Charles spent his whole life trying to pull all of us outside

The power was out and Charles was pumped. It was out after a Hurricane Isabel.

He loved it. Thought it was the grandest thing ever. Hurricane and no electricity meant everyone came outside.  Away from their big screen TVs and video games. School was cancelled and it was 24/7 play time!

Fortunately, we had no real damage so it’s easy to look at it that way. Just some downed trees, none of which hit our house or cars.

Charles was around 8 or 9 years old. He organized games nonstop. Real or made up, it didn’t matter. I remember some skits, too, that involved that dress up box we had forever. Knights and ninjas, dragons and bunnies. At night, he’d have me hunting down candles and he’d make board games with pen and paper and whatever objects for playing pieces. Of course that was followed by tents outside for sleepovers.

I remember all of us figuring out how to make coffee and sharing it as we ran around with our coffee pots pouring into neighbor’s mugs. I had a french press and was able to heat up water using the gas grill and pour it into insulated containers to keep it hot.

People were outside helping each other with chain saws and brush removal. Running to Lowe’s to see if there were generators left. Trying to find what was open and what was not. We were all in the misery together but it was nice. Conversations happened because we had nowhere to go. Impromptu hurricane parties because why not? And we went to bed early. We were without power for nearly 2 weeks which meant a lot of bad hair days.

Charles was onto something. Something we’ve lost and he craved. That community togetherness. I marveled at his creativity. Maybe electricity and air conditioning were the best and the worst inventions at the same time. And technology pushed us further inside away from each other.

What if we continue to lose all the people who bring us together, those who make us laugh and socialize?

I know I’ve mentioned the community aspect before. I just remembered this hurricane–something that made so many miserable made Charles so delighted. A happy memory.

God I miss my youngest child.


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.

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