Happy Birthday Charles

Charles Aubrey Rogers

Today my boy would be 24 years old. What would he look like? How would he have changed or not changed?

He’ll never get wrinkles, have arthritis, worry about getting a cancer diagnosis. He’ll never graduate from college, get married or have my grandchildren.

Instead, he is forever frozen at the age of 20 in pictures and memories. Forever young. Forever tragic due to his addiction to heroin and death by suicide. Charles was supposed to be famous by now. He was supposed to be making me laugh.

I crack morbid jokes sometimes which make me laugh more knowing he’d think they were hilarious. I don’t feel guilty for laughing because he always loved to make me laugh.

Meanwhile I count the birthdays celebrating his life with friends and family.  I move him forward in age, and carry him with me through summer, fall, spring and the holidays. I dream about him and sometimes wake up with a headache from clenching my jaw. Other times I wake up wishing I could fall back asleep because that’s where he was alive.

This is the first year I’ve not broken out in welts and itchy rashes during the birthday month. I’ve not lost any hair as I have in the past. The grief has been quiet and persistent at times but softer and less jagged. I greet it and meet it allowing it to wash over me and connect me to his memory.

After almost four years, my heart has accepted the loss, I’ve figured out how to move forward and recognized ways to keep his memory alive. The grief no longer feels like I’m lying on a bed of broken glass stark naked.

Happy twenty fourth birthday Charles. I love you.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

20 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Charles”

  1. Dear Anne Moss,
    Wow. Just wow. Every year this comes around, and part of my heart breaks with yours. I can scarcely imagine the pain, though I know it is nothing compared to living through it. Prayers are with you and your family. You are so honest, open and courageous. I admire your tenacity, integrity and ability to capture every emotion. Rock on, young lady!

  2. Happy Birthday Young Man. I wish I got to know you.I am so grateful to get to know your mom. She is an amazing human being who loves you to the moon and back.If I was near you I would have never let you do what you did.I would hold you and tell you how much this world needs you. Your friend, Danny Gautama.

  3. This part struck me the most in what you wrote.

    “This is the first year I’ve not broken out in welts and itchy rashes during the birthday month. I’ve not lost any hair as I have in the past. The grief has been quiet and persistent at times but softer and less jagged. I greet it and meet it allowing it to wash over me and connect me to his memory.”

    It says so much about the healing that has taken place and while you never forget, you’re beginning to find the moments forward more and more – and you’re doing so much to help so many.

    I can feel the love you have for your son through the words you write and it inspires my heart. Thank you for sharing your vulnerable moments so that others can be inspired and hopefully find healing in their own lives.

  4. Sending hugs to you! Keep all of your beautiful memories close. Pray that each year continues to get a little easier. ❤️

  5. Happy 24th birthday Charles. Happy wonderful memories mom, dad and brother. You really express our grief Journey so spot on. I’m glad this birthday finds you feeling physically much better than in the past, Anne Moss. 💗💗💗💗

  6. I’m sending love to you, Randy, Richard and your families on Charles’ birthday. ❤️ I’m happy to hear that you did not have the rash and welts this year! I hope the rest of your acute grieving season is gentle on you…

  7. Happy birthday to your beautiful son. Keeping him forever in your heart and remembered is your gift for the day of his birth.

  8. It was a pleasure to meet you. Enjoy your writing out, it gives hope. Happy birthday Charles. I pray he brings you comfort today. The steering is still so real for me. I am very blessed with my memories. I treasure and hold onto them with your life. CNU Is honoring Ethan for his senior seminar paper. He won the Usry Award for his paper. We will be going up to receive it in his honor. They are also going to publish it in their Research section in the library. The professor emailed me and said she’s already used the information from his paper in her class cited him as the expert. I’m thankful that he was recognized for his job well done. I hope you have a blessed day.

  9. Lying naked on a bed of broken glass. Great description. I’m grateful for you that that’s not where you are now. Thinking of you & Charles on his birthday.

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