Gratitude letter

Dear Charles,

I’m grateful you were part of my life. If I had known from the beginning about your suicide at ages 20, would I have chosen to have you as my child?

I’d like to think so. Knowing me, I would have thought I could have changed the course of destiny. Nevertheless, your life, as short as it was, transformed mine. And your death transformed it again. Everything is now categorized as before or after your death.

You helped me see outside of myself. You made me laugh and see the world through a whole different perspective. No one could give love so freely and graciously and every time you hugged me, it took my heart hostage. It’s from you that I learned that human touch, that ability to listen with empathy and sit with other’s pain deepened connections of love.  

After your death. I learned more about you than I had ever known. Your song lyrics gave me an inside perspective of your pain that I had never been introduced to. The guilt wrapped me like a blanket for knowing you better in death than I had in life. Thanks to you I worked through that, too, hearing your words, what you’d say to me to if you were here.

I miss you still. I miss you always. But I no longer resent those moments of intense grief but instead cuddle with them. Because it’s my only link to you. And it’s become something I treasure. I’m grateful for having had you in my life. My life is richer because you were in it.

Love Always, Your Mom

This letter was written as part of an exercise at a workshop offered by Susan E. Casey at the Bereaved Parent USA workshop on writing a gratitude letter after someone dies. It can be to anyone who you feel offered you a lot of support or your loved one.

Charles at Wasatch Academy in Utah

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.

2 thoughts on “Gratitude letter”

  1. It was so good to spend time with you (twice) in the Zoom room at BPUSA! You are truly a hero and I am honored to know you and learn from you.

    I’m loving memory of my son, Ray Carey, forever 39.

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