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My Son Was a Warrior, I Am a Worrier

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741

I wish I was a warrior, really I do… fearless and confident and an absolute go-getter. If I was a warrior, I wouldn’t have an exhausting list of things to be avoided that leap out at me at night, and steal away my sleep. If I was a warrior, I’d battle those lists and then go off in search of more. Oh, the things I would achieve.

Just like my son: he was an incredible warrior. Harry would decide that something needed to be done and darn well do it, no hesitation, minimal planning, not even a hint of doubt creeping in. He built my garden shed; he made a start on it and then abandoned the project for a while. I decided I could just do it myself, and struggled for about half an hour, trying to lift one of the corrugated iron walls into place, and hold it there, while I anchored it with a screw… only to discover I’d screwed it in place the wrong way around. So I abandoned the job as well, with bruised knuckles to match my ego. When I came home from work the next day, I found the shed fully completed with no bruised knuckles in sight.

I’m not like Harry though: I’m not a warrior. I struggle to throw myself at a thing and achieve a result. Instead, I’m a worrier and I lie awake at night and think about things, instead of sleeping. Then I wake up exhausted (again) so I don’t deal to those “things” (again.)

The neighbors got “shouty” again tonight, and I slunk down, behind my closed curtains and tensed my muscles, as I listened out for a sign that I would need to intervene (or run away and hide under the bed.) I remember Harry years ago, when another neighbor got shouty, and a window ended up being broken. He strode to the door, on his long legs, swung it open and stepped outside to see what was happening. And I worried, inside the doorframe, about my son being consumed by the shoutiness and being hurt. Nothing happened, though, the neighbors tacked some cardboard over the breakage and got the window replaced the next day.

Tonight’s shouty neighbors have me on edge. I would hazard a guess that they’ve been in bed for hours now, and whatever initiated their shoutiness earlier is long forgotten… yet here I am, still worrying about them and their raised voices.

It’s not really about the shouting, though. It’s not about the lingering anxiety I have retained over the devastating fires in the Port Hills over the past week, and the smoke-stained air that has been burning my lungs. It’s not really even about the constant buzzing in my ears that makes a part of me want those shouty neighbors to start up again, just to drown out the white noise.

I’m a worrier, and sometimes I have legitimate cause for worry. Mostly though I worry more about the things that haven’t happened, that may never happen, while I sit here frozen and unable to sleep. I worry about Harry stuff… like having to contact a lawyer to discuss an insurance policy I feel like ripping up into tiny shreds. (How can money be traded for my son?) Like the ongoing legal process and suppression and the impact that all has on my ability to navigate my grief. And potentially the impact that no suppression order will have on all of that And I worry whether I should really type out the words “suppression” and “order”… because really, is it not just a non-publication order, covering the events leading up to Harry’s suicide, and nothing to do with my worrisome feelings?

I worry a lot about my sunshine boy, and my life, without his massive, albatross-like wingspan wrapping me up in a lovely Harry hug. I worry about that a lot… never smelling the Harry smell, and never again turning my head into his neck, and letting him know I love him. Never dancing with him again. I worry that, for the rest of my life, I’m going to want to wear boy clothes and spray myself with my dwindling supply of CK IN2U Him… just to hide away for a while, like I want to when the neighbors get shouty.

I worry a lot about the fact that even the warriors break, sunshine boy — even you.

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

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

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Thinkstock photo via prudkov

Originally published: March 1, 2017
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