The parking spot

where we found out about our sons suicide

A few weeks ago, I was at Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond and I realized I was going in front of Brio Tuscan Grill to go to Dillards.

As some of you know and others of you don’t know, we found out about Charles’ suicide in a parking lot right outside of Brio’s. Not that there is an ideal location to find out that news. There’s no good place.

At any rate, I am still la-dee-dahing my way down this road when I pass “the spot” and my heart starts to beat out of my chest. I’ve not gone that way since we got the news and the sight of that spot just gave me chills. So I stopped. I stood where I did that night. I took a picture of that spot.

I remember the black undercover police officer standing outside the car in front of the back door. My husband was already in the front. I was slower and remember that I stopped and shouted, “You’ve come to tell me my child is dead!” I walked to the door and the officer opened the door and I got in. He shut the door and stayed outside. I’m not sure if he went anywhere. I was so intent on the profile of the other policeman in the driver’s seat.

It just has to be the part of the job that sucks the most–telling parents that their child is dead, and oh by the way it was a suicide. I imagine being with people at the most agonizing moment of their life has to be so emotionally draining.

How do you put that someplace else? How could it not effect you even if you’d been taught some strategy for not living every tragedy.  They had to have thought, “I didn’t sign up for this.” But then the other guy stayed away. Had he been at the house would he have stayed outside? I guess I would have if I had the choice.

And the wailing. Oh my God our cries of pain still seer through my heart some nights. I don’t have that dream any more. I told my brain to stop having it. Period. Living it once was enough. But I remember now seeing the guy’s face from the side. He was as gracious as possible but I could see he was in pain. I think he had to be particularly affected by my husband. One Dad seeing another’s Dad’s life fall apart.

So I faced it. The parking spot. Made it have less power over me. It’s just a parking space. It’s the place that I felt myself look down on me. It’s the place where I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. And where I felt Charles look down on us and see us beaten and in agony. Only he could no longer feel the hurt and pain.

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Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and my book, Diary of a Broken Mind, will be published in the fall. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. 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

17 thoughts on “The parking spot”

  1. Anne, I think of you often and read all your blogs and helpful essays and information about mental health. When I found my husband hanging from our balcony, it was the worse moment of my life. I literally could not stop shaking for 48 hours. In two weeks it will be five years and both of my children are suffering with depression and severe anxiety. We are all seeing therapists and trying to live with happier memories of Kevin. Than you for all you do to support we survivors of suicide.💝

    1. Oh Ann. What a shock to walk in on that scenery. I was spared that at least. It has such profound and far reaching consequences. Especially suicide. Thank you for trusting me with that story. I am glad this site helps. It sure has helped me find all of you.

  2. Anne: I am in awe of the courage you demonstrated in confronting “the spot” and for creating your blog. It gives people permission to say things they need to say or hear to help release their pain. Thank you for everything you are doing to bring light to the subjects of addiction, suicide and mental illness. Together, we can all change the dialogue and stigma!

  3. What I remember:
    Racing through the rain in a silent car and praying, Jesus, please be with my son.
    Seeing the car and the drivers side, his side, completely smashed and unrecognizable and beginning to scream and scream
    Running right out of my shoes to get to the car before being stopped by police (they were never found)
    The fireman saying, I’ll take you to your son and for a moment, a wave of relief crashing over me
    The feel of my husband’s shirt in a death grip in my hand
    The moment I saw him, twisted all the way from the drivers side out of the passenger side door, his arms stretched out for rescue (why was he so STIFF?)and the gray of his skin where his shirt had burned off
    The screams of my husband as the police tackled him and threatened to taze him
    Somehow, suddenly, being in the ditch, by myself, pulling up huge handfuls of grass and mud, wailing and trying my best to bring up the huge meal and birthday cake I had just fed my boy and not being able to
    My sister taking me home while my husband stayed behind and pulling up to the house to find hundreds of cars and people crammed in to our cul de sac
    The sound of his friends’ screams as I got out of the car; the look on my face enough to tell them he was gone
    The final blow of finding my 12 year old daughter alone on the front porch, a puddle of vomit between her feet because she found out her brother was dead on Facebook. Not one single adult that had been there had given a thought to taking care of her.
    I’m sorry if this was graphic. I try to tell the story as much as I can to solidify it into a horrible memory that can be filed in a distant file in my brain. I was never able to do it in PTSD therapy when I was supposed to and it’s something of a catharsis when I can. Thank you for your site and thank you for letting me tell my story.

    1. Wow Laurie. So shocking we live through this. Thank you for being real and sharing. I find it cleansing to say how it felt. I hope you do too. The shock….It’s always there. That initial feeling of pure shock and devastation

  4. I remember it so well. I relive it constantly. We were in my husband’s office when my nephew and the detective called from Brooklyn. We were screaming and writhing on the floor. It’s hard to forget. Every time I hear of a child’s death, I relive the whole week. I heard of a friend’s daughter dying in a plane crash last night, and am even thinking about it today.
    Anne Moss, the fact that you can put it out of your mind if needed is awesome. You just keep it up. When you are able to make a choice to visit it or not, you are healing.
    Hugs.

  5. Yes I went back to ‘the place’ where Joshua ended his life. The detective was kind enough to meet me in the area and show me where ‘it’ happened. Waited appx two weeks before I went. Didn’t want imagination to take over or the unknown. I do better when I KNOW rather than the questions. I have no regrets. A peaceful place .Spot on the fringe of trees with a nice view. It has no power over me, but my imagination could. That’s when I found the broken heart shaped rock . A treasure. I collect heart shaped rocks, have quite a few but that’s the first heart rock that has the bottom broke off (love you from the bottom of my heart)
    Thank you for sharing Anne . I am unable to express how much emotional healing has come from this site . Diane Fielder McCormick

  6. Oh the power of seemingly innocuous places when life is shattered there… You are brave and wise to face it, even as all those memories come flooding back. Thinking of you and sending love.

  7. Anne Moss, I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am for the news you got on that day in the parking spot. I’m proud of you for facing the spot and lessening its power. Thanks for sharing this step in your journey with us.

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