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Coping with suicide Grief Guilt Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss Reflections after Suicide Loss Suicide loss survivors of suicide loss

“There is a Hole in My Heart Where You Used to Be”-Shattered by Suicide

Imagine Sunshine

Imagine awakening to sunshine. Birds sing-songing their morning choruses. Joy in the nesting season. Joy in raising their young. The hardwood floor creaks its familiar sounds on the way to the kitchen where you are greeted by Cerelean blue and Schoolbus yellow walls.

Ceramic red, green, and yellow chili peppers (which are all connected as part of an artistic sculpture from New Mexico) adorn the walls by the stove. Water swooshing in the tea kettle. Irish Breakfast tea brewing in the cup. As always, good, strong, hearty–dependable.

Life before suicide. But life changes in an instant, doesn’t it? A secondhand on a school clock’s wall, a heartbeat, a millimeter of a second. And in that single breath inhaled, the shattering of a life exhaled by suicide. In the name of a child. Your son. Your daughter. Children.We say their names because we call them ours. Our son. Our daughter. Our child.

Shattered by Suicide: And in your After Suicide Life? Grief, Guilt, Regret, Remorse, Sorrow, Longing, Despair. All now yours. All needing reckoned with. Dealt with. And overwhelmingly deep. Dark. Anguish. Against the impermeability of all expectations. Things taken for granted. A rhythm and flow, ebb and tide to life. The circle of life. Broken. For now. Forever. For he was your son.

How now to sing on? To find joy in the morning and reason to go on? How now to say all that needs saying only in hindsight? Only in the glare of headlights. Too late. Too fast. Too soon. Too young.

Solace in writing. Solace in poems of the heart, poems of love and loss, poetry in the shape and motion of my son. His heartbeat now my own, my words written in ways that march on past the pain, past the sorrow, past the anguish. Words reckoning with guilt, wrestling with regret, tallying pain and remorse. “That All of Time Could Sweep Love Back” came from pain. A crippling pain.

“That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back”

“That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back”

That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back  

Should've, Would've, Could've, 
If I'd only Come to See, 
That might I future forward live
To see all eternity.

That I might know when and where somehow, 
And here and now then see,
To erase the dark and stay the day
To bring back you to me.

If only and What If now child
and why couldn't I just see
To hold you close forever
and stay the light just you and me.

That darkness might not permeate
my heart now and yours then,
that all of love could sweep time back
and bring back you again. 

©Beth Brown, 2021 

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

How Are You Filling the Hole Left by Your Son or Daughter?

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

E.E. Cummings, Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J., Poetry Foundation

“How are you filling the hole left by your son or daughter?” someone asked.

I leapt almost immediately to a thought—maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m not filling the hole. Maybe because of the profound loss of losing my only child to suicide, I’m forever aware of and walking around with the Dylan-sized hole inside me.

It has been nearly a decade of grief. I find this impossible to fathom, though somehow, I have walked out the past 10 years of my life without my son. The days, months, and cumulative years march by without Dylan physically here, but I live on as I have always lived—with my son a constant part of me. I have learned to live as is, as now, though find my life quite different. The Holidays are approaching and making my life bearable (and even at times happy and in the moment), I find myself running in circles. Frantic energy, but more to distract myself than to accomplish much of anything.

Losing My Only Child

I have worked hard to find myself again. Losing my only child ingrained in me a sorrow I wish I could change, yet cannot; a sorrow that even when unspoken to others, rests alongside the all of me that greets, moves through, and closes each day.

I have learned to love gardening again. I always did, but I lost myself completely into the throes of an abyss that seemed hopeless in the first 4 years of grieving Dylan. I grieved acutely for at least 2 years. Fifteen months into my grief journey, I became aware of my surroundings outside. Dylan died in June 2012, and it wasn’t until September 2013 that I noticed it was a beautiful, 73 degree day, early fall/late summer.

I saw, for the first time in 15 months of a heart so broken I had to be reminded to breathe, my neighbors across the street, their boys playing basketball in their driveway just like they always had, the steady Ker-thump, Ker-thump, Ker-thump of the ball being dribbled on blacktop. I saw a blue sky and puffy clouds, and I saw sunshine. Finally, I was grounded enough to see where I was. For me, this was the beginning of my again being present in my own life.

Gardening Again

I gardened then, where I was, at the house where I raised Dylan, and I garden now, yet again, even more magnificently because I have more space and an incredible array of plants and flowers. Yes, I have had to —and sometimes still do—push through pain when I’m gardening, but I also find the soil forgiving, the trees healing, the flowers opening at just the right time a joy, and my life thoroughly grounded when I’m outdoors.

It is spring here. Beautiful, temperate day. My windows are open, songbirds are singing, someone somewhere is mowing their lawn. I can hear cars on the freeway, smell the sweet fragrance of daffodils, tulips, rhododendrons, peach-colored flowering quince, my Stella Magnolia tree. To walk around my house is to see my dogwood tree just opening its delicate white puffy blossoms and my rose garden only now budding up in preparation of opening fully come May. Bees have awakened (and I realize I have to do something about all of the dandelions in my front yard, more so for my neighbors’ sake than mine as dandelions are bees’ first spring food source), insects are stirring, and a family of gray squirrels chase one another up and down the Hemlocks, Serviceberry trees, Apple trees, and Black Walnut trees (my neighbor’s tree, not mine, as black walnuts leach toxins into the soil that injure other plants and trees and besides, they make a terrible mess of my driveway).

I used to dread gardening because Dylan and I gardened together. I have such a love of the land (was raised summers in a 100-acre orchard), and I shared this love of all things green and growing with Dylan. He and I would haul wheelbarrows of mulch and together, make of a cold winter’s dormant mess a beautiful garden come spring.

We grew vegetables too, and I had to laugh the day Dylan told me our Gordon Setter had eaten the tomatoes right off the vines! I was irritated that Dylan hadn’t told her “no,” and yes, I would give anything to feel that irritated in the moment with my son. I miss his spunk, his sense of humor, his slow smile when he was joking with me, his strength (he was 19 years old) in helping with everything and especially hauling heavy stuff.

Rediscovering Writing & Art

I have also rediscovered writing. I had no voice in the beginning of my grief journey, but I wrote anyway because someone told me in a grief-support group that I’d never remember my first year of grieving. I wrote that I might not forget. I am so grateful that I do not write in sheer anguish anymore, but now with reflection, memories, my growth on this journey we all must take without our children here now.

And I read. Again, since for a while, I simply couldn’t focus on anything. Sometimes I still can’t, but that’s okay. I’m gentler on myself these days. I have trouble with fiction—I am too easily triggered—but I read voraciously and randomly. Stacks of books around me mean I’m really reading. A single book usually means I’m trying, but not finding my focus and energy.

And I am doing art again. And music. Sometimes. Recently, and especially now, these past few months, really since at least fall or earlier, I have vacated myself. I didn’t know this, but I saw someone who said this of me. Insightful. Painful to deal with, because it means I have to put the focus on myself and come back “home” to where I still am, to where I still live, inside this self, this woman, this mother of a child I must parent from afar now.

Sometimes, I just don’t want to feel what indeed it is that I must to move through a difficult, painful place. March was Dylan’s birthday, April is too close to May and Mother’s Day and 2 previous suicide attempts where Dylan was in critical care for what seemed like forever. I hate triggers. I’d rather only feel happy, free really, but to really live, I must recognize the hole I work so hard to fill—and to my credit, oftentimes do fill with what my life is now—for what it is and for whom I bear witness the rest of my life. 

The Hole in My Heart

And so my hole, in my heart, in my soul, in my shadow even on “good” days, belongs to my son. To honor him is to open up this hole a bit deeper, go places I’d rather not go because it still feels like if I cry (and when I cry), I will never stop crying. I don’t want to feel that original pain, that terrible, infinite, shrieking pain, that place where the pain feels hopeless—and helpless, lost and without any life, any sign of daylight, anything really, just the raw splitting open of all of me over and over and over again. 

But in the end, honor Dylan I must and hopefully, at this point in my journey, still unbearable at points but having to bear less frequently these tidal waves so constant at the beginning of my journey. I am about to go for a walk and just for now, I will be here now.

But I get Edna St. Vincent Millay, that when the darkness comes (and be it night or the darkness of my Dylan-sized hole does come), I fall into that hole and miss my son, all the time but especially in the dark edges, like hell. Perhaps it really is hell to walk out my journey without Dylan here, but for whatever reason, here I am, loving the spring all the while missing my son. My life has gone on and I have not moved on without Dylan, but forward with Dylan always in me. 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

E.E. Cummings, Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J., Poetry Foundation

“If Earth Were Sky (And Sky Above)”

If Earth Were Sky (And Sky Above)

“If Earth Were Sky (And Sky Above)”
By Beth Brown

If earth were sky and sky above
Then heart could hold this ache of love,
Suspended, like rain, in clouds wanting to fall,
But bound to sun’s joy because heart touches all.

I fall ‘ere so slowly most cannot yet tell
My pain lives so deep and my heart goes through hell.
I crawl more than walk through days such as these
Heavy with sorrow, wanting only ache relieved.

And yet truly what is can’t be undone,
I’ve lost my life in the loss of my son.
For seven years counting this marking of time
Having lost in him life, both his then and mine.

I stay hollow inside though try as I might
Come to from the damage of my now soiled life.
I’d rather be still with my son by my side
My heart filled with love and my joy still alive.

For Dylan, Always for Dylan

©Beth Brown, 2021
Categories
Coping with suicide Grief Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Suicide loss

Suicide Changes Everything-Struggling to Survive Grief After the Suicide of My Son

Suicide is not a blot on anyone’s name; it is a tragedy

-Kay Redfield Jamison

My Forever Son-My Beloved Dylan

Black and White photo of young man, arms crossed, wearing an Ibanez guitar t-shirt, graffeti in the background, dark hair, dark eyes staring into the camera, words in left-hand corner of photo: Nothing lasts forever, for all good things it's true, I'd rather trade it all, while somehow saving you, lyrics to a song by avengend sevenfold, a rock band
Dylan Brown, My Forever Son

Suicide Shocks and Shatters

Suicide changes everything. Immediately. Suddenly. Completely. Shattering everything. All is outside the natural order of the circle of life. And when a young person dies by suicide? When a young man or woman takes their life, all who knew them gasp in shock. The means of their death defies explanation or justification. Suicide shocks. And it sends shock-waves out far and wide to all who knew the person who took his life. A young man or woman who dies by their own hand changes the lives of all who knew them. Loved them. Went to high school with them. Played sports with them. Marched in band and laughed with them. Stayed up late nights in college with them. Their childhood friend. Their best friend. Their families. A young person who takes his life leaves everybody behind. Even his mother.

red and green rhododendron leaves changing in fall. close up

Every {eleven} minutes in America, someone [dies by] suicide. Mostly, I have been impressed by how little value our society puts on saving the lives of those who are in such despair as to want to end them. It is a societal illusion that suicide is rare. It is not.

Kay Redfield Jamison, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide

Learning to Want to Live Again

I am in my third year of learning to keep on keeping on after losing my only child, my beloved 20-year-old son, to suicide on June 25, 2012. My life forever changed that day and who I was died too. A great and terrible Tsunami swept in and through everything I knew and loved and cared about in life, and all that I was and loved and cared about was swept out into a violent, retching ocean, infinite fathoms deep, defying any earthly description here, blacker than a starless night. I couldn’t hear, see, be, hold onto, reach for, grasp, touch, feel anything familiar or loved or comforting. I couldn’t find my son and reached, grasped, searched for him for days, weeks, months on end. When I came to, I realized that somehow, I was still alive and that Dylan had been washed out to sea. I had finally surfaced from the ferocity of the storm and there I was, alone without my son. I didn’t want to live without him.

I have had to learn to live again. To learn to want to live again. I’ve gone deeply within the darkest, blackest, starless night, oceans deep, galaxies wide, to get my insides outsides, to release the soul screams, to hold clasped hands and fractured body, mind, and soul over a heart raw and weeping. I have wept infinite tears, carried the weight of mourning and grieving, fallen apart, kept on keeping on only because of my family and friends’ carrying me when I could not take a single step forward. I have been awash in grief, alive in my life’s greatest tragedy. My son died by suicide.

A Decade of Grief

A deep, deep soul ache settles in that never goes away. Not in the first year of grief, not in the 2nd and 3rd years of my grieving, not even now after nearly a decade of grief. Wanting to live past my son’s death seemed impossible. Especially in the beginning. Especially in that first year. I had to be reminded to breathe-just breathe.

concrete statue of a lion sitting and facing the camera. Lion is gazing downward with a sad expression on his face. scattered red leaves around the lion

“…Time does not heal,
It makes a half-stitched scar
That can be broken and again you feel
Grief as total as in its first hour.
-Elizabeth Jennings”

First Year of Grief

In the First Year of Grief I rose and drowned a million deaths at sea, being forced under by tidal waves, shoved down deep past violent destruction and floating and sinking debris, my life as I knew it, rising only momentarily to gasp, choke, scream and then be plunged forcibly down again. I lived in exile from everything–my own breath, eating, sleeping, moving. I couldn’t do anything I’d always done–work, listen to music, play music, cook, shop, take care of myself, shower, get food in my body, exercise, smile, laugh, be present, be there for any of my family or friends, drive, walk, live. I had to be reminded to breathe.

chrysanthemums with red and orange centers and yellow petals. close up so detail of chrysanthemums is shown

I’d like to believe that what’s broken in teenagers –

can be fixed by growing up

Grief After Shock

I lived this way for as long as it took to come to, the tidal waves to come less frequently, for me to be enough above the surface of the deep water to catch my breath. When I did, I couldn’t speak. I had no words, and for the first time ever, learned what keening really means. I cried out to God, to Dylan, to life, but in the end, it changed nothing. My child and I had been washed out to sea and in coming to, I moved into what will now be the forever season of my life–living without Dylan, being forever a bereaved mother, living outside the realm of “normal” for most people, having to travel a grief and life journey for which I had no equipping, no guide, no preparation, no direction.

At 3 Years Out

It will be 3 years come June since Dylan died and I am only just now beginning to get my bearings. And so it is, slowly, in a stretch of days, weeks, months, years, I have somehow found the strength to get to a safe shore. But my world is small and I find I am on an island set apart from how most people live. Dylan’s death changed my life. On my best days, I know, sense, feel, and understand that he lives yet still and is right there with me in everything I think, say, speak, and do.

close up of red, yellow, green turning brown leaves in fall. leaves are from a dogwood tree

I remember when you told me you hadn’t felt happy in at least 7 years-

You were only 18

Impossible Days

A Some days are just hell on earth. Holidays, Dylan’s birthday in March, his memorial day in June, Mother’s Day, seasons of the year, summer as a whole because in what used to be one of my favorite months of the year, my son took his life. I struggle still moving from January through June because Dylan attempted suicide 5 times before he died by suicide in June, one attempt for each month, January through June, each attempt worse than the last, an endless stream of critical care units, emergency rooms, psych wards, doctors, prescriptions for psychotrophic medicine, counseling, treatment centers, lock-down units, suicide watches, and infinite love and the madness of not being able to make my son want to live.

If Love Could Have Saved Him

I believe Dylan does live on, just not here in this physical realm where I can see, touch, hear, feel him–his love, his laugh, his quick wit, his beautiful original music. I miss him everywhere, all at once, all the years, 19 years, 3 months, and 6 days, and I am gradually growing to understand I will never know why Dylan couldn’t stay. I hear him say, “I had to go.”

beautiful red, yellow, and yellow/red leaves close up in fall. dogwood leaves
That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back  

Should've, Would've, Could've, 
If I'd only come to see, 
That might I future forward live
To see all eternity.

That I might know when and where somehow, 
And here and now then see,
To erase the dark and stay the day
To bring back you to me.

If only and What If now child
and why couldn't I just see
To hold you close forever
On that night just you and me.

That darkness might not permeate
my heart now and yours then,
that all of love could sweep time back
and bring back you again. 

©Beth Brown 

Taco Bell and a Volcano Burrito

I saw Dylan for the last time on Sunday, June 24th, 2012 when I brought him what he had asked me to get for him–Taco Bell, a Volcano burrito with extra fire sauce. I told Dylan I loved him and stood up on my tip-toes to reach the left side of his neck to kiss him. “I love you too mom” My son’s last words to me.

I have struggled, and I struggle still, but I am at my best and most at peace when I realize Dylan really did–and still does–love me deeply.

burning bush red leaves in fall
Burning Bush in Fall (Euonymus Alatus)

Losing a Child to Suicide Defies Description

Losing a child to suicide defies description. And losing an only child to suicide is beyond measure. I live that my son might live too. To live past the enormous pain, however, has meant seeking out resources and support on a continuing basis.

Dylan always was my heart’s song, my love’s greatest expression and joy, my peace and my happiness. He still is.

I now know laughter–sometimes, and smiling–sometimes, but sigh-I also know now that my life will always know this expression of the bittersweet. It is is my eyes, my private weeping, the way my smile now lifts only on one side of my mouth, my having to pull out of hearing about others’ children and grandchildren, of my having to live life differently, of having to shop at different stores. It just goes on and on.

And so it is, as is, that I write this blog 2 years, 9 months into my grieving, into my now, as is life, into learning to live with only part of me here, for a great deal of who I am walks and lives with Dylan.

I trust I will see him again.

brick sidewalk with a single low step to a brick porch. brown, amber, yellow leaves on sidewalk as it meets the low step to the porch. words state I will see you again

I Will See You Again

black and white photograph of 18 year old young man named Dylan. Dylan is the son of the author of My Forever Son

In reaching for stars, my son fell from sky

Recent Chronicles

What Happened?

“He Left Too Soon”-A Poem about Losing a Child to Suicide He Left Too Soon He left too soon, lifting life from June, Casting torrents of rain, and in his absence, heaving beating of tears. I knew him from his first breath to his last.   He came a month early on cusp of spring,…

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Every 11 Minutes, Someone Dies by Suicide: A Look at the Staggering Suicide Statistics, Facts, and Figures From 2020

You Are Not Alone– If You’ve Lost A Child to Suicide If you’ve lost a child to suicide, The Compassionate Friends offers a resource for parents: ” Surviving Your Child’s Suicide.” AFSP, the American Foundation for Suicide prevention provides numerous resources for where to turn after losing a loved one to suicide. AFSP is “dedicated…

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Rising Up–Because Love Lives Forever

Rising Up because… Love lives forever. My son lives yet still. I will be with Dylan again. As long I live, Dylan lives too. Dylan lives on through all that I am. Dylan’s voice is now my own. Rising Up because… I will not let the world forget my son lived. My memories, stories, and…

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LOOKING FOR THE CHRONICLES BLOG?

My Forever Son is as much about my journey to want to learn to live again as it is my son’s wanting his life to end. I have had to learn to want to live again. Writing, photographing, and remembering with love through the pain, I come to these Chronicles to find my way back…

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God, grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Amen
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Categories
Coping with Loss Coping with suicide Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide poems of love and loss Suicide loss

When Pain Comes to Stay: “He Left Too Soon,” A Poem About Losing a Child to Death by Suicide

Rhapsody in Blue Delphinium
He Left Too Soon
 
He left too soon— 
Lifting life from June,
Casting torrents of rain
 
His absence—
Breath of pain whose exhale can only bring
Heart heaving, this beating of tears

Breaking loose—
All hell in earth's upturned rupture, 
Death shoveling shadows over me

As I bend to lay flowers upon his name—
Inscribed and bronzed, 
A permanence come to stay
 
My love laced now with pain—
Standing over my son's grave,
Death's derecho come to stay in my shadow.

“He Left Too Soon”	
©Beth Brown, 2021

My Forever Son: Chronicling Grief, Hope, and Healing After the Death of My Son By Suicide

Chronicles-Recent Posts

I Want to Believe: Remembering and Healing After the Loss of My Son

I Want to Believe– I Want to Believe- –that with enough love and laughter, books and reading, friends and family, children grow up to be happy –the stage is set early for dreams to come true: Skies dazzle in brilliant blue, clouds drift idly, stretches of pastures and woodlands lend serenity -all families stick together–even…

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“Bury My Heart”-A Poem about Losing a Child

“Bury My Heart” (for Dylan) Bury my heart I’ve come undone Sorting through this life My son left behind. And what I’m seeking I know I’ll never find His touch, his smile— His still living his life. And so instead I sift through A still life dream My heart and life with him Forever it…

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One Last Mother’s Day Card-“I’ll Love You Forever Mom”

I’ll Love You Forever Mom “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Robert Munsch, Love You Forever Three Years Out After Losing Dylan Originally Published 2016 Memorial Dates It has been 3 years of acute agony, pain, and the hell of grieving the loss…

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The Pain of Suicide: It’s Not About Wanting to Die, It’s About Wanting the Pain to Stop

The Pain of Suicide Know you can survive; you may not think so, but you can. Iris M. Bolton, “Beyond Surviving: Suggestions for Survivors” 10 Commonalities of Suicide Below are 10 commonalities of suicide, identified by suicide expert, Edwin Shneidman, author of The Suicidal Mind. 10 Commonalities of Suicide The common purpose of suicide is…

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Chronicles-Recent Posts

Purple phlox in bloom is next to a water pond with 2 waterfalls.

About Dylan

My Forever Son: Chronicling Grief, Hope, and Healing After the Death of My Son By Suicide And once upon a blue-sky moon, We sailed our ships in your bedroom, With stars for light, we fled the dark But the lightening flashed, And the sky grew dark. Beth Brown, “Once Upon a Blue-Sky Moon” “Sometimes I…

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Why? After the Suicide of My Son-A Mother Remembers

The beat of my heart shaped by you. The song of you which still now I sing. Beth Brown, My Forever Son And yet perhaps you could not hear above the deafening roar of your heart’s ache.   Beth Brown, My Forever Son The beat of my heart shaped by you. The song of you which still…

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Heartsongs
Featured Poems about Losing a Child

“Bury My Heart”-A Poem about Losing a Child

“Bury My Heart” (for Dylan) Bury my heart I’ve come undone Sorting through this life My son left behind. And what I’m seeking I know I’ll never find His touch, his smile— His still living his life. And so instead I sift through A still life dream My heart and life with him Forever it…

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My Forever Son: Chronicling Grief, Hope, and Healing After the Death of My Son By Suicide


Categories
"Why?" Addiction, Alcohol, and Substance Use Disorders Books and Resources Child Loss Coping with Loss Coping with suicide Family loss Grief Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Stigma and Awareness Suicide Facts and Statistics Suicide loss Support Groups survivors of suicide loss

Every 11 Minutes, Someone Dies by Suicide: A Look at the Staggering Suicide Statistics, Facts, and Figures From 2020

You Are Not Alone

Break the Stigma. Break the Silence.

You Are Not Alone–

If You’ve Lost A Child to Suicide

Bright red and orange leaves in the fall fill the screen. The colorful leaves are still on a few scattered thin tree branches, and the photograph is a beautiful close-up of spectacular fall foilage.
“I Want to Believe: Remembering and Healing After the Loss of My Son to Suicide,” My Forever Son

Staggering Statistics about Suicide in the United States

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2018. Suicide was responsible for more than 48,000 deaths in 2018, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes.

  • On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day.
  • 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide.
  • 90% of those who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death.

These are staggering statistics. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. And these statistics are from 2018. Much has happened since: A global pandemic, especially, forcing isolation in a world where life is lived connected. Mental illness rates have increased as have suicide statistics, but the Center for Disease Control collects data in retrospect, culling numbers from the previous year. We will not know the fallout from 2020 until at least next year.

Additional facts about suicide in the United States

  • The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2018 was 14.2 per 100,000 individuals.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men.
  • In 2018, men died by suicide 3.56x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 132 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2018.
  • In 2018, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.
artistic rendering of a shattered red heart, cracked open in half with the appearance of 3D. The heart fills the image, with a brown and gold background suggesting earth and a striking sense of forlorn, barren, and broken emptiness upon which the heart rests. The cracks in the heart are black and the red in the heart is muted to reflect being shattered. beautiful artist's painting. the caption says: "Suicide Breaks Hearts, My Forever Son" and contains a hyperlink to a poem about losing a child a suicide, "If Earth Were Sky (and sky above)
Suicide Breaks Hearts, My Forever Son
  • Over 950,000 years of potential life were lost to suicide before age 65.
  • Firearms accounted for slightly more than half (50.54%) of all suicide deaths.
  • Suicide deaths and attempts cost $69 billion in combined work-loss and medical cost in 2015.
  • 10.3% of Americans have thought about suicide
  • 54% of Americans have been affected by suicide
  • Men died by suicide 3.6x more often than women. Women were 1.4x more likely to attempt suicide.
  • 48,344 Americans died by suicide.
  • Second (2nd) leading cause of death for ages 10-34
  • Fourth (4th) leading cause of death for ages 35-54
  • In 2017, the suicide rate was 1.5x higher for Veterans than for non-Veteran adults over the age of 18.

Read more at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. All facts and statistics information provided by the CDC, 2018 Fatal Injury Reports (accessed from www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal.html on 3/1/20). Find additional citation information at afsp.org/statistics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “suicide rates have increased by 30% since 1999. Nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016 alone. Comments or thoughts about suicide — also known as suicidal ideation — can begin small like, “I wish I wasn’t here” or “Nothing matters.” But over time, they can become more explicit and dangerous.”

NAMI, National Alliance for Mental Illness

Read more about how I’ve coped, grieved, and found my way back to life after losing my son to suicide at My Forever Son

Photograph of a dragonfly stoneware mug with hot tea, plus a writer's journal with a raised bronze colored dragonfly against a swirled amber sketched background.stack of books about suicide resting on the top right corner of the dragonfly journal. base of a brass desk lamp and a spider plant in the far left corner, plus an aloe plant behind the spider plant. mug, light, books, journal, and plant sit on a wood writer's desk. Dragonfly mug is resting on a yellow glass stained coaster.

My Forever Son: Chronicling Grief, Hope, and Healing


more than 47,000 deaths in 2017, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes. Every year, many more people think about or attempt suicide than die by suicide. In 2017, 10.6 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

Need Help? Know Someone Who Does?

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat
Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Hold onto Hope

Hold Onto Hope, How to Survive the Death of a Child By Suicide: Support, Resources, and Hope, My Forever Son

Recent Posts

“When Someone Takes His Own Life”-Depression and Suicide

“When Someone Takes His Own Life” Excerpt from “The Healing of Sorrow” Norman Vincent Peale In many ways, this seems the most tragic form of death. Certainly itcan entail more shock and grief for those who are left behind than anyother. And often the stigma of suicide is what rests most heavily onthose left behind. […]

More Posts at My Forever Son:

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Coping with suicide Grief Hope Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Suicide loss

Rising Up–Because Love Lives Forever

Rising Up: Because Love Lives Forever

Rising Up because…

  • Love lives forever.
  • My son lives yet still.
  • I will be with Dylan again.
  • As long I live, Dylan lives too.
  • Dylan lives on through all that I am.
  • Dylan’s voice is now my own.
2 vivid yellow coneflowers reflecting sunlight
Hope, My Forever Son

Rising Up because…

  • I will not let the world forget my son lived. My memories, stories, and writing keep his life going on. I did, in the beginning of my grief, believe I was telling Dylan’s stories. I now see I am telling my own.
  • Grief has brought me to the edge of myself–that place in despair where I have screamed: “Bring it! Just Bring It!” then collapsed into tears.
  • And it’s brought me to that place where I can’t stand any more pain, where all that’s left is surrender. Not willingly. Not because my heart has healed. And not because I’ve finished grieving the loss of my son. That place where sky meets sun in the middle of a storm, that rainbow, love living with loss, loss still there but love shining too. That’s surrender.
  • I straddle love for and loss of my son. In the beginning, I could only see pain. But I’ve learned to live carrying both loving memories of Dylan and this impossible pain of devastating loss.

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

-Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

That place where sky meets sun in the middle of a storm, that rainbow, love living with loss, loss still there but love shining too. That’s surrender.

Rising Up because. . .

“To those of you that still feel you aren’t even sure you want to be
here and you can’t imagine ever being happy again. The pain does
change, it softens. You will want to live again and be able to enjoy
life again. It will never be like before but the crushing, all
consuming pain you feel right now will soften. You will be able to
live with it. It just becomes part of you.”

A bereaved parent who lost her son to suicide

My son, my love, my pain, my heart, all beating on inside me, an ache I’ve learned to carry which at some point these past 8 years, has become a part of me.

Beth, Dylan’s Mom, My Forever Son

“You will be able to live with [the pain]. It just becomes part of you.”

A bereaved parent
landscape sunset with water pond in foreground; quote says "You will be able to live with the pain. It just becomes part of you."

“You will be able to live with the pain. It just becomes part of you.”

Parent

Rising Up because. . .

I am having to reinvent and invent anew absolutely everything about my life now.

Because there are no templates for my way of living.

Because in the midst of great darkness, I can only live if I can learn to see.

Because I know I will see my son again when God sees fit and it is time.

Beth, Dylan’s Mom

Rising Up because. . .

I am his mom! I have always and will always love and talk about my son.
I know my son lives on–just not here on this plane, in this realm, on this earth as I so know it.
I find him yet still in so many ways. Losing Dylan has defined me.

Photograph of young man from behind-Dylan Andrew Brown, My Forever Son. My Forever Son is a blog hosted by a mother whose son died by suicide. Dylan was 20 years old.

Dylan, My Forever Son

Rising Up because. . .

I carry on carrying on because in the rising, I carry Dylan too. We are one. Always were. Always will be. And some day, some day–we will be together again.

“You will be able to live with [the pain]. It just becomes part of you.”

Categories
Child Loss Coping with Loss Coping with suicide Grief Hope and Healing Memories and Stories Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Reflections after Suicide Loss

I Want to Believe: Remembering and Healing After the Loss of My Son

Autumn Joy

I Want to Believe–

Hope Means Hold On,

Pain Ends

I Want to Believe-

–that with enough love and laughter, books and reading, friends and family, children grow up to be happy

–the stage is set early for dreams to come true: Skies dazzle in brilliant blue, clouds drift idly, stretches of pastures and woodlands lend serenity

-all families stick together–even when dads leave, even when the crazy-making stories start

–that being a child means becoming a teenager; that becoming a teenager means becoming a young adult; that becoming a young adult means launching a world of one’s own–ad infinitum to infinity and beyond

I Remember You

I Remember–

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and laughing at “Who’s Line is it Anyway?”

Power Rangers. Your blue and white, diamond-checkered costume, replete with Power Ranger sword, jumping from the top stair and my catching you just in time

Froggie and Small Pig, Henry and Mudge, the Rugrats and Charlie Brown, school classroom parties with Halloween costumes and all that candy (chocolate always was your favorite)

Sitting in the car and crying after I took you to kindergarten for the first time (I had to let go–I still don’t want to let go)

And I Remember-

Friday night football games watching you play alto saxophone in marching band

Making 5-layer Mexican Dip from scratch, the food processor whirring with avocados you halved

I remember pepperoni pizzas (times many for all your friends), and new sneakers (Nikes) for puppy dog feet.

I remember academic scholarships and high school graduation robes and the gully in the pit of my stomach when I had to take you to college.

I remember butterscotch sundaes after band concerts and stage fright at your first piano recital.

I remember when you told me you hadn’t felt happy in at least 7 years. You were only 18.

I remember when you told me you hadn’t felt happy in at least 7 years-

You were only 18

I Want to Believe-

that pain in childhood can be eased and healed with love

I’d Like to Believe-

that the Easter Bunny always delivers chocolate cream eggs filled with peanut butter

I’d like to believe that what’s broken in teenagers can be fixed by growing up.

I’d like to believe that what’s broken in teenagers can be fixed by growing up

If I Could Have

If I could have stopped the trajectory Dylan was on, would my life be different now? I’d certainly like to think so. Such a beautiful start, forever ruptured by where, in reaching for stars, my son fell from sky.

And now? Now it is I who hurl forward on this trajectory set in motion 9 years, 4 months, and 3 days ago. Eclipsed. Lacking permanence of sun. Shadows cast fallen amidst sliver of sky.

And in a world spinning madly, I cling to this one still, small hope-that I will see you again.

When I get to see you again

I will hold on

I will clutch you

I will never let you go

“Once Upon a Blue-Sky Moon”

In reaching for stars, my son fell from sky

Once Upon a Blue-Sky Moon

And once upon a blue-sky moon,
We sailed our ships in your bedroom,
With stars for light, we fled the dark
But the lightening flashed, 
And the sky grew dark.

You tucked away your childhood dreams
On wings that soared beyond infinity,
Your love in me and me in you,
But out of reach, beyond what I could do.

I launched your dreams
You took great flight
On wings alone you soared too high
But you found ways to onward flee
To galaxies beyond my means.

I watched you drift through hazy sky
And chalked it up to a teenage angst,
But oh my son, if I’d only known
I’d have reached right in to your dark night’s soul--

 I would have held on
 I would have clutched you
 I would have never let you go
 But you Told me 
“Mom I love you”
 Oh my child if I’d only known.

So I kissed you and I held you,
And I said goodbye,
Not knowing, blue-star moon,
I would lose you that night.

You lived, you breathed, alive in pain
Through storm-dark nights and cloudy haze
But I didn’t know what I couldn’t see
The damage done beyond my means.

My sky is dark, my nights deep blue
My winter’s come, my star’s with you,
Without you here I cannot fly
My wings you clipped 
When you took your life.

And I live on and onward flee
Towards you my son and to infinity,
Where dreams come true and you live on,
And we fly again around planets and sun

With stars that glow against the moon,
Your love in me and me in you.

I will hold you, 
You will clutch me
We will never let go,
And you’ll tell me, 
“Mom, I love you”
And tears from earth will overflow,
And I’ll know then, blue sky-moon,
To never ever let you go.

© Beth Brown, 2021 
 All rights reserved
  

I Will See You Again

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Derecho: A Storm Out of Nowhere

Heart heaving, this beating of tearsBreaking loose—All hell in earth’s upturned rupture Beth Brown, “Derecho” My Forever Son June 29, 2012–Funeral for my son. 101 degrees dropping to 73 degrees in a matter of minutes. Whirling wind. Gusts of whipping wind. Snapping wind. Dark skies. Clotted clouds. Midday sun going away–suddenly. A piercing dark. A…

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From Sorrow to Joy : How Pain Colors Loss

It’s on my refrigerator door–a small, rectangular magnet wedged between a “Choose Hope” magnet and a photograph of my son. The image on the magnet startles. Think Edvard Munch crossed with Vincent Van Gogh. An image depicting a bit of both artists: the sheer starkness of Munch’s scream on a yellow-splashed figure with arms uplifted…

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Is Suicide Really a Choice?

The Stigma of Suicide That we must even ponder: “Is suicide really a choice?” reflects a still pervasive stigma of suicide that somehow, losing a loved one to death by suicide can be controlled–that losing a loved one could have, might have been prevented; that we missed something, a fatal flaw in the way we…

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