I got new built-ins. Why does this matter?

I was having my headshots taken with photographer, Tosha Tolliver, late last year who also lost a child, and we started talking about momma grief. Her teenage daughter died unexpectedly from a medical complication at just around the same time Charles died by suicide in the summer of 2015.

Later on she started talking about wanting to have her floors refinished. I had talked about planning these closets for a custom build.

Both of us then realized that for the first time in years, we actually cared about decorating and making changes to our homes. Prior to that, it could have fallen apart under our feet and we would have just stepped over it.

Two years ago, I didn’t care about much of anything and did only what was essential–paying bills, taking a shower, eating food, walking the dog, existing. I was house blind. Marks on the wall, sappy deck boards, and a bedroom that looked like we both just recently graduated from college didn’t bother me. None of it mattered and I didn’t have the energy to tackle complex home projects with multiple steps. I cared about none of that and thought I never would again.

That started to change shortly after my third year without Charles. Slowly, something inside started to come alive again. What’s more, I didn’t feel guilty about it.

If you’re suffering now with your own mental health, a loss or struggling with the addiction/mental illness of a loved one, everything other than the problem at hand might seem fluffy and frivolous. What I want you to know is that you will “thaw out” and once again enjoy things you enjoyed before, whether it’s woodworking or throwing parties.

In my case, our bedroom is finally shaping up to look like two grownups live in it. And that feels pretty good.

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Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and my book, Diary of a Broken Mind, will be published in the fall. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. 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

6 thoughts on “I got new built-ins. Why does this matter?”

  1. I am having a “sad” day (which simply means worse then the usual sad) and can identify with Julie. It’s been 4 long months of trying to survive one day at a time with a heart so broken I can barely stand it. I remember so many times telling Jared, if something happens to you I will NEVER be ok. I believe that in my heart even though I will continue to trudge on. I feel no joy — only emptiness. Your story makes me sad because I don’t even think I want to “thaw”.

    1. Maureen – There is a happy balance. I still mourn Charles. But part of me that I thought was dead was not. It was only in hibernation. I’m a different person since Charles’ suicide. That’s for certain. And I’m still pushing forward my agenda and my book, but I have found some peace outside the topics I write about sometimes. It’s OK to want to cuddle up with your hurt and remember Jared. He loved you so much. Feel obligated to live right now. This process takes a long, long time and it’s merely a crack in the window. But it allows me to understand it’s possible.

  2. That is a foreign concept to me. I am now over a year out from Dylan’s death and can’t possibly relate to this. Congratulations to you. My child’s death will consume me until I see him again in heaven. I know myself well. There will be no “thawing out.” We are all very different with regard to how we process grief; I’m beginning to understand that now.

    1. Julie- I couldn’t imagine it either at that point. However I am concerned about you because I hear potential suicidal thoughts which is not uncommon among parents who’ve lost a child to suicide. The first step is to believe it will happen one day but if you can’t even get there I hope you will get a therapist who specializes in complex grief. If you want help finding one let me know. Please reply because the despair, while understandable, is alarming me.

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