For the ones I love

My darling boys,

Your Grandmother called today, yes I know she calls often, but I need you to stop and listen to me for a few minutes.

Please,  stop, take off the headphones, and come sit with me.

Do you remember the people who used to live next door to Grandma and Pop?

There were two children, around your age.  That’s right,  Jessica and Mark.

Both a little older than you.

Jessica turned 21 at the beginning of the year.

Good, do you remember playing with Mark?  Kicking the ball in Grandma’s yard?

Grandma rang to tell me that Mark killed himself the other day.

Why?

We don’t really know.   He was not even 18.

Apparently, he was having trouble finding work, problems getting training organised.. but there had to be more.  Surely.

The family is devastated.   Grandma is upset.  She had known Mark since he was only a bump.

I need to talk to you about this, I need you to know that no matter how hard things can get, no matter how dark the day is, you are NOT ALONE.

Life isn’t always easy.  Sometimes it gets damn hard to even get out of bed each day.

And every day, there will be new challenges and stress.  There will be fights and fall outs and drama with family and friends.

There will be rain,

But there will also be sunshine.

No matter how difficult things might seem, it will get better.

I promise.

And I need you to know that you can always come to me, or your father, no matter what, or why and talk to us.

Even if you have to do like I am doing here.

Asking you to listen.

If not us, then there will always be someone who can help.

Just keep asking.   Ring a helpline.  Scream if you have to.

Life can be damn hard sometimes, but life is precious.

And you are special, and always loved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a true story, I have of course changed the names, and what I have written here is what I have talked to my boys about.

We don’t know why this young man with his whole life ahead of him chose to give up and commit suicide.

The family has always appeared to be close and loving and is now shattered and trying to recover from the loss of a beautiful young man.

Suicide is such a tragic waste and we need to make sure our kids know that we are there for them when things get tough.  And the teenage years can be tough.  Hormones, school, dating, work, bullying and also family expectations can make life pretty hard for young people trying to find a place in this world.

Boys most of all, as our culture continues to push them to be “manly”.

“Big boys don’t cry”  How many times do we hear a parent or adult say that?

Or “toughen up”, “Don’t be a sissy” or even “You sound so gay when you talk like that”.

We need to encourage our children to talk to us when they are struggling.  Let them know that it is ok to have these feelings and most of all let them always know that they are safe and loved.

We don’t know why “Mark” could see no other option out of what ever it was that pushed him to the edge.   We don’t know the family dynamic.  The circumstances.

We do need to try to teach our children that there are options, other choices that can be made and they are strong enough to make it through to the other side.

I sit here, looking at photos of my beautiful boys and I can not imagine not having them in my life.

My heart breaks for “Mark’s” mum.

 

14 thoughts on “For the ones I love

  1. My Brother in Law committed suicide when I was only a year into the family I now and then called my own. It is such tragedy and the family never recovers truly. There will always be a vacant place where he should be and that vacancy burns a hole daily in the hearts of those who loved him most. It is heartbreaking to witness and have been a small part of. I love your post and that you had this conversation with your children. It is a conversation I have had with my son and will have again as he ages.

    • I think that it is a conversation we certainly shouldn’t shy away from, even though it is a difficult and emotional subject for every one.

  2. That is so sad. I agree with you that we should encourage our kids to talk to us and that they are not alone. Life can totally suck sometimes, but that people there for them and there are so many options.

  3. That’s such a tragic event. I cannot imagine what his parents and siblings are going through. We do need to keep reminding our kids no matter how old that there will always be someone or somewhere they can turn to. This was a really poignant post. Thanks for the reminder to keep the lines of communication open. Hugs my friend! xx

  4. I am thankful that I have never been affected by suicide, it is so sad when someone so young takes their own life I don’t understand why someone would feel like that is good option but they do but than again I guess if you think suicide is a good idea you are not in a good place, my sister Sue has had suicidal thoughts many times in her life but thankfully she has never followed through with thos thoughts.

  5. I am going to tell you a true story. It is going to sound frivolous at the first, but let me finish.

    When I was about 11, we had a dog named Coaly (yes, he was black.) One day we were getting ready to go somewhere. We lived out in the country, and the dog was trusted to stay home while we were gone. As I went to get into the car, I saw Coaly literally stick his head under the back tire. We pulled him out twice, and he went right back.

    “He’ll get out when I start the motor,” Dad said. So we got in the car. Dad started the engine and began to back up.

    KA-THUMP.

    Point being, sometimes there is nothing TO understand and nothing to do. The drive for self-destruction simply overwhelms rational thought. And we can and should teach our children the joy of life, give them all the support we can, and be attentive to see what they really need without blowing them off. I’m betting that Hollywood director in the news is wishing he’d done more of that with HIS son.

    But in the end, “Mark” may just have been too far gone to be reached. And it is almost impossible to tell “from the outside”. All you can really do is focus not on the death, but the life. The worthwhile, the inner person. And pray that the sun that rises every morning for you rises for them as well.

  6. That was hard for me to read. When I was a young teen, I had suicidal thoughts. Thankfully I told someone and got help. If only more people whose brains are lying to them, told someone. There’s no shame in mental health.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  7. I couldn’t imagine going through what Mark’s mom is facing. It’s hard enough to lose a child, but to lose one to suicide is especially terrible, knowing that your own child would want out of their life so badly that they’d end it themselves. We really need to end the stigma with mental health and start embracing and helping the people like Mark who need help before it’s too late.

  8. Oh this is so horrible. I can’t imagine…I just can’t go there mentally. It’s too heartbreaking. I can only send my most sincere prayers to this family, that they will find some comfort through this awful tragedy.

    It’s really good that you took the time to talk to your boys. It is so hard to even think about this kind of stuff affecting your kids, but it is also so very important to make sure they know that if life ever does become difficult for them, that they have people to turn to–people who will happily help them, no matter what.

  9. I’ve been depressed and didn’t see a way out and death did sound like a way out of the pain.
    It’s sad that he chose to do it. But, it can be hard to see that things can get better.
    A few years back my husband’s cousin shot himself and he was about 18.
    Over the years, I have known several people that committed suicide and it is so heart-breaking for the family left behind.

  10. That is such a sad story. When I hear of tragic loss I can’t help but picture losing one of my own children, and I just can’t understand how I’d cope. My thoughts are with you and with the family.

  11. Oh how sad and tragic. :( our daughter lost a friend to suicide a year ago. Just before Christmas. It still affects their friendship group. What they fail to see is that even though it is dark today, eventually the sun comes up again. His family must be so shocked and devastated. Like you I could not imagine loosing a child. Our kids do need to know that no matter what they can always talk to us. Life is hard but it is also beautiful. Just so sad to think he thought death was the only answer.

  12. That is so sad. I hate that it happens so much. It was good that you spoke to your boys about it. The whole issue really sucks…

Comments are closed.