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My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Summer, Forever Summer

My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Summer, Forever Summer: Dylan Daisies, Summer’s Sunshine Dylan, 18 years old, Spring 2010 I lost Dylan on June 25th 2012. Monday. 1:52 a.m. Only jus…

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My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Summer, Forever Summer

My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Summer, Forever Summer: Dylan Daisies, Summer’s Sunshine Dylan, 18 years old, Spring 2010 I lost Dylan on June 25th 2012. Monday. 1:52 a.m. Only jus…

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The Shape of My Grief

Dylan Andrew Brown, 18 years young, gifted student, musician, friend, son

My son, Dylan, was just barely 20 years old when he took his life, and I have all of those same unanswered questions rattling around inside me, all of me, even though it’s now been 3 years, 3 months since his death. I like to think that as time goes on, as I add on these concentric circles around the ring of the tree that used to house his life—and now serve as reminders only of his death, I have become somehow more accustomed to the enormity of this heavy heavy pain. I have heard other parents of suicides say the pain “softens.” I do not know what this means, the “softening” of the pain of losing a child, my only child, to suicide, but I do see, that in writing the following post, I have become more accustomed to this life I am living as is, as now.

Brute reality? I miss my son. All of him. All the time. Every single minute of every single hour of every single day. 24X7X365. 

I wrote the post below in response to a question for “Parents of Suicides,” an online Yahoo closed support group for parents who have lost a child to suicide. The support group is enormously helpful and because it is online, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The question was about Christmas, the holidays, sending greeting cards. Here is my response:

The first year, I signed a few cards to a small circle of friends and family with both my name and Dylan’s name, then I used orange ink and a beautiful butterfly stamp to imprint the butterfly outline over Dylan’s name. Orange was his favorite color from way back and using the stamp helped me deal with the enormous weighted grief of the first year. That was the only way I was able to send cards—by using both our names.
But now? Now I don’t even send cards. And I find those who do send cookie-cutter holiday cards to me a source of frustration, anger, and pain. Trite “Happy Holidays!” and “Have a Joyous Season!” and “Deck the Halls!” belong to an entirely different part of my life. Anybody who really knows and loves and cares about knows better than to plug me into the “gaiety” of what, for many, is a time of love, tradition, love and lavishing of gifts for family. In fact, I always kind of know who to check off my “Well, thought they were close enough to me to realize the inappropriateness of sending me such a greeting since surely—surely!, they must realize my holidays, Christmas, the entire months of November and December, bring so much enormous pain” list.
But on a positive note, I’m sort of, kind of more okay? better? more “healed”? just realistically further away from Dylan’s suicide? I still am full of trepidation and weary of triggers this time of year, but for the first time (it’s been 3 years, 5 months, and 8 days), I had a fantastic Thanksgiving Day. This is, quite simply, unbelievable. I did what I wanted to do, met my day with mindfulness, spent time with Dylan here in the quiet of my home, and then took a road trip!!! 🙂 It was 60-some degrees here in Ohio on Thanksgiving Day, the sun was shining, the sky was gloriously blue with lots of white fluffy clouds, and if I had had a big furry dog (think Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, English Setter, Lab), I would have thrown him or her in the back seat for my trip.
I was so amazingly present that day and this is such a gift. I took the freeway down into southeastern Ohio, down to where the hills start rolling and huge rocks and cliffs are cut away for roads to pass through. I saw miles and miles of pine trees, green as if in complete defiance that we are in a climate where everything and everyone shuts down for the winter months, and I drove past Dillion Dam, which meant an incredible stretch of water and river and bridges. I felt transported, lifted out from the sorrowful side of myself who carries the death of her son, alive in just the beauty and scenery of what for me is my home state.
How can this even be? In losing my only child, I lost all that I am and for the first 3 years, just ran rugged and weary and scragged and grief-beleaguered. Some days, I still do. But I am amazed because now, I can—sometimes, house both sorrow and even a kind of momentary time-out-of-time happiness. It’s been so long since I’ve felt elevated, lightened, unburdened. It’s such a relief, it’s such a reprieve.
I’ve always hated the periods of time where I’ve been so numb, disconnected and unplugged from my grief, from the world, from my feelings, from life. A new kind of feeling seems to be slipping into my life—I feel numb infrequently now, hopeful much more often, and as of last Thursday, the happiest I’ve ever been/made it through a holiday. Yes, I cried. Yes, I sobbed—I miss, miss, miss my son so terribly much. Yes, my cat came to comfort me in my tears. Yes, I lit and burned a candle not just for Dylan but for all of our children.
But my whole day was not consumed by grieving, by longing, by desperate sobbing and pleading and aching. This is new. This is wonderful. Is this hope? Healing? Acceptance? Learning to keep on keeping on?
Beth, Dylan’s Mom
March 19, 1992-June 25, 2012
Forever my heart, my wings, my love
Til soon, little one, til soon










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Mother of a Teenage Suicide

Depression Hurts

A mother that buries a son buries her heart

I am the mother of a young suicide. Changed, forever changed, by the death of my 20-year-old son, Dylan Andrew Brown, 3 years and nearly 4 months ago. I hate that word–ago. Long ago. Oh, you know, awhile ago. Ago–to go, has been, past tense, once was, not to be again.

I lost Dylan to suicide on June 25, 2012 at 1:52 a.m. He had texted his close friend, his growing up forever best friend, just an hour earlier. “Hey bro, what’s up?” “Not much, how ’bout you?” “Bout the same.” Dylan’s last words to someone he had known for more than a decade, someone who was frequently at our house because we were neighbors, a running buddy, a fellow gamer, a bandmate–Dylan on guitar, Jeramiah on drums. The two of them were closer than brothers, called each other brother, knew and spoke more into each other’s lives much of most days, 5 days a week at school, playing after school–football, basketball, skateboarding. Pizza, big breakfasts I’d cook from scratch–bacon, fried eggs, toast, oj, milk, fried potatoes, a close, intimate suburban suburb. Good kids, good homes, “A” students, top-notch students, athletes, and musicians, in band, doing all things together, hanging out on weekends, staying up too late talking and texting, sharing hopes and dreams and visions of their futures.

Some days are easier than other. Today is not such a day. Today’s a day I awakened in tears, my head buried in shame in my pillow, my heart wide open and longing and grieving for a child and son and cusp-of-young-adult man I love and adore with all that I am, all the time, in everything I do.

I only know to do what I know how to do, routine, ritual, move–even when all of me is grinding down, step feet out of bed, push through, make tea, make something–eat, read, come to. . .come to.

This too shall pass, but when? When? It is mid-afternoon and still this hangover of depression, of suicide, of wide-open grief.  I look to my cat. She opens her eyes for the picture, then right back to dozing.

A cat’s life, slumbering through the day, 18-plus hours of napping, drifting off, a hazy, filtered kind of life.

I know this kind of life now. 18-plus hours a day of living in the surreal fog, this veiled shroud of living each breath as the mother of a suicide. There are simply no words to describe this kind of numbing out, this haze through which I must glimpse the world. I’m here, but not here. Not really when all of me either surfaces and spills over wide open in sorrow and pain or else numbs out and assumes the facade I must wear and be to even marginally fit in. I am always with Dylan, even when seemingly not so. These are two disparate states of being–either faking it and wearing the masque of living in the moment, or else cracking open in despair and hopelessness. I wish I could choose–like clothes to wear or whether or not to clip my hair back–to numb out and feel detached and separate from, or to just be real and let my insides outside.

In the end, I know Dylan struggled with this too, because my confusion and torment between living between who I am inside and who I must be outside is not just about grieving his death by suicide. Dylan was saddled–and I am saddled, with depression, that ugly sick monster who feeds off sucking you dry from everything you knew you loved. The one with daggers for horns and an unquenchable fire to consume all that you once knew of life–a childlike joy, a fascination for a new day, gratitude to be here now, fun in the moment, the ability to laugh, love, play, let go, take it easy, follow through, achieve, desire, plan, hope, dream, do, be.

Dylan made it 15 years in the jowls of depression, all the while being chewed up and spit out repeatedly in an effort to chew the living life out of my son. And then, and then. . .sigh, . . .
June 25th, 2012, Monday, Dylan took his life.

Depression hurts. Left untreated, depression kills. Even treated, depression rallies and rails against any sort of containment. Depression lies in wait. Dylan was seeking help. Starting meds. But depression is an illness. And illness never waits for meds to work–And death waits for no one.

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"I had a black dog, his name was depression" video depiction of depression

Yes. Just yes. I struggle with depression. I battle with depression. Sometimes daily, consuming every waking and sleeping moment. Sometimes randomly. No apparent reason that anyone else can see. Depression is a black dog. Great video depiction.

Dylan, my 20-year-old son, died of depression, deep, deep dark depression. He fought for a long time and fooled us all with his easy laugh and funny faces. Depression will do that. I grew up with black labrador retrievers. To me, the black dog in the video looks like a cross between Clifford, the big red dog (Dylan loved reading Clifford dog stories), and the black labs I grew up with.

I still have my black dog. Do you?

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I do not even know where time goes. Suffice it to say that sometimes, sometimes, grieving the loss of my son requires a certain pulling away from all things grief-related. Sometimes, it’s just too painful to face. Sometimes, I just want to pretend I belong to the rest of the world, the one that seems to be 
whirring and spinning around me. Sometimes. . . .

So much has changed. It is a new year, February 6th, 2016, Saturday, and it has been forever and a day since I last blogged. Where did I go? Only into the recesses of myself in an effort and a fledgling attempt to rectify and redeem the dire straits I found myself in last year. 

Losing a child to suicide necessarily carries with it the burden of loss, one heavy and weighted enough so as to encumber you for the rest of your life here. But there are many secondary losses as well. Over the past 3 and 1/2 years, I have lost those I counted as “friends,” three jobs, my health to such extraordinary proportions that I had to have open heart surgery last fall, my financial status, my ability to function and move about as freely as I always have.

And the guilt. God the guilt, the mother lode of guilt, oozing and drenching all that I am and do in “what if’s” and second doubts. Feelings I thought I’d left behind surface all over again and I find myself drowning in despair. And the really sad part of all this is that I’m not even entirely sure this is a guilt that can be avoided. If you’ve lost a child to suicide, then you are probably all too aware of this hellish familiar ache. 

Some things never change:
1. my ache for my son
2. the many ways I think about him during my day
3. the way I just about always dream about Dylan at night
4. the way just about everybody in my community just doesn’t “get” me–not unless, of course, they’ve lost a child too–and if they’ve lost a child to suicide too? then they “get” me
5. the way i slip further and further from my family network 
6. my reclusiveness during “holidays”
7. my reluctance to commit to anything–and always holding back the option of bailing at the last minute
8. my not looking forward, save one day at a time–and realize, it’s taken me 3 and 1/2 years to even get to this point

I have learned how to:
1. be a master of disguise
2. fake smiling
3. fake laughing
4. fake being “normal”
5. keep the focus on others to the effect that no one asks me about myself

I realize:
1. nobody really knows me anymore
2. I will always carry this deep ache and sorrow
3. my life is forever bittersweet
4. “it is what it is”
5. this is my “as is, as now”
6. I completely hate the term “new normal.” There is no such thing. 
7. I will always have to hide the completeness of who I am to fit in
8. just about everybody can’t even imagine, let alone fathom, losing a child to suicide
9. I will never be “healed” until I see Dylan again.
10. It’s been 3 and 1/2 years. I’ve learned to live here, or at least to breathe here, but my heart aches for my son. Mine is a hollow existence. I miss belonging to life, to being in the flow of activity, of sharing of lives, of being like others. I will never fit in again. I live “childless” here, having lost my only son to suicide, but I am forever a mom, forever Dylan’s mom. 20 years here. and now? and now? God has held my son for 3 and 1/2 years. 
11. My cat needs me
12. I still just want to be with Dylan.

My world is small. I am lonely. I miss my son. 

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Sainsbury’s OFFICIAL Christmas Advert 2015 – Mog’s Christmas Calamity

I love this cat–Mog, and I love this animation of Mog’s Christmas story. I am posting this video because there is only so much sorrow a heart can take. Sometimes, I just need to smile. Sometimes, I just need to be distracted.

And I know that, down deep where my little girl still looks up at her Mommy wide-eyed for comfort, Mog satisfies a longing I’ve always had–and still, and now so desperately need, a longing to hear those magical words: “It’s all going to be alright. It’ll all be okay in the end.”

God, how I need this kind of ending. Here, in Mog, I find this distillation of hope. And if hope and all good things can find Mog in the midst of random chaos, then how much hope and all good things, though unbeknownst to me now, are meant for my ending. Oh if only my happy ending, on down the line, when all the chaos sorts and sifts and filters through so many many cumbersome levels and layers of grief. Love means everything. To know we are loved. To love and be loved. To be loved so fiercely that even when everything goes wrong, love carries us and hugs us into its arms.

Yep, I think I need a hug. And love. Tons and tons of love. And someone to tell me “it’s going to be okay,” “it will all be alright.”

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My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Letting Go: A Sketch of Love Against a Life’s Etch…

My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Letting Go: A Sketch of Love Against a Life’s Etch…: Even when the tidal waves of grief cease, the ebb and flow, the surge and deep darkness that is the ocean, that, alas, is grief, persists…

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Letting Go: A Sketch of Love Against a Life’s Etching of Grief

Even when the tidal waves of grief cease, the ebb and flow, the surge and deep darkness that is the ocean, that, alas, is grief, persists. Hope rests in the distance, skyward, arcing, streaming glimpses of what’s yet to come–then, there, at that moment, the final lifting up and breaking free of the weight of carrying the grief of losing a child to suicide.

I came upon the excerpt below in one of my grief support groups for losing a child to suicide, “Parents of Suicides.” And while I don’t necessarily agree with everything written here, I do know that when I read through “With Every Goodbye” the first time, something resonated deep within me, the soul and bones and ache of grieving my son these past three, nearly three and one-half years. 

I find in its words the brute truth of life–that life isn’t fair, that loving a child hopelessly doesn’t guarantee freedom from tragedy–and death, and that holding onto and keeping sorrow to fill the hole in my soul only makes more pronounced the painful absence of my son. 

I do not know if I have “let go.” I hold love, and protect love, fiercely, as fiercely now as the mama tiger who raised her infant son to young adulthood. I hold fast good, powerful, albeit  bittersweet, memories. 

I miss everything about my son–his 6’1″ frame, his lanky, strong build, the salty taste of his teenaged skin, the smell of his skin (and his “Axe” body spray), his enormous chocolate eyes, the way the corners of his mouth always turned up, nearly always in a smile, and I only now realize, post suicide, that his smile masqued his sadness, his sorrow and depression. 

Some days, I lift my hands, my arms high, offering my child up to the hope that I will again join him–someday. I dance my prayers, draw with pastels my feelings, watch my “healing,” as best can be, ebb more than it, as in the beginning, really the first 18 months, overwhelm and overtake me. I live more from a place of peace with some acceptance that I will never know the “why” of his suicide. But I also know the triggers still come easily.

If you are in early grieving, this excerpt might not stir anything familiar. It takes a long time to even realize it takes a long time to come to terms with what you cannot change. 

Still, I dream of Dylan. Still, I dream I am trying, but can’t, save him. Still, I wake up abruptly and horrifically, drenched in heartbreak and sorrow in realizing that my beautiful son is dead. Still, I dream, though not as often, flashbacks to his death, though now, dream more about who we were, who we are, as mother and son. Still I fight saying “goodbye” to what is and always will be most precious. Always the missing. Always the loving. Always remembering Dylan.

“With Every Goodbye”
After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t always mean security.
And you learn that kisses aren’t contracts,
And presents aren’t promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman or a man,
Not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns
If you ask too much.
So you plant you own garden and decorate you own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure,

That you really are strong,
And that you really have worth.
And you learn, and you learn . . .

With every goodbye, you learn.
     (From ‘Shavatva-Yinafash’, the Prayerbook) 


Rest easy, little one, rest easy





With every goodbye, you learn.
From ‘Shavatva-Yinafash’, the Prayerbook 

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My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : A Sad Welcome if You’ve Found Me Here

My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : A Sad Welcome if You’ve Found Me Here: If you have cause to read this now– Suicide of a child shatters a parent’s heart Please know my heart aches for you. I am so s…

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My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : An Abrupt Awakening: Foray into the Holidays 2015

My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : An Abrupt Awakening: Foray into the Holidays 2015: The Holidays Descend (Aka: Suicide never ends) Dylan home for Christmas  And so it is I checked out last night, hoisted the white f…

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An Abrupt Awakening: Foray into the Holidays 2015

The Holidays Descend (Aka: Suicide never ends)

Dylan home for Christmas 

And so it is I checked out last night, hoisted the white flag, decided the last thing I could really do is hole up and write, knowing I needed to walk but not having the wherewithal to walk here at home on my treadmill. So off I went—to JoAnn’s to pick up a frame for my Winnie the Pooh print, then over to Target to grab just one item. Ugh and well—the best laid plans of Mice and Men.

I got the trigger of a lifetime last night, and I was completely unprepared and blindsided. How can it be the end of the first week of November and my not realize it’s the holidays. When I got my new issue of “Cooking Light,” I actually looked at the beautifully arranged and artfully displayed array of Thanksgiving foods on a plate that spanned much of the front cover rather longingly and even contentedly. I suppose maybe I thought that since I had virtually nil by way of a “reaction” to this Thanksgiving food picture, I would be un-phased by the holidays this year. I learned last night that this is, sadly, not the case at all.
And so happily, well, not happily but seriously hoping to be distracted and learn something new by just exploring parts of the store I’d never been to, to JoAnn’s I went. I grabbed a shopping cart and slowly wove my way around the store. Sure, there were holiday fabrics (which is where I started), and then the carpet and upholstery fabrics which were mostly just dense weaves and beautiful in their own right. 

I entertained random thoughts of “what if I learned to sew?” “What if I got a sewing machine and pursued this?” “Wish I may, wish I might know how to sew a quilt, and drapes, and you name it.” But then reality would set in and I’d come to and realize sewing is just not my thing in life. If I do anything, it’s get back to an art that I’ve called my heart and my home for most of my life, just fall deeply and completely into my music.
And so onwards through the store I drifted. Frames were next—great, my reason for being there, and for the first time, I was hit with messages that resonated deep within, messages engraved and imprinted and embossed on beautiful home décor about love and family and hearth, the rest too painful to name. I felt it for the first time, a sadness, a longing, the deep, deep etching on my all of me of losing Dylan to suicide.

My Winnie the Pooh print for which I needed a frame. 

I tried to tuck it away, this pain that I’ve been learning to carry these past three years and four months, tried to just breathe and hurry my cart past these simple displays of framed art that for me, triggered memories of a life that was brutally and violently upended when Dylan died June 25, 2012. 


I no longer belonged to this cheery, albeit illusion, of hearth and family. My family died. My son, our big dog, Maya Bear, a 13-year-old Gordon Setter mix, our cat, Lucianno, a beautiful gray, green-eyed friend for 16 years. And then in June of this year, Dylan’s father and my ex-husband. They all haunt. Everything haunts. So much of me lies there, with them, that I sometimes have trouble recognizing myself here. My life echoes, resonates, with all those years, family years, growing up years, years of deep, deep love expressed in so many ways. Sometimes, I just miss everything.

Maya Bear, 2000-March 5, 2013




Still, I am so hard on myself. Still, I am expecting a point in time, an accumulation of days, months, years where I’m, I’m not sure—“okay?” “numb?” “healed?” Counselors, “professionals,” books all address a “new normal.” Maybe I am expecting my “new normal” to not include the utter heartsick despair I felt yesterday at, of all things, a simple fabric and crafts’ store.

I couldn’t stop it, the descent into what for me, is the sheer blinding madness of all of my aching and crying out for my son, and in some bizarre way, I seemed to just be moving in slow motion, each step and push of my cart my own tortuous undoing of a masque I’ve practiced putting on and taking off so many times I had thought it’d become a part of me.
Still, though, I am not where I was three years ago—raw, fresh, open, bloodied, wounded, heart gaping, all of me only able to weep, groan, moan, call out to Dylan, to God, scream, kean. Then, I didn’t-and couldn’t eat, sleep, take care of myself, pull it together enough to even go out shopping on my own. Pain, so much pain in losing a child to suicide.
I found a frame, and fretfully, doubting my choice, pulled out and then set back multiple frames, unable to choose, unable, really, to even think straight. I knew I had to get out of there. Three years, four months of grieving have taught me to always have an exit strategy, a backup plan to escape quickly whatever the situation might be—a group of parents who would inevitably talk about their children (I’ve learned to be sort of okay for awhile in these circles and I’ve learned to share so many of my beautiful memories and growing up years of my son), but there is always a point of maximum impact, the sudden—and horrifying—awakening in all of me that my son is dead.
How could I have gone out yesterday without an exit strategy? How could I have not known it was the holidays? How could I have not realized it was late Friday afternoon and that moms and dads were out shopping with their children? How could I have been oblivious to what is one of the cruelest unveilings of an entire nation, an entire world, when you’ve lost a child? It’s the “holidays!” Dear God, it’s the holidays.

Target? Nothing more than a lost cause. I remembered out of the blue what it is I’ve been struggling to remember forever—that I needed two birthday cards and gift cards for family members. There was no avoiding anything now that I had lost my masque, my skin, now that my façade had been stripped away, my composure and assumed air of “normalcy” for the rest of the world abruptly ripped opened. Exposed, I could only see pain: greeting cards for sons, greeting cards for sons of different ages, meaningful messages intended to show love and support for sons, funny messages intended to elicit laughter and a knowing smile, the familiarity of the mother-son connection through life.
Gift cards were impossible. I needed a Google gift card and, of course, it was housed in the same display as were all the gift cards for young men. I reached for the Google gift card and felt the sharp pain of seeing the X-Box gaming cards right beside it. A pack of three $10 X-Box gaming cards for $30. I couldn’t help it. My fingers reached up to and wrapped around the three gaming cards, and in a second, 20 years of Dylan’s being flopped on the couch gaming on his X-Box with one of his many friends ripped through me, flooding my sense of the present and breaking open an already shattered heart all over again.
I knew I had to bail. I turned my cart. Children’s clothes, Christmas outfits. I turned the other way. Christmas cards for children. I raced to check out, walked frantically to my car, collapsed in the front seat and just sat paralyzed, unable to drive. I wanted to call someone, but whom? Just who exactly would get this searing pain, this forever and permanently damaged and broken heart, my completely and utterly falling apart just because I had gone out to a couple of stores to pick up a quick couple of items? I went through my circle of friends in my mind, then my family, and then I knew it was hopeless—no one, and I mean no one (save for other bereaved parents) would and could get this intense pain.
The sun was setting. I hadn’t realized it had gotten that late. I had forgotten we had fallen back an hour last weekend and that the skies were now darkening by 5:30 at night. By December, sigh, by December, the skies would be dark by 5:00 p.m. Winter solstice. Life in Ohio. Long wintry days spent so much of the time in dark—and cold—and gray-tinged skies.
Last night, and herein lies my immense effort to make sense of my life post-suicide, living now, as is, as now—I chose to drive my car into the sunset. I could have headed east, but instead drove west, into the bloodied sky, sun dissolving into pinks and oranges and vivid hues we are fortunate to have this time of year. And I don’t know why, but I didn’t cry. In so many ways, I was just completely overwhelmed, all over again, different year, same overplayed, garish nightmare and my desperate attempt to make sense of what will never be made sense of.
Oh, I suppose, when time comes, and in small increments, I’ll be able to fake at least a little frivolity, at least enough to sort of, kind of, be out and about in short doses, but I knew last night, I still can’t do holidays.
Thanksgiving is coming. Family gatherings beckon. I haven’t told anyone, but I won’t, I can’t be there. Sometimes, the best I can do to keep on keeping on, to maintain my sense of my life now without my son here, on this side of wherever heaven is, is to pull back and live a different, even separate existence. I’m not sure what I’ll do for Thanksgiving this year, but I know there is “healing” in doing things differently now.
This year? These 2015 holidays? This year I will fiercely protect myself in much the same fierce way I protected my son. I will remember Dylan, and celebrate Dylan, and light candles and play music, and if I’m up to it, bake some of his favorite cookies. But this year? This year after having already borne three agonizing Christmases without Dylan? This year I refuse to conform to traditions that only make me bear more pain.
It is strange to have to carve this new identity now, to tackle finding out exactly who I am by trying on and taking off roles and identities I had thought well established and for which I had taken for granted for years. But this is exactly where I am. I’ve already done three times, three years, the same thing as I always did and in the end, it’s yielded the same results three times, which is to stare me down, strip me of everything, and fully and abruptly slam me into the knowing that nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever be the same without Dylan right here, right now, beside me.

Pure joy, happiness, love–Dylan at 3 years old

And it’s only this year where I’ve reached the point that this is okay. I am a different me. I am evolving. I’ve spent time over these past three years—and especially the first two and one-half years, dissolving all that I was when Dylan was here. I am learning to live as is, as now, in the moment, and just for today, I choose to feel less pain.
I can’t stop my now life’s journey of carrying my sorrow, even when it’s laced with what feels happy and good—and I will always miss and love and ache deeply for my son. He is always there, all the time.
But I can, one day at a time, make and create, when I can, a life here for myself that brings me less pain, more smiles, and even, in moments, happiness and freedom from this weight I now must always carry, the weight of losing a child to suicide.

Sometimes. . .Sometimes, it’s just impossible to smile. 2015. November. The holidays. Sigh. . . .


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My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Suicide: It Never Lets Go

My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : Suicide: It Never Lets Go: Love Never Lets Go Merry Christmas, Dylan. Oh that smile– The pain of suicide never lets go.  Dying Inside. Holding my breath. P…

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My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : The Unwanted Effect of Living Backwards After Suic…

My Forever Son, My Beloved Dylan : The Unwanted Effect of Living Backwards After Suic…: Where Has Time Gone?  I am aware, the further I come along this grief journey, the less I live forward. In the strangest of ways, it i…

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The Unwanted Effect of Living Backwards After Suicide

Where Has Time Gone? 

I am aware, the further I come along this grief journey, the less I live forward. In the strangest of ways, it is always June 25th, 2012 or earlier. I suppose to some effect, my life is lived backwards. And I am in this weird, surreal space of not yet knowing who I am without Dylan and yet finding myself three years into this journey of being here, as is, as now.

Sometimes, I feel like a character in a book and that I’m moving, breathing, responding, doing things according to a chapter and genre and story I didn’t choose, would never even read, let alone choose to live in. I try things on the way I try on clothes and shoes when I’m shopping. On with one personna, off with another, on with this activity, off with that activity and trying something else entirely. I am creating a new me, a process of becoming quite exciting and extraordinary when you’re coming of age between the ages of 18 and 24. But here I am, in my 50’s, the stripping away of all of my life as I knew it. And the challenge and constant renewing of fortitude, strength, and courage for this reinventing is sometimes way more than I can tolerate. I am grateful for passages of time where I can rest easy, relax into my friends’ and family’s company, just be here now and completely in the moment. Watch a Netflix’ movie. Read compulsively. Just focus on a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea.

So much lies in a cup of tea

I am pursuing the renewing of my health with a vengeance. I refuse to succumb to a life’s worth of chronic, physical, disabling, progressive, systemic pain and inflammation, the end result of grieving 24×7 my only child to suicide. I am seeing an incredibly good medical team, and am working on holistic things when I can. I am proactive. I am eating anti-inflammatory foods–well, most days. There are always there times when I stray, but with straying comes the brute ache of chronic pain and lost sleep due to lying awake in physical pain. I find it ironic I should be struck with Rheumatoid Arthritis several years into my grief journey. When first diagnosed late last fall, I said outloud “really God, really? Like it’s not enough I lost my heart, my son, and that I have to live the rest of my life in some state of grieving, the bittersweet now lacing virtually all that I do? What is it that you want God? Me? I am here! Take me!” But God never does–take me, and for some reason way beyond what I can fathom, I am still here, on this planet, in this space and time, and Dylan is not.

But good meds, biologics, pain meds, heat, ice, rest, working to manage stress, Tai Chi practice, yoga stretches and walking when I can go far to bring a manageable level of pain. And distraction? It’s the best! When I write, when I play music, when I’m with friends doing things, the pain is less acute. There is a gift in this for me. I have learned to pull back and simply celebrate and enjoy the moment. Mindfulness principles help: radical acceptance, mindfulness, meditation (mine is always walking meditation). And resting. No multi-tasking. Any and all stress makes me hurt badly. For hours, days, weeks. I limit what I do, how I live, who I see, how my life goes. Actually, this is so freeing. I only wish Dylan could have stayed to see who I have become, his warrior mama, a fighter, proactive, embracing healing, determined to live the best I can here while I’m here.

With hope, we find our wings

I say this, and yet still sometimes my days echo nothing but the reliving the day of Dylan’s death. On these days, I awaken deeply disturbed, oftentimes in tears. I don’t want to get up on these days. I just lie there in bed, turn sideways, bury my head and face deeply into my pillow and just let the tears come. Anymore, they’re oftentimes quiet, whimpering sobs, quiet, resolved tears. Tears that reflect the  cold truth that Dylan died. But tears still-and always–that pour forth the depths of my love for him.

Thank God it isn’t always like this every day. When Dylan died by suicide three years ago, it was like this every day. My days were  drowned in sorrow, constantly. I never found relief until falling asleep, and then I would dream about Dylan, his beautiful face, my boy through the years, seemingly normal, then the abrupt interruption mid-dream of the horrific reality that he was either (1) going to die, upon which I would awaken abruptly, startled, terrified, coming to, and in a milisecond, realize Oh My God!–Dylan is dead, or (2) that Dylan is dead, in which case I’d awaken horrified and sleepless and sad and desperate. Sometimes, now, I have a third version of this dream: I dream Dylan is in danger. My heart quickens. Fear rises. I scream “DYLAN!” and it’s always, always, too late. He dies in my dream because I couldn’t save him. Sigh. . .



https://youtu.be/-eBUcBfkVCo
Here’s a link to a YouTube video well worth watching: Andrew Solomon’s “Depression, The Secret We Share”

Dylan Andrew Brown

It is June, a perilous month for me. On June 25th, it will be 3 years since Dylan died, and for the past 2 years, I’ve not even wanted to live to see June come. How to begin to explain the heartbreak, the heart shattering, the draining of my lifeblood, bones, body, mind, my everything, in the wake of losing my only beloved child, Dylan. Some people have said this to me, “there are no words.” They are right–there are no words, only keening, agonizing brutal tidal-wave emotional upheaval, and  hellish days and nights.

And so it is June 9th, and I am still standing. Moving, actually, moving. Staying busy. Connected. Reaching out to others. Calling friends intentionally to talk about their lives and interests, sometimes mentioning where I am. Calling a few close friends/family who have endured my acute grief and still stand by my side, knowing that while things appear “better,” more peaceful, perhaps, that this is a nightmarish month for me and that echoes of Dylan’s death are easily triggered.

Tonight I am headed to a support group for bereaved parents, The Compassionate Friends. It took me almost three years of grieving to find them, but I discovered them last month because I was reading a library book about losing a child and The Compassionate Friends (TCF) was mentioned
by the author as a resource for bereaved parents. I’ve read through their whole site and participated in some of their open chats for parents of suicide. Meetings in my community are held once a month on the second Tuesday. All parents, grandparents, and siblings are welcome for those who have lost a child of any age, for any reason. I have found especially helpful their “To the Newly Bereaved” page: http://www.compassionatefriends.org/Find_Support/Personal-Note/To_the_Newly_Bereaved.aspx

And tonight I will take Dylan’s picture to my bereaved parents group and two huge half-sheet pans full of decadent chocolate brownies to share. I like that we do this as a way of remembering our children at the TCF meetings. And I will say a few words about my son. You’d think this be easy, as these days, his memories of his growing-up-years come pouring forth regularly. But even when there is joy in the remembering, there is the insidious sad, sad ache of knowing everything I say about Dylan will evoke a sense of the bittersweet. And it is June, and the 25th is coming. His memorial day. A day I wish had never happened in a month I’m not sure I’ll ever sit easy with again. I want so much to share current photos of Dylan, to talk about his having graduated from college, digital media degree in hand, his having landed a first career job. I want to share pictures of possibility, of hope, of a future, his and mine, filled with infinite dreaming and Hallmark cards clicking off the seasons, rites of passage, and years: birthdays, Christmas, celebrations, congratulations. I want a normal life, or at least one that resembles so many others’ lives. I want to post pictures on Facebook of my son, I want to tell my friends excitedly, “Dylan’s coming home for Christmas!” I want, I ache, I need.

But truth be told, this is my normal now. I am Beth, Dylan’s Mom, and my son died by suicide only three months after he had turned 20 years old. My life has changed, who I am has changed, but my love for Dylan only deepens. I miss him more with each day that passes. Forever my heart, my wings, my love.

Forever Dylan

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Suicide: It Never Lets Go

Love Never Lets Go

Merry Christmas, Dylan. Oh that smile–

The pain of suicide never lets go. 
Dying Inside. Holding my breath. Pain on the inhale. Pain in the exhale. Sharp pierce of pain. Heart pain. Constant. Mighty. Rhythmic. The rhythm now of my life, my lifeblood stifled, plugged, narrowed, struggling, constricted by this undertow of grieving.
I’d like to think I’ve made “progress,” though in the end, I’m not sure what this even means. Progress towards what exactly? Learning to live again–altered, twisted beyond anything, anyone I recognize, more open, more raw, more vulnerable, deeply compassionate, growing accustomed to this constant rhythm of ebb and flow of grieving in my life? It doesn’t go away. Suicide never goes away, never lets go, never the release, never the tapering down, never the stillness of an ocean calmed. 
In the beginning, June 25, 2012, I felt hurled, swept violently out to sea, lost, alone, screaming in jet black darkness, screaming for my child, my son, my only child, Dylan. A Tsunami, all-encompassing, all-embracing, its open jaws consuming all of my life–my child of 20 years, myself as I’d known her, my relationships with all of my community, my future bright and brimming with hopes and dreams for a son accepted to Ohio University on a full academic scholarship in their Journalism School. Digital media. Class of 2014. Graduation. His first job. His career launch. A steady girlfriend becoming his be-all, end-all, the settling down–my son gone, my future gone, my past obliterated in violence and a single breath.
Have I come along? Still, after 3 years and 2 months, I still think of my son every day–always on rising, always in the falling asleep, always in a moment where I pause, always in my errands and outings, always when I see a film, a movie, listen to music, drive my car, prepare my meals, cook foods I cooked that Dylan loved and adored. I still can’t steam broccoli, his favorite vegetable. I love it, but I can’t cook it–there’s just too much pain.
I can smile now, sort of, kind of, for awhile, enough to get by. I know how to turn a conversation away from myself. I know how to bring a smile to others. I’ve learned the art of small talk because it takes the focus off the pain, because this way I don’t let others in to where I’m still raw and bleeding.
Holidays? I don’t have holidays anymore. They are all loaded and heavy and weighted and belong to  a life I will never live again. I have learned to sort of, kind of, move through them, but I find myself playing a game I cannot win. Avoidance, mostly, just sheer, plain avoidance.
I avoid all stores with holiday displays, do my shopping online, sometimes don’t participate at all in the holiday, pull out of attending church, tuck away, don’t listen to the radio, don’t watch TV–read, I read voraciously. It is a separate life. Lonely. It is a lonely life.
And so it is I’d love to bring hope and healing here, but just for today, just for right now, I am utterly down, depressed, solemn, sad, overwhelmed, confused, exhausted, full of physical and emotional pain. Overdone, I am just overdone. 
Open heart surgery. I am facing open heart surgery in the next few weeks, to no one’s surprise, I suppose, because what is losing your only child to suicide if not the consumption of the grieving of the heart? My heart has been interminably broken since January 2012, Dylan’s first sucide attempt near my birthday, the first hospital, the first psych ward, the only time I remember hearing him say upon awakening from his overdose, “This is the best day of my life because I’m alive.” I remember his laughing and smiling easily with a high school friend who visited him. And I remember the sullenness and moodiness, sitting watching Dylan eating ice cream and putting his head down and forward into his hands, pulling at his now chip-chopped hair, tugging, rubbing his hands on his jeans, anxious, nervous, changed, forever changed–I just didn’t know it.
Then one suicide attempt after another in each month thereafter–February, March, April, May, my life now always the reliving of these hell-on-earth months. Broken. Abruptly stopped. The interruption and disfiguring and disassembling of my life. The stripping away. The barrenness. This life now of chronic pain where I practice mindfulness and radical acceptance and distraction, tons and tons of distraction, just to move through my days.
For three-plus years, I’ve lived in the brutal ripping open of my insides, and so it is, my heart is sick. A birth defect, mine, not prone to ever give me problems in this lifetime of mine, but sick because of grieving, the chronic ticking away of every moment laced with my body’s stress response, the endless releasing of cortisol, the altering of my physical make-up, the way I look, talk, eat, sleep, move, think, the rhythm, ultimately, altering the rhythm and health of my heart.
But in the end, it has been three years and remarkably enough, through a faith garnered not so much by my own doing, but my infinite belief that our beautiful human spirit continues somewhere, somehow, perhaps even alongside our own, I’ve learned to keep on keeping on in a way that sustains and even some days, brings my smile. 
August 2015. My smile has been hard earned. I am a weary traveler, but I am learning to keep on keeping on.

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"I Only Hurt When I’m Breathing"

“I only hurt when I’m breathing,” a random post on Facebook, anonymous, yet so completely relevant to this grieving of losing a child. 

I found a Mother’s Day card a few weeks ago. Dylan’s last Mother’s Day card to me in May of 2012. (I wasn’t looking for the card, I simply saw its bright orange color peering out from beneath a stack of papers I hadn’t been through in awhile and was drawn to its happy color). On the front, “mom,” then beautiful glittery bright pink and yellow flowers, then in the bottom right corner, “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t need your love and support. . .” Inside, “. . .and I can’t imagine a time when I won’t.” Beneath the message, “Happy Mother’s Day With Love.”

Dylan signed the card–and this part gets me every time I read and reread what he wrote–

     “I’ll love you forever mom.
                                         Love, Dylan”

Dylan Andrew Brown, March 19, 1992-June 25, 2012
Just turned 20 years old
A beautiful soul, my beloved son

And so I see Dylan’s words on this orange card (orange was always Dylan’s favorite color as a child) and for the first time, see so clearly in this message that, for whatever reason, he couldn’t stay.

Tomorrow is Dylan’s Memorial date. Year three. 1095 days since his suicide on June 25th 2012. I have invited those who knew and loved Dylan to come over, as well as those who know and love me as I walk out this now life’s journey without Dylan alongside me. There will be pizza, Dylan’s favorite–Domino’s, salad–because I always insisted on something healthy, chocolate–oh, how Dylan loved chocolate–Reese’s peanut butter cups, really good chocolate, Godiva, Anthony Thomas, and good old Hershey’s. Every year for his birthday I’d ask him what kind of cake he wanted me to make. I have always cooked from scratch, and while Dylan loved my traditional annual fall Apple Dapple cake, he treasured my Wowie (chocolate of course!) cake. For 19 years, I made a Wowie cake for his birthday at his request. I hope they have Wowie cake in heaven.

Completely in love with my son–the famous Wowie cake Dylan always asked for.

The tears come randomly, triggers come easily right now, I am emotionally exhausted and enervated, not unlike early acute grieving, my heart hurts, and I lie wide open, fragile, vulnerable, worn out, sad,  exposed, listless, not wanting to do anything. It all seems to much–showering, dressing, doing what needs to be done, putting one foot in front of the other, trying to carry this pretense of being “okay” to the outside world. As in the beginning as is now, it truly does only hurt when I’m breathing which is, of course, 24/7/365. Ugh.

I wish I could skip tomorrow. Opt out. Take the day out of the calendar. Wake up from this hellish nightmare that is now the shape, breath, and linear direction of my life as is, as now. I slept forever last night. 10, 11 hours. Not enough. Nothing can be enough at this point in time, the day before my son died. I died too, but sadly, find myself still in this living, breathing, doing, being earthly body. Some days, I’m not even sure why I’m here. Most days I don’t know why I’m still here without my child. A mother belongs with her son. Parents belong with their children. Life isn’t supposed to happen this way.

I am drawn to watching young men in restaurants or out and about, young adults who are in their early 20’s (Dylan would have just turned 23 years old). I see their easy demeanor, hear their laughter, see their easy going smiles, hear them banter and call each other “bro.” God, the ache. I miss my son.

Dylan, Senior Year, 2010, Senior Picture

It is hard to learn to live without–without possibility, potential, likelihood, “normal,” for whatever that means. It means I don’t fit in most of the time when I’m with my friends and in my community because the crux of their lives is their focus on children–theirs, their grandchildren, their daughter-in-laws, their children’s rites of passage–graduation, the first job, the launch into the career, graduate school, academic accolades and honors and scholarships and grants, concern over their child’s choice of a girlfriend/boyfriend, concern and worry about an upcoming marriage, empty-nest syndrome, hope for grandchildren, pregnancy–sigh. . .grandchildren.

I will never know any of these again. My life is strange. It hasn’t been invented yet. There is no manual or standard or how-to. I don’t often run into those who have lost children and so much of the time, feel lost in a community I’ve grown up in. I can’t quite make things fit. I try–God knows I try, but inside, even when I’m doing my best to hide my deep, deep ache and sadness and pangs of longing as they talk about their children and grandchildren, I feel so separate and alone.

I could live in hugs right now. I took warm laundry out of the dryer this morning and wrapped my arms around it. The warmth, the softness, the give. The missing, my connection to Dylan, the way he smelled, the way his clothes smelled, teenaged boy smell, his beautiful chestnut silky hair, the arc of his nose, the profile of his face, those gorgeous dark brown eyes, chocolate brown, that I could have just stared into forever.

I fell in love March 19, 1992 when Dylan was born, though truly have loved him since I knew he was inside me. Today, three years after his death, my child still is inside me. He always was my lifeblood coursing through me, my heart’s joy, the beat and rhythm and passion of all that I did. Dylan was part of me and even now, I am still part of him. Thank God for hope, for faith that someday I will see him again. It is just this interim that bears so much pain.

Turbulent dreams, all my dreams are of loss, of losing, of being stolen from, of being desperate and chaotic and running wildly. I awaken each day exhausted, alive and breathing in the fully alert state of realizing Dylan’s death is final. It has been 3 years, but still I struggle.

Last night I practiced Tai Chi–hard, focused, mentally and physically challenging, way longer than I should have, about three hours. I forgot to eat, was run ragged by the time I got home, find myself doing too much all the time right now, but this is how I keep on keeping on right now. I simply have to be aware when keeping busy becomes avoidance and delaying the necessary grieving and mourning I must do of my son right now.

Tonight, Tai Chi practice for one hour. Tomorrow, plans throughout the day. Meeting bereaved mothers for lunch. I will be with my family, my mom, my sister. I will light a candle in the morning, write a letter to Dylan, go where the day leads. I’ve found all along that the lead-in is always worse than the actual day. I pray this is true of tomorrow as well. May the day bring me peace and love and beautiful powerful remembrance of my precious and beloved Dylan. Always the love, always the remembering.

Dylan–oh that beautiful smile! and Nikki, Summer of 2010.
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Reflections at 1,095 Days: How to Keep on Keeping On in the Wake of Suicide

I am the mother of a suicide. And in 4 days, Dylan will have died by suicide 3 years ago. 1,095 days ago. A lifetime, and at the same time, no time at all.

I live suspended between what was and what will never be. Some days, like today, I get exhausted just being me. Emotionally exhausted, beyond any description voice could put to words. It is an ache, an edge, a cusp, a constant chronic weeping of my soul, even when I think I’m hiding my pain, even when I’m so busy running in circles to distract myself from the obvious, even when. . .

Grief still manifests itself in my face. Over the course of these 3 years, a little over 1,000 days, grieving the loss of my 20-year-old only child, my beautiful son, Dylan, has permanently changed the way I look.  As I’ve moved beyond the insular circle and holing up of acute grieving and mourning, I can see that I’m not alone. We have a look, we who have lost children, and for those of us who have lost a child to suicide, it is a haunting not easily forgotten.

How to keep on keeping on? Grieving a child lost to suicide completely tweaks and distorts time. In the course of one day, I can easily run the gamut of my life with Dylan over 20 years. Memories, feelings, longing all seem to play in slow motion, and as if that weren’t difficult enough, the visuals come with a full commentary intent on finding the one single answer to the ever-elusive “why” of a child’s suicide. In truth, there is no “why,” because in suicide, in the act of suicide, there is no reason, no logic, no grounding to life as we know it here, this rhythm of 24 hours, days and nights, months and years, coming of age, rites of passage.

I have only been on this journey of a lifetime for 3 years. Some, including professionals, might say I’ve had more than enough time to acclimate to this new way of life, the strange hollowness of being without Dylan beside me. Some, especially professionals, might call my grief “complicated grief,” for whatever that means. Of course it is easy to assign a condition to the status of another’s heart, a mother’s heart missing, longing, loving, trying to process, trying to learn to love again, trying to learn how to just keep on keeping on, even in the wake of great pain and some days, all-out effort just to pull through. No one can imagine living a life without their child.

My pain makes some people uncomfortable. That’s okay, it makes me uncomfortable too. Just for tonight, I’d like the whole world to just stop whirring, twirling, revolving, growing. Tonight, I crave silence and solitude. Tonight I am reclusive. And in the end, that’s okay. that’s enough. There is no scrip for losing a child to suicide, no written agenda or how-to manual. It’s not like I’m on page 241 in Chapter 8 and I’m supposed to be writing a term paper on closing the chapter to yet another impossible year of supposed living without Dylan.

Grieving a child lost to suicide is as individual as a snowflake. Dylan loved me deeply, I raised him much of his life as a single mom, we were close by necessity and circumstance, I adored and loved my son, I’d had a difficult pregnancy and so put my all into this one incredibly precious baby boy. I played mom/dad for many years, which of course, in the end, never quite works because who can be everything to everyone? Not me, certainly, though I tried for a number of years to do it all for Dylan.

3 years. I’ve gone in hard, full-on, braced and whipped and tumbled everywhere by the greatest storm of tragedy I’ll ever know in this life. And in the darkness, have found small ways to live yet one more hour, one more passage, dredge through yet more exhausting emotions, up, down, yanked every which way, uprooted, upended, opened up, raw, bleeding, cut and recut without ceasing, no peace, no rest, no perch for a landing amidst the storm. Exhaustion, just sheer exhaustion, and an invincible spirit within me that for years–years–has learned to fight against the ravages of depression. My own bipolar disorder. My own suicidal tendencies and suicidal ideation. My own falling apart in my own nightmares. My own mental illness.

I do not know if what I’ve learned and acquired along the way, these tools, quips, trials and tribulations will help you, but if they do, then know this is how it works–one of us reaching in to shine a beam of light in the middle of another bereaved parent’s darkest night, one of us sharing that while the passage is hard, the hardest, most difficult, most perilous, risky, dangerous, exhausting in every way possible, be it spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and/or psychological, there is rest along the way. We pull one another along. We come alongside, walk with–at least for awhile and at intervals and stops along the way, one another. We learn to trust through one another because in the end, we know that we are the only ones who “get,” really get, our pain.

There is no name for us. Survivor of suicide is inept and without the precision and accurate description of all that a parent is to a child. For other deaths, we have names, but not for those of us who have lost children to suicide. It is beyond imagining, beyond reconciling to anyone not having to be forced to travel this journey. Ours is an impossible journey, nameless save for the deep, deep, chasm and echo of our child’s name–Dylan, Dylan, Dyl. . .an–

How I Keep on Keeping On:

   *Stop everything and just breathe
   *Stop everything and just say “no” to things I’ve previously said “yes” to
   *Call someone who gets my pain
   *Call someone who is oblivious to my pain but so absorbed in their own chattering that they
      distract me for awhile from my own heartbreak.
   *Talk to Dylan, all the time, everywhere
   *Scream in my car, then usually sob because to release pain in screaming releases the storehouses  
      of infinite ache in my soul
   *Pray
   *Get angry and write letters I’ll never send
   *Write everything–all my feelings, scatterings, things I’ll never publish, my inner world
   *Practice Mindfulness. Focus on my cup of tea, how my feet feel on the ground, the soft fur of my               cat, the sounds of the seasons–nature, music,
   *Wear the opposite color of how I feel. I think I lived in black my first year of grieving, gray my second year, and in this third year, have intentionally sought out color in my wardrobe. Orange is my happy color, and it was always Dylan’s favorite color growing up, long before the black t-shirts of his teenaged years. And green. Green is my healing color. I love blue, but blue makes me forlorn and wistful, pensive and sad.
   *Change what I’m doing and where I’m sitting. I have a grief chair, an old chair battered by years of having a big dog sleep in it and a cat with claws who used the wide arms as a scratching post. The chair used to be a gray/green color. Now it is covered with a blue chair cover. I love this chair, but when I am grieving, this chair does not love me. It absorbs me and sucks me up whole, line and sinker. I drown in this chair, despair in this chair, can’t rise from this chair, get completely without hope in this chair. When I’m down or grieving, I sit somewhere else, even in a different room. Silly as it seems, it helps.
   *Yoga
   *Tai Chi
   *Distraction–reading, movies, window shopping, walking, nature, friends (it’s taken me 3 years to get here. In the beginning, I had no voice, couldn’t focus to read, then could only read about grieving a child lost to suicide. Now I read all the time, mostly non-fiction, and am able to get absorbed in other activities).
   *Listen to music (Again, in the beginning and for at least 6-12 months, I couldn’t listen to music at all, then only 2 songs, both by David Crowder. Now I listen to tons of different music.)
 
To be continued: My 2-year-old cat, Lily May, wants to play. I find joy, as much as is possible now, in the little things, like playing with her. And so it is, I’m off to seize joy.