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How do I live with my son's suicide?


It was a lovely quiet Sunday morning, on 5 February 2006, when my life irrevocably changed in the blink of an eye. My husband and I were on our way to the shop when an emergency vehicle passed us with loud sirens and flashing lights.   In my ignorance I said to my husband I wonder who died now. In the meantime the vehicle was on its way to the scene where my son Emile, 20, hanged himself during the Saturday night or early Sunday morning in a weeping willow tree in a park near our house. I will never forget those words I uttered.   About a half an hour after we returned home children from the neighborhood called my youngest son to our gate. They informed him that a young man, who fit Emile’s description, committed suicide in the park. We quickly drove there. The area at the tree looked like a crime scene. Emergency and police vehicles and personnel were everywhere. The place where my son was lying was surrounded by police tape. I told the trauma officer I thought it could be my son. He led me to a body lying on the grass under the tree covered with an emergency blanket. I stood there looking at my son’s face in shock. It was like a dream, I could not believe my eyes. It couldn’t be true. I kept asking my husband if I was dreaming, it couldn’t be Emile lying there dead. Everything felt like a nightmare, the daylight was blinding and I heard a roaring noise in my head. The trauma officer spoke to us but I did not understand one word he was saying. We went home and I started phoning family and friends to tell them. Nobody believed me because I didn’t cry and told them in a matter of fact way that Emile hanged himself. The only thing that went around and around in my mind was: “It can’t be, it can’t be, my son can’t be dead. This is all a nightmare and I’m going to wake up any minute.” On the Sunday evening I returned to my senses and realized it was true. I never understood the meaning of keening, but that night I keened for hours and the weeks following Emile’s death.   It felt as if I was going insane. My thoughts were in disarray and I felt anxious the whole time. The next day we had to go to the mortuary to identify him. It was the most horrid experience I ever had to go through. I could not believe he was lying dead on that cold slab of cement. It didn’t look like my beautiful son. My heart was torn into pieces and I felt like dying of a broken heart! Every day was a nightmare. A part of me died with my son on that fateful day and I couldn’t function in a normal way.   I stayed in bed for weeks and all I could do was cry my heart out. Every night I was on the Internet for hours searching desperately for somewhere, where I could share this unbearable pain I was feeling. I phoned radio pulpit every day and told my story to Christian therapists over and over in the hope that someone could make it better for me. There was nothing in South Africa apart from The Compassionate Friends who helped me tremendously. There is no help for the unbearable pain a parent experience after the suicide of a child. Nobody out there understands what you are going through. There is nothing anybody can do or say to make you feel better. For months I ate almost nothing and didn’t cook or clean or did anything in the house. It felt as if I was all alone on earth. I couldn’t imagine a future without Emile. I couldn’t think properly or remember anything I did or said or what anybody else did or said. I didn’t remember anything that happened to me, I was on autopilot the whole time. The worst thing was that Emile didn’t leave a letter or anything to explain this to me. I searched everywhere like one possessed for anything that could explain why my son did this awful thing. I searched the area under the tree and in the tree for a clue. I scratched around in his clothes and searched every pocket and place for something to give me an idea why my son did this. The questions are still driving me insane. Why, what? What was wrong with my son I didn’t see? Was I so selfish and self centered I never realized there was something wrong with Emile?   I still blame myself that I didn’t realize what was going on in his mind, what he was planning. What did I do wrong in his life, where did I fail as a parent?

I look at other parents with big sons and I can’t believe that Emile isn’t here any more. I didn’t just lose a son to suicide, but a friend. The sorrow and despair is indescribable, and if you don’t find yourself it that situation, you can never imagine what parents go through. I started an e-mail support group for parents who lost their children called Loving Arms. We share our heartache and support each other with encouragement and understanding.

Nobody understands this hell and they don’t know what to say to you. People in their ignorance say all kinds of stupid things to a parent in this situation. They say things like: “Your son committed suicide and that means his soul will never find rest, you have another child live for him now, you need to get over it now and carry on with your life”. And it does nothing to change the destruction in your mind it just adds to the pain and heartache. On more than one occasion I just wanted to scream out at them: “please just leave me alone, you have no idea what you are talking about. My son is dead and I don’t know why.” I was on a suicide mission of my own for months and landed in hospital after I tried to overdose with tranquilizers.

Nobody can come through this pain without any help. It is an emotional roller coaster ride and you never know how you are going to feel in the next moment. One minute you are in this deep dark hole of despair, and the next you feel so angry that this abominable thing could’ve happened to you. Then there are days when you feel quite calm. On other days all you can do is cry uncontrollably and feel as if you will never ever be normal again. My perception of life changed completely, and things that were important in the past don’t mean anything any more.

Susan Johnson June 13, 2018
My Babyboy
image I'm lost for words, My son TJ Merrifield 22  born May 20, 1996 commented suicide. He was Bi-polar,  depressed, anxiety. He self medicated as a teen til this happen. Was in trouble off & on. In & out of programs. He has son that's 4 yrs. Old. He went to jail 2015, lost his baby momma & son. He got out was doing real good try to win her back. Didnt work. But was able to stay in his sons life. So he was in out of girls life. But in January he started dating a girl he thought was his world. Before this girl I made him go to his sisters to get away from friends & drugs. But now that he was involve with this girl he comes back to our home town. He was happy then sad on drugs. He was a Mommas Boy. We had so many talks son u need to get help, ur anger is out of control.  I know mom but its things she does. I tried & tried to help him. Hed start on me if I said what he didnt want to hear. He had a gun, I seen him a couple times after a arguement with his girlfriend put it to his head. I could never find it. He always said u call the police mom I'd do it before they get in that door. I heard him talking to my nephew one nite, said I'd never do it cause I know it'll kill my mom. On May 28, 2018 I finally got my sons gun away from him. He lost his bullets, so he just handed it to me. I was so relieved. He had been drinking & on drugs. That weekend up til Monday morning,  I seen him before I went to work, I told him son u just need to sleep today, I'll see ya after work. Ok mom. He woke at 2:30pm, I got off work 3:30pm. 4:16pm my son called me said he was having a bad day. I said ok I'll be there in a few mins, I'm on my way. My son cried a little harder said i love you mom, i love you son I'm almost there. I walk in my home within 5mins of the phone call asked his girl what was going on. She said he's been arguing pick up knifes.  Where is he, in the shower, I went looking for my son. I didnt see him. I said go in there check on him. She ran downstairs said hes not up there. I thought, I remember the garage door cracked open, I opened the door, it looked like my son was standing there looking at me. I yelled his name, I went to him noticed the cords picked him up & screamed & screamed for help. I cut my son down. Me & my neighbors done everything possible to save my son. They wait til we got to the hospital & like hour later come to tell me they done everything they could.  I lost it!! I just buried him June 7, 2018. I wake every morning to his face, praying it was just a nightmare. Each day goes by I dont see him seems to get worse. I went to the crave site today & it still dont feel real. I'm struggling to pay his funeral. So when I'm at home I cry & cry, I'm so lost, so empty,  idk what to do. I dont want face my son is gone!! He took his own life over a relationship, mentally breaking & drugs. I was super close to my son, I pretty much raised him my self. He was a wonderful person with a BIG HEART. Always making us laugh. I have a son 30 & a daughter 27. 8 grandbabies. Who all loved him so much. I dont understand!! I try to stay strong but he was My Babyboy! I'm so lost for words, empty,  crushed!! Please help me with any advice. I read over other people's story's & we all feel this pain for are babies. But are So Lost. Please help us all!! My prayers are with any parent that has to bury their child. I dont understand how are children are taken. 
John Ursel June 1, 2018
Tegan Ursel 1996-2018
First off I can't believe the number of suicides amongst young adults ages 18-25.
This paticular age group it seems to me, are very affraid of this mad world we live in.
My daughter Tegan took her life by hanging herself April 15th 2018.
The impact of her death has left my wife Coleen incapable of taking care of herself.
She has been pretty much catatonic since the event with brief glimpses of the person she used to be.
Myself, I am a mess underneath my calm busy exterior and have thrown myself into work.
I would agree that no parent no matter how tough or educated they may be can understand the pain and grief
a parent feels upon the loss of a child by suicide.
I keep playing the whole thing over again in my head and thinking how something we did brought on our daughters need to commit suicide.
The bottom line is alcohol, it is a desease to be an alcoholic.
I know this because I am an alcoholic, but I quit drinking over 10 years ago.
We aloud our daughter to drink although we thought she had it under control.
Apparently she didn't and I believe the demons that come with drinking hard alcohol to excess cloud one's judgement to the point of caos.
Just like so many other stories here our daughter didn't leave a note and didn't seem upset or depressed on the contrary she seemed very happy in the days leading up to her death. We actually thought she was doing much better than the months before.
She had broken up with her first real serious boyfriend and she didn't take it well, but we thought she was past that, and she was.
It was a bottle of Jack Daniels that killed her, she consumed a 26 er in the hours leading up to her act of suicide and I truly believe it was the demons that come with getting black out drunk that led her to the decision to take her own life.
She was texting her friends that night and they all said the same thing, she seemed in good spirits.
I'm not going to spend the rest of my life fretting over why she did this. I think I know because I tried to commit suicde when I was 21 for I think the same reasons. Only difference before it was too late I reached out to my Dad and he called 911.
If my life is to have any meaning I must continue to be here for my wife and other daughter who is 3 years older (Chelsea) and my 17 yearold son (Jack).
It is a long hard road we walk on this Earth, may everyone walk it in peace and tranquility.
Johana Kirk May 30, 2018
My son killed himself
image My son Junior killed himself January 24, 2018. I have 5 wonderful children. That day my son woke sick and decided to s home from school. I was home all day with him. Nothing seemed different. His brother had a basketball tournament that night. Which Junior was supposed to play in but was sick. I talked to him throughout the whole game via texting. Jacob had scored a 3 pointer and I texted him. He said he was proud of him. We was on our way to the store afterwards because my daughter was turning 3 in 2 days and we were getting party supplies. He texted and said Mom I have something to tell you, I go what is it son. He goes I have been suicidal for a while now. I go hun what’s wrong you can talk to me or your Dad about anything. We are here to help. He said it’s just to late. I remember screaming no. As my husband was like what’s going on. I called him and I called him no answer. I texted him I love you son please don’t do this I’d loose it if I lost you. He said love to. So I called 911. I was 25 minutes away.  We made it home in a record 7 minutes. 2 minutes to late. My son shot himself. But because he didn’t know his ammo he sat suffering until my husband went to move him to floor for and he let outhis last breath in my husbands arms. My husband was his step dad. But he loved my children like his own for the past 8 years. I told him afterwards. I got his first breath and you got his last. It’s not fair but at least you were there. See I ran outside to make sure none of the other kids came inside. They couldn’t see what I saw. I knew they would traumatized. Had I known they’d never let me see or touch him again I’d of stayed. I’d of held my son. My marriage has fallen apart since then. We are together still but I am leaving. As soon as I can. It’s for a hundred different reasons.  I love my husband but I need out of this house. Away from here for good. Junior was just 15 years old. He was my middle child. But he was the one that was gonna be somebody. I’m sure my younger will too. But Junior and me were close. He didn’t care that people thought I was different he’d hug and kiss me in front of his school. I was his Momma. He made me proud to be his Momma. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to keep going without him. But everyday I get up and get dressed and pretend I’m ok so my 3 year old grows up to be happy healthy little girl. Junior wouldn’t want her to be sad she was his everything Since the day my daughter had her andgave her to me to raise as my own and we adopted her. 

Claire M May 26, 2018
How can this be?
How can this be?

That thought goes through my head constantly since April 2018 -- about seven weeks ago as of this writing. "How can this be true?" "Is this real." I just can't believe my son is dead.  He turned 21 in October of 2017 and had been drinking quite a bit. I'd talk to him about it and he'd say, "Mom, I never went to college," which I would shrug and think, "well, he has a point -- I'm glad he's out socializing and having fun."

He'd always been angry and depressed. He also had ADHD and was a bit on the autism spectrum.  Always different, he was socially awkward and tried to fit in.  In his last year or so, this meant hanging out with less than desireable people. We were pretty close and talked often.  He talked about dying before and I would talk to him about suicide and depression. He would tell me, "Mom, I'd never do that to you!"  He never wanted to go to a therapist or take any medication. He was very uncooperative about a lot of things.

The last few days of his life we spoke every day (I was out of town). He had lots of different plans in the works and seemed to be looking forward to things.  Then one night he texted me very late and said he was "in some deep sh*t." I happened to be up and texted back, asking what the problem was. He said, "don't worry nothing illegal." I asked again, "what's the problem?" and he said, "Never mind, I'm sh*tfaced." I texted "Well, you shouldn't get shitfaced and do good things instead."  Over the next two days, I tried to call and text and didn't get any response. I thought he might be with a girl or who knows what, but I wasn't really worried. Then I started to text a few of his friends and no one had seen him in a couple of days.  I texted a friend and asked him to go by my son's house -- and he found him there -- dead. We were on the phone as he walked in on my son. I can't type anymore about this because it's too upsetting.

In those first few days I was just stunned. I went to a grief counselor thorugh Hospice and she was great. I've seen her three times since.  I can barely remember that first meeting with her but she told me something that has stuck with me. She said, "You don't owe anybody anything. You don't have to return calls, answer questions -- nothing." And that's pretty much what I've been doing. Just kind of sticking to myself and a few people close to me.  I've done some work and taken an 8 hour car trip to see a friend. If you looked at me in a store, you'd probably see my smiling and chatting with the clerk.  I'm "functioning" very well and feel guilty about that. But my counselor says it's different for everyone.  I have cried, but mainly I just have this ovewhelming "weight" in my head -- thinking, thinking, thinking about everything I did and didn't do for my son throughout the years. I see myself "going on" in life but I just don't see how I won't be constantly thinking about my son and missing him.  He was very difficult to be around a lot of times. He would get angry and curse and be really nasty sometimes.  I don't miss that.  But I do miss him and love him very much. He deserved a better life.

Sending much love to all the others out there who are feeling the same pain, loss, confusion, sadness, heartache, guilt, fear and self-loathing.  

Hannukah May 13, 2018
i cant believe it my son killed himself 2 hour ago
Jean Maloney May 5, 2018
I cry every day
Today is the 6 month anniversary of my son’s suicide. A job he wanted and desperately needed did not work out.  This is what precipitated his horrendous act.  My daughter always said James was depressed.  I didn’t listen.  I thought he had ”situational” depression, and that as soon as he was able to land the job he wanted, then all would be well with him.  When he was hired into his dream job, he seemed very happy, even elated!  I was proud of him and felt he had proven me right.  He no longer had a reason to be depressed.  All seemed right with the world.  Six months into the job, he made a mistake, a human error that could have happened to any one.  Since he was on probation, they dismissed him immediately with no recourse For appeal.  It was over, finished.  He called me with the terrible news.  He was extremely despondent about the whole affair.  I tried to console him telling him to come home, go back to his old part time job, and think about going back to college and work toward a different degree, maybe engineering.  My suggestion didn’t Seem to appease him at all, and he said he felt like killing himself, but also said that he wouldn’t do such a thing because he knew what that would do to me.  Well, that gave me assurance that he wasn’t actually suicidal.  I asked him to come home soon so we could talk. He said he would.  I waited and waited, tried calling and texting several times.  Finally late at night because we were 60 miles from where my son was staying, (otherwise we would have driven ourselves,) we asked the police to do a welfare check on my son.  They found him in his car, dead with a gunshot wound to the head.  My son shot himself with a revolver that his “job” required him to have.  He was in training for a branch of law enforcement.  When the police called me to report the death, I felt like I had died, or wished I could have died.  After 6 months, I realize I will never experience happiness again, not truly.  I love my son with my whole heart.  How can I ever live a normal life without my son.  I cry every day.
lynda May 4, 2018
the death of my darling donald keen..
image i can never get over why did my son leave us.. he hung him self and left me with a big hole in my heart... i dream of him and i can see him in other children .. the places we used to go to i wont go again i loved my little boy i blamed god for a long time asking why my baby boy..then i said to myself there is only one person that knows why he tookhes life and that is my son ..i miss you donny and ill keep on missing you till we meet in heaven love mum..  xx  <3
Heather April 10, 2018
My son shot himself
On 5-15-15 I received a call at work in the middle of a busy call center. My mom was screaming "He's not gonna make it!". My 19 year old son, Caycee, had went to Jacksonville, Florida for a few days to see a friend, and while he was there he shot himself in the head. There was no note or anything. He had been depressed, but I just didn't expect it. My son was my best friend. Some days I can't cope, some days I'm ok. It can change with the drop of a hat. One thing that helps me the most is that I still have 3 wonderful daughters. I don't know what I would do without them. My son was very close to all of us and we love and miss him dearly each moment. Hugs to all grieving parents....
Kevin March 26, 2018
My son, my son, my only son Aslan
image I can't add anything helpful here however my 20 y/o son whom I loved dearly... walked out our front door 5 weeks ago just after midnite and shot himself in the front yard. He was drinking vodka (which we don't allow) and watching "Rick and Morty" cartoons. We are devastated and beating ourselves up with why we didn't fix the things we knew were wrong. His name was Aslan Lewis and his obit is at Gentry Funeral Service's website. My wife and I have cried every day for 5 weeks... it's unbelievably painful and heart destroying. We're simply numb. I kept hoping I'd wake up but it's not going to happen. this is real. He had become addicted to breathing air dusters and drinking (we didn't know until it was too late). He had a friend commit suicide a few months ago as part of a "suicide pact". He was 6'6" tall and fun to be around. He has a YT channell (Aslan Lewis YT). We have both returned to work and going through the motions... I'm sorry that I can't offer any great words or advice. Life is simply horrible right now. I suppose none of us surving parents will ever be "okay" but perhaps we'll make it through today... I wish I could offer comfort but there is none.
Christine February 8, 2018
My 17 year old hanged himself last month
My sweet, smart, funny son died exactly one month ago today. I divorced his alcoholic bipolar father when he was 2 years old, but a corrupt judge in the small Southern town where we lived ignored that my ex spent $700 every month at liquor stores and screaming fits in court to give him 50/50 custody. My son suffered for years from his father's abuse, including being left alone all night in hotel rooms with no food. He used to beg me not to go back to his father, but the court was so corrupt and I had no money after fighting a two-year custody battle. Finally, his school contacted child protective services about sexual abuse concerns, and I was able to get full custody. My poor boy suffered so much from the abuse and fear he suffered from being with his father. We struggled since my ex often failed to pay his measly child support and his half of medical bills. 

I mention this because my sensitive boy was traumatized his entire life. I guess it got too much on Jan. 7. I got out of the shower to tell him I was leaving and couldn't find him in his room. He always locked doors when he was in them, but he didn't lock the door to the guest room. I found Sean hanging from the overhide light with an electrical cord so tight on his neck, my fiance and I had to cut it off. Since his death I struggle everyday to go on. He was my only child. I love and miss him so much and wish I could have helped him. My fiance loved Sean and he loved him dearly. Last year he was diagnosed with throat cancer just 6 months after we started dating. He went through horrible treatments. We were finally putting our lives back together. I don't understand why such bad things have happened to us in just a year. We try to be good, compasionate people. 

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