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A Letter to the Mom I Lost to Suicide

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Dear Mom,

November 18 marked three years since I saw you last, hugged you, or kissed you. It has been three years since the day you took your life. At times it feels as though you have been gone for while, and other days it feels like just yesterday.

Although I was only 13 at the time, if I knew what I do now, I would have done so many things differently.

I didn’t understand what you were going through. I would get angry at times because I didn’t understand why you didn’t want to get out of the house or do something with me, and I regret all of the opportunities I turned down to be with you because I was angry and confused. It is weird how much clearer things look in hindsight.

I would have told you so many things.

I would tell you that even in the hardest of times, you were not a burden. Those times made me realize just how much life means to us, and it made me want you to stay even more. Now that I understand a glimpse of the pain you experienced, I would tell you there is light even in the darkest of times. I would have played “Undefeated” and “Witness” by Chris Daughtry and told you to take the words to heart.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and long for you to be back with us, but at the same time all I want for you is happiness, and then I ask myself, “Would you be happy if you were here?” and “Would anything have changed?”

While I know I will never have the answers to those questions I can hope that you are happy, even if it means we are apart. We will see each other again.

I would have asked you to let those around you help and to give therapy a try. Although I am not the best at this, I know when I have let those around me in, the world got a little brighter.

mom and daughter smiling

I would have asked you to show us your pain and to be honest. When you didn’t, we simply could not help you. The pain that engulfed you was far stronger than anything else, and you wanted it to go away. I did too, and while I will never know if it would have, I can tell you there was hope, even in the darkest of times.

I would have let you see how I felt, in hopes it would make you realize just how much you meant to us. When you were in the hospital, I would have cried in front of you instead of holding it in.

I would have reminded you of the joy you brought everyone, how much you were loved and your infectious smile that seems to be hidden beneath the darkness. But I knew it was still there, as we could see it begin to shine through on certain occasions.

Mom, if I had the chance to say anything to you, I would tell you how loved you were, and I would say over and over again that I needed you. This world needed you.

While I do not know if any of it would have made a difference, Mom, I can only hope.

But I am left with so many questions and unspoken words. There was no goodbye, only a goodnight. I didn’t get to hug and kiss you one last final time before you left. I want you to know not getting to do that haunts me and will hurt me forever.

I wish I could go back to when you were here. I wish I could say all of these things to you, Mom, but now I can only write and say them out loud in hopes you hear. I wish I knew what I now know. I miss you. I love you more than you will ever know. I wish you knew this world was not better off without you. Everyone wanted you to stay. We needed you.

You were the glue that held this family together, and when you left it shattered into pieces, and still today pieces are put back into place while other continue to fall.

As I write this letter you, “Open Up Your Eyes” by Chris Daughtry plays in the background, and I realize how much his lyrics spoke to you and now me:

“But as they laid him in the ground
Her heart would sing without a sound
For the first time you can open your eyes
And see the world without your sorrow
Where no one knows the pain you left behind
And all the peace you could never find
Is waiting there to hold and keep you
Welcome to the first day of your life
Just open up your eyes, eyes” 

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

This post originally appeared on The Odyssey Online.

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Originally published: December 16, 2016
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