My son died in a hell hole

I can only imagine where he was staying

Charles was found dead in an apartment on Monument Avenue.

The most coveted street in Richmond–a  gorgeous avenue lined with million dollar row houses and manicured little yards on cobblestone streets. There is an apartment building there where he died that is seedy and unkept. But from the outside? It looks normal, almost stately.

I’ve never been there. Will I ever go? I can’t say.

All I know is that it’s not far from the Golden Goat, the pawn shop where Charles sold his bike and computer, his last possessions. I still remember what he said after, “Mom, I have nothing,” and the awful feeling of despair I had when he said it.

He pawned the items on Tuesday and he called me on a Thursday. After he died, I had the receipt from the backpack and I went back for those items. I was still numb from shock as it was just days after he killed himself.

The apartment was a place where a lot of those with addiction go. A lot of them came to Charles’ memorial service and my husband and I thanked them for coming.  Dirty mattresses were strewn about and it was a dirty, gloomy, dingy place where despair, depression and worthlessness oozed from the walls. That’s what I was told and I heard Charles loathed it. A place for society’s throwaways.

The despair at that place wrapped my son like a blanket. I heard it leaking from his voice. I felt it in my heart when he called. My beautiful, youngest child deserved better than to die in that hell hole.

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.

22 thoughts on “My son died in a hell hole”

  1. I’m so sorry, so very sorry. Our children all deserved better.
    My beautiful, sweet girl died alone in a seedy hotel outside Richmond. She was left alone by a “friend”. That awful person left her and she was found 12 hrs later by the cleaning people. The description given will never leave my mind . My imagined scenarios have played over and over.
    The pain is so raw “seeing” her there alone in a cold, dark room. I fight to keep that image away. I may never know why she went there.
    I don’t know if I can ever go there.
    I don’t know that it could ever help me in any way. Do I need that further reality? On top of this all ready constant heartache.
    I understand why some may. I don’t know yet. But I’d say think very hard.

    1. I don’t know either. But there is no rush. I am so sorry. I hate that Charles was so alone too. I know Jenny deer also struggles with the fact that her son’s body was left for at least a day.

  2. It is so painful to lose a child in your case and mine A.M. I admire what you are doing for mental health. We are trying to spread awareness as you know in Amelia. Thank you again for coming to the walk here in April.
    It helps reading your blog. Our son died by a gun that he used.

    1. It’s so hard. And rural America has taken a big hit with both suicide and the opiate epidemic. Thanks to you there is awareness. I am glad I could come and support you. You are welcome to tell me more about your son.

  3. Like David above, I was drawn to the site of Garrett’s suicide (out of town Virginia) in Chesapeake, Virginia.. It’s hard to describe why, but for me, I hadn’t seen him or talk to him for over 2 years. He was cremated and I never had the opportunity to see him just say goodbye. I received the news returning home meeting my parents in the parking lot thinking they had just stopped by to visit have a cup of coffee before they went back to Fredericksburg. I remember March 4th 11 a.m. after I went to the endocrinologist lab. Will never forget that day. somehow in my mind I needed to see where he left this world. He died on a field in a closed airport landing practice field 25 minutes from his brother’s house where he had lived the previous year. It was his birthday soon I made a special plaque and took tulips and a candle for prayers. I remember walking that field and when I came upon the straw strown on the spot where his body laid in the crime scene. I can still remember how sharp the field felt as I shoved the straw aside and lay on the ground. there are images we all have our children that no parent should ever see and once they are in our minds they are sealed foreve. I tell you this Anne Moss as sometimes I wish that was not an image I had to have. But at the time it was as if I couldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it. Now I know that realization would be inescapable. Just really think about it.

  4. Golden Goat, had my go around with them while my son was in active addiction. Really surprised they haven’t been shut down due to some of their practices.
    My heart breaks for you Anne. Depression and addiction can be crippling and so many don’t make it through. I hope to see big changes on the mental care front.

  5. My daughter suffers of depression. I run twice this month to be with her to help her with her depression. It took her for ever to find help because Cigna was not very diligent.

    1. Charles suffered from anxiety and depression. He suffered addiction in the last 6 months of his life. And I know what you mean about insurance. The whole mental health system is difficult to navigate. And I was and still am on the board of a mental health organization

  6. Daniel hanged himself in his bedroom in a million dollar rental that Markiplier leased. Daniel was living with the once in a lifetime dream opportunity to get paid for exercising his creativity. I now believe his hellhole was in in mind. That’s what depression and anxiety can do to a person. Surviving his suicide has given me insight into incessant emotional pain that can be a hellhole at times. I went to LA four months after he died to stay in his bedroom. I sat on the floor and cried under the closet doorway where his feet had dangled. Looking back I don’t how I did that. I just had to be in the place where he did it. Something just drew me as a sort of bonding. I bet you go one day.

  7. A-M, similar story here. My son died in his tiny room in his empty apartment in Brooklyn, drunk and alone. He was found when they broke the door down and called the police. I have never been and never will. We were scheduled to go up the next week and help him get some furniture, and paint etc, etc. Instead he hung himself with his belt. My beautiful only child didn’t deserve to die alone and miserable. They both deserved better.

  8. Addiction and mental illness are exactly that, unfortunately. Thanks for sharing. I will keep fighting with you to help those in need of help. xoxo

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