I didn’t know.

Charles at 4 years old with his daddy. He died at 20

That phrase plays in my head when I start to go to the place where the regrets are hitting me in the face and the pain of having missed the obvious signs of Charles’ suicide take up too much space in my head.

I could drown in all this. I have drowned in it. I’m now able to pull myself out of the deep end.

The bottom line is I know so much now about addiction and suicide that I often find it hard to remember when I didn’t know and how that information would have shaped some kind of educated and more rational response when my son called me that last time.

Those answers don’t come in 1-2-3 list tied with a bow.

It’s more like machine gun fire that triggers a fight or flight response. Only that feeling was toxic when it swirled in my head and I had no clue of what direction to take. Nothing was more frightening than the thought that making the wrong decision would cost me the life of my child.

So this is phase two of grief. Or is it three? I don’t know.

It’s the part where all of that knowledge blends together like the ingredients in cake batter and it’s not always easy to remember what I didn’t know before and what it took me years to learn. But one of Charles’ quotes can interrupt the refrain that is relentlessly nagging my brain.

I like to think he is speaking to me through the words he left behind.

just breathe
it’s just life
I’m just me
and you’re just you
so just be
.”— Charles Aubrey Rogers

11 seconds of sweetness

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide 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, 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.

4 thoughts on “I didn’t know.”

  1. As usual, you have nailed it so perfectly & succinctly, Anne Moss.
    I can’t love enough the inclusion of Charles’ perfect words at the end AND that little clip of him speaking. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Thank you for ALL you on behalf of others.
    You ROCK. That is all.

  2. Anne Moss, I go through the exact same thoughts with Whitten and his depression. I was learning what to say and what not to say. I was starting to read about it and learn that I had been doing and saying unhelpful things. I just didn’t get it all going fast enough. We are so much more learned after these tragedies than before. So we can’t let our new knowledge go to waste. If we can no longer help our boys, we can help others I guess.

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