Upon learning of my son’s death, many people say, “I can’t imagine.”
I know you cannot and I could not either. The following is a peek into my life. Everyone’s grief is different and difficult to quantify as ‘easier’ or ‘harder’. However, loss from suicide has attached to it blame, stigma, unanswered questions, etc. The out-of-order loss of a child has its own special mental games. All of this often causes complicated grief and associated anxiety and PTSD.
- Every morning I wake up sucker-punched with “Caleb’s dead.” Sleep is my only respite from this pervasive thought. I do not remember dreams, except rarely, so at least I have that brief rest.
- A constant weight attached to my heart pulling it down.
- Crying most nights for years, and still do.
- Wondering why. Why did Caleb do this? Why did I not see what was happening? Why did I not do more? Why did God allow us to get pregnant after 13 years of infertility to then allow Emily to die?
- Crying most Sundays in church.
- Some songs hit me sideways.
- It is the primary location where I see people about Caleb’s age and I see them with their family, often married, and sometimes they have a child of their own.
- Sometimes a concept in the sermon hits sideways.
- Difficulty focusing, but at the same time I have to be distracted or all these thoughts and questions flood my mind.
- Every time Donna or Madi leave the house, I immediately think, “What if they do not return?” I sometimes change my clothes so I am not answering the door in my pajamas when the police come letting me know they are dead.
- I went from a routine of family traditions to not wanting to do any of those. There are too many memories there.
And, as you can tell from my questions, it is not all because of Caleb. I have multiple other losses which compound my grief.