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Emotional scars

light a candle for my child

Over time, the blunt force trauma of a Charles’ suicide has softened. The edges are not as sharp, the searing pain has become a persistent ache. He is still the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. There are repeat episodes of intense pain but they are usually not as long lasting.

The wound is still there. It still aches, sometimes throbs, and even ruptures. Pictures can make me smile. Or they can make me cry. But overall, I have adjusted to my new life without my youngest son

Not long ago, I was in New York with my niece. We saw a beautiful catholic church on fifth avenue and went in. It was stunning architecture and they had tourists walking about while a midday service was going on.

As I walked through the door I spotted the candles. At churches of all denominations throughout Europe and the US, if there is a candle I buy one and light it for Charles.

On this occasion, a soloist starts singing the moment I light my candle and she’s magnificent. I imagine she is singing to me and I erupt in tears. Racking sobs. It was too loud in there for anyone to hear– not that I cared. It took several minutes to work through the grief and I just relished the moment I had with my child’s memory, not rushing it along but allowing it to take its course.

I have a right to that memory and that pain. I’m not ashamed of it nor will I deny myself of that moment. Because it’s my time with my child who died too soon.

I know now grief has a rhythm. And a purpose.

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Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on 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, coping strategies/resilience, 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.

6 thoughts on “Emotional scars”

  1. I said I’d let you know how Daniel’s 3rd deathday went which was yesterday 9/16. We had him pronounced dead on 9/18 after they kept him on ventilator for two days allowing us to travel cross country to LA and visit with his lifeless body. But he died from the hanging on 9/16. Anyway, I can honestly say after three years I have finally “come out of it” (in grief parlance my grief is now fully integrated). Intensity is way down. But as we know it will always be there as a low hum and will surface with intensity at times.

    1. Thank you for that David. I was wondering about you just this morning. Maybe this post triggered that thought. I was telling my mom about you and your son over the weekend, too. I’m glad you’ve gotten to a place of peace. I think it’s the best we can hope for.

  2. I hear ya. Those moments are hard, but very special and necessary!

    I am in NYC right now, and at a group dinner last night, a lady whom I don’t know very well, came right out with it. She told me how much she thinks of me and admires me. And how incredulous she is that I am able to function. She lost her mom in May and said it made her realize what I must be going through.
    Beautiful acknowledgement.

  3. Your open hearted sharing always touches me deeply. Far too many people send and receive the message that we are to “hold ourselves together” or “cry privately” and other such messages that are truly damaging. We laugh, we cry and in between…and it’s all real and honest.

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