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.