10 things I learned from Charles

Since Charles’ death by suicide, I have adopted some of his traits. Nothing like the loss of a child to inspire you to take inventory of your life.

1. Follow your dreams

Do what you are passionate about and all else will follow. I remember Charles asking me one time what my dreams were. And if I was not actively pursuing them he wanted to know why. To him, it was unfathomable not to follow your dreams no matter what.  He had not a practical bone in his body. Definitely part of his charm.

On Myers Briggs, Charles was an ENTP. On the Eeneagram, he was a dreamer, #7. Literally.

ENTP – Charles
E 35, N 37, T 31, P 45

2. Real rap is not bad, it’s a window into a soul

He wanted me to understand rap and why it meant so much to him. It was so personal to him and what helped him stay with us as long as he did. Like a lot of parents, I was not well educated on rap that came from the soul.

It bothered me that some of his songs were so dark because I knew his came from the heart and it worried me. But honestly I think it helped him cope like writing helps me cope. He would admit to depression in his music but never admitted to me he suffered from depression although diagnosed with it.

3. Listen to your gut

Charles always went with his gut especially since he had no practical side. Since I didn’t listen to my gut the day he took his life, I have vowed to go with my gut

4. Others matter

Charles brought out the best in people because they knew he cared. I do think his ability to let others know they matter was his greatest gift. It was more important than anything to make people feel that they mattered and they counted probably because he didn’t always feel that he did.

5. Every once in a while, be impulsive

I am not, by nature, very impulsive. But he encouraged me to be so at least sometimes. I’ve probably done that more often since his death in honor of my boy.

6. Darkness in a soul is not ugly, it’s inspiration

Many great books, movies, works of art are the result of pain. Much of Charles’ music is the result of pain. I even think his comedy was the result of pain. So beautiful things come as a result of darkness.

7. Never turn down fun

Even shortly after he died I looked for opportunities to go out. I wasn’t always in great spirits but I kept trying.

8. Be a nonconformist

Charles took non-conformity to a whole new level. Like Charles, I can’t just follow a path that’s carved for me. I have to blaze my own trail. The difference now is that I’m willing to take more of a risk. Launch myself out there with the faith that I will land on my feet. Thanks to my angel.

9. There is nothing more important than connecting with your audience

Nobody had an audience captivated like Charles did. People want that emotional connection. Maybe that’s why I feel him with me when I do present my story. As I was looking through his twitter pictures today, I saw that he had yet another performance award he never told me about.

10. Hear people. Listen to what they are really saying

I don’t think I had as razor sharp a focus in this regard until after he died. All of a sudden I picked up on things I didn’t before. It’s like that skill was transferred to me.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

One thought on “10 things I learned from Charles”

  1. Why is it that these children we lose are thoughtful, kind, witty, brilliant, artists, writers, thinkers, philosophers and many times better people than we are? The world would be so much better off with a Whitten here, than with a me.

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