Over a year after my son’s suicide, I no longer hate being alive

by Christine Dudek

There’s something about the light piercing through the clouds at 30,000 feet when I’m lucky enough to get a window seat. It looks like every picture of heaven I’ve ever imagined since I was a little kid and so it makes me feel closer to Tyler.

Flying has gone from the most excruciating stillness to a peaceful experience. It doesn’t matter that it’s all in my head. The illusion or delusion that I’m closer to my boy makes me feel better.

There’s something about a pinstriped uniform with those two interlocking letters (NY) that makes me happy and connects me to things I’ve never understood before.  And how ’bout them Jets? My boys in green playing football.

Also, music is amazing – most especially at really high volumes while driving.

And oh my goodness – has anyone ever read a book?

Sometimes I hate that these things are true because I want to keep hating being alive. But I no longer do.

9 thoughts on “Over a year after my son’s suicide, I no longer hate being alive”

  1. Hi I’m Jayne,
    I lost my daughter only on Jan 7 this year. She passed of an accidental overdose. We still don’t even have the toxicology report.
    I’m still very raw and nothing is enjoyable. I don’t know if I want to die or not. I’ve suffered with depression for many years. As the time goes on, even though it’s been short, compared to you all here, it’s not getting any better. I tried the beach for 2 days and just wanted to cry. I held back the tears half the time. I used to love ocean. Now it’s just “there”. I wrote her messages in the sand.
    I wanted her with me. Nothing else.

    I have 2 older children and a husband to live for. And 3 step children. That’s a lot of pressure.
    I’m flying back from FLA today. I don’t know if looking at the clouds will help or make it worse.
    I will keep reading to cling to all the hope I can.
    Thank you for your stories.

    1. Jayne,

      You’re only a month in so please be kind to yourself. I know that a month feels like forever but it is so soon in this journey. The only thing that really helped me was just letting myself feel however I felt. You’re very much not alone even though it feels that way.

  2. I am within the first year, and I still want to die. But I have a living daughter. She’s an amazing kid who deserves a great Mom, like the one I used to try to be. Maybe one day I will be like you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Stacy – There are about one third of us who want to die right after our child dies. My friend Gray said, “I felt obligated to live.” And it was because of her loved ones she stayed afloat and now she is glad she did. I went to a counselor and a support group and for me, the support group did it. However you do it, please find some support. It’s so devastating and your mind is all mixed up and there is something called complex grief. Did you lose your child to suicide or some other cause of death? What was her name? My son’s name was Charles.

    2. Stacy, things will soften, and you will make it. I felt the same way, I felt obligated to live for my parents and my husband. I had no other children so that didn’t help me. It takes longer than you think it will, but it does soften and you to find reasons to go on. The first year is very raw and nasty. Hang in there, if for no other reason than your daughter needs her mom. And then slowly you will find other reasons to stay here with us. Sending you peace from someone who has been there. ❤️

      1. Thank you Gray and Anne Moss. I appreciate you sharing Charles and Whitten and your wisdom and experience. I’m holding on.

        1. Stacy,

          Joining the conversation here is not something that you will regret. We are all raw – some a little less than you are now – but raw nonetheless. Keep being honest about where you are and how you feel. I think it’s how we start to take those forward steps.

          It’s ok to feel how you feel. I’m so sorry that you have to live in this. Just hold tight to what is real. I reached out here 6 months after I lost Tyler. It’s made a world of difference to just know that I’m really not alone. It feels like a lonely endeavor most of the time. But please know that we have all been where you are. It’s ok. Have grace for yourself and patience. This is utter brutality. You, my friend, deserve the grace and patience. Peace to you.

          Holla here when you need. Read the posts. Subscribe. Not for Anne. But because one day the words posted here will be the exact ones you need to hear on some particular day.

          If you need a friend in this I’m on Facebook. Be well.

  3. Yep, Yep and Yep. I love to look at the clouds when I fly. I feel like Whitten lives there and it is peaceful. I can sleep any ole time now, and for way too long. I escape into books frequently. And I can finally listen to music. I even have a Whitten playlist, for when I want to go there.
    I may be 5 years ahead of you, but we live similar lives Christine. 🙂

    1. It will be 2 years on February 16th. None of it is easy. But I catch myself sometimes feeling joy in something simple. I got excited when the Jets new quarterback threw a touchdown. Things that I never thought I would feel again.

      Sometimes those feelings are immediately followed by the most crushing sense of guilt. How dare I feel anything other the miss of my son! But the moments happen nonetheless.

      This coming back to the land of the living is painful too. The loss was devastatingly hurtful. This has it’s own brand of pain. It’s like learning to live with something that you can’t live without. If I lost my right hand and had to learn to do everything as a lefty, it would be easier than learning to live with this amputation of a piece of my soul.

      But this pain has beauty in it. The early pain of blinding grief had no such silver lining. That was crushing and crippling and beyond mere words. Coming back to the land of the living is pain tinged with hope. It’s one step forward and two back. It’s peaking out of the caccoon to see what’s up in the world and quickly retreating. It’s a surprise feeling of joy or excitement that comes and goes and illustrates to our own selves that our humanity is still buried under all of the healing piles of mess.

      It’s slow and it is not a straight line. Some days I feel bogged down by the weight of things still.

      I don’t know …. none of this makes any sense. We’re all fumbling through this absurdity. There wasn’t a handbook on raising our children. And there sure as hell isn’t one on losing them.

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