Probably one of the toughest things about having a child who died, especially one that died by suicide, is that many people avoid you and say nothing. And yes, we notice. In fact, we are hypersensitive to it.
It’s isolating and devastating enough without the added stress of someone obviously avoiding you or the subject because they don’t know what to say. I understand why. But it still hurts.
And sometimes when I have brought it up to eliminate the elephant in the room, people wave me off or turn away like it’s too ugly and they don’t want to hear any more and then change the subject immediately. Or make me feel embarrassed to have had the guts to ask if they knew I lost my son so I can move past it and have another conversation. It’s weird and awkward not knowing who knows and doesn’t know.
It’s OK to say, “I was so sorry to hear about your son” or just a hug with, “I’ve been thinking about you.” Avoidance always makes things worse. And nothing, absolutely nothing makes you feel more like your child never counted for anything than this type of rejection. And like I said, I get it and I know why but it still feels like rejection at the point in your life you need someone to acknowledge your child that you spent your entire life raising, counted.
It feels so bad to all of a sudden be a social pariah because you are a victim of a tragedy. That last 5 years with stigmatized illnesses have been hard enough. If Charles had had cancer, the support and outreach would be and would have been entirely different.
Thank you to so, so, so many of my friends who have reached out, listened, talked about it, acknowledged the loss and told me stories. And that is a lot of you. It means everything to me. And thank you for listening to my rants.