My New Year's Resolutions in the Aftermath of Losing My Son to Suicide


This time of year always makes me contemplative, in part because of the eternal question “Have you made a New Year’s resolution?” — but mostly because I’m on holiday. The long, lazy summer days stretch in front of me, and I don’t have as much to occupy my mind with as I do when I’m at work.

So my mind void chews away on the year that is about to close, and I consider what might be different in the year to come. I’m really not big on making empty promises to myself. Sure, I’d love to lose some weight (the drugs my lungs need make that tricky). Financial security is also rather alluring; imagine earning money and knowing there will be a considerable chunk of that left after all the bills have been paid. And love, the holy grail of New Year’s wishes; just give me love and happiness and peace on Earth. Yup, all really worthwhile goals, yet they don’t really ring true for me. I’d much rather be happy in the body I live in (whatever shape it happens to be today), and be thankful for the money I do have and the security it offers me, and look for the little blessings in each day, appreciating the loved up moments and the joyous happiness that does sometimes creep up on me unawares.

So, if it’s not the big-ticket items, what is it I wish for in the year to come?

I’d love to be able to package up my baggage and deposit it in a longterm locker in the train station that is 2016, as I board the fast-moving 2017 locomotive. As I contemplate a new relationship as a 50-year-old (who was determined to remain single), I want to be able to enter that with an open heart and let loose the fear of past encounters, so I don’t layer that on to what might be possible in the New Year.

I want to let go all the uncertainty and angst that comes with waiting for the official coroner’s report into my son’s suicide, and also the coroner’s decision on suppression. My son Harry died on November 24, 2013; that is a very long time to be steeped in the tragic details surrounding his untimely death and the need to refresh those regularly, as the slow-moving legal system processes the very limited words and facts they have to sum up the life of my beautiful boy. I desperately want to be able to speak the words, write the words, release the pent up feelings of love and loss. I will love my beautiful boy forever. And in my love for him, I also acknowledge that my heart cannot remain static and broken; I need to heal, I need to move forward into the “new normal” that is life without my miracle baby.

My daughter also occupies my thoughts a lot at this time of year (at any time of year). She has been through more than I feel any child should, losing her brother and her father within a three-month period. She has shown her character through her strength through those losses, and she astounds me daily with her backbone and her compassion and her overflowing empathy; she has the most beautiful heart. I would package up any lingering pain that assails my lovely daughter and shove that away in my 2016 locker as well — and wish to see her grow wings and soar into a beautiful, exciting, challenging 2017.

I suppose, then, that my New Year’s resolution is to move forward, to keep moving forward, one small step at a time. To keep my eyes open, so I can recognize the wonderful little moments that money cannot buy. I wish for unencumbered happiness in 2017, for me and for all of the people I care for.

In this lazy puddle of post-Christmas, summer bliss, I find anything is possible, even big-ticket items like finding happiness in every day, not just the stray happy bubbles that ambush me when I’m not focusing on my pain. Happiness then: pure, glittery, light and delicious. That is all I need. Package away the past pain, and be happy, Maria. Just be happy.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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