Remember when I was on the other side?

“Life can crush your perfect world in under a second.”
—Charles Aubrey Rogers, from the rap song, Hell on Earth

I can hardly remember the days before I lost Charles. And when I do, it feels like a lifetime ago. Centuries even. How did my life get divided in half like that?  Like my other life is a book all by itself, sitting on another shelf in some other house.

What was I like? Did I know to ask moms about their children after they died? And did I ever say things like, “He is in a better place?” Was I aware that people never got over the death of a child?

That transformation from “mom” to “mom who lost her child to suicide,” happened so fast. One second I was normal. Then one sentence transformed my life forever.  As much as I wanted to hit that rewind button, there was no going back.

That gaping hole of hurt felt so large and I had to hold onto the edge of it with everything I had.

Even the day after he died, I tried to remember how I was before I knew he was dead but I couldn’t see it through all that fog. Those feelings of worrying about him were replaced with feelings of utter devastation.

Where did my former self go?  And what would she be doing if all this had not happened?

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.

10 thoughts on “Remember when I was on the other side?”

  1. Anne you are so right. Anyone who has suffered a loss such as yours are two different people — the before and after. Thanks for sharing your heart! The only way we survive is to to hold onto each other. Love and hugs coming your way.

  2. You are so exactly right Anne Moss. I know that’s so much happened in my life at the same time I lost Garrett. It does seem like a lifetime ago like it is on a shelf. Sometimes like it almost never happened to where we are now… where I am on my own without my son. As always, thank you.


  3. You are so right. And the before and after for me is accentuated when it comes to people that were part of my life before Daniel’s death and haven’t seen them since. I actually have avoided some of them because it’s too painful. My kids were always part of our conversations and they knew how special Daniel was. We’ll, I had lunch with one of those people today. I didn’t know if he knew thru the grapevine or not. I waited and waited. Near the end of lunch he asked me how my son is doing. I managed it well. No tears. After I finished my spiel he told me that his dad just died. I didn’t go to the grief comparison thing. I always go back to the saying that the worst grief is your own.

    1. Wow. I have run into friends that have not heard too. But more surprising in your case since Daniel was such a star. And if you did lose it, that’s ok. I think his dad’s death is his only reference point. And yeah, always wise not to compare grief. That’s smart.

  4. I vividly remember that unbeknownst to us, Whitten was already dead when we had this exchange in out guest room…
    Chip went to a men’s holiday happy hour at the country club and I was home wrapping presents (mostly Whittens’). He came in and said he had just talked to a neighbor, who’s son was in Whitten’s class and had died of leukemia when he was 13. He said the man talked about his dead son still, ten years later and that he had forgotten about it. He seemed surprised. I said, “well of course he does, i would think you never get over that…”
    Six hours later, we got a phone call….

    1. Oh my gosh what a weird coincidence. One you will never forget. My grandmother talked about her daughter that died 40 years later so that I knew.

      I sometimes think about those hours when I didn’t know yet and others did. When I dialed his phone leaving the retreat and almost panicked when he did not answer. And not answering was not unusual but somewhere in my brain, I knew.

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