Surviving the first holidays after my son’s suicide

So the grief is like a tidal wave. When it hits, it hits hard. It can last a day or about a day and a half. Or sometimes shorter. But over the holidays the periods have stretched back out. They had gotten shorter and I know they will again. It maybe my journey but I’m not always the captain of it.

After a big hit of grief, you can have a “grief hangover” where you just feel sort of lethargic and shell shocked but relieved that the worst of it is over. Then you have to kick your own butt to pull out of it because the wallowing is so miserable. It is so exhausting and I see now why Charles was so unmotivated sometimes. He just could not put all those steps together because it was too much work when he was in a depressive state.

Grief is like a bad storm that slowly moves away and then becomes a beautiful day that almost wipes your memory clean of the big, bad storm. I have learned on days that are really good, or hours that are really good, to simply enjoy them without guilt and be thankful. Because that tidal wave does come back. I don’t think about the tidal wave and when it will hit next. But the tidal wave is a necessary component to my healing process.

Putting my feet to the floor and getting dressed is a chore that completely overwhelms me every day. It is so much work. But I get it done. I don’t want to run some days but I again kick my own butt and get out there because I always feel better after. I am not good at it but I am consistent and it helps.

This is my first holiday since Charles’ death but today is a pretty good day that followed a stormy day and a half. I don’t know that I want the holiday to end because it will mean I am that much farther away from when he lived. And then I do want it to be over because the hurt is so magnified. But no matter how I feel it’s there. It’s still going to happen and I have to hand over the reigns and go with it. Because time will move on, I will move with it. And I will never forget Charles. How he loved or how he suffered.

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The holidays hurt

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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 currently working on getting a book published. 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.

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