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Dear Cain,

cain hand

You were a friend of Charles’ and he was supposed to be in your wedding. But he died by suicide before your big day. It seems like just yesterday that you announced it to me standing in our kitchen in Midlothian. Judea is as amazing as you told me she was. Charles thought so, too.

You told me late last year that you were not always the best influence on Charles. That broke my heart. I could tell that you, like many of us, struggled with guilt after his suicide. You and Charles found each other when you were both struggling. I worried about both of you and there were times you were up to no good together and times you were not good for each other. In no way did you have anything to do with Charles behavior or death. You would have done anything for him.

You grew up when you got married and had a child. I have never seen a transformation so profound and inspiring. When I saw you outside of Moe’s with that baby carrier, I thought I would faint. You were clearly in love with that child. Not everyone that has a baby straightens up and takes responsibility. But for you, it was the best thing to ever happen. Fatherhood agreed with you as did being married.

What I didn’t know until later was your child’s diagnosis of a rare spinal disorder. You didn’t love that child any less. Maybe even more. No one knows how difficult it is to have a child with special needs, unless they’ve been through it. The emotional toll, the expenses, the stress. Nothing humbles you more.

I followed up with you after I saw you to see if we could go to lunch. Something came up and you couldn’t go.

My husband said how wonderful it was that you had gotten it all together. It gave us such hope.

You signed up for ‘Out of the Darkness’ walk for Team Charles this past September 2016, but having a child with special needs and responsibility as a provider with two jobs, you were unable to make it.

There were other missed opportunities that now make me ache. I so wanted to connect with you again and get some Charles’ stories. And now I can’t. In a cruel twist of fate, you died in a bizarre accident right when you were doing your best. We’ll never have that conversation. I’ll never know those stories. I am so sorry your parents and your wife have to travel this grief journey.

Life just isn’t fair.

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.

8 thoughts on “Dear Cain,”

  1. Anne,
    Thank you so much for this. I just realized as it came up on today’s fb memory that I never thanked you. Although, I am still stuck in that day.

    I hope you are well, take care honey.

    1. I still can’t believe Cain and Charles are both gone. He really loved being a Dad. Thank you for posting, Lisa. Your son is so lucky to have a mom who cares as much as you do.

  2. I had a very negative experience in my short time with Cain but I’m sad to see that he’s died and especially in this way. My thoughts and prayers go to his wife and child, this is such a sad thing and I really hope for the best for them right now.

  3. What a beautiful tribute and as always, your posts are so remarkable. I am so sorry for your loss Anne Moss. It must open up so many wounds. You and Cain’s family will be in my prayers.

  4. I think back to my daughters 16th birthday party and now see 3 faces in the pictures that we will never see on earth again. I pray. I pray for their souls. I pray for their families. I pray for our families. I pray for the others from the group. Lord, give us all the strength & love that we need until we meet again in Heaven.

  5. Prayers and love to Cain’s family as well as to you all. Perhaps, just perhaps, his death will be like Charles’ in that Cain’s story will touch many more through your blog than he might have in life. He may be an encouragement to someone struggling. Not that his death in any way is good, but that perhaps there may still be some far-reaching good to come from it. That has certainly been the case with Charles–your voice for addiction, suicide, mental health and stigma has been profound even as it came at the greatest cost to your family. I am so sorry for the loss of such a beautiful soul. ❤

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