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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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"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…