Please do not avoid the subject of my son who died

 

Probably one of the toughest things about having a child that died, especially one that died by suicide, is that many people avoid you and say nothing. And yes, we notice. In fact, we are hyper sensitive 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.

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Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and my book, Diary of a Broken Mind, will be published in the fall. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website

7 thoughts on “Please do not avoid the subject of my son who died”

  1. You are helping so many people! What strength and resilience and love you have in your heart. You are keeping a part of Charles here by giving birth to conversation, awareness, and by supporting others in manners which have rarely existed. True blessings.

  2. Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I lost my brother to suicide December 22 and it’s been even more devastating to attempt move through life with no acknowledgment of the huge void left in my life by those closest to me.

  3. You are a hero for caring and sharing. I am a grandmother and am so blessed. I have watched my sons grow up and have children of their own. It is your story that has opened my eyes to mental illness and lack of support from us. You have made me a better person and I thank you for that. I pray God sends his comforter to you and your family to watch over you.

  4. Thank you Anne Moss for sharing you innermost feelings about Charles and his struggles. You are bringing awareness about mental illness and addiction to the forefront where it should be. Your family is in my prayers daily.

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