My 23 years old son, Joshua, took his life 8 weeks ago. I feel empty walking hollowly through life like a mime. I live on for my other children. I’m devastated, broken to my core. My Joshua suffered off and on with depression and daily with anxiety and insomnia. After he turned 18 I could never get him to seek medical care. But in the last 8 months of his life he seemed out of the woods!! Happy, running 5-6 days a week. Lost 80 lbs. Paid off half of his brand new car in the past year. I’d check in on him weekly or so and he assured me he was “fine”. I feel an overwhelming feeling of failure. I don’t know what I did wrong, but clearly I screwed up big time. Joshua was the most selfless, kind hearted person I ever knew. I can’t make sense of this and can’t bear this constant pain and sadness.
I cannot imagine your pain. But I do have a friend who went through the same thing just before the first lockdown began.
Joshua sounds like a really sensitive person who was beginning to find his way out of the gloom and doom. He did a lot of hard work to help himself: losing 80lbs is an amazing achievement by itself, but paying off half a new car in a year is amazing at the age that he was, when most children would still be asking their parents to help.
As you say, you were there to support him if he asked, but also you were trying to help him & support him as he started his life as an adult. I went through a similar process when I was at that stage in life - I didn’t really get any real support from my single parent, who was about 500 miles away. Occasionally she’d give me a little money or a nice present, but what she wanted was me to come home to live with her, so I didn’t get anymore than that.
I also experienced periods of deep depression, but in my early life when my father was still alive he helped me to develop a deep love of nature, and it’s that along with finding true love that has been the rock in my life for about the last 30 years.
The only thing I say is this: I live in the UK, and I follow the news closely, usually watching at least 2 TV news programmes every day in the evening. Just before Donald Trump left office, I was sickened by the rioting, and also the killing of many people who were unarmed and unable to protect themselves. Now more or less the same thing is going on here in the UK. These unspeakable tragedies happen again and again.
Unfortunately this does trigger a sense of gloom and doom, but I am 66 and I can cope with it simply by turning the TV off and taking to a friend. I don’t know, you know you son and I do not - maybe he was simply unable for whatever reason to do that?
There’s no more I can say but God bless him and let his rest in peace in a better place than here. To you, I can only hope that, in time, you will be able to relief and hopefully realise that you were not a failure, which so far as I can see, you are not. You did everything right as a mother, but no mother can protect a child from the world outside the home when the child reaches maturity.
I hope this helps a little bit.
With love, Christie xxx
Everything I was going to say to you has been said admirably by Christie, but I wanted you to know that I am so sorry for what you, and your son, have been through. Christie is right. You are not to blame. I know from something that happened to a friend’s daughter, that it doesn’t matter how vigilant, caring or loving you are, if they want to end their life, they will. My friend never left her daughter alone. She even slept in her room, when she knew how she felt, but one day, when she went to the toilet, her daughter ended her life. Just like that, in five minutes. Nothing can stop someone who is determined to die, unless you shackle them.
You will grieve for your son, and that is right, but do not blame yourself, please. My thoughts are with you. Hugs, Ann x
Thank you for your loving words, Christie. I’m sorry it took me so long to come back to check messages. I had a really rough couple of weeks where I was spiraling. I’m doing better for now. Before losing Joshua I felt like a really good mother. My children have generally been my number 1 priority. I did the best I could after my 20 year marriage with their father fell completely apart. But we had an amicable divorce and similar co-parenting for many years now. I am re-married and Joshua preferred the company of my husband over his father. Joshua’s father broke his trust with how the marriage ended and Joshua never forgave his father for it, despite my efforts to help him soften his heart to his father and try to have some kind of relationship.
You definitely hit the nail on the head when you brought up the news. Joshua is the reason I stopped watching the news when he was around 9 years old. He would pace the house at night worried someone might break in and hurt us. It took a while for the to stop after I stopped watching the news, but eventually he worried less about those things. However, as he became an adult and started using a cell phone more and more, he fed off of learning about the political landscape of the world. He was obsessed with world history, so much so that he could walk into any college classroom and teach it without a text book. He never went to college, so he didn’t do that, but that’s how much he knew about it. He could very quickly walk anyone through the wars of the world and how they attributed to the condition of the world, today. With COVID ending any military exercises, he lost his interest in joining the military. I think he also became fearful of dying for no real good reason. He was a gun aficionado and knew what guns were used in which wars. However, just a couple of months before his death, in one of his late night text sessions with me, he said he wished guns didn’t exist because they are made for destruction. Then he said he’ll always own one because they exist… basically because others will have them. But that was how he chose to end his life, with a gun. All of this feels like being stuck in an old Alfred Hitchcock tale or the Twilight Zone. Like this can’t be real… my baby boy, my teddy bear, could not have done this. But he did and he’s gone.
I do hope for a life after this one where I will hug my sweet boy again. He was way too sensitive and good for this world. You totally have that right. He would pride himself in being like me rather than being like his father. I have struggled with my own battles of suicidal ideation most of my life, because I, too, am so sensitive. I relate to 4 different types of empathic traits; geomantric, emotional, animal, and earth. I think Joshua demonstrated intuitive and physical empathic traits.
Thank you for your help! I really appreciated connecting with you in your response to the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced.
Thank you, AnnR. And thank you for sharing the story of your friend. I’m so deeply sorry for her pain, too. I am doing better for now, but I go back and forth. But I wanted to thank you for helping me understand better.
From one mum to another who has lost a son to suicide, I wanted to let you know my heart bleeds for you. My beautiful son took his life in April 2020. 1 year and 1 week ago. The pain is still raw. I don’t know how I get through each day, but somehow I do. I had a really bad episode at the 6 month mark, a couple of weeks after the first birthday without him. All I wanted was to be with him and I tried. My youngest son saved me and I felt so ashamed that I could have put him through exactly the same thing that was killing me. I won’t do that again, but I still struggle with life in general. I know I love my other two sons, my grandchildren and all my other family, but somehow losing Dean, has took the will to thrive out of me. I work from home, I never go out, I eat too much, drink too much…I am not me anymore.
I don’t know what to say to you. I hope you have support and love from your family. I hope you can find some kind of reason to keep going. I know this is the hardest, cruelest pain a mother could suffer. The loss of your child is not something you can ever get over. I do wish you strength and love. My thoughts are with you. I’m sure only someone who has been through this can understand the utter devastation it brings to our hearts and our lives. Our grief is as individual as we are, no one can feel your pain, but I can understand what you are going through, because I’m going through it right along side you. The depth of grief we feel is a measure of our love for the one we lost. As it is our child, it is unconditional and never ending. I am sure of that.
My thoughts are with you