I didn’t find Charles after his suicide

I was not witness to that final scenery.

That vision is not forever burned in my memory.  And while I regret that the young men who did find him had to endure it, I have to admit, I’m selfishly thankful I didn’t see it.

I feel intense sorrow for a parent that does find their child that way. A few of those I know have. Others, like me, were spared that vision.

It would be a day later before I would find out. Panic, shock, screaming, an emergency call all happened without my knowledge a day before. A handful of friends had already started to mourn. Four I think. A couple of parents in utter shock, trying to calm the chaos in their own child after such a discovery. I have never seen the location and the thought of going to see it makes me feel ill.

I knew, though. Some part of me did and I couldn’t interpret it. My mouth was dry all day that Friday. He didn’t answer my call. Not unusual but I felt eerie. I made a butt call accidentally later and I got a sick feeling that I can’t even describe.

I wonder where that phone rang? It didn’t go right to voice mail so it was not yet out of battery power. Was it sitting in a bag? In the police station? Did anyone hear it? Did they watch it and decide not to answer? I’ll never know. I was still in the dark. I still had hope for my child on some level although I felt it draining

I wanted to see the body. I was told later that it was best I did not. I didn’t get the chance because the body was held by a disreputable funeral home, making a devastating situation utterly surreal.

I had to let go saying last goodbye. I know now he would not have looked how I expected. I regret we didn’t get the opportunity to donate his organs. We did get his body and his ashes eventually.

Burned in my memory instead is “Saturday Charles” when he looked great, felt great before that dirty, rotten liar called heroin took my son’s brain hostage again, told him he was a worthless piece of shit and that he needed to hang himself.

So much of the last 5 years was a horror story in a state that had no mercy or resources for someone with depression. And then addiction.

I’m going to hold onto that vision of “Saturday Charles,” the one day when he looked like the child I remembered. I regret I don’t have a picture but thankful I have a vision of him then.

At least I have that.

Saturday Charles

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, 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. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

13 thoughts on “I didn’t find Charles after his suicide”

  1. Anne Moss, You are an incredibly strong woman. I can only imagine the pain you feel each and every day. Please know that I send daily hugs and prayers to you, Randy and Richard. I consider us as your extended family because of Charles and the indelible memories he made to the D’Ambra family. – Charlie

  2. Ann Moss, if I have told this story before, I apologize. I was released from the hospital 11/7/15 following an unexpected 8 day stay which resulted in the insertion of two cardiac stents. Since my heart was functioning at only 20% recovery was long & slow. My son Tyler, 28, cared for me on my return home, even going as far as helping me walk to the BR. He told me repeatedly that I didn’t realize how close I came to dying; in fact, my drs. had told my family I probably wouldn’t make it! One month later, 12/7/15 Tyler was acting bizarre & paranoid. In order to get Tyler out of our home safely my husband took him for a ride. He asked me to go but I was still unwell. About two hrs. later my husband was driving Tyler to a friend’s house on a county highway. Tyler looked at his father, expressed his love for us, undid his seat belt & jumped from the speeding truck onto the highway. My husband watched him die, laying on the asphalt, while waiting on paramedics to arrive. This is something my husband will never forget but I am grateful to God that I wasn’t there to witness my youngest son’s death!

  3. Anne my ❤️ goes out to you–my son ended his life the same way–I have a similar story but I did get to see my son– and I too regret not being able to give his organs –we were 800 miles away & I don’t know how long it was before someone found him–I think of the person who found him–I just hope it wasn’t some young person who saw that horror–There are times when I visit home that I would like to go to the place where he ended it all–but I think it’s best I don’t–Please know that I think of you often –and one mother to another my heart breaks for you–you are doing so a wonderful thing
    for others in the memory of Charles that you must know how proud he is of his mom–Bless you Anne—-

  4. When my son Danny attempted suicide on the night of Super Bowl Sunday last year, and was found, barely alive, by his step-father the following morning, I was so grateful to God that I hadn’t been the one to find him, but sorrowful that his step-dad of 35 years had to, and who will forever have that image, of Danny lying in a pool of vomit, his breathing so shallow, in his mind. And you know what? I wasn’t even surprised that Danny had made the attempt. I just knew, deep in my gut, that when my husband took Danny to have his psych meds filled on the day before the attempt, that he was going to do what he did. Call it mother’s instinct, but after the previous week 1/2, when Danny had been confined to a dual-diagnosis hospital ward due to suicidal ideation, that there would be a potentially bad end to shoddy treatment he received while hospitalized. 3 days after he was released, he tried mightily to end his misery. So far, Danny has made a remarkable turnaround from that incident. He’s taking his meds as prescribed, despite the horrible side-effects, is working a full-time job in landscaping, and this month is financially able to pay his own rent and take care of any personal needs. He sees a therapist weekly, and his psychiatrist every month. When we talk to him, he sounds, for the first time in more than 32 years, completely ‘normal’, something we haven’t experienced since he was about 13 (he will be 47 in October). My heart goes out to everyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to see their child recover (somewhat) from the mental demons that lead them to feel worthless and not worthy of life. I don’t try to fool myself. I know that the psych meds could quit working for Danny, and we could once again see him turn to drugs and alcohol to pacify and quieten those voices that led him down a dark path. But my faith is in God, Who can do what we mortals can’t. Love you, Anne. <3

  5. Love you. Much of that is the same for me. But all that happened in Brooklyn and we were helpless. I feel badly for his cousins who found him, and we sent them over to check on him. He didn’t show up for work. He actually had to be flown home in an airplane. In the cargo area I guess. HRO. Human Remains Onboard. Can you even believe we have these things in common with someone? Can you even believe this happened to our babies? Many days I am still in disbelief. And I remember Whitten the last time I saw him, at my dad’s 80th birthday 10 days before….Saturday Whitten. Thank you for your blog Anne Moss. You’re a strong chick.

  6. Though I do so appreciate your posts, I don’t often read them because of the overwhelming, intense emotion they bring to me. This one I read. I don’t know how you do it. I am so sorry this has happened to your world… May God keep you close.

      1. Anne Moss I read your posts and can feel your deep gust angst for Charles. I have no idea of your true feelings and selfishly hope I never do. I do wish to be able to save a life with an action during my everyday life that would help just one life from destruction. My hugs to you my friend.

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