I bet I am not the first mom to write their child in heaven. But this is my first letter to you since you died. I hope you get it because I am not sure how to have something sent to heaven.
It’s been about 8 months since you left us and I miss you. All the time. Every day. And I always will. There are days I wake up and the realization that you are gone just hits me like a freight train in my heart.
I can’t predict things. But I do get premonitions. They just hit me like a lightning bolt. Most the time it’s just random stuff. Usually not a death although those are the ones I remember the most. I’ve actually had only three death premonitions and one of those was Charles.
I had no clue how he would die. That wasn’t part of the premonition. The suicide was a complete shock.
Often my premonitions are mundane enough–like I am going to win a prize or a friend is going to have a flat tire. My mom has always called me the … Read more...
Addiction. Depression. Suicide. Our family suffered the triple stigma, all of them with our son Charles. He didn’t want to admit depression due to stigma and was even more hesitant to accept help.
What characterizes stigma?
I asked friends about how to raise money to get help for Charles addiction and depression since we were tapped out. When I mentioned that a friend wanted to do a FundMe campaign of some kind, all eyes were downcast. Silence. Squirming. Awkwardness. An uncomfortable feeling overall. That is stigma. It’s that very moment when your eyes cast downward and you sort of freeze up like a … Read more...
Charles was a Rap artist among his many talents. His notebooks and music were his salvation while he was alive and probably the only reason he lived until 20.
When he was away at a therapeutic boarding school, they did take his notebooks which made me angry. Writing is therapeutic. I don’t hate the school but I didn’t think taking his writing away because they … Read more...
“I’m the last piece in a broken puzzle To a broken puzzle Never fittin’ I’m just sittin’ near the trouble It’s difficult findin’ air to breathe concealed within a bubble Can’t sleep Death is the only way to keep peace from the struggle” —Charles Aubrey Rogers
Charles never slept well, even as a toddler. He was “always on, never off”. If that is an official indicator of something to come, I am not aware of it but lack of … Read more...
Losing my child to suicide has forced me to take another look at my life. And it’s actually liberating to ditch things and basically spring clean my brain and no longer care about…..
1. What others think. I have never been one to worry a lot about this. But once I lost a child by suicide to depression and addiction, I totally let go of caring what others thought of me personally. You either take me as I am or you don’t. And conversely, I’m not going to be passing judgment on others either. It’s probably why I feel so … Read more...
Grief is painful and heavy. But it can also inspire you to go in a direction you would have never gone and inspire a new sense of passion. To honor Charles’ memory, I will no longer be silent about suicide. Silence kills.
I have submitted this video in my application for a TedXRVA talk. If you want to help, please nominate. Description is below.
Thank you Melanie Murray for suggesting this title: Suicide, the silent serial killer
I know Charles thought this. He wrote it. And my wondering it is not the same as wishing it. I never wished it. But I did have this as a fleeting thought after a particularly difficult crisis. Was my intuition trying to warn me what was to come?
When you have struggled with a child’s mental health issues combined with drug abuse problems for many years –and you’ve watched that struggle, at some point, you wonder if they are going to make it. All those crisis calls and … Read more...
Looking back after my son Charles Aubrey Rogers’ death, I see that he did exhibit signs of being suicidal. Of course I have often asked myself what I missed. I had been a mental health advocate and board member at Beacon Tree Foundation for several years prior to his suicide. Although I had been to one suicide symposium, I still did not connect the dots when it came to my own child.
Frankly, he didn’t check that many of the boxes on the list of suicide risks they presented that day.
If ever anyone is entitled to bitterness, I feel it would be those of us who have lost a child. Frankly, I don’t want to live my life feeling that way. It would be a disservice to my son that died as well as the one that lived.
I think the key to leaving bitterness behind is finding my direction and purpose in the most devastating tragedy of my life. My purpose as a mother was to raise my two boys to be thriving adults. To have one of them die by suicide at age 20 wasn’t part of that plan. With … Read more...
Part of my grief process is to let go of such insane resentments and just do something about it instead.
It sounds crazy. It sounds inhuman. But there were times when I felt jealous that others got such overwhelming financial and even emotional support in their struggles to get medical help for a child who was ill. My resentment was never directed at a specific family. It was resentment that society could turn their backs on mental health while embracing physical health so passionately.
The outpouring of support when your child has a physical ailment … Read more...
Charles in Wilderness Program for troubled teens. It was here that we finally got a great diagnosis. He did embrace the program after 4 weeks or so.
I learned a lot about Charles after his death by suicide from his RAP diary where he wrote his songs. You can see his notebook in his hands in the picture on this page. Many of his friends know what I’m talking about since he carried them with him. They were his lifeline.
It’s in those pages I saw just how much he hurt. Every single day.
And why he ultimately gravitated to heroin as it was … Read more...
My coulda woulda shoulda is that last phone call I had with Charles. Here’s how it goes.
Alter Ego: You missed that last conversation, the one where he texted you, “Please pick up the f@#$%& phone, there is something I need to tell you.”
(my mind usually whines here)
Me: We had already been on the phone for two hours. He was shouting, incoherent and argumentative. I didn’t know where he was. I couldn’t understand him. I said, “I have to go. Bye, bye, I love you.” Then he called again and we talked again.
Alter Ego: But that third phone call, the one that … Read more...
I am standing somewhere noisy when all of a sudden a memory hits me and my heart freezes, breathing all but stops. The crowd becomes this surreal din of noise and I physically shrink in size while the colors of the room smudge together as the grief wave settles in. Lonely is the best way to describe it because right then, I am sure no one could feel such pain in their heart–right down to my muscles and bones.
It will subside but sometimes I want to hold onto it longer because it makes me feel closer to the child … Read more...