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The Storms of Life After the Loss of My Son

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Recently, I was at the pool dripping sweat and maybe cooking a little bit, even in the shade. I was deep into a new book — getting to the know the characters. When I looked up, the sky was turning dark, very dark. One moment the sky was a brilliant blue with fluffy white clouds and the next moment a storm was raging. The wind came, blowing the leaves off the trees and tossing our belongings to the ground.

Our landscape changed on a moment’s notice. People were gathering their things and the pool area was empty within minutes.

This. This sudden change in events. The disturbance in what seemed to be a typical day. The sky falling –this, I understand. This, I even half-way expect on any given day.

The sudden death of my son has shown me how the landscape of a moment, a day, a life, can be forever altered in the blink of an eye.

On that tragic day, the day my son died by suicide — I realized anything could happen. If that can happen, I would never be surprised by anything else. It shook me to my core and altered my view of what I had always known.

I’m not exempt from the tragedies of life. None of us are. The loss of a child, no matter the age of that child, changes the world you live in. When my successful, handsome, deeply loved son died by suicide…

The sudden storms of this world are now not only expected but more in keeping with what I’ve learned since that day three years ago.

I look up at the deep, dark, leaking sky and say, “Oh, there you are! I’ve been expecting you!”

The loss of my child has forever transformed my thoughts, ideas, dreams and even memories. It shifts the perspective of the life I thought I had in front of me.

There is “before, “ and there is “after.”

“After“ will never look the way I thought it would. It will never be complete. There will always be an empty chair, a missing voice, a hug longed for, even on the most beautiful of days.

The storm raged on for a short while and then, just as suddenly as it had come, it was over. The sun came out, the rain stopped and the birds began their song.

So it is with loss. The grief swoops in without warning, drenching me in the agony of all I‘ve lost. It overtakes me for a time, then the heaviness recedes (not completely, never completely) and I can take in a full breath, where moments before there was no air.

I’m learning just to breathe.

In and out.

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

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Thinkstock image by Booblgum

Originally published: August 3, 2017
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