To Charles: Letter to a Fellow Goon – by Jay Skinner

I want to laugh
I’ve heard the news
(and I heard it was you)
So I’m waiting for the punchline

I’m stifling certain giggles until the curtain drops
and we take one last bow together;
Cracking on the lines we jumbled,
the cues we missed
(I’ve got a feeling there’s a big one I should have seen)

You are Charles
(I chew the name like bubblegum; sweet)
but life isn’t a stage, or even an act
You are no one’s son
no one’s brother
no one’s shadow

You are not adjectives, or accomplishments
roles or reversals,
potential rap albums, or … Read more...

Grief: Finding joy where I can, when I can

When Richard, oldest son, was here for the Richmond Film Festival early in March, we got some time to spend together. (His film Cottonmouth got in the festival.)

One day I took him and his roommate out to lunch. While we sat there eating, Richard said, “Hey Mom, do you want to go to the screenings with us this afternoon?” I said,”Yes I can. No plans!”

Whatever plans I had, poof, they were gone. Fortunately I had taken the day off and cannot even remember what my plans might have been.

In the car before we got to Bow Tie Read more...

The final 48 hours

Trigger warning: Strong emotional Content and suicide method mentioned briefly.

This is one of the last photos of Charles before he died
This is one of the last photos of Charles before he died

Charles, who suffered from anxiety and depression and ultimately addiction had been from detox to rehab to a sober house. After rehab he looked great. I call this “Saturday Charles.” He then went to the sober house but relapsed the next morning by walking downtown and buying heroin. We can only imagine he got money from his room at home on the way to the recovery house. The policy at the sober house was that if Read more...

My alter ego talks me through my first Mother’s Day

Alter Ego:  It’s Mother’s Day today. Your first

Me: Now that’s a new definition of the first Mother’s Day

Alter Ego: It’s the first since his suicide

Me: I just want to die

Alter Ego: Really? 

Me: No, not really. I planned the birthday and death anniversary but there so many occasions. I just failed to plan for this one. 

Alter Ego: What would you have done? 

Me: Planned a surgery that lasted all day 

Alter Ego:  Well you don’t need surgery

Me: No. I just need the anesthesia

Alter Ego:  It’s just one day

Me: I know, I know. Read more...

Men get little support in grief

greatest-struggleI was recently talking with a Dad who lost his son. He mentioned that his best friend was often by his side but never openly spoke about the death of his son, leaving him no real options for talking about the devastating loss other than his wife and the occasional chance meetings with someone like me.

I talked with him about the fact that for the most part, men do not get the support that women do. About the fact that as awkward as the subject is to most people, the men in particular have a hard time discussing it … Read more...

Redefining the meaning of ‘the first birthday’

This is not my son’s first birthday. It’s the first birthday since he died. He would have been 21.

Years ago, I dreamed we would be in a better place with Charles–with his depression and addiction. His sleep disorder, his anxiety, his ADHD. We worked so hard at it.

Instead we are grappling with his suicide. I still can’t believe it some days.

As I look back, I see things I didn’t see before.

I can’t even tell you how much I miss him. How much this hurts. I know you know that.

His birthday is my connection to him … Read more...

Can you make your suicide story positive?

And yes I get this question a lot. And no, I can’t. I won’t.

I won’t sugar coat my story. I won’t lie for the sake of saving you tears. I won’t avoid the subject of my son and his suicide.8615555b339ed34ce94880229f47873d

Most importantly, I won’t leave you without hope.

Many times when he struggled and we struggled, I felt my hope waver. We were desperately in debt and resources for help were slim. But I clung to hope with all my might–never letting that pilot light to go out.

While my son died by suicide, I still have hope. Hope … Read more...

How did I end up in this f—ing club?

Sometimes I just can’t believe I’m the one that lost a child. That was something that happened to other people. Not me. And not only did my child die, he died by suicide.

I could argue that I know my purpose now
But this “purpose” has such a high price tag.charles-beach

Some days I feel like I am barely able to scrape myself together. I wake up and just can’t believe I am in this place. I have to endure it, shape it, live it. It’s so much work. There’s no magic pill, no “fixing” it. It just is.

This … Read more...

Grief, suicide, addiction, depression: Top 10 Posts

David Letterman did it, why can’t I?to 10 taboo posts
I was just curious regarding which posts were the most popular. So I thought I’d share the results. These were chosen by you guys, by the number of visitors to the page.

I am not surprised by what ranked #1.

1. Why did he kill himself? Answering the why

2. The long arm of the law reaches down Charles’ pants

3. Did Charles show warning signs for teen suicide?

4. What did Charles say prior to suicide to indicate his intentions?

5. Please do not avoid the subject of my son who died

Read more...

9 ways I am coping with the insurmountable grief of suicide loss

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I believe that by being open about suicide and sharing coping experiences and ideas, we can learn from each other.

The stigma has kept us clammed up for so long, it’s time we shared.

These work for me. Not to wipe away the pain. But to help me figure out how to live my life with this loss.

1. Writing

Writing hurts sometimes. Well, a lot of times. But there is a release of pain after I hit publish. I also feel free to do it now–to say what I want. No one is stopping me because I started my own … Read more...