face down on the floor like a manakin. Then the tears roll down my cheeks that night the screams comming from my son. It’s so hard to keep it together. My daughter in law asked me if I talk so much about Deanna because I’m afraid I will forget her.

        That was one of the stupidest remarks ever made how could I possibly forget my daughter. I told her I will never forget Deanna I’m afraid the rest of the world will forget her and she did exhist and I can’t stop seeing her dead on the floor and people tell me she is at peace now. How do I know that I can’t hear or see her so I cry when no one is around its so hard.

        I I think some people feel I have no right to cry since she took her own life And their child suffered. They could see their child’s suffering and my daughters suffering was hidden by alcohol. So I carry the burden every day of how could I have possibly miss her deep pain I thought I was a good mother I failed her

      • Rose you did not fail Deanna we all feel guilt that we did not do enough I think that daily concerning my daughter and I also think that I did not do enough for my parents although both my parents and my daughter left me letters telling me how much they loved me etc but I still feel and know I could have done more their is always more a person can do it is never enough.But I could not do anything to save them and that is the grief for me but I would never ever have wanted them to suffer in anyway. Rose I now suffer from PTSD from losing Carrie and I believe you are also from reading your symptoms it is a terrible illness but we must fight on Rose in their memory we must.

        Sending Love.
        Bill.

      • You have the right to cry and grieve no matter how your child died. I watched mine die and suffer with cancer and felt like I was a failure for letting this happen. I know just as I would have done anything to save my child you too would do the same. Be kind to yourself.đŸ’œ

  5. It’s been almost 10 months since I liost my daughter and sometimes the pain is unbearable and I almost yearn for the day I can be with her again. I do ok for the most part and I get all those statements she is in a better place, she’s at peace now, I have to learn to make peace with her death.

    I almost blew when I was told to make peace with my child’s death I can never make peace I can only survive. And how do I know she is in a better place and not suffering. Since I can’t see feel or talk to her. I’m beginning to believe that my punishment for failing her is a long life where I will remember her every day and that I was a failur as a mother.

    I haven’t been able to go to her gravesght because I think seeing. A rock in the ground that represents my daughter would be a blow I couldn’t handle.

    Some days are good then there is the bad days where my heart aches so bad and I think of my last conversation with her and I nevertheless in my wildest dreams thought that would be the last time I talked to her.

    So for my ignorance of the depth of hers depression I deserve to feel the pain of her loss every day. I loved her so much

  6. My beautiful 11 year old daughter hanged herself on New Year’s Day. Her 13 year old sister found her. She told me she wanted to die in November. I didnt really believe she was depressed as she seemed happy 99 percent of the time.
    She wasn’t bullied. She was beautiful, talented, had friends and was greatly loved. There was no reason. I brought her to the doctor. I got her into counselling and yet she was dead 6 weeks later.
    Myself and my husband battle every day to keep going for our living daughter. We feel guilt, pain, disbelief and utter sadness.
    I walk, pray, overeat, cry, pretend, go numb, cry some more – all in one day. I hate the night and watch tv until i fall asleep.
    I talk to my beautiful girl all the time. I would love to join her, but know I cannot. Instead I will keep walking through the pain and hope to find a way to honour her short beautiful life and help others who are suffering.
    As a friend who lost her 4 year old child told me. You cannot go round it, under it ,over it or avoid it. You just have to go through it.
    I hope and pray we all can and do for our children. x

    • Fiona everything you say is true take the grief hour by hour if need be. It will never end but it gets to a point where it can become can manageable if that is the word. I myself am not their yet after two years.X

  7. It is coming upto the first anniversary since my sixteen year old son took his own life

  8. It is coming upto the first anniversary of my sixteen year old sons death -he took his own life at home -he was clever and sporty and yet shy and sensitive. I am a single parent and he has an older sister who is now nineteen – she won’t talk about him and is still so angry with him.
    She went to university five months after he died -our home is empty and all the plans we had for when she had gone to uni for my son and I to do together are gone.
    I honestly thought that god would have answered my prayers and that I wouldn’t be here now
    I couldn’t look ahead to a life without him at first I couldn’t get past minutes then hours and now I am making a plan for next week how can that be yet still I think I won’t be here in summer no need to have to think about holiday times
    All I can say is that some days are easier to get up to than others the pain inside never goes I help it by writing to him every day -sometimes I have lots to say about what’s happened in the news that I know he would be interested in or the football results
    I buy him birthday presents and things that I know he’d like I’m not bothered if people think that’s strange but it helps me
    Reading how other people manage does help and makes u feel less alone
    And deep down the only way to exist is to do it your own way n what suits you
    Good luck
    X

    • It’s now been about 2yrs 6months since my daughter committed suicide. Yes now I’ve finally said it without any excuses like I’ve made for he in the past, saying she didn’t really mean to do it. I miss her, but she died by making a decision under the influence that ended her life.

      And myself and her two brothers all are left with the pain for the rest of our lives. My point is she committed suicide whether she meant to or not she still is dead and we are left with the pain. One son is angry with her for taking his future away from him she was the only one after I die that he could talk to about remember when mom did this and he feels she was selfish.
      And I’m Watching the other son drink himself to death also. I can’t loose another child. My alcoholic son came to visit a few weeks ago and got drunk when he was here to “visit” me. So I told him in the future I don’t want him to drink when he comes here because he drives home. So what does he do he came last weekend and started drinking right away. I told him to stop and he blew me off until I started crying that I couldn’t stand to loose another child to alcohol. It affected him but he kept claiming he wouldn’t make the same mistake and I kept saying that’s what his sister said.

      I still miss my daughter every day but it’s not the screaming in pain anymore now it’s more of a gasp for breath and then the tears fall. Sometimes I get irritated by people who don’t appreciate their child because I will never see my child again. But that’s my new life hiding my pain from my sons because they don’t deserve to loose their mother, putting one foot in front of the other until I can be with my daughter.
      I guess I’m just waiting to die. But not for a while I’ve got to be here for my sons as long and painful as it is to let them know I love and treasure them as much as their sister.


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