Iím not sure if 2 days or 3 days has passed when I remembered saying to my daughter ďWhat day is it? Have I slept all this time?Ē I knew I had to have been awake sometime throughout the days that had passed but my body just wanted to be normal again.
Hum interesting, normal, what is that? What will that be for me now? The tears start to fall uncontrollable. Oh my god, my son is gone. He will not be back. How will I ever cope, survive, live another day beyond today. Please someone take this pain from me, donít make me bear another minute of this this oh god I canít do this alone.
My poor daughters, how is this affecting them to see me cry uncontrollably? My children had never really seen me show much emotion during their growing up. I strongly believed I must be strong. I must always be strong and show my children I am here for them, no matter what I am here. They can count on me always and they know I can handle anything.
Why did I feel I had to be strong during the raising of my children? I certainly have no control over my emotions now even when I speak to myself harshly ďget a grip on this!Ē Itís not working and right now, this very second I donít want to have control over my emotions. I really am not fully aware of who is around me. Who if anyone is watching me lose my strength or seeing me have no strength? I want to cry with no control over my emotions. I talk to myself to allow myself, give myself permission to lose control. I do finally lose control and sob.
I often stop what I am doing to look for Larry. Where is he? What is he doing? Are my daughters being forced to make decisions for their parents?
Bill, the funeral director enters our home to discuss the funeral arrangements. I donít know what time of day it is, but does it matter, really? Itís not like I need to clean or straighten up the house for company because I canít see any mess. I have absolutely no ability to prepare a meal because Iím not sure what my responsibilities are.
Someone must tell me. I am incapable of responsibilities as my brain feels like itís in pieces. No human being can make responsible decisions or even be responsible for them self when your brain is in pieces. Can they? Who should be responsible for me? I am the mom! I am 48 Ĺ yrs old! Please I should be responsible for myself, but I donít want to be, not right now, just for another day, ok?
My daughters seem to have it all under control. They are talking with Bill about the songs, the pictures they want to use. They are going to design a book marker for all the people that visit the funeral home. The people will have a book marker to take home with them. How can the girls seem so together? I have a couple of things to say. I tell them, that I want Nicholas to be cremated. I look at Larry, Nickís dad. I feel he should have something to say regarding his sonís funeral planning. I look over at Larry and he doesnít seem like he has any ideas right now. Why?
We are all part of this planning thing. Why canít Larry be part too? He seems so distant. I remember feeling very strong about having everything at our house. Bill, (funeral director) suggests the funeral should be at the funeral home. People can come to our house after the funeral. Bill makes good sense. Why can he make good sense? I have trouble thinking whatís good and what bad thoughts are. Bill is very pleasant and thoughtful with us while planning Nickís funeral. Oh my god, I never thought I would be planning my sonís funeral. I donít remember this in our marriage courses. We are catholic and there was nothing in the lesson about your children dying before the parents.
Itís coming again. I can feel the emotions are overwhelming. My ability to say to myself, ďno not right now, this is not a good time to sob, uncontrollably. This will upset others in the room. Someone get me the instruction book to life. I donít remember receiving one when I got married and starting having children.Ē
Itís decided, Nicholasís cowboy boots will hold his ashes. Nicholas was such a cowboy. His cowboy hats, his boots and his belt buckles. Oh my god, what do I do with all his stuff? His room is full of his stuff, his belongings. This is all I have left of my 20 year old son. Oh my god, itís coming again. The tears are flowing and people look at me likeÖ.what?  I know they all know that itís ok to cry. Itís ok to not be able to control your tears, so I am given permission to cry by a hug from the girls.
I canít seem to think. I canít stop the tears at times. I donít like feeling so sad and hurt and feeling the pain of the loss of my son. Then the thought of the loss by suicide is so unbearable. Thoughts like WHY? What must he been feeling to plan and carry out the plan to die. Oh my god where was I? I am sure I didnít miss something. I am afraid to remember to hard incase I remember something important, like, like what if he asked me for help. Did I know that and forget to help him? Was I supposed to have seen something? Nicholas, I am sorry I donít know if I wasnít there for you! Shit, I always have put my kids first and foremost, or did I?
I refuse to think anymore because it hurts; it hurts too much to think. I am not responsible for my thinking because I am grieving. I am a good mother, I am a good person I know it but my brain, those pieces they are making me doubt myself and I donít like it.
Itís been 2 days since I was told Nicholas, my son is never coming home. I will never hear his voice again. I will never hear ď, Pen, get a life!Ē I will not hear him tell me a humorous story and laugh. Nicholas was tall and slender and neat and always concerned about his ďpresentationĒ of the way he looked and smelled. His breath and his after shave lotion as well as he brushed his teeth when ever going out. His hair had to be just so. Nicholas took more time in the bathroom and his room to get ready than any female I ever knew of.
Now I will have the bathroom to myself and no one else to share it with. I will never clean up his mess in the kitchen after he has prepared his food. I wonder, did I complain too much and it upset him. I wonder if I said something I shouldnít have before Nicholas left the house that Saturday around noon. WHY canít I remember? Why why why? I donít want to know anymore. The answers donít matter to me because Nicholas is not here and my brain is in pieces and it doesnít know what it wants to hear or even if it needs to know the answer. I donít have answers. No one has answers. I canít make them up because itís not fair to Nicholas to think I know when I donít.
The third day has arrived and we are preparing for the funeral. Our pictures throughout the house of Nicholas are most comforting yet painful. Why do I need both comforting and painful. Everything hurts right now. I am tired and physically as well as emotionally exhausted. My face and skin hurt from crying and wiping my eyes. How long will I feel like this? Oh my god, am I normal? Is this what happens to other people that have a son die by suicide? Are there others like me?   Have others had to go through the past few days like what I have, my family has gone through. Oh my, how did they do it? Did they make it through this? I donít have to go through this ungodly pain. I donít know how long I can do this? I donít know if I want to make it through this horrible grieving? I want to die right now and stop all this pain and hurt. I donít know what will become of me when and if I ever get over this grieving for my son? Could I take my life too? Could I by pass the grief and pain and just die? Oh my gosh how could I think like that? I donít want to die. My daughters would have to go through all of this again, how could they? They would have too. They have their own life. But, but Larry needs me. Nicholasís dad, my husband, we need each other.
More people come and go. They ask a lot of questions and I donít know why they ask them? Like, ďI am so sorry that a person is so selfish they only are thinking of themselves when they commit suicide.Ē I think for a moment! My son was not selfish. I feel angry that this person said something bad about my son. My son is dead. How can anyone say something bad to me, the mother? I think ďI donít like this person.Ē I become quiet and donít talk too much to this person so they will go home. Leave me, now. They leave. People said ďI understand he did this because his girlfriend broke up with him?Ē I think, I think hard about what this person has said to me. I begin to feel bad inside my stomach. I feel angry again and find myself quickly defending my son. I say ďno, no, thatís not true. We donít know why? We donít know anything about why Nicholas took his life.Ē I have fast moving thoughts through my scattered brain about Nicholas and his girlfriend breaking up and what must have happened. Not only do I feel concerned about Nicholasís feeling at the time, but what about his girlfriend? She must have been concerned and if not then there was no reason to be concerned!
No, no one would kill themselves because of a break-up! Its gunna happen again. The emotions are over coming me. The tears are streaming down my face. The person is feeling uncomfortable now for saying to me that awful statement. ďI understand he did this because his girlfriend broke up with him?Ē How could a person say this to me, the mother?
People can be cruel. Family and friends can seem cruel too. How can they be so cruel, donít they know I am hurting and grieving the loss of my son. My only son. My youngest born.
The first two weeks felt like something else was inside my body giving me directions and keeping alive. I couldnít do anything on my own. Someone must have put 4 D batteries in me and thatís what kept me moving, walking and talking and just being present. My body was physically present, but my mind was everywhere, out there in the universe.
Things slowed down at our place. People stopped coming. The phone stopped ringing. The mail was not so much these days. I donít have a clue when I vacuumed last. Had enough time pasted that I should grocery shop? My head hurts to think about that. Oh my did I pay the bills? I donít care. I just donít want to think about anything.
Every time I looked out the front door window, Nicholas 4 wheel Gimmy sat facing the house like it was confused to. What do I do with his truck? I went to the hardware store and bought a huge ďFor SaleĒ sign. I put it in the back window of the truck. Two wks passed and no one called or inquired.
Larry & I went to purchase a grave stone. We had to make a place for Nickís new home visual to visitors.
I now have many, many thank yous to send out. I sat at my computer and with a special program I started sending card after card after card. I was exhausted but wouldnít stop until they were all in the mail.
Phone calls regarding Nicholasís income tax, cancelling his SIN card, drivers Lic and the bank account. One day while in Nickís room I was standing in a daze with disbelief this was really happening and I heard the sound of a cell phone ring. It broke my daze and I turned around to look at where the sound was coming from and on the shelf next to Nickís wallet and truck keys neatly placed was his cell phone. I hesitated for a minute but something inside reached out and picked up the phone and with reluctment I answered it ďhelloĒ I said. I soft female in a quivering voice replied ďoh hi, Iím sorry I just wanted to call and hear Nickís voice on his answering service.Ē I replied ďhi, Iím Nickís mom and please call back and I will not answer the phone this time.Ē A few seconds pasted and the phone rang again. I stood while I thought about that poor girl, listening to her friendsí voice to get some comfort while she grieves her loss of a friend.
I wondered for a moment, did she leave a msg? What kind of msg could she have left her friend, my son. I picked up my phone and dialed Nickís cell phone and waited to hear it ring. Then the voice mail started ďhi you have reached Dr. Nick (I laughed at the same time I cried) I canít see you right now, Iím busy.Ē I thought how I had never heard that voice mail before. I wonder when he changed it? Dr. Nick, what a guy, always thinking. I spoke to Larry about Nickís cell phone and what should we do about it as it was on his group plan so he is paying for it. We decided to leave the cell phone on for 2 months but turned off. Then Larry had to call the cell phone provider and explain the reason he needed out of the 3 yr contract. Larry had a tough time answering the customer service  questions. When he was stumbling and began to choke up I knew it was tough and I told him ďsay it Larry, tell them!Ē Larry looked at me like the sky was about to fall on us and said it. ďour son died.Ē The customer service person immediately said ďI am so sorry, this will be no problem and there will be no charge sir.Ē Larry looked relieved but hurt because he said it out loud and how that was painful to do.
We would receive the odd phone call from a family member requesting we come over to visit and have dinner. We would turn them down. We didnít feel like leaving our house.
Our good friends across the road from us invited us to a 50th birthday party and we couldnít bring ourselves to attend. We didnít go. A family member called one time insisting we come for dinner. They pushed and said ďnow you never come over, we really want you to come so you come and tell me you will come or I will be hurt.Ē I told them ďok we will come.Ē We never showed up. The next time we seen them they were a bit annoyed because we stood them up. People just donít understand it. They donít get it. When youíre grieving the loss of your son by suicide, you may not want to leave your house, your home. You feel lost and empty and hurt and sad.
It must have been 3 months after Nickís death when my eldest daughter said she wanted to hold a golf tournament in memory of Nicholas. We did it and had a phenomenal event. It was an emotional one for us and family and friends whom all pulled together to have such a successful and healing event.
Larry took 2 weeks and more off. His work called him in and said you will have to use your holidays if you remain off work. Larry went back to work every day. When he needed a day off, he took it as a holiday. The guys in the shop were very good to him.
I went to work everyday very reluctantly. I had a 50min drive on the 401 at 6:30am and many things began happening to me. I would cry every morning as soon as I had to get on the freeway. I started anxiety attacks. I would have to pull over and get off the highway. The manager and my co-worker were very cruel and did not have any compassion or empathy in an ounce of their body. Iím convinced they were incapable of those qualities. This made work impossible to go to. My job itself was great. I took pride in what I did. Eventually after many incidents and office visits and cruel behavior on the manager and co-workers part I left after 18months of work since Nicholas death. I had worked for 3.5 yrs in administration.
I began my mission to work with Survivors of Suicide. Seek knowledge and research information. I found books to read. I attended conferences with my daughter in the city. It seemed like more resources were available in the city.
We attended everything available. Met lots of people, networked and gave our name and email to all.
Our plans began with the suicide awareness products. Researching a company that was reasonably priced. Then we had to market them. Let the survivors know they are not alone. They donít need to be alone. We had a suicide committee formed with a couple of high school students and a youth group organizer. We began plans on our first suicide walk.
The holidays were so difficult. I had just had Motherís day with my children before Nick took his life. Larry never got his Fatherís day that year with his son. I felt it painful for Larry as we would look at each other and feel our hurt. Times throughout the first year we would silently hold each other and cry and never say a word.
There were times when we wanted to say something to one another and just couldnít as neither one wanted to trigger the pain response emotion. We later shared with each other how we both felt it and both tried to save the other from hurting. It was a constant up and down of emotions and hurt and pain and sadness and so goes the journey of grief.
My wonderful health Dr. told me one day ďPenny, itís an 18 month health awareness you should know.Ē We spoke about how grief and stress affects your health. I most remember my cloudy brain. I had great difficulty sorting through things. If there were more than 1 thing happening at a time, it would upset me because I couldnít think without feeling over whelmed. I had symptoms like, anxiety, memory loss, digestive problems, headaches, confused and disoriented and depression like symptoms. I would feel a great feeling of sadness and emptiness. None of which were unusual. I am very thankful for my health practitioner was well educated and updated and on top of me health.
I have met so many people that have been impacted by suicide loss that I wonder how could I have come this far in life and never known these people.
I have met and had the pleasure of reading wonderful educational and knowledgeable books that I am so thankful were available.
I had a drive to survivor this suicide loss of my dear son Nicholas. I today, 3 Ĺ years later still have that drive and determination to survive my journey through grief. The only difference now is I have a drive and determination to want to help other survivors of suicide loss so as they will also choose to live life again after their most tragic loss.