ABOUT THIS POST: Caught in the Shadows of Grief: Ghost Memories Swirl Everywhere is about being caught up in memories after losing a child to suicide. Memories, good and bad, swirl together in the haze of grief after suicide loss. Remembering then and living in the now blurs together. The past becomes the present, and the present is drenched in memories of the past. I just want it all back, my life before suicide.
Caught in the Shadows of Grief: Ghost Memories Swirl Everywhere
Ghost Memories Swirl Everywhere
I drove home last night past the high school. Dylan’s high school.
Ghost memories swirl everywhere.
Playing alto sax and marching proudly with the high school band, countless football games waiting, watching for him at half time as the band crissed-crossed the field and formed a striking image.
Watching him come of age — shy away from girls, then tentatively, furtively, steal glances of girls.
Ghost visions–my car parked outside the high school every afternoon for two solid years of high school — my waiting, listening for the bell, watching students stream from all the main doors and flow out into their worlds.
My world was waiting for Dylan to see me, then pretend and feign coolness in an effort not to let me know he was acknowledging seeing me (how embarrassing to be a high school junior and still be having your mom drive you home from school).
I loved watching him swing up and off his shoulder his heavy backpack, sling it into the backseat, then slide into the comfortable familiarity of the Toyota Solara he’d grown up in. Ghost memories swirl everywhere.
Registering him for classes freshman year. Pain in the waking of memories. How confident and happy he was in 8th grade, and so sadly, how dark and miserable he became his freshman year of high school. Ghost memories swirl everywhere.
His high school had been my high school too. I had moved from Los Angeles back to Ohio, my stomping grounds, all to be close to family who, in the end, all moved away. A choice — my choice — to bring my child of age all against the back-brush of my hometown community, never knowing that this community would swallow him whole.
My life now. Painful if I stay here. Travel into what used to be such beautiful and rich and “normal” memories.
Now it all haunts. My hometown. Schools. Restaurants. Movie theaters. Main Street.
Half the time, I’m not even sure my life is real. I swirl in a surreal haze, swipe of wash across my line of vision, blurred, disconnected, so long ago and yet so much here that I am both consumed and confused. Ghost memories swirl everywhere.
Ghost Memories Swirl Everywhere
Suicide Shatters Hearts
I continue to wake up surprised that I am still here, and live much of my day pretending around the fact that my child, my son, my heart, my soul, my joy, my love, myself — all of who I am, died by suicide on June 25, 2012. Hearts shatter when you lose your child to suicide.
Dylan Andrew Brown, 3/19/92–6/25/12. Forever 20 years old.
My Before Suicide Life
I have my Before Suicide Life (my B.S. Life): Remembering Dylan: 20 Years.
I have my Post Suicide Life (my P.S. Life): Living in the Glare of My Son’s Suicide.
I am not now who I was then.
And I inherently inhabit neither the past nor the present.
I live in the interim. The in-between. Straddling past and present.
It is what it is. This too shall pass —
My Post-Suicide Life
It is enough to breathe. To catch my breath. To exhale this pain.
My post-apocalyptic world: Shattered. Barren. Smoking. Dead. Devoid of any significant meaning.
I wander still, 3 years, 8 months after Dylan’s death, so much more capable in so many ways of faking it, of masking — typically, so much pain, so many-folded layers of grappling with suicide and death and losing my child.
And yet still, inside, in my heart, in my Dylan-sized hole which is, in truth, all of me, I falter, lose my way — fall, shatter, and break all over again — sometimes predictably, but so oftentimes, not predictably at all.
It is enough to breathe. To catch my breath. To exhale this pain.
Next month is Dylan’s birthday. March 19, 1992. I’ve known about this for awhile because my insides won’t let me rest.
I can feel it in my gut. The slow onward march. Relentless. Pursuing. Steady on into this season of his death.
March 19th, 2012, Dylan turned 20 years old. Promise. Hope. Difficulties, but always hope. Fear. Two previous suicide attempts. Staying with my sister and her family. Trying to get his life on the right track. A job at a local electronics store.
But illusive — his will to live, his wanting to stay, his wishing for stars and galaxies and peace and silence and on a Facebook post: “just waiting to be struck by lightening.”
Failed attempts at relationships, pulling away from his childhood friends, his running buddies, those who really knew him.
A hideous, hellish suicide attempt after getting paid for his first week of work at the electronics’ store, all because why?
Again, only deafness makes sense.
And yet still the why haunts my all.
Why, oh dear child, why?
At what moment did you stop believing things could change, get better, cycle beyond the ache of what is into the promise of what will be?
And why, dear child, did you not hear my love?
Find This Post Also Published On Medium.com: “Why Suicide–Why? A Mother’s Reflections on Losing Her Son*
Bury My Heart: Poems About Losing a Child to Suicide
Bury My Heart: Poems About Losing a Child to Suicide is a deeply poignant and heartfelt collection of poems that explore the painful journey of a parent dealing with the devastating loss of a child to suicide. This book serves as a poetic tribute to those who have experienced such grief, providing solace, understanding, and hope through verse.
The poems in Bury My Heart are divided into five sections, each delving into different aspects of the emotional turmoil associated with the loss of a child:
- A Deep Sorrow: In this section, the poems express the initial shock, despair, and overwhelming sorrow that consumes a parent’s heart upon losing a child to suicide. They delve into the depths of grief and capture the feeling of profound emptiness.
- Earth, Sky, Moon, Stars: These poems draw on the natural world as a metaphor for the complex emotions experienced in the aftermath of the tragedy. They explore the interplay between nature’s cycles and the roller-coaster of emotions, painting a vivid picture of the internal landscape of grief.
- Why?: This collection of poems delves into the questions that plague a grieving parent’s mind. The poems contemplate the overwhelming sense of confusion and self-blame that accompanies the loss, grappling with the inherent struggle to understand and find meaning in such a profound tragedy.
- In Losing You, I Lost Me Too:
- That My Love Travel With You Always: Here, the poems focus on the enduring connection between the parent and the child who is no longer physically present. They explore themes of love, remembrance, and the hope that the bond between parent and child transcends death.
Within each section, the poems in Bury My Heart offer a raw and honest portrayal of the emotional journey involved in processing the loss of a child to suicide. Through evocative language and vivid imagery, this collection seeks to provide solace, understanding, and a sense of shared experience for those who have endured such a profound loss.
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