It wasn’t until after my son Charles died by suicide that I knew about my son’s agony. How could I have missed pain so monumental? I thought I knew my child reasonably well. His music lyrics revealed I knew little. And his struggles with suicidal thoughts went back years.
This was part of my struggle. All that I missed. The questions I never asked. The pain he kept to himself while he wore the mask of a clown to conceal it. I thought he loved life too much to leave it. But I also know he didn’t want to leave it, that suicide was something he was driven to.
I knew something was wrong, of course, especially towards the end. He had become addicted to heroin so it wasn’t like it was going so well I had visions of him graduating magna cum laude from Harvard. But suicide? It was never even a blip on my radar.
I was always mesmerized by Charles. And admittedly frustrated, too. He consumed so much space in my life. And then he didn’t And his death took up space in my life in another way altogether. All of which was overwhelming and confusing.
The point is I know him now. Better than I ever have but I know him. And he knows that I do finally understand him even though he’s not here to tell me.
I won’t say that I don’t suffer a nick of regret and shock at times. I do. But what was once a point over which I agonized, I’ve been able to accept and no longer torture myself. We never know what’s inside someone else’s head. Unless we ask. And then it’s up to us to actually listen.
In included my son’s lyrics in this book, every other chapter which has helped so many understand addiction, depression, and suicide from the point of view of the sufferer.