Suicide. You hear that someone has done that and your heart aches. How could someone do that you ask. God put in all of us the will to survive. How could someone come to that point? This is a three Part series…..
|Mom and Chas 2011|
When my son committed suicide in August of 2013, I was in shock. I immediately got in the car and drove to the side of my other children. For 6 hours I tried to wrap my head around what had happened, it was like I was just on auto pilot. Shock is a wonderful thing. You go numb. You do what you have to. At least that is how I react.
|Marcus and Ali. Chas’ siblings|
My second son called me every hour. ” Mom, I need you, when are you going to get here?” My heart was aching for my surviving children more than for myself at that point. My focus was on them and being there to hold them through this unimaginable pain. When I arrived my son and daughter fell into my arms. I will never forget that moment. The first words out of their mouth was, ” it’s not your fault.” You see, my oldest son began a downward spiral when I had filed for a divorce in 2003. He was angry. Really, really angry. Drugs became his escape or a punishment to his father and me. I tried to make him stop. I tried everything, but to no avail. There were other mental issues. Some of which I guess about some I could figure out as manic depression. Whether the mental issues were always there or brought on by the drugs, I don’t really know.
|Chas in High School|
Two weeks before Chas was to graduate high school, he was becoming increasingly volatile. I had to make a decision to either sacrifice the safety and peace of myself and my other children in order to save one child that I also loved deeply. We were living in a scary place… I had to do the tough love thing. I finally had to say there is the door, please leave. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. My other two children immediately said, ” You had to do it Mom, We couldn’t live like that anymore.” I really thought that would wake him up. I really thought he would come back asking for help. He didn’t.
I lost my son that day. I have mourned having him in my life since 2007. We did have a few short moments together, but they were always shadowed by his anger and addiction. The last Mother’s Day card said he had been clean for 3 months and that he would call me in October. It never happened. ….
Then my other son, Marcus, said “Chas wants to see you mom, tomorrow at the restaurant for lunch”. My prayers had come true. He wanted to reconnect. He was doing better. That was the first of July 2013. He was managing a small restaurant. He looked so good. He had lost weight, looked healthy and seemed calm although he was nervous to see me. He was gracious and kind to everyone he served that day. I thought, ” he’s going to be ok.” I was happy and proud of him. Neither one of us really knew what to say to each other that day. I asked him to call me, but he said he couldn’t do that yet. What did that mean? I was later to hear from his best friend, that Chas wanted to call me when he had done something with his life that I could be proud of. “Oh. Oh, no. I am proud of you right now”, I thought.
You see, Chas was not proud of himself yet. He had lost years of his life in the hell he swallowed. Every time he made strides forward, he would fall back into his hole. Now, He was striving to be what the world thought of as a success. How devastating is that! If only I had said something to have made him feel that he was doing great. If only I had done something to make him feel that he was successful already. If only….that is the nagging thought. What did I not do? I should have been able to help him, I was his mom. That is my job to protect, to encourage, to help. Chas was 25. He was a man, not a child. I could not protect him anymore. I could not help or save him. That is the heavy burden I carry.
|Ali, Marcus and Chas.|
I stood up at his memorial and spoke of the child and boy I admired and loved. I wanted everyone to see the person that Chas was deep down inside. I wanted to give my son a voice. I made it through it by not looking up at a huge church filled with people. I made it through by my shear will to defend and protect the memory of my child. Unconditional love. It is a powerful thing. No matter how you have been hurt by someone, you can not stop loving them. I loved Chas unconditionally, but I don’t know if he knew that. He was so disappointed and angry with himself.
Suicide is a black whole of self loathing and despair. It is a place where it is better to be gone than to live another moment with pain. That is what hurts, that my son was in that place. Even though so many loved him, he could not embrace it. So now, those of us left here on earth have to live with the pain of his loss every single day. We have to live with the questions of why. We have to go through the process of grieving, denial, anger then acceptance. I have to watch my other two children hurt. My daughter will talk to me sometimes, but not often. That hurts me. My surviving son will not talk about it now. That terrifies me. How do I help them?
I try to help by bringing up what I know is true. Chas is not dead, but alive in heaven. Our grieving is selfishness, because Chas is at last happy and at peace with God. He is just in another place where we can not see him, but he is not gone. He is there, waiting for us to join him after our long lives. He is there. That is how I have survived his suicide. Without my faith in an eternal life through Jesus, I could not have survived this.
Easter is next weekend. This year, 8 months after my son’s death, it is not about Easter eggs or where we will go for lunch after church. This year it is all about Jesus and eternal life. This year it is about living even though your body no longer breathes. It is about God’s amazing grace and love for my children, myself and and the world. It is about hope and not fearing what happens when I take my own last breath.
Why is it so hard for people to just admit that they are not in control of things? I learned that I can not control anyone or any thing outside of my own fingers and toes. I can reach out and try to help, but in the end, we are helpless to save anyone if they don’t want saving, I can not be good enough to earn my way into heaven. It’s not a contest. It is a gift that is given by believing in the simple truth, that sin is in all of us. It can not be taken out by ourselves. Only the son of God could do that. Jesus proved who he was when he rose from the dead and spoke. Some will say it never happened, but what they mean is I refuse to believe it. Hard to believe someone like that really ever existed? Why is that so hard for people to believe? It was written down in history through many nations. It was eye witnessed. Prayers are answered today and miracle still happen. I feel sorry for those who refuse to even try to believe the truth. They are so lost in only what they can control, or they are so angry with God for something he didn’t do, that they turn away from him.
How can I still love God when my prayers to him everyday for years was, “God, please save Chas.” ? I was thinking of God saving Chas from what was tormenting him. I was thinking God save him from dying before I do. But you see, we all die one day. I can see that God does not use us like puppets. He does not seek to control us. He has given us a free will to do that which is good or evil. God did save my son. He saved him and he lives in heaven for eternity. How do I know? I heard God tell me one night as I was praying, “Assuredly I tell you, he is with me.” I know it was God because when I heard this I was shocked and overwhelmed. This was not me thinking, this was God speaking. Hard to believe? Not for those who hear God it’s not.
Today I still hurt that there will never be another moment to hug. There will never be another moment to look into his eyes and tell him I love him here on earth. These are all my selfish desires. I take a deep breath and say, ” ah yes, there is going a day when I will hold him and tell him I love him. Just not right this moment, but one day soon.” Life is short. Days and weeks and months have flown by since Chas left earth. I have to keep my eyes on what will be one day. I have to hold onto hope and remember all the God moments that have happened to me that show me that God is alive, he is real and faith is all true. I have come too far to loose faith. I know too much now to despair. Am I strong? No, just determined. I have many moments of weakness, but I refuse to give up. I am determined to not be deceived by this world and to stay on the side of truth. I know that God is real. I know that Jesus really was here on earth, that he died and rose from the dead. I know that what he told us to do really does work.
Just because you can not see air, does not mean that it is not right in front of your face. Just because you can not see love until it is expressed does not mean it is always bubbling inside of you and alive. I can not make anyone believe the truth. All I can do is try to help you. The rest is your decision. I hope you make a good choice. I hope you live and never die even after your last breath. “God, save whoever is reading this, amen”