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Books and Resources Child Loss to Suicide Coping with Suicide Loss Grief Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss Reflections after Suicide Loss Suicide loss

New Book! Losing My Son to Suicide: Poems for Dylan

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Red Rose in June

Losing My Son to Suicide: Poems for Dylan

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The book you’ve been waiting for

New Book! Losing My Son to Suicide: Poems for Dylan. Available on Kindle and Soon-to-Be- Published Paperback.



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Child Loss Child Loss to Suicide Family loss Grief Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide poems of love and loss Reflections after Suicide Loss

A Poem About Losing My Child: Sorrow Buried in Love

a photo of a figurine of an angel with a musical instrument. Angel is dressed in deep blue, her eyes are closed, and there is a red heart on the candle votive holder that the angel is standing on

A Poem About Losing My Child: Sorrow Buried in Love

Sorrow Buried in Love

So swish to sway to sweet lullaby,
Baby will fall in dark of the night.
Rocking cradle to grave turning truth upside down: 
Parents die first leaving children behind.

In a world topsy-turvy that cannot make sense,
Sacred trust shines the brightest in a child’s innocence.
When children die first leaving parents behind,
Hope flees with the child leaving grief here for life. 

To live without sorrow seems an admirable stance,
To love without pain always breaking your heart,
To smile again when it’s been enough time, 
To heal back to whole what was once then your life.

Yet the loss of a child can’t be undone,
Even though bid us well, wishing hope move us on.
We can move only forward with our child whom we love,
Always there with us always, sorrow buried in love.

Beth Brown, ©2022


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Books and Resources Coping with Loss Coping with suicide Family loss Grief Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Suicide loss Support Groups survivors of suicide loss

Surviving Your Child’s Suicide: Support, Resources, Hope

Surviving Your Child’s Suicide:

Support, Resources, Hope

Surviving the Suicide of Your Child

Resources, Books, Support

Find resources, books, support groups, and narratives from parents who lost a child to suicide below.

Many of these resources have helped me survive these past nine years of grieving.

That’s when my world changed. That’s when hope for me became something I used to have. That’s when I lost my 20-year-old son, Dylan, to suicide.

Carrying on in the wake of his suicide has meant seeking support, resources, and groups. Many of the resources below have helped me find a way to keep going after my child’s suicide. Perhaps they will help you too.

Coping with Suicide Loss

Iris Bolton, the author of “Beyond Surviving: Suggestions for Survivors,” has written several books about suicide loss, grief, and healing. Her book, My Son, My Son, helped me feel less alone. Bolton writes about losing her son to suicide, stories of hope and healing, and grief after suicide loss.

“Beyond Surviving: Suggestions for Survivors”

by Iris M. Bolton

1. Know you can survive; you may not think so, but you can.

2. Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why” or until YOU are satisfied with partial answers.

3. Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but that all your feelings are normal.

4. Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy, you are in mourning.

5. Be aware you may feel appropriate anger at the person, at the world, at God, at yourself. It’s okay to express it.

6. You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do. Guilt can turn into regret, through forgiveness.

7. Having suicidal thoughts is common. It does not mean that you will act on those thoughts.

8. Remember to take one moment or one day at a time.

9. Find a good listener with whom to share. Call someone if you need to talk.

10. Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are healing.

11. Give yourself time to heal.

12. Remember, the choice was not yours. No one is the sole influence on another’s life.

13. Expect setbacks. If emotions return like a tidal wave, you may only be experiencing a remnant of grief, an unfinished piece.

14. Try to put off major decisions.

15. Give yourself permission to get professional help.

16. Be aware of the pain in your family and friends.

17. Be patient with yourself and others who may not understand.

18. Set your own limits and learn to say no.

19. Steer clear of people who want to tell you what or how to feel.

20. Know that there are support groups that can be helpful, such as Compassionate Friends or Survivors of Suicide groups.

21. Call on your personal faith to help you through.

22. It is common to experience physical reaction to your grief, e.g. headaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep.

23. The willingness to laugh with other and at yourself is healing.

24. Wear out your questions, anger, guilt, or other feelings until you can let them go. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting.

25. Know that you will never be the same again, but you can survive and even go beyond just surviving.

Iris Bolton, Suicide and its Aftermath (Dunne, McIntosh, Dunne-Maxim, Norton et al., 1987). American Association for Suicidology

Suicide Grief Websites and Support Groups

Resources: Grief, Guilt, Hope

Support: Poems, Books, Reflections

Help, Hope, Healing After Suicide Loss: Support, Books, Resources

If You’ve Lost a Child to Suicide, These Resources May Be Helpful Few things can so devastate us as the suicide of a loved one, especially of one’s own child. Fr Ron Rolheiser Seven Resources for Support If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. (Or 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).…

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Books for Loss Survivors

Loss Survivors A Note About Terminology: Loss Survivors are also called Survivors of Suicide–a confusing term used to depict those left behind after the suicide of a loved one. Using Loss Survivors as a term clarifies the confusion between the semantics of Survivors of Suicide–who are loss survivors–and Suicide Survivors (those who have attempted suicide…

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The First Year of Grief After Losing My Son

Instrumental Guitar Music (Written and Performed by Beth Brown, Dylan’s Mom) Does the Pain Ever End? 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…

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More Resources and Support

The suicide of a child of any age presents unique circumstances that can intensify and prolong the mourning process for parents, family members and friends. Suicide is believed to be a reaction to overwhelming feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness and depression. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the United States among 10-14 year olds and 15-24 year olds, and the second leading cause among 25-34 year olds.

2017 The Compassionate Friends, USA
“Every 11 Minutes, Someone Dies by Suicide-A Look at the Staggering Suicide Facts and Figures”
Beth Brown, My Forever Son

Support Groups:

Coping with Impossible Grief: Losing a Child to Suicide

Nationally, suicide has emerged as the second leading cause of death for children ages 10-19 years old.

*Nearly 1 in 6 teens has seriously contemplated suicide in the past year.

*Suicide affects people of all backgrounds. 

*Early identification of risk factors can aid behavioral health specialists in prevention strategies for youth at risk of suicide.

*Suicide is complex and tragic yet often preventable if communities are provided with the right tools.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Center for Suicide and Research

Suicide Data and Statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

SuicideData: United States State Fact Sheets

Online Support After Suicide Loss

Parents, Friends, Family Members

Parents of Suicides 
Friends and Families of Suicides 

These two online groups offer support, hope, and healing for parents, friends, and families of those bereaved by the suicide of a child.

They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Both online support groups for parents of suicides and families and friends of suicide are free.

These support groups for survivors consist of other bereaved parents (parents of suicides), and family and friends (Families and Friends of Suicide).

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All death unsettles us, but suicide… brings with it an ache, a chaos, a darkness, and a stigma that has to be experienced to be believed.Ronald Rolheiser Struggling to Understand Suicide Ronald Rolheiser writes a great deal about the suicide. He lends an understanding and spiritual perspective to suicide, and in so doing, removes much…

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Child Loss Child Loss to Suicide Coping with Loss Family loss Grief Healing Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Hope Hope and Healing Letting Go Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss Reflections Reflections after Suicide Loss

A Poem of Love, Loss, and Healing: Rain Comes to Heal Us All

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After the Rain

A Healing Poem of Love, Loss, and Forgiveness:

Rain Comes to Heal Us All

Pink ground roses with yellow centers surrounded by green leaves

Rain Comes to Heal Us All

Rain comes to heal us all,

Falling tears from a sky of love,

Remembering even when earth forgets

To nurture all that we cannot forgive,

Bringing love remembered to restore

Even flowers that forget how to bloom 

Absent all that loved them from sky above.   

Beth Brown, My Forever Son

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Remembering

Remembering Even though this house hasn’t been hers for at least five years…Dylan Brown Latest from the Blog

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Grandparents’ Grief After Suicide Loss of Grandchild

A Grandparent’s Grief The Family Table I was with my mother when she purchased the sturdy, long, pine table. With two leaves, one for each end of the table, this table would be big enough for our small, close-knit family. My sister and her family, including her two children, plus my parents, plus room now…

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Beyond Surviving: Suggestions for Survivors

Beyond Surviving: Suggestions for Survivors by Iris M. Bolton (Especially for newly bereaved parents) 2. Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why” or until YOU are satisfied with partial answers. 3. Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but that all your feelings are normal.…

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"Why?" Child Loss to Suicide Coping with Suicide Loss Grief Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Stigma and Awareness Suicide loss survivors of suicide loss

5 Ways Suicide Grief Is Different

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Fall Sedem in Summer Bloom

5 Ways Suicide Grief Is Different

Way 1: Blaming

I received many compassionate words, cards, embraces, and acts of service when my son died. Dylan’s friends and family flocked to our house the morning of his death. They brought pastries from a local bakery, coffee, and huge condolences. Dylan’s friends gathered in our driveway, sequestered together the way teenagers do, talking about the shock of his death, when they had last texted Dylan, when they had last seen him. Sharing grief. Horrified. Shock. Numbness. Disbelief. Suspended disbelief. Tears and great sadness.

Suicide loss “survivors show higher levels of feelings of
guilt, blame, and responsibility for the death than other
mourners (‘Why didn’t I prevent it?’). … Occasionally,
survivors feel that they directly caused the death through
mistreatment or abandonment of the deceased. More
frequently, they blame themselves for not anticipating and
preventing the actual act of suicide …”

Suicide Bereavement and Complicated Grief, National Library of Medicine

Parents who lose a child to suicide have “an overestimation of one’s own responsibility, as well as guilt for not having been able to do more to prevent such an outcome” (Suicide Bereavement and Complicated Grief, National Library of Medicine). They blame themselves.

Way 2: Feeling Responsible

And then the peculiarity of grief after suicide loss: a grief speculating if they could have done something, been somewhere, told someone; a grief blaming themselves, each individually and at the same time, as the same kids who had grown up together with Dylan; a grief questioning their role in his death; a grief that will linger and challenge them beyond the youth of their years; a grief that breaks apart completely their truth of the inherent order of life.

Photograph of Fall Sedem in Vibrant Pink Bloom
Fall Sedem in Vibrant Pink Bloom

Way 3: “Why?”

Still teenagers. Knowing their friends don’t die. They are at an age of invincibility. This can’t be happening to them. “Why?” they question. “What made him do this?” “Did he leave a note?” “Why?”

Losing a loved to suicide is one is one of life’s most painful experiences. The feelings of loss, sadness, and loneliness experienced after any death of a loved one are often magnified in suicide survivors by feelings of quilt, confusion, rejection, shame, anger, and the effects of stigma and trauma. [They] are at higher risk of developing major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal behaviors, as well as a prolonged form of grief called complicated grief. Added to the burden is the substantial stigma, which can keep survivors away from much needed support and healing resources.

Bob Baugher and Jack Jordan, After Suicide Loss: Coping
with Your Grief.

Parents who have lost a child to suicide struggle with ongoing feelings of guilt, responsibility, and blaming themselves. The stigma surrounding a child’s death by suicide can cause feelings of shame to linger.

Parents who have lost a child to suicide can be especially afflicted with feelings of guilt and responsibility. Parents who have lost a child to suicide report more guilt, shame, and shock than spouses and children. They often think “If only I had not lost my temper” or “If only I had been around more.” The death of child is arguably the most difficult type of loss a person can experience, particularly when the death is by suicide. Parents feel responsible for their children, especially when the deceased child is young. Indeed, age of the suicide deceased has been found to be one of the most important factors predicting intensity of grief.

Suicide Bereavement and Complicated Grief, National Library of Medicine

Way 4: Stigma and Trauma

Losing a child to suicide compounds grief in unimaginable ways. Because a child dies by taking their own life, suicide seems a needless and entirely preventable death. It is not. Read More: Is Suicide Really a Choice?

Suicide [loss] survivors often face unique challenges that differ from those who have been bereaved by other types of death. In addition to the inevitable grief, sadness, and disbelief typical of all grief, overwhelming guilt, confusion, rejection, shame, and anger are also often prominent.These painful experiences may be further complicated by the effects of stigma and trauma.

Suicide Bereavement and Complicated Grief, National Library of Medicine
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Small Brown and Green Frog on Rock by Water Pond’s Edge

Way 5: Questioning

After Suicide: Feelings of shock, denial, guilt, anger, and depression are a normal part of grief. These feelings can be especially heightened when a child has died by suicide. The suicide of a child can raise painful questions, doubts and fears. You may question why your love was not enough to save your child and may fear that others will judge you to be an unfit parent. Both questions may raise strong feelings of failure.

The Compassionate Friends, “Surviving Your Child’s Suicide”

Beth Brown, My Forever Son, “Suicide is Not a Choice: Surviving Infinite Grief After Your Child’s Suicide”

Suicide is Not a Choice

Some still perceive suicide to be a choice. It is not. Suicide Epidemiologists who research, study, and track data, know that suicide is not a choice. The following quote is from “Don’t Say It’s Selfish: Suicide Is Not a Choice” at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Viewing suicide as a choice promotes the misunderstanding that people who engage in suicidal behavior are selfish. Selfishness has been defined by Merriam-Webster as “seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.” Suicide does not generate pleasure, advantage or well-being. People who take their own lives commonly feel like a burden to others or experience intense emotional pain that overwhelms their capacity to continue with life. Making others feel guilty is typically the furthest thing from their mind.

John Ackerman, Don’t Say It’s Selfish: Suicide is Not a Choice, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Words Matter (Suicide is Not a Choice)

“A parent’s worst nightmare,” “a selfish death,” “a sin in the eyes of the church,” “we don’t talk about suicide,” “this grief group does not welcome those bereaved by suicide,” “well at least you had him for 19 years,” “God will use your tragedy to make you stronger for others,” “It isn’t right,” “everything happens for a reason,” “I can’t be friends with you anymore,” “what happened to make him that way?” (implying, of course, that I somehow could have and should have prevented my son’s death, and worst of all, saying absolutely nothing.

Photo of A cluster of Red, Yellow, Brown, and green leaves in fall with a quote by Kay Redfield Jamison: "Suicide is not a blot on anyone's name; it is a tragedy."

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

-Kay Redfield Jamison

Words that hurt beyond belief. Words that would not have been spoken had his death been by another means.

Suicide seems like a choice. But suicide is not a choice, and those who die by suicide don’t want to die, they just want the pain to end. Suicide is a tragedy. Read: The Pain of Suicide: It’s Not About Wanting to Die; It’s About Wanting the Pain to End

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Heart-shaped Red Roses Against Stone Wall

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

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

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Good as Gold Rose

That All of Love (Could Sweep Time Back)

That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back  

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

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

If only and what if now child,
And why couldn't I just see,
To hold you close forever
Rewind time, just you and me.

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

©Beth Brown, 2021

 

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I Will Seek Until I Find You

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Child Loss Child Loss to Suicide Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss

Beat Still My Heart-A Poem About Losing a Child

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I Miss You
Beat Still My Heart

Beat still my heart
Beat still my mind
Weary though thou art
Carry his love along with thine
Though heavy on thy shoulders
Crost fields throughout all time.

In the deepest dark of the bleakest night, 
If light there be, the dark shuts it out. 
Around you all is swirling, 
hurtling backwards now through time, 
a hellish hue stricken each his years 
when here on earth 'twas mine.
 
Deeply within that starless darkest night, 
Go deeper yet still darker, 
Oceans depth to oceans wide. 
Galaxies wide careening, 
Spilling insides outside in,
To release thy soul still screaming 
Clasping hands and heart to his.    

Body, mind, soul, rough and ragged, 
Weeping tears falling still throughout time, 
Carrying weight of mourning and grieving 
Falling broken when thou wert mine. 

© Beth Brown, 2022

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Travel On Travel on my brave soldier Travel on wild one Take heart winged warrior Unencumbered take great strides. Ride dragon’s wings forever Stay free here evermore Follow infinity to the heavens Travel on to safer shores. ©Beth Brown, 2022 First time here? Listen to a Song

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Beat Still My Heart Beat Still My Heart Beat still my heart Beat still my mind Weary though thou art, Carry his love along with thine Though heavy on thy shoulders Crost fields throughout all time. In the deepest dark of the bleakest night, If light there be, the dark shuts it out. Around you…

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

Travel On My Brave Soldier-A Poem of Hope

Peach Daylily and Purple Spiderwort with a Brick wall in the background
Peach Lily and Purple Spiderwort Against Brick Wall
Travel On 

Travel on my brave soldier
Travel on wild one
Take heart winged warrior
Unencumbered take great strides.

Ride dragon’s wings forever
Stay free here evermore
Follow infinity to the heavens
Travel on to safer shores.

©Beth Brown, 2022

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For Here Now, I Stay,Breathing Love You Gave,My Ache Cradling You AlwaysMy Forever Son Memories of You I remember sitting with you at the kitchen table, pouring over cookie recipe books, asking “Does this sound good? Just listen” And we would make a list, a long list, of cookies to bake. Sugar cookies, Molasses Crinkles,…

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Red Rose in June, My Forever Son

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First time here? Listen to a Song
“My Child Above in Heaven’s Care,” Lullaby for Dylan, All music and lyrics written and recorded by Beth Brown, ©2022
Categories
Child Loss to Suicide Grief Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss Reflections after Suicide Loss Suicide loss

Beat Still My Heart: A Poem About Losing My Son to Suicide

Black and White Photograph of Dylan Brown, 18 years old, wearing an Ibanez guitar t-shirt and jeans against a background of graffiti, My Forever Son
Dylan, My Forever Son

Beat Still My Heart

Beat Still My Heart

Beat still my heart
Beat still my mind
Weary though thou art,
Carry his love along with thine
Though heavy on thy shoulders
Crost fields throughout all time.

In the deepest dark of the bleakest night, 
If light there be, the dark shuts it out. 
Around you all is swirling, 
hurtling backwards now through time, 
a hellish hue stricken each his years 
when here on earth 'twas mine.
 
Deeply within that starless darkest night, 
Go deeper yet still darker, 
Oceans depth to oceans wide. 
Galaxies wide careening, 
Spilling insides outside in
To release thy soul still screaming, 
Clasping hands and heart to his.    

Body, mind, soul, rough and ragged, 
weeping tears falling still throughout time, 
Carrying weight of mourning and grieving 
Falling broken when thou wert mine. 

© Beth Brown, 2022
Red Rose in June, My Forever Son
Red Rose in June, My Forever Son

Suicide changes everything. And the deep, deep soul ache never goes away. Learning to live again is the hardest work I’ve ever done.

I have been awash in grief, alive in my life’s greatest tragedy. Nothing worse will or can happen to me. My son died by suicide.

Abstract art-black and white textured  mixed media

Suicide Changes Everything

Suicide Changes Everything

Suicide changes everything. It rests in the margins of my life, an undertow beneath all else concurrent and elsewhere.

I rose and drowned a million deaths at sea, being forced under by tidal waves, shoved down deep past violent destruction and floating and sinking debris, my life as I knew it, rising only momentarily to gasp, choke, scream only to be plunged forcibly down again.

I lived in exile from everything–my own breath, eating, sleeping, moving. I couldn’t do anything I’d always done–work, listen to music, play music, cook, shop, take care of myself, shower, get food in my body, exercise, smile, laugh, be present, be there for any of my family or friends, drive, walk, live. I had to be reminded to breathe.

Beth Brown, My Forever Son
Red, Pink, Yellow and White Popcorn Ground Roses in June
Red, Pink, Yellow and White Popcorn Ground Roses in June

I am Beth, Dylan’s Mom. I am in my third year of learning to keep on keeping on after losing my only child, my beloved 20-year-old son, to suicide on June 25, 2012. My life forever changed that day, and who I was died too.

A great and terrible Tsunami swept in and through everything I knew and loved and cared about in life, and all that I was and loved and cared about was swept out into a violent, retching ocean, infinite fathoms deep, defying any earthly description here, blacker than a starless night.

I couldn’t hear, see, be, hold, reach for, grasp, touch, feel anything familiar, loved or comforting. I couldn’t find my son and reached, grasped, searched for him for days, weeks, months on end. When I came to, I realized that somehow, I was still alive and that Dylan had been washed out to sea. I had finally surfaced from the ferocity of the storm and there I was, alone without my son. I didn’t want to live without him.

I lived this way for as long as it took to come to, the tidal waves to come less frequently, for me to be enough above the surface of the deep water to catch my breath. When I did, I couldn’t speak. I had no words, and for the first time ever, learned what keening really means. I cried out to God, to Dylan, to life, but in the end, it changed nothing.

My son and I had been washed out to sea and in coming to, I moved into what will now be the forever season of my life–living without Dylan, being forever a bereaved mother, living outside the realm of “normal” for most people, having to travel a grief and life journey for which I had no equipping, no guide, no preparation, no direction. It will be 3 years come June since Dylan died and I am only just now beginning to get my bearings.

Purple Meadow Geranium in June
Purple Meadow Geranium in June

And so it is, slowly, in a stretch of days, weeks, months, years, I have somehow found the strength to get to a safe shore. But my world is small and I find I am on an island set apart from how most people live. I am learning to integrate Dylan’s death into my life, and on my best days, know, sense, feel, and understand that he lives yet still and is right there with me in everything I think, say, speak, and do.

But I am on a journey and truth be told, some days are just impossible. Holidays, Dylan’s birthday in March, his memorial day in June, Mother’s Day, seasons of the year, summer as a whole because in what used to be one of my favorite months of the year, my son took his life.

I struggle still moving from January through June because Dylan attempted suicide 4 times (January, February, March, and May) before he died by suicide in June. Each suicide attempt was worse than the last, an endless stream of critical care units, emergency rooms, psych wards, antidepressants, counseling, treatment centers, lock-down units, suicide watches, and infinite love and the madness of not being able to make my son want to live.

If love could have saved him, Dylan would have lived forever. And actually, because I have faith and hope in seeing Dylan again, in being able to spend forever with him, I believe Dylan does live on, just not here in this realm where I can see, touch, hear, feel him–his love, his laugh, his quick wit, his beautiful original music. I miss him everywhere, all at once, all the years, 19 years, 3 months, and 6 days, and I am gradually growing to understand I will never know why Dylan couldn’t stay. I hear him (in my mind) say, “I had to go.”

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

Beat still my heart

Beat still my mind

Weary though thou art,

Carry his love along with thine,

Though heavy on thy shoulders,

crost fields throughout all time.

Beth Brown, My Forever Son

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

Photo of 18 year old young man, Dylan, My Forever Son
Dylan, My Forever Son

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Memorial Day-Echoes that Haunt

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The Unbearable Ache of Memorial Dates

The Unbearable Ache of Memorial Dates Now I know what day it is I wish I didn’t I am not in the moment Indeed, I am not Here really Here anywhere really Lost, just so terribly, terribly, terribly lost Wanting to save you Dylan All over again Grief Remembers What Time Cannot Forget: Memorial Dates…

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Categories
Child Loss Child Loss to Suicide Coping with Suicide Loss Grief Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Memorial Dates Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss Reflections after Suicide Loss Suicide loss

The Unbearable Ache of Memorial Dates

Daddy Cat

The Unbearable Ache of Memorial Dates

Now I know what day it is

I wish I didn’t

I am not in the moment

Indeed, I am not

Here really

Here anywhere really

Lost, just so terribly, terribly, terribly lost

Wanting to save you Dylan

All over again

Photograph of a white porcelain butterfly with a raised, silver, smaller butterfly in the middle. The butterfly wing is inscribed: "With hope, we find our wings."
“With hope, we find our wings,” My Forever Son

Grief Remembers What Time Cannot Forget: Memorial Dates

As If Somehow

As if somehow I can stop him. But defeat lies in truth, which just for now, I cannot bear. It is not that I am so much pretending as it is that I am just holding my breath, captive heart, watchdog eyes and heart beating too fast, alert, terror in the outliers. An outline of what was and once upon a lifetime ago, all of my past.

As if I and when I change this, all of this, life will be different, easier, less sick, less stress, less pain. It isn’t. Life is not. Simple. Fair. Balanced in an equilibrium. Easy to define, shade in the edges that crosshatch the margins. 

I can’t find you. Anywhere right now Dylan.

Nights lie still. In sleep. Or not. In pain. But is it I who brings pain or you, my son. More than nights lost, I cannot sleep in rest. If I breathe. If I really deep breathe, will I break? Yes, I will. Fall from sky. Dylan-sized wide and gaping, a hole everywhere and consumptive, heeding not any law yet of physics.

You did what I cannot undone do. And I hate that. The limitations of my motherhood. Helpless. Unable to bring you home. When I’m here in this place of inward dwelling, down the spiral, hurdling towards your memorial date, I hate that, though mostly, I am just not here right now. It is too hard, too painful, too desperate for thoughts and the bearer of all words laced hard-edged and jagged. 

I wait here, not breathing, hoping, no consciousness of thought, just not really wanting to be here at all. I Only Hurt When I’m Breathing. Earth to sky to moon blue and yearning for you. Where to from here when now I cannot be? 

Lavender Heirloom Rose in Spring
Lavender Heirloom Rose in Spring, My Forever Son

Where to From Here When Now I Cannot Be? 

Ripped here, where body birthed son, where son birthed the all and who of who I am. How now to be and where? How now to close what life cannot undo? How now to hold pain where flesh held you. Once. A long time ago. A story, remembered. A story without an ending, or so I pretend. A story with chapters wanting written, or so if you were here.

I live instead this absence of you. Breathing, sometimes, and not breathing, at this time, in this, your month, your day, your year. Numbers I did not wish to know are all now what tracks the flat-line of motherhood where once our two hearts beat.

Without you, I cannot be, and yet must be, because here I am being something, someone, and yet without solace or distinction. A ripple in a pond, having circled out to go wide growing smaller and smaller, inward, concentric rings, all of these, and yet nowhere to be found–you.

I wait here, not breathing, hoping, no consciousness of thought, just not really wanting to be here at all. Earth to sky to moon blue and yearning for you. Where to from here when now I cannot be? 

Where to From Here When Now I Cannot Be?

Pink Roses in Twos. Close Up Photograph of two beautiful pink roses with yellow centers surrounded by glossy green leaves
Pink Roses in Twos, My Forever Son

If Only a Mother’s Love Could Have Saved You

Bones bear girth where once, 
wisdom birthed you, where 
love lost in the framing,
art for art's sake, created
this portrait of you
(because and as if) 
a mother's love could 
have stopped you, been there 
to catch your fall,
stars deep as dark's cry 
to where now forever 
you forever reside.

Your descent of life hers, 
labored love born,                                                           
on wings beating too wildly 
and too soon on your own.
Your beat of heart hers, 
now her own to live on,                                                       
Sick pulse of ache 
holding death in her arms.

Oh my heart and oh my son
without you life empties
yet love forever beats on

And so now, my forever,
"Why?" ad nauseam  
on repeat in my soul

which has always, 
and still, child, reverberates
in grooves you made whole.
(because and as if)
a mother's love
could have stopped you
 
And so (because and as if)
she could have heard your heart cry,
she could, and if only, 
save yet you both 
falling stars in a moonless sky.

© Beth Brown, 2022

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Categories
Child Loss Coping with Loss Grief Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Hope Hope and Healing Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss

Find Hope Here: Featuring Poems About Losing a Child

“If Only a Mother’s Love Could Have Saved You”

A Poem About Losing a Child to Suicide-(by a mother who lost her only son)

 

If Only a Mother's Love Could Have Saved You


 Bones bear girth 
 where once, love birthed you, 
 arms cradled and rocking,
 love holding me to you.
  
 If only a mother's love
 could have saved you,
 been there to catch your fall 
 tears stilled by the heavens
 
 to where now and forever,
 you forever are­­.
  
 Your descent of life
 hers, labored love born,
 on wings beating too wildly
 and too soon your own.

 Your beat of heart hers,
 now her own to live on,
 sick pulse of ache
 holding death in her arms.

 Oh my heart
 and oh my son,
 without you life empties
 yet love forever beats on.

 And so now, my forever,
 "Why?" replete in my soul,
 which has always, and still child,
 moved in grooves you made whole.
  
 If only a mother's love 
 could have saved you—
 If only she had heard your heart cry,
 she could save you yet both together, 
 Take back that night you fell from the sky.
  
 ©Beth Brown,2021
 All rights reserved

Beth Brown, My Forever Son,
“If Only a Mother’s Love Could Have Saved You
He Left Too Soon

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

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

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



Beth Brown, “Derecho,” My Forever Son
Young toddler climbing the stairs looking back and smiling at his mother who is taking the photograph
As I Tuck You In

As I tuck you in, I lay me down
As I hold you now, I lift my arms
As I fall asleep, I pray for you
My child, my love, my heart, I’m with you too
My child, my love, my heart, May God keep and love you

And you will be forevermore
Safe from this world and so adored
And God will be your comforter
And I will always thank God for rescuing you
And I will always praise God for loving you too

And so I live my life in memory
Surrendering to God, what now must be
But here on earth I know the angels sing
When I hear your voice I know God’s listening

And I will always be your mother here
And I will speak your name for all to hear
And God will be with you ’til I get there
My child on earth above in heaven’s care

My child on earth above in heaven’s care-

Beth Brown, "As I Tuck You In," My Forever Son

As I Tuck You In

That All of Love Could Sweep Time Back  

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

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

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

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

©Beth Brown, 2021

 
Once Upon a Blue-Sky Moon

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

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

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

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

 I would have held on
 I would have clutched you
 I would have never let you go

 But you Told me 
“Mom I love you”
 Oh my child if I’d only known.

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

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

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

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

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

I will hold you, 
You will clutch me
We will never let go,

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

© Beth Brown, 2021 
 All rights reserved
  
If Earth Were Sky (And Sky Above)

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

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

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

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

Beth Brown, 2021
black and white cat standing on rocks around a water pond

Read More Poems of Love and Loss

A Prayer for the Unanswerable Question of Suicide

A Prayer for the Unanswerable Question of Suicide A Poem brought to the dedication of the International Suicide Memorial Wall in Nashville, Tennessee, held in May of 2019. The original poem has been revised to reflect all who have lost a loved one to suicide and who now must live with the ongoing and forever…

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“Tillers of the Earth and Tenders of the Soil” Poem

A Poem of Love, Loss, and Hope:

Tillers of the Earth and Tenders of the Soil

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

Tillers of the Earth and Tenders of the Soil

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. 

© Beth Brown, 2021
All Rights Reserved

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I Remember Joy All these things I recognize, I remember delighting in them-trees, art, house, music, pink morning sky, work well done, flowers, books. I still delight in them. I’m still grateful.But the zest is gone. The passion is cooled, the striving quieted, the longing stilled. My attachment is loosened. No longer do I set…

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← A Prayer for the Unanswerable Question of Suicide → Rising Up–Because Love Lives Forever


Categories
Child Loss Coping with Loss Grief Memorial Dates Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss

Where to From Here When Now I Cannot Be? A Poem About Losing a Child

Glistening Snow reflecting sun's prisms in tree shadows in winter, rose bush with brown leaves of winter in foreground, my forever son
Glistening Snow in Tree Shadows, My Forever Son

A Poem About Losing a Child

Where to From Here When Now I Cannot Be?

Ripped here from centre where body birthed son, 
Where son birthed the all of who now I am.

How now to be and where must I go?
When between stars and here I hear your constant echo?
How now to let go what life cannot undo?
How now to hold pain where flesh once cradled you?

Once. 
A long time ago. 
A story, remembered. 
A story without ending, or so I pretend. 
A story with chapters wanting, begging written, 
-or so-if only you had stayed past life’s reckless discontent

I live instead this absence of you. 
Breathing, sometimes, and not breathing 
when in this, your month, day, and birth 
circle round again earth.

Numbers I did not wish to know inscribed now in bronze
Years fleeing what mattered so that now, flatlined, 
Wonder if even I mattered, a mother once now in time.

Without you, I cannot be, and yet must be, 
because here I am being something to someone, 
yet without solace or distinction save 
Knowing only the pain loves leaves  

All these leaflets of my life hinged
To yours, yet nowhere to be found-you.

I wait here, not breathing, hoping, 
no consciousness of thought, just not really wanting 
to be here at all. That way you must have felt
the night the stars fell from your sky.

Still the moon screams. Still here fall the tears.
Still must I straddle stars, moon, and earth.
Still pound I your heart beating sound against mine.

Still love, mine and yours, holding hearts across time
between here, now, and there where 
stolen by a star, you reach still yet to me.
 
I wait here, not breathing, 
hoping, no consciousness of thought, 
just not really wanting to be here at all. 
 
Earth to sky to moon blue and yearning for you. 
Where to from here when now I cannot be? 


©Beth Brown, 2022

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The Pain Does Change “To those of you that still feel you aren’t even sure you want to behere and you can’t imagine ever being happy again. The pain doeschange, it softens. You will want to live again and be able to enjoylife again. It will never be like before but the crushing, allconsuming pain…

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Child Loss Coping with Loss Grief Guilt Heart songs: Poetry from the Heart Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide Poems Poems about Losing a Child to Suicide Poems about Loss poems of love and loss

If Only a Mother’s Love Could Have Saved You-A Poem About Losing a Child

If Only a Mother's Love Could Have Saved You

 Bones bear girth 
 where once, 
 wisdom birthed you
 Love lost in the framing 
 of art for art’s sake

 (because and as if)

 a mother's love
 could have saved you-- 
 been there to catch
 you fall 
  
 tears stilled by the heavens
 stars deep as dark's cry 
 to where now
 and forever-- 
 you forever now reside.
 
 Your descent of life 
 hers, labored love born,
 on wings beating too wildly
 and too soon your own.
 
 your beat of heart hers, 
 now her own to live on
 sick pulse of ache 
 holding death in her arms.
 
 oh my heart 
 and oh my son,
 without you life empties
 yet love forever beats on.
 
 And so now, my forever,
 "Why?" replete in my soul,
 which has always--
 and still, child-- 
 moved in grooves you made whole.
 
 If only a mother's love could have saved you
 If only she had heard your heart's cry,
 Perhaps she could save you yet both 
 falling stars in the darkness of sky.
  
  © Beth Brown, 2022 
 All rights reserved


  
  
  
   

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