Imagine living with a premonition that your child is going to die?

I can’t predict things. But I do get premonitions. They just hit me like a lightning bolt. Most the time it’s just random stuff. Usually not a death although those are the ones I remember the most. I’ve actually had only three death premonitions and one of those was Charles.

I had no clue how he would die. That wasn’t part of the premonition. The suicide was a complete shock.

Often my premonitions are mundane enough–like I am going to win a prize or a friend is going to have a flat tire. My mom has always called me the “witch”– but not in a mean way. The premonition about Charles dying started stalking me in January of 2014.

Prior to the full blown premonition,  I had flashes about him that were unnerving and disturbing but not really very clear from about 5th grade on. I’m not sure what these would be called. Pre-premonitions? They were very fuzzy and foggy and I simply couldn’t see Charles being an adult. I had this awful undefined moment of fear and I can even remember where I was standing when I had the first one. I was in the dining room on the phone. And while I’m having this conversation with a teacher, I hear in my head, “Charles is going to die.” Then I had this vague uneasy feeling that I tried to push away.


When they became more intense premonitions they started feeling more real. Many of my friends heard me say that I didn’t think Charles would make it. Some of you might think this would prepare me for his death. I can tell you it did not.

So how did I live with this? Of course, I talked myself out of them. Surely this can’t be true. But once they came to me often, I had to do something. Because losing hope is just about the most devastating feeling of all. It is second only to losing a child.

What did I do?

I made a list of three things. At the top was a wish. That wish was that he wouldn’t die between moving out of my old home and into my new one. That is exactly what did happen.

That list you ask? Number one was to call family. Number two was to call Martha, my friend for the last 40+ years. Number three was to ask Mary Jo if we could have the memorial service at Grace & Holy Trinity.

The purpose of this “list” was to make it so I could put it out of my mind. Sort of like if you carry an umbrella, it won’t rain.

When I made the list around February of 2015, it did provide some relief. And guilt, too. So confusing.  Then I felt as if a weight had been lifted.

But then it happened

We were at Brio Tuscan Grille when my husband got the call on his cell phone from the police on June 5, 2015. The Richmond Police just said they were at our house and nothing more. Then they said they’d come to meet us at the parking lot at Brio.

The sudden realization that it had come true was the absolute worst feeling I have ever had. I knew before they got there and I have never felt so cold and frightened in my life. Your world just stops and you just go numb.

Why did that one have to come true? How did I know? And why the F#@% did I have to know?

I can’t answer that. But I’m due a good premonition, that’s for sure.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. 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. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

11 thoughts on “Imagine living with a premonition that your child is going to die?”

  1. I had premonitions of my son”s death several months before his suicide in 2010. I had them twice. I don’t know why i had them because it didn’t change anything. Maybe now i will pay better heed to them. I have had other premonitions that came true, but like yours they were over little things.

    1. I had premonitions of my son’s death but now how. Sometimes there is the desire to label it as a thought and not a premonition. Imagine if you had asked your son because you had this premonition. What would he have said? Most likely he would have said, “Mom, chill. That is never going to happen.” Then what would you have done with that? All the “what ifs” circulate in our heads until we are crazy with it before we decide that none of it can change the outcome. But there is agony before we get to that place which is part of the healing process. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    2. When my happy, healthy kindergarten age son was laughing and playing on the beach I had a sudden “knowing” that he would predecease me and I wept. He lived a full life and on June 3, 2020 I got a call from my eldest daughter telling me she knew something “really bad” had happened to Thomas. He was working in finance in NYNY and was in love and had been planning to visit me in Virginia the next week with his girlfriend. I called NYNY 911 and within 10 minutes he was found dead in his apartment . It wasn’t suicide. For years before I met an unusual number of women who had lost a child. I always asked them if they had known their child would predecease them. All said “no”. I have had knowings about other people dying since I was in high school . Are you familiar with others like me?

      1. I do. I am one of them. I had nagging premonitions of such before 5th grade but it was not until then that they became more prevalent. I haven’t heard of a lot of people like us, but a few. I have a pretty robust tribe here. I think even if you do have premonitions of such, it’s still a shock. I’m so sorry Charlotte. It sounds like he was a successful young man.

  2. I had 2 premonitions several months before my 19 year old son took his life. They would always come to me with a thought that one of my children were going to die, then I would see a picture in my mind of Joe. I would always say, no no not my sweet Joe. I listened to a rabbi give a talk that they always happen to get the soul ready for the process of death. I don’t know if my son had any. I live with terrible guilt that I could have prevented his death if I had just said the right words to help him.

    1. I so understand your guilt. It took me such a long time to let go of it. I started by telling myself I would forgive me one day. And then I did. But setting the intention helped me get there. All those coulda woulda shouldas haunt us. And the fact that it is “preventable” makes it harder. But the truth is we can’t control what another person does. And I believe they are not making a choice but are driven to in a moment that is not entirely within their control. Be patient with yourself when it comes to the “what ifs.” I believe you will get to a place where they don’t haunt you so much. But it’s part of the process of healing to go through it. Thank you so much for sharing. It really helps me, too Catherine.

  3. How awful for you to be carrying that thought with you for so long. But we never ever imagine it will come true. I wish I could understand why to offer you some words of comfort. But I know they don’t exist. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I hope that by doing this you feel our love coming your way.

  4. On the Weds that we learned Billy had died but before we were able to confirm it I found a reading called Anticipatory Grief. I read it at my meeting that night while filled with the worst feeling of dread. I knew. I am not sure that was a premonition but I certainly felt he was gone. 💙

  5. Yes, yes…you are. I pray for you and your heart all of the time. I can’t imagine what you’ve experienced but I do know loss…and grieving. I don’t wish that on anyone. It is a process and I appreciate your writing and showing up for all of us who grieve…who are depressed. Your voice, your experiences and especially your life matters.
    Thank you Anne Moss.

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