Turbulent Ocean Waves Representing How Grief Can Feel Like Tidal Waves, My Forever Son
Grief Comes In Tidal Waves

When you lose your child, 
there is nothingness, 
the descent into the abyss 
of losing not just your child, 
but yourself as well.

Beth Brown, My Forever Son

In the Beginning

Not my child-
This has all been a big mistake.
Surely this isn’t-couldn’t be true.

My Forever Son

Insides feel like outsides, and suddenly, nothing is real. Or matters–
Desperate, mind whirls around what makes sense. Nothing makes sense.

Grief Descends

A film descends. Covers thick. Shadows reality. Feels unreal. Filters truth like shadows. Hollow. Suspended disbelief. A wicked nightmare. Hell on earth. Protects you for now. 

A death by suicide is difficult to fathom. Impossible to grasp. “Why?!” “Dear God, Why?” People tell you they can’t imagine losing their child to suicide–that they couldn’t live without their child. This is, of course, none of it true. We can and do lose children to suicide, and yes, we can go on. In going on, our child does too.

I Stay-For my child that breathed
For my child that loved-
For my child who now lives through me.
I live that my child might live too.

Beth Brown, My Forever Son

Keeping on Keeping on

Unfortunately, there are no short cuts to “healing,” to being able to even come to terms with wanting to keep on keeping on. One day, one hour, one breath at a time.

Grieving is painstakingly lonely. Intensely introspective. There are no wrong or right answers or ways to “do” this kind of grief.

Sometimes all we can do is hold on.

Photo of sweet bay magnolia blossom in summer

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.

Washington Irving

Hold on to Hope

Remember to breathe. I had to be reminded to breathe. Losing Dylan literally took my breath away.

One second at a time, one breath at a time, a grieving parent told me, means to carry your own child’s light to those who remember and to those who never had the joy or opportunity to know all the wonders of your child.

photograph of art--a blue and black heart, multi-layered, representing ache and sadness
Blue Heart

How Long Has It Been?

I have been at this journey  over 10 years. In the beginning, I didn’t even know how to survive the first week, month, year. I wanted to know what the first year is like, I wanted to hear from bereaved parents who have been there–and lived to tell.

My Forever Son

I have read volumes, volumes! of everything everywhere by anybody who’s ever written and spoken out and about a parent’s grief, a survivor of suicide’s grief, the grieving process, suicide, bereavement. I have read (and continue to read) books, blogs, excerpts, whatever I can find, not just on suicide, but also on how to prevent it from happening to kids who still have a fighting chance. I know now that suicide takes a new life every 40 seconds. This is so, so sad.

I do not know if my son’s suicide could have been prevented. My own jury in my own head, heart, heartbreak, and sorrow are still out on that debate. Dylan struggled with depression, manic depression, so inaptly named “bipolar” in today’s jargon. He lived hell on earth battling demons in his head, and he fell into what so many young people fall into–self medicating with drugs and alcohol, in the end only fueling the enemies he so bravely fought against.

I live that my child might live, too.

I had to learn to want to live again. I live that my son might live too.

Beth, Dylan’s Mom, My Forever Son

I am here to say his name, share his memories, bring awareness that all illnesses can be fatal, including mental illness. Suicide is not a choice; Suicide–like all other illnesses–is the end result of all that medicine knows about treating illness not working.

If You Have Cause to Read this Now–I am so sorry for your loss. Please know my heart aches for you. There are no words.

I lost my son, Dylan, to suicide on June 12, 2012. All of me broke into a million pieces oceans wide and galaxies deep. I entered into darkness–and grieving. I have had to learn to want to live again. This is harder than it sounds when you’ve lost your only child to suicide.

Beth, Dylan’s Mom, My Forever Son

Telling My Story

I tell the story of my ongoing grief journey and struggle to find and dwell in hope at My Forever Son. Dylan’s story has become my story. I carry him with me through my writing, reflections, and grief journal that I began in late 2012.

My years of healing do not reflect calendar years. My first year of grieving, each minute, hour, day, month, and finally, 12-month memorial date, ticked away so slowly and agonizingly I felt eternally stuck on June 25, 2012.

After these 10 years out from losing Dylan, I do not always feel so grief-stricken that I cannot breathe, move, sleep, eat, and function. I have had to learn to live again. I have not moved on from the loss of my son, but I have moved forward carrying the loss of my son alongside the immense love I have for him.

My life will always live at the crossroads of a 20-year-old son coming of age and that part of me who can never grow older than the age I was the day he died.

Dylan’s story is my story, for who I am feels forever attached to the day before I lost Dylan.

What Helped Me

I have sought help (and hope) along the way. I have included Books and Resources (and continue to update this list), and I have added links to support groups that have helped and to which I still belong: Parents of Suicides and The Compassionate Friends.

It is in these groups where I first connected with other grieving parents. They’ve given me a place to fall apart, grieve, and heal enough to want learn to live again. In these groups, we tell stories, our children’s stories as well as our own, and we share lives. I found hope when I needed it most.

For as long as I have breath–and journey on–so does my child.

White candles and a quote from "The Bereaved Parent" The Compassionate Friends

The Compassionate Friends

I write as I live now, post-suicide, life forever changed, always a mom, still a mom, forever Dylan’s Mom, but as is, as now.

I post my struggles, hopes, insights, glimpses of “healing,” memories, relevant articles, essays, blogs, and facts about suicide, especially losing a child to suicide.

A sad welcome from one who knows. Hold on to Hope–

Teen boy sitting in a leather chair. Close up photograph, my forever son
Dylan Brown

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