Charles died 8 months and 3 days ago from the above dateand these are the things that helped me find some peace.
#1 – Joined a support group*
While in group, there were times I felt like I was pouring alcohol in a wound when hearing everyone’s stories. I broke down with each one. However, exposing yourself to others in this way releases so much of your own pain. You bond with others in the same situation. Allowing the hurt leads to healing. It’s truly a relief and it allows you to let go.
#2- Understanding that I’m not always the captain of this journey
That means giving up control sometimes and letting grief happen. Recognizing when I am no longer grieving but wallowing and then redirecting myself. Making plans on days I know might be hard such as holidays and allowing my friends to do things for me. None of this is easy but once you understand the rhythm of your journey, you figure out how to guide it even if you can’t control it.
#3- Adjusting my attitude. My son would want me to be happy
I only have one life and I need to learn to enjoy it again, honor his memory and appreciate the time we did have and all the lives he touched in his short life span. While I have bad days, for the first time since June 5, 2015, I strung together 5 good days in a row. By good days, I mean days where my limbs didn’t feel heavy and I wasn’t feeling lethargic and unmotivated all day. Or when I thought of him, it didn’t take me to my knees. If I can string 5 good days together once, I can do it again.
#4- I write. And write. And write
It started with public posts on Facebook. Then I started my own blog (this one).
Then I submitted an article to the newspaper about suicide. It took 5 months to write but once I pushed through it and wrote it, I felt relief and found peace. It hurts like the devil reliving the moment and being emotionally naked in public. But for some reason, I see it differently once I write it and I feel peace. Just like Charles did when he wrote. Journal, poetry, music–writing is therapy.
#5- I talk about it. I don’t hide behind it
I think about what I will say so it’s less awkward. I can’t erase my son. I won’t erase him. I have to acknowledge that he lived and touched others. But I don’t want to be a shock jock and halt a conversation dead in its tracks. I had to figure out how to talk about it in a shameless, natural, matter-of-fact way. It simply took practice. My son died by suicide. And I am proud to have been his mother.