Over a year after my son’s suicide, I no longer hate being alive

by Christine Dudek

There’s something about the light piercing through the clouds at 30,000 feet when I’m lucky enough to get a window seat. It looks like every picture of heaven I’ve ever imagined since I was a little kid and so it makes me feel closer to Tyler.

Flying has gone from the most excruciating ...  read more

We are surviving the unsurvivable

by Christine Dudek

Tyler James Dudek died by suicide at the age of 19

It is almost one year since my most favorite boy in the entire world left us with a giant hole in our lives.

I am still here and surviving somehow. What I might write?  What will I share about my life? Joe and my girls – Kayleigh and Julia (Jules)– are living though the same emotional brutality as I am; but I won’t speak to their pain or their grief or their hearts. That’s theirs to tell if and when they choose.

Some days I feel a little bit devoid of anything. I think it is self-protection against the constant emotional beatings. It is a respite to occasionally feel nothing. This must have been what I was sitting in when Anne Moss asked me if I would like to write something because I couldn’t tap into anything that felt real. I felt like I might decline to write because I had nothing to say. I worried briefly for myself because I always have something to say – I am a know-it-all pain in the ass.

Then I was sitting on a plane on my way home from company meetings and decided to watch The Fault in Our Stars. On a side note, I really must remember to not play a tear jerker while sitting two inches from a stranger and carrying no tissues. Anyway, some reall-ness came back to me during one of the early scenes in the movie when Hazel Grace, the main character, says this:

“I believe we have a choice in this world, about how to tell sad stories. On the one hand, you can sugar coat it, the way they do in movies and romance novels where beautiful people learn beautiful lessons and nothing is too messed up

 ...  read more

Goodbye normal life

by Christine Dudek

I wish I had the words to describe the deadness that occupies the places in me where other things once lived – -things like humor.

It seems like I have a sense of humor at times but everything is shallow. The depth that I used to experience and feel is gone. Pain is what I feel deeper and more often than any other feeling. I feel that even more than I feel love.

I swear sometimes the miss, and the sorrow, and the regret are so deep that my bones ache.

Bone sad.

I hate being still more than anything because then my mind just wanders to the hurt and so flying for hours in a plane is exhausting. The sadness is consuming when I can’t pace or fidget or move shoes. (I am in the shoe business.)

I don’t know what else to do with the blinding pain and so I guess I’ll just keep writing to spill it all out of me.

Here’s what the thoughts sounded like today during the excruciating stillness of tiny airplane seat. I woke up today and so I guess I’m still here. It’s been almost 7 months since my son’s suicide and I still can’t decide if the agony of waking is worse than trying to get sleep. I am never rested.

There is a split second – just a fraction of a moment in time – when my eyes first open that I am unaware of my own lack of normalcy. I know that normalcy is overrated and, it might even be boring, but I long for it with the knowledge that it will never be me. I am not normal. I am alive and my son is dead.

This is an unnatural order of things so severe that normalcy is an impossibility.

So I wake up, after tiny increments of restless sleep, and in that fraction of a second before my senses can wrap themselves around a day, I am unaware of my own unnatural existence. Then the wave crashes and I feel the weight of Tyler’s suicide.

Grief is not linear and there is no final destination. It’s like traveling over tough terrain in unfamiliar territories without a GPS. And I have a terrible sense of direction. So mostly I’m just lost.


In memory of Tyler James Dudek who died by suicide