Suicide. The coulda, woulda conversation in my head goes something like this

My coulda woulda shoulda is that last phone call I had with Charles. Here’s how it goes.

Alter Ego: You missed that last conversation, the one where he texted you, “Please pick up the f@#$%& phone, there is something I need to tell you.”

(my mind usually whines here)

Me: We had already been on the phone for two hours. He was shouting, incoherent and argumentative. I didn’t know where he was. I couldn’t understand him. I said, “I have to go. Bye, bye, I love you.” Then he called again and we talked again.

Alter Ego: But that third phone call, the one that you didn’t take, was your last chance. I think he wanted to tell you he loved you. And you missed it. You’ll never know what he wanted to say for sure. That opportunity has vanished….forever.

Me: But I didn’t know it was my LAST phone call. I thought I’d wait and call him the next day or later that night. I texted him a question and asked him to call me. He didn’t.

Alter Ego: You could have called. You have a phone. Every normal mother would have.

Me: I know, I know. It hurts. We did everything.

Alter Ego: You didn’t answer the phone again, though, did you?

Me:  I didn’t know he was suicidal. And I didn’t know then what I know now. He was going through withdrawal and having a depressive episode at the same time. He told me nothing and I couldn’t figure it out…. and I had to be somewhere.

Alter Ego: I see, you had to be somewhere. Was it that important?

Me:  I had no control over the situation, no knowledge of what was going on. I know I missed something important. It kills me.

Alter Ego: Do you really think you could have saved him?

Me: Maybe that day I could have. But I don’t think he was going to wrestle out of the grips of heroin. Ever. He was so fragile. And he refused traditional treatment for depression and his self medication had made his depression worse. I remember trying to figure out if he had hit rock bottom. And if so, what we needed to do. I needed time to think.

Alter Ego: It was always hard, wasn’t it? Trying to figure out whether it was mental health, drugs, the sleep disorder or all the above? Trying to figure out what to do.

Me: Yes and the system was so frustrating. It’s like swimming upstream.

Alter Ego: You know you have to drag yourself out of this dark hole. You have to go do something else. Call someone. 

Me: I will in a minute. I can’t talk. I can’t breathe. My heart hurts and I want him back. I want just one more chance, one more hug. I want to hear that he loves me. I want to hear that last phone call.

Alter Ego: I know you do

Me: Will I always feel this way?

Alter Ego: You do know he loved you. You know he was not himself and you had little experience with the heroin addiction. He’d had been depressed for so long. He reached for heroin because he felt so lousy all the time. Addiction was new and he was in such pain. He was only living for you guys and that’s not a foundation for survival. You’ve read his music

Me: I know. But I would give anything for a replay. When will this part stop? And why couldn’t I fix it?

Alter Ego: I don’t know. I’ve never been through this before either. But I imagine it will become less frequent, less painful. And you will forgive yourself. We can’t fix other human beings. We just can’t. 

Me:  I am not torturing myself as much now.  Charles I love you, I miss you. Please forgive me.

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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

22 thoughts on “Suicide. The coulda, woulda conversation in my head goes something like this”

  1. Anne you were such a caring Mom to Charles and knew it. He loved you as much as you loved him. Your conversations with your alter-ego will go on though as we always second guess things that we have done and wish for another chance. Thanks for sharing your pain and your words. It shows the rest of us that we are exactly like you are — human! Sending hugs your way.

  2. I blame myself every single day for Dylan’s death.
    What if I had sent him to different schools, actively arranged play dates with other kids, done SOMETHING differently so he had lots of friends and didn’t feel alone or different. I think he did feel alone, he felt different. And how could I not see the depression. I thought that was impossible because he was functioning so well. Good grades, extracurriculars. What’s wrong with me; what kind of a mother am I.

    1. I thought the same thing. It’s a process to where you feel you can forgive yourself. You realize, after a while that there are things out of your control. And you realize that blaming yourself is not helping you move forward and live the life your child would want you to live. But like I said, I can’t tell you not to go through this stage. We all do. I would like you to tell yourself that some day you will forgive yourself. Set the expectation. And even then, it’s not like it’s 100% all the time. You go two steps forward, one step back. It’s a long process. And I am so sorry. Did any of his friends see this coming?

  3. My son took his own life 9 weeks ago today, each week around the same time as I think he did it, ( he was found by a member of the public hanging of a bridge…) I am crying and remembering times through his life, when he was born, how he rushed to come into the world and how he rushed to do everything, mostly what he should not have done, then how he rushed to leave this world… vodka at the moment helps but I can’t keep going on these drinking sessions.
    I feel totally alone in my grief, people don’t want to know now, why should they he was my son..
    The inquest is in September, so I can’t get on with anything.. somedays are better than others I smile and crack a joke and feel so sorry I did that, because he has gone.

    1. Oh Lyn. You need a support network. It’s still so very raw. Let me know where you live so I can help you find that. I am so so sorry. I know that feeling of no one saying ANYTHING. It is so frustrating. The vodka will not help as you know. Let me know how else we can help and provide support for you now. But if you send me where you live, I can look up support groups at least. That helped me a lot

  4. Anne Moss…I’m so proud of you for doing this blog. I know it is therapy for you and it will help so many other folks! My heart breaks for you! Please know that I keep you in my thoughts and prayers! You are such an inspiration!

  5. I have been suicidal most of my life but fear of causing anyone this level of pain is what keeps me from it. I’m not worth someone ever hurting this much… I would rather hurt forever, I can take it

      1. No, nothing has and I have been sober for almost 8 years. I’m just so sorry for your loss and really understand you dear son’s pain…

        1. Oh ZJ. Thank you for responding. I think maybe I realize at that point I must have felt a “love and let go moment”. He was 20 and I couldn’t rescue his soul. That might be the piece of the puzzle I have been missing in this conversation in my head. I’ve often wondered if I would be happier with a child that was miserable every day. Nothing had worked for him but he didn’t give it much of a shot. He just did not want to. You gave me a lift simply by posting that. It always helps to hear it from the other side. I wish I could give you something that would work. I really do.

  6. I am crying as I read this, many, MANY times I marveled at the lengths you went to, the endless amounts of patience, the courage you showed, the amazement I felt as I watched you continue life..year after year……..I always wondered…..HOW?!!? I didn’t know then, I don’t know now but one thing I do know. You LOVED deeply, endlessly and I pray that healing is swift!

  7. As tears stream down my face I only offer my inner strength and a huge hug. I really enjoyed getting to know Charles during the short time you shared him with us.

  8. You’re a caring and wonderful mother. Charles will always be around you. Keep talking Anne Moss. You’re making a difference. ♡

  9. Anne Moss, thank you for sharing this with me first. I just read it and my heart bursts for you. I have similar feelings and memories of my last encounter with Drew. I think it helps to write about it and I struggle with the same guilt and heartache that I could have altered the events that led to Drew’s suicide. But like Charles, Drew did not tell me what was going on in his head.

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