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Child Loss Grief Healing Hope Memorial Dates Memories and Stories Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Suicide loss

When Grief Lingers and Love Lasts Forever

Kittens in Three, My Forever Son

When Grief Lingers and Love Lives Forever- A Letter to My Son

On Your 9th Memorial Date

How to begin-where to begin. Infinity, I suppose, from whence we all come and to which we all go. God I miss you Dylan. More than heart can tell, more than words can express, oceans wide and galaxies wide. You are somewhere child, I know you are—and I know I will see you again—but God, the crushing pain of knowing you exhaled the final breath from your life June 25, 2012.

A Split Second without a Second Chance

A tick on a clock, a split second without a second chance, a momentary collapse into the utter despair and hopelessness, a fleeting glimpse of a life once-lived not enough to sustain. A single click on a school’s classroom clock, half a heart beat, enough for blood to travel away from, but not back to whence it came, not long enough to get a pulse, a breath exhaled—yours—but mine now in the shadow of your love.

Nine years. 3,285 days. Umpteen breaths exhaled grieving. The impossible journey to learn to breathe in again. To breathe past your exhale. To breathe in because it’s in the inhale that air floods senses, whooshes down the windpipe, pumps air into filling lungs and language, words that wrap and shape around sounds. Only because the inhale makes them so.

To live in-between the final exhale and the forced inhale of life carrying on is to gasp and choke constantly, caught on confusion—am I breathing 0ut or in? Is it even my breath at all that catches on all these half breaths, shallow breaths, the breaths in-between?

Still I search but cannot find you, cannot save you, cannot stop time, neither reverse its course in rewind nor cease its relentless momentum forward. My world heaves, spins, chokes, gasps—and love—did I mention love?

Life is so beautiful, little one—I only wish you’d stay to share it with me.

Pink Crabapple Blossoms in Spring, My Forever Son

Healing is a mixed bag. Such a nice idea in theory to think one can heal a heart broken by the death of her son. Such a clever idea to entertain the notion of the brokenness letting the light in, that somehow in brokenness, we’ve been broken open. Such is the stuff of fodder for best-selling, self-help, well-meaning books.

But the grief from losing one’s only child to suicide at the tender age of barely-turned-20 exhumes, transcends, to satisfy, to necessitate a complete healing. At least now, this eve of the last day I was ever to see you alive. My grief still descends to enshroud me as your memorial day approaches. It’s as though there’s been no healing in the moments in-between. And yet there has been.

Pink Crabapple Blossoms Framed in Sky Blue, My Forever Son

I can see healing in the photographs I take trying to capture a beauty that is only ever fleeting. I see healing in the color palettes I choose, the way my vision leads me to turn my camera’s lens just so, capturing the moments I know to be fleeting, the moments when time stops, just for a breath, a split second just long enough to snap a photograph.

Beth Brown
Dylan’s Mom
8 years, 11 months, 24 days and 8 hours

Daddy and Double-Dipped, Gardens at Effingham

That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back-A Poem about Losing a Child

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 […]

“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. […]

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Coping with suicide Hope 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.

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.

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

A bereaved parent

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

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.

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
Grief Healing Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Hope Reflections

A Poem of Love, Loss, and Hope: “Tillers of the Earth”

Tillers of the Earth and Tenders of the Soil

A Poem of Love, Loss, and Hope

Tillers of the Earth

by Beth Brown

We are the tillers of the earth and the tenders of the soil.

These trees and plants and water garden were here before us, and they will be here after we go.

We take care of them that they might take care of us and that love might be this caring for one another. 

We are the tillers of the earth and the wakers of the soil.
 
How wonderful to see purple this late in the fall and orange on the kindling.
 
Insects swarm madly. What are they doing? Where are they going?

Where go all of us when stand we no longer (further) on grounds hallowed and loved?

We are all tired of blooming, and so rest we now where hallowed love lies and dreams live on even past this point where we are one.
 
We sit, we watch, we wait, for time has a way of catching us all a little off guard and unwilling to wield yield.
 
Tired I rest, tired I fall, and so wonder when, then, I can no longer be this tiller of earth, tender of soil?

When no longer I can mother these roots, bark, leaves, budding and blooming, where then must I go?
 
Where must I be when all that mothers me isn’t any more green and growing?
 
Where must we be when tender no more this sky-earth reach where love in-between sends nights' sky sleep songs to ease her sorrow?
  
That always we could be crickets at dusk and water-lilies opening.
 
That always we could be skimming iridescent hues past this pain of knowing that even seasons lose their way.
 
That Sun-sky could hold ache of us now–tangled branches caught in January, berries spindled against stark limbs. 

           

Categories
Grief Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Hope Songs

“Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”–Poem and Song

Sun through the Trees

“Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”

By Mary Elizabeth Frye

I give you this one thought to keep-

I am with you still. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there; I did not die.

Dylan, My Forever Son

“Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”–A Song of Hope

Categories
Child Loss Grief Guilt Healing Holidays Hope Memories and Stories

Easter Bunnies and Chocolate Eggs? Another Impossible Holiday

Easter and Cusp of Spring: Holidays are Impossible Really

Daffodils in Spring

Cusp of Spring

Here in central Ohio, the day promises to be beautiful. It is only 45 degrees now, but by this afternoon, it will be 71 degrees. Skies will be gray today, but you can feel the cusp of spring. The sun, through slated gray skies, breaks through—beckoning life from a ground, earth, soil, trees, and flowers, laid dormant by winter.

This is my third Easter without Dylan. To those of you moving through this holiday for the first or even second time, know that you are in my heart. Holidays are impossible really.

For so many years, Easter was my favorite holiday. I belong to a faith that promises hope with this day, but I also love that this day promises new life everywhere. I love seeing crocus and daffodils and hyacinths in all their colors poke up from the ground. I love seeing Robins poised to grab their meal from a newly thawed ground, and I love hearing the chirping of the song birds. This year, a single mourning dove echoes her coo, coo coo, outside my bedroom window. And this year, we had a warm winter, so even though it’s still early in Ohio, so much of our grass is already a deep, rich green.

White Daffodils in My Gardens

How to Cope? Stay Busy

And I am on an intense job search right now—have been since December and am only just beginning to see forward progress. This is the first time since Dylan died (June 25, 2012) that I’ve been able to pull myself together enough to present myself as the professional I am. I am a teacher, but can no longer teach—it’s just too painful, both emotionally and physically, so I am working with a job coach to re-invent myself. As we all so well now know, carrying on, keeping on keeping on, is so much about re-inventing.

College campuses are my home away from home, and I always loved teaching kids coming of age through years where the search for identity is strongest. I teach English, composition mostly—all levels, but also American and British lit, and I’ve always loved teaching. To me, it never even seemed like I was working, merely sharing a passion and encouraging young adults to find their voice.

Dylan, My Forever Son, age 18

Guilt Surfaces

How sad to think I failed at this with my own son, my only child, the pride and joy and sun and my heart’s song. I hate when I move through my grief passages where guilt surfaces, where hindsight seems 20/20, where could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve conjure themselves as the be-all, end-all of an absolutely fallacious reasoning on my part that I somehow have power enough to control another person’s life.

Guilt Recedes

But just because Dylan was my son didn’t make him immune to the darkness of illness, the struggle of rising above a depression that pulled him under, time and time again.

In my heart of hearts, I know I didn’t make him take his life and I know that alcohol, drugs, and manic depression did.

Dylan

Remembering the Joy

So I am at this weird, crazy juxtaposition where I know better than to go there, where logic defies my own suffering and mother lode of guilt, but still, in this infancy of a lifetime of dealing with losing my son to suicide, I do go.

I laid awake in bed last night trying to conjure up beautiful memories and images from Easters past. Egg hunts, coloring Easter eggs, special candies and treats from a local chocolatier, Easter dinners at Grandma’s—ham, sweet potatoes, pickled eggs and beets (which Dylan hated and found disgusting!), asparagus, and silly jokes tucked into plastic eggs at each of our plates.

Hope

Hope–this time of year has always been about hope for me. I have a white cat who distinctly resembles a white bunny, and I try to smile about this, but I am having such a hard time today. I can’t find my smile. I didn’t go to church (I find family things impossible). I am due at Mom’s this afternoon for the same old, same old Easter dinner with the same old, same old china and cloth napkins and jokes in plastic Easter eggs, but nothing (and I want to scream this) nothing is the same!

I am beyond folks acknowledging Dylan now. It has been 3 years, 9 months, and there is a deafening silence. I find this a second kind of death, and perhaps that is part of my heavy grieving this year as well—I just have nowhere to take my grief, no one who will just hold me, hug me, love me and remember Dylan.

And I know that this too shall pass, that this day shall pass, that the heaviness of this load will shift enough that I can sort of, kind of, almost have a day-to-day life.

But just for right now, I feel the joke’s on me. I am no longer the solid chocolate Easter rabbit, rich and decadent and sure to bring a smile. Now I am a hollow chocolate rabbit, my center missing, my outsides fragile, my insides missing the very stuff of life.

Chocolate Bunny

I miss my son, I miss my son, I miss my son. . .Dear God, I miss my son. We are here only for a blip in time. This is what I use to console myself, that none of us knows when our end will be. I try to believe the truism that none of us gets a free pass from death. I try to believe that dying is part of living.

Hold on to Hope

But how ironic that the pain that made my son end his life should so become the insidious pain I must now live out for the rest of my days here.

Sigh. . .oh well, I’ve learned that distraction helps, and so off to get ready I go. And getting outside into this sunshine and warm weather will help. Spending only a little bit of time at Mom’s will help–the old, go late and leave early, and I don’t really care if anybody understands this or not. Reading or watching Netflix will help. Writing helps. My online support group, Parents of Suicides helps. My cat, Lily, helps. If my heart can bear it, playing music will help. Maybe I just need to let my insides outside. I fight letting the tears come, still, I think, in fear that they might never end.

I have come so far, but still my heart knows such sadness. Holidays are hard. Telling our stories help. Those who really get us are those, sadly, most like us–other bereaved parents. We harbor a pain so deep most of the world can’t even fathom such pain.

Love and peace and hugs to all of us today,

Beth, Dylan’s Mom
March 19, 1992-June 25, 2012
Forever my heart, my wings, my love

Just for Today

Just for today I can be grateful June 25th, Dylan’s memorial date, is not here yet, that it is still yet March, that life is one day, one hour, one minute, and sometimes, just one breath at a time. I miss my son–

My Constant Companion

Magnolias in the Spring

Magnolia tree buds
Saucer Cup Magnolia in Full Bloom
Hold on to Hope (Magnolia buds opening into Full Bloom)

Categories
Child Loss Healing Hope

After the Dust Settles: Rising Up in the Wake of the Heartbreak of Losing a Child

Rising Up

Because I know Love Never Dies
Because I know my son lives yet still
Because I have hope that I will be with Dylan again
Because I will not go quietly
Because Dylan lives on through all that I am
Because his voice is now my voice

 

 
 

Rising Up

Because I lost my son to suicide at the precious young age of just-turned 20 
     
Because I have learned to live with a child in heaven (which equates to my being only present here, but there, in heaven with Dylan, finding my heart and true joy)

Because I have had to scrounge and scrape together and assemble, one breath at a time, a means of keeping on keeping on

Because I find I am quite alone in my surroundings on this journey

Because I have had to lay out the trappings of a way of life unstudied, unmapped, quite foreign to most

 

 Rising Up


Because I will not let the world forget my son lived! Dylan Andrew Brown lived and breathed and brought joy, depth, and a richness of life to so many

Because I am not afraid to die

Because I have already experienced the worst day of my life–the day my son took his life

Because I have already met with seemingly impossible circumstances–viewing my beloved son in a casket, burying his ashes at a memorial gardens where so many of my older family members are buried–great-grandparents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, my own father who died at 61

Dylan Andrew Brown, March 19, 1992-June 25, 2012, Forever My Heart, My Wings, My Love

Rising Up

Because I laid to rest my son with my father in the same grave, sharing the same grave, and because I remember when Dylan was young and my dad adored his grandson

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

Rising Up

♥ Because I am his mom! I have always and will always love and talk about my son

♥ Because I know my son lives on–just not here on this plane, in this realm, on this earth as I so know it

♥ Because I find him yet still in so many ways

Because I know what it is to endure great suffering and longing and missing

Rising Up because I can choose. I know for Dylan that he did not have this choice. 

I walk the bittersweet. I carry the weight of this life’s journey. And even though mine is a heavy load carrying always her child who died by suicide, I walk proudly and with love knowing Dylan forever etched his soul into mine. 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.

Happy birthday little one. Forever 20, but this year, March 19th, 2016, 24 years old on earth. Loving you more than breath–