Charles always knew how to make me laugh when I was low


By Danielle Warren with her permission to repost this message. Moms who’ve lost a child don’t get to have new memories of that child. The existing ones are all we have but we don’t know all of them and always open to hearing a story about our child who died. This is the first time I’ve known that Charles struggled with depression as early as middle school. 

Hi Mrs. Rogers! Oh it has been such a long time. I couldn’t believe it when my mom told me you were in her networking meeting the other week. I apologize I am only reaching out to you now.

The day I found out the news I wanted to reach out but feared I would say the wrong thing or you wouldn’t remember me enough to want to talk about Charles. Now I realize those were unrealistic thoughts and any memory pertaining to your son would be incredibly special to you. It broke my heart when my mom told me that few of his friends stayed in contact with you after the fact.

Mrs. Rogers, Charles was one of a kind.

I struggled at Millwood and was bullied by girls in the grade all three years. Charles knew this and always knew how to make me smile or laugh when he could tell I was having a horrible day.

On top of that, he would text me late at night about his insomnia and that he was feeling really low. At 11 or 12 you don’t really pick up on the signs of mental illness but that’s the thing, the saddest people spend their entire lives trying to make sure everyone else they care about is happy because they know what it feels like to be low. Charles never stopped radiating goofiness and love.

There was a point after he had been in New York that he reached out to me asking if we could get together. That he was going to finally be back home soon. I never saw him after that. And I will feel guilt deep in my heart because I will never have that opportunity again. Time is precious and young people seem to lose sight of the purpose of life and that waking up every day is a privilege, not a right.

I have no doubt in my mind that Charles lived every day to his fullest, even on his worst days. I wish I could give you a hug and thank you for sharing your son the years that I knew him best.

Charles will never be forgotten and there isn’t a single day that passes that I don’t think about him or cry for a few minutes. I am so thankful for the things you do with your organization because mental health is so incredibly important and so many people have been effected by it in some way. I hope my words bring more joy than sadness, although I feel as though I’m talking in circles trying to find the right thing to say.

I don’t really think there is a right thing to say. I am always willing to talk about him or to get together with you to talk about other things. I always have you on my mind and I read your blog almost every day.

You are the type of parent this world needs more of.

Sometimes it still doesn’t seem real to me that he’s gone

7 thoughts on “Charles always knew how to make me laugh when I was low”

  1. How wonderful for you to reach out to Anne Moss and let her add another precious memory of her son! You’ve done a great thing.

  2. Danielle,

    Jenny of the words right out of my mouth… What a beautiful gift you’re just given to Anne Moss, Charles’ amazing mother who I only came to know after the loss of my son, five years ago. We are all in that Network. Unfortunately most drift away, be it family, friends or your child’s friends but those who stay are precious gems like you. The best to you Danielle.

    Garrett’s Mom

    1. Janet,

      I read your story just the other day on this wonderful blog. My heart truly aches for you and not only the loss of Garrett, but the loss of support from your other son and the father of your children. Your personal battle with mental illness and the way it was handled by your family is a prime example of how hushed and taboo this topic is to people who have never felt that mental struggle. Charles’ and Garrett’s stories, as well as every other child or adult lost to suicide, are prime examples of why mental illness shouldn’t be silenced and I’m so happy there is a space where their memory of life is loud and vibrant. While I deeply wish the circumstances had been different, I am so glad you came into connection with someone like Anne Moss who created this amazing network which provides a support system amongst parents who have been through the same type of pain. Thank you for your kind words. The best to you, as well.


  3. Oh Daniel. I don’t know you but am crying reading this because I know what a gift it is to Anne Moss. And Anne Moss. Shew lady. This is so special. And so true. I have loved hearing from Billy’s friends. Big love to you both. 💙

    1. I want people to know how much we love our stories. And you know that’s why I re-post all the articles you guys wrote on social media. Because there are ones we’ve never heard. I keep every one of them in a folder.

    2. Jenny,

      It is whole heartedly my pleasure to share these words with Anne Moss and other parents in the network. My heart hurts for you all and I wish I could hug every single one of you. One of the most important things to remember is that the memories of your children will live on forever in the hearts of the people they touched. Just like Charles and your son Billy. I just hope you have the same beautiful support that Anne Moss does and get to hear new stories and memories as often as possible from people close to him.

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