Three years since Nick’s suicide

by Sandy LaSalle

Three years ago, my world stopped when I learned my son, Nick, who so proudly graduated with a BS in Physics from VA Tech, was never coming home. How I miss him! I recall first hearing,
“Nick is deceased,” from my ex.

How do you go on? Thankfully I did not have to consciously ...  read more

Hard Granite. Nicholas Anderson’s suicide by Sandy LaSalle

From Anne Moss: Nicholas was on the autism spectrum. There does seem to be a connection between mental illness and autism which increases the odds of suicide.

Nicholas Robert Anderson, 23
Nicholas Robert Anderson, 23

by Sandy LaSalle

It has now been over 1.5 years since my son Nicholas died by suicide. What a shock! We saw him just days before and he seemed “on top of the world” with great plans for his future.

Together with family, we awaited his arrival home following his graduation from Virginia Tech with a degree in physics, yet he never arrived.

We waited.

Then the call no one should have to take,”Your son is deceased.” I sunk to my knees– paralyzed. “NO! NO! NO! This cannot be!”

I moved in a fog not wanting to believe he was truly gone. That would be way too awful. Seeing him at the funeral, he looked the same, yet asleep. Strange to stroke his face, touch him. He did not like to be touched. I must just awaken him. Yet he remains still.

As I visit his grave and feel his precious birth date etched on the hard granite stone, my fingers touch the date of his death, my mind says, “He is not coming back.” Yet my heart does not want to accept it. Twenty-three years is way too young.

He was ready to start his next phase.

He was ready to launch and soar to his future.

His love for astronomy just grew and grew. I even learned some of the basic constellations. He had great plans even after accomplishing many of his personal goals.

People say I should be “over it.” How can I get them to realize I am JUST STARTING to grieve? Stark reality is translating the messages of my mind and seeking to convince my unbelieving heart that he is not coming back.

How does one speak to a heart forever torn in two with the loss of a best friend, my son?

Why could it not have been me? My life is okay, yet I struggle daily.

Depression has taken its toll on me. He had so much more to offer. I plead, “God, please let me exchange my life for his! It is not supposed to end like this!”

We had dreams, plans, hopes for him. As I hear and watch other parents see their children graduate high school, college, it is bittersweet. I will not get to see him reap the harvest of his studies and labors.

All is cut too short.

I learned much about him after he passed. He sought his independence and kept me distant as he was becoming his own self. I am so proud. I wish and hope he knew how much he was loved. I am comforted that he knew he was loved by me, by dad and by his teachers.

As I view the night sky, I cannot help but think of him and my heart achingly whispers, “Shine on my Bright Star!”

My Shining Star

On the third of June, a star was sent from heaven to us below;
We welcomed, loved and cherished this lad wherever he would go.

As he grew, we witnessed his drive, intellect and charm;
All the while observing this star was far above the norm.
Facts quickly absorbed: of presidents, chess, multiple digits of pi
His thirsty mind ever sought more, oft asking us “why”?

Musically he excelled, piano, trombone, bassoon and cello,
At his Eagle award ceremony: Moonlight Sonata on piano.
At Tech he found a place to grow, his mind and circle of friends;
How could we have known how quickly this would soon end?

Locals oft saw him at night, telescope gazing the heavens above;
That star too soon called heavenward from whence he first arose.
Let’s remember our dear Nick, when at the night sky we gaze;
He made his place in our hearts, and is there forever and always.

— Sandra Anderson LaSalle


Telling my story after 19 years. In memory of Brett Marshall Hunter