I wanted it to be more

When Charles took his life, my brain skipped ahead and over the news like a rock skimming a pond—like I hadn’t just been told the most devastating news of my life. My mind actually left my body for a bit as I watched myself in the back of that police car wondering, “Who is that woman in that police car who can’t breathe?” I can still see her, slunked in the corner in shock from above myself.

But just like that, I was back in that picture. “Oh no, how can I get out of this scene? This isn’t my scene.”

I wanted to see who Charles would become. I was always so curious about that. He had such amazing talent. Before anyone had read my book, Diary of a Broken Mind, most thought I was just some mom who bragged about her talented little dead boy.

His lyrics, his writing….he was just at the beginning. He was just finding his voice. Charles had also started a book he was writing when he was at a therapeutic boarding school. I couldn’t wait to read it. He’d shared some of the stories and I had laughed so hard. But it was taken from him or it got lost, I can’t remember which.

I never got to see it. I ached that I never saw it.

The last play he was in when he was in boarding school in Utah. It was such a hit. Everyone was talking about it even radio stations in Utah. I never got to see that either because he was kicked out of school. Before that, he won the stand-up monologue for the state of Utah, a performance that I heard about from everyone else, yet I wasn’t in the audience then, either. I’d have gone to both had I known about them before they happened. As it was, I heard after the fact. Which was just like Charles.

I placated myself with fantasies there would be more opportunities but the desperation of having missed those events was telling me my future, one to which I didn’t want to listen. I so craved these events, yet they were elusive and out of reach– just outside my grasp. So close.

I wanted more. Like the song he wrote about selling his soul to the devil for the love of a female. That song describes how I would have made any bargain to undo what happened.

It’s years later now. I have accepted the loss. I walk with grief at my side daily, not weeping every day although probably still once a week. Or more depending on the time of year and what else is happening. Because most any adverse event kicks up the “I miss Charles” feelings.

When I lost my child I was cheated out of what he’d become. Despite years of premonitions, my fantasy mind had envisioned the opposite. It’s like hollow memories that never happened.

I’ve learned to make memories and share them with him anyway. Even though he’s gone which few would understand except a lot of those who subscribe to this blog. You all know what I mean. And even though I’ve written a new book that isn’t about him, but about preventing what happened to him, I don’t want to forget the one that included his words, too.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on 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, coping strategies/resilience, 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.

3 thoughts on “I wanted it to be more”

  1. I find myself talking to my son all the time. I wonder how he’d be feeling, what he’d be doing during this Covid pandemic. He had just finished his internal medicine residency and was in the first year of his cardiology fellowship. He would have been on the front lines. Would that have brought him out of his depression and anxiety or made it worse? He could have made such a difference to so many people (and he already had). He was such a genuinely loving, compassionate person.

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