I’m floating. Sometimes, I feel myself slipping below the surface, and I don’t want to come back up. I feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the blackness.

I hear my own words of hope and compassion that I tell the others who walk the same path I walk along. My words are convincing even if but for a moment, it brings them comfort. But I don’t feel those same words in my own heart. They aren’t meant for me.

I’m told by a few that I am light in the darkness to others, yet I don’t feel that light anymore. I still try to make it shine for them in my own blindness. But I can’t see it. I want to see it, but I don’t.

I swim back up, and as my head breaks the surface and my lungs fill with air, the stangnancy of it nearly chokes me.

My sweet, dumb crazy lunatic of a dog looks at me with the innocence of naivity; he has forgotten the cruelty of what was done to him as a puppy before he found a safe haven with me and he is happy. His gaze brings me back into focus. His eyes sometimes plead with me: to keep taking care of him; to keep loving him. So I stay a little longer for him.

When I do leave this world, I think my parting will be felt for just a short while. The world won’t stop turning. My existence doesn’t make a difference to most while I am here, so it won’t make a difference when I’m gone.

Fuck this world. Whatever the lesson I came here to learn must have had a lot of karma attached to it. I just don’t know if I can finish it. And that is the hideous truth.

It isn’t all bad. I mean, I had the four most beautiful children. And that was the best thing ever. But I must have screwed something up because one was taken away: he left this world before me and I just don’t know how to be me anymore with him gone. Maybe who I was and who I am was the problem all along.

I had a long talk with the Padre yesterday. I needed that because I have no one to talk to. I’m the listener, and when I do try to share my own thoughts, it quickly turns into listening to someone elses story. I never get to talk about mine. But I got to talk yesterday. He told me that I am in survivor mode. I had gone to him to ask for a weeks worth of compassionate leave so that I can fly home to help my father. He is nearing the end of his journey and he needs some help while he is still here. I want to see my mom too, even though she has no idea who I even am anymore. That guts me. But soon they will both be gone. And I’m having a hard time dealing with that.

I asked the Padre if all the stress that I am going through is just normal and if everyone’s lives are just as manic as mine and that we all just hide it well. He said many would have buckled under the pressure im facing and it is testament to my own strength that I just keep going. Anyway, instead of the 5 days worth of compassionate leave I asked for I was granted 14. I guess they think I am ready to implode. Or explode. I’m tired. And at any rate, I’d be ok with either now.

My spouse is downstairs getting shit- faced again. He is an alcoholic and as much as I have tried to help him, he doesn’t want it. I’m too tired to care anymore.

I’ll keep floating and keep trying to chase the darkest thoughts away for now. But I don’t know for how much longer. I don’t know how long before they will completely consume me.

Easter 2023

It’s a grey and dreary day. The torrential rains are threatening to flood my yard, but I just watched nine deer walk through, oblivious to the downpour, enjoying the growth of new grasses that stick out of the earth here and there.

The holidays aren’t easy to navigate. This is our second Easter with Sam gone. And it’s tough.

Memories of Easter mornings filled with the squeals of ” I found one” as the children filled their baskets with the eggs that their father and I would hide the night before permeate my thoughts and memories and I smile but also fight back the tears. Sometimes we would find wayward tin foil chocolate eggs months, even years later, but for the most part, most of the eggs would be found and devoured before we sat down to a turkey or ham dinner.

I remember pastel baskets filled with shredded colorful grass paper and an Easter outfit and spring toys left out by the Easter Bunny. I miss those days.

But I also miss the memories as a child myself of the early morning Easter egg hunts, and the chocolate Easter bunnies left out the night before. My granny used to send us Laura Secord eggs that were so rich that we were only allowed to have a small bite which made them last for days. The malted Robin’s eggs were one of my favorites.

This year, I couldn’t find the Laura Secord eggs or the Malted Robin’s eggs anywhere. Both, have become just an echo of the past, much like my memories of early morning hunts and chocolate faces and tummy aches and excited squeals as everyone filled their baskets with the little foil wrapped treasures.

I face timed briefly with my mom yesterday. Dementia has taken her from us. She stares ahead, answering questions as best as she can in a monotone tone hard to decipher. She doesn’t know me anymore. But her face lit up when I told her I’d bring her some Chinese Food when I fly out to see her next month. ” From the Golden Palace?” she asked . It’s funny how some memories still find a way in the neuro pathways of someone whose brain has been wiped of most of their memories, but it’s one small win in a conversation with the woman who is my mother, who no longer has a clue who I am. Ill happily stop at the Golden Palace and bring her that which she enjoyed all of her life.

Sam stopped by and gave me a beautiful hello on Friday night in a very unexpected way. His sense of humor is still strong across the veil, apparently, and I love it. Just days after his funeral, he visited me in a dream. I was taking something out of the oven in this dream, and I turned to put it on the table, and Sam Matt, and Tess were all sitting at this table. His brother and sister were laughing. Sam was just sitting there with a big grin on his face. He appeared to be about 15 years younger. I asked what was so funny. Tess replied that Sam was just telling them funny stories about what it is like in heaven, and told me that he said ” in heaven, when you have to go to the bathroom, you just go and it evaporates right away and doesn’t leave a trace. ” Sam never said a word in this dream, but he sat there grinning from ear to ear. I woke up giggling at that point. Randy rolled over and asked me what I was laughing about. I told him about the dream.

Flash forward to two nights ago: I was watching the second last episode of a quirky little series I found on Netflix called ” The Good Place” about four people who found themselves in the ” bad” place after they died and the entirety of the 3 seasons is about them trying to find their way to the” good” place ( heaven). It’s a good show. Anyway….. in this second last episode, they made it to the good place and they were talking to the spirit of an ancient philosopher played by Lisa Kudrow ( Friends), and she explained to them how, after hundreds of years of being in heaven, everyone gets bored. She was sitting on a park bench, drinking milkshakes and she told them how in heaven, “when you have to go to the bathroom, you just go and it evaporates and doesn’t leave a trace”.


I said OH MY GOD as I re-winded back to seconds before and replayed it. Randy had not really been paying attention, so when he heard what I was so excited about, a big grin also crossed his face.

Sam has been gifting us with the most extravagant signs that he is still all around us. INCREDIBLE signs. But this one: wow. Just….WOW.

Today it is Easter. It’s pouring out and the pond is inching nearer closer to the house as the day passes, but the skies just brightened a bit. There are nine deer chilling in my front yard; I baked a cherry cobbler; and, my beautiful son reminded me that he is still 100 percent here with me.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Happy Birthday in Heaven

17 Feb 2023
Happy Birthday in Heaven to my sweet son Sam. You would be 33 today. I miss you beyond words. I still have days – most days- where my mind still can’t grasp or comprehend your absence from this world.
I’ll make your favorite dinner tonight and set a place at the table for you. I hope I’ll see a flicker in the candle before I blow it out on your cake : because I know it’ll be you. 🙂 Then, I will send you a lantern to heaven.

I hope you’ll help me pick out a perfect guitar today. This year, it will go to a child. Help them to find beauty in the music Sam, just as you did.

I’ll never stop fighting for you. Not until my last breath.

Happy Birthday Sam

I love you.

You’re not here for me to sing to you,
A happy melody
Or to wrap your present or bake a cake
Or call you joyously
To wish you Happy Birthday on this day which was all yours.
But my thoughts are always with you son and they will be forever more.

Happy Birthday up in Heaven Sam
I’ll try to smile today
As I light a candle on a cake
And think of you on this day
33 years ago you came to me
When you were born to me my son
And my son you shall always be
Until my time on earth is done.

I’m tired

In early December, I sat with the president of the Board of Inquiry into Sam’s death. The findings weren’t good, as I knew they would be. The military takes no responsibility into his death. The harassment that Sam underwent was not significant because the Warrant Officer that the allegations were made against said they didn’t happen. The military also found that adequate mental health care was provided.

The psychiatrist who Sam was under the care of, was never even interviewed. The medications he was grossly over prescribed, were never even factored into the inquiry.

I am submitting a grievance against the findings of the BOI. I’m not sure of the implications it will have on my career since i work for the establishment that I’m now fighting against. I could find myself out in the cold. But I have enough money/ equity I suppose that if I found myself out of a job, I could buy a trailer and live in it for a few years before the money ran out: before Id have to live on the streets. Hopefully, I’d be gone by that point in time.

I have written to the Military Ombudsmans office and they gave me the contact information of a person who heads up medical complaints within the military. I’ve written to him. This morning, on the advice of the contact within the Ombudsman office, I also lodged a complaint with the College of Physicians in the province of Ontario.

I’m doing all this while stopping every few minutes to take care of the people who knock on my door at work for the services that my office provides. My supervisor asked if I would rather have a quiet desk away from all of the commotion to do all of this, but I need to be surrounded by my things, in a space that I feel familiarity in. I welcome the disruptions as well : having to keep my composure as i sit at this desk makes it easier than becoming lost in the words I have to write over and over as I reach out to these different avenues with my grievance.

But I’m tired. I’m tired in my body and I’m tired in my soul. No one seems to want anything to do with this – no one wants to help. They just want to move on as the world moves on. And I understand. But I’m tired.

Sam was a part of me in a way that no one else can or will understand. No one else was his mother. He was my son. He grew inside of me. I nurtured him within my own body until he could survive in this world. And when he died, a huge part of me died too. How could it not?

Having to go over these details over and over is taking its toll. Not having anyone to share this with : to talk about this with- is taking its toll. But I can’t stop until there is some accountability taken for the life that should still be here for at least another 40 years.

More often than not, looking into the innocence of my dogs eyes is the light that keeps me from spiraling down the black hole the stands before me.

I’m tired.

Who Am I

I’m a mother. My most important role in this life’s journey is being a mother. I’ve done a lot of things: I’ve had a career or two; I’ve traveled; I’ve been married; I’ve been divorced; I’ve been in love; I’ve fallen out of love. But the role of all of the roles that I identify most of all with, is that of being mom to my four children.

They all grew up and moved away. They started their own lives. They started their own families. They bought houses, and got pets and ran businesses and started careers. Everything was moving along as the Universe planned. They would get older, and I would get older and one day I would die and they would bury me. That, is the natural order of things. That, is what was supposed to happen.

But that is not what happened. Sam died. At 31 he left us all behind and the natural order of things as the Universe had set out came crashing to a halt. Suddenly, I’m not who I was anymore. My world came to a screeching halt. Before that day, four people called me mom. After that day, there were only three.

The death of my son stopped me in my tracks. If I could choose a day that I wish I could go back to and just stay there, it would be August 18, 2021. My life was normal that day. But it was the last day of normal for me. I wish I could go back and stay there. Or, I wish there had been no more tomorrow’s for me after that day. But tomorrow came, and it is that day that my world came to a grinding stop. It is that day that I can’t get past: that I am stuck in, and I had to watch the world carry on without me from that point on.

I was an aircraft mechanic. I still am technically. But I’ve taken a desk job now and I bury myself in the work to keep my mind occupied.

I used to be fit. And I was proud of that. But I don’t care anymore. I turned to food as a source of comfort and now my clothes are uncomfortable. I wish I could swallow a pill and become skinny because I don’t have it in me anymore to do the work that kept me fit. Or the willpower to stop eating the bad stuff thats making my clothes too tight. I suppose it could be worse: I could have turned to alcohol or pills.

I have become outspoken. I have become an advocate for being kind and for mental health and suicide awareness. I reach out to strangers and talk about stopping the stigma. I have posted stories, and shared my grief to those who will listen. I have been open about my grief and my family’s loss in hopes that it would ” normalize” the word suicide so that people don’t feel that they need to hide their illness : so that they feel safe talking about what they are going through to a compassionate and caring audience. So that they are not afraid of being stigmatized or judged. So that they will ask for help.

I’ve had strangers reach out to thank me for being so open. I’ve been told by some that I made a difference in their lives and that they chose to seek help instead of leaving like Sam did. I’ve been called a mental health ambassador by one of my higher ranking supervisors, and I’ve had friends tell me that I am saving lives. And I hope I have and I hope I am and that I continue to do so.

I am happy for those whose lives I have touched and made a difference to. I’m happy for them and their families that won’t have to go through what my family is going through. I’m happy for the moms who won’t have to receive that call or hear the words that their child is dead: that they died by suicide. I hope I have made enough of a difference that it will spare others of this insidious pain.

But with each person who I help, the guilt digs in just a little bit deeper each and every time : I can help others, but I wasn’t able to help my son. And that eats me alive.

As a mom, from the moment of conception, it is built into us to love our child; to protect them and keep them safe and healthy and happy. There is no time limit or age cut-off that changes that. It is a lifelong commitment. So what happens when your child dies? They are a part of you and you can’t let go. No matter how many people tell you otherwise, you feel like you failed. You failed them. You couldn’t protect them. You couldn’t keep the monsters at bay that took them away from you. You failed. I….. failed. And I feel like I’m failing my surviving children because I failed their brother and now I’m not really here much anymore. I have moments of lucidity but those can’t erase the fact that I failed Sam and he left.

So who am I really now?

I’m mom to four: but only three call me that now. I’m Goob Goob, to my grandsons. I’m a mechanic now who just hands out the specialty tools to the other mechanics who don’t live in a brain fog.

I’m everybody’s friend: I go out of my way to smile and to be over the top kind. I try to make sure everyone is treated fairly. I advocate for kindness and mental health. I am deeply spiritual. I am a mom who speaks my son’s name to everyone so that the world doesn’t forget him. So the world knows he was here. Sam.

I’m still a mom. I will die a mom. And it’s still the most important thing in my life.

RIP Buddy

Yesterday I had to set my sweet 19 year old dog free from this world. I prayed that he would pass peacefully and pain free but through the night I could see that he was struggling and in pain so when the vet opened at 0800, I called and within 30 minutes I took him there and they helped him to cross the veil painlessly and peacefully while he was wrapped in my arms. I’m gutted.
I was starting to think I had gone numb after losing my son 16 months ago. Oh don’t get me wrong : I am still deeply grieving him and I will until my final moment on this earth, but I didn’t think anything could come close to the grief I feel with his loss.
Buddy was his dog. We got him when Sam was a young teen and he was always Sam’s boy. When Sam moved out Buddy went with him. So I guess, I just lost another facet of Sam.

The last 6 years of Sam’s life, whenever I would visit, I would think that it would be the last visit with Buddy as he was getting so old and had slowed right down. Never in my wildest nightmares did I think that Buddy would outlive Sam.
In his note to us that morning that Sam took his life, he asked that we please take care of his boys. He also had a younger dog named Theo who is now living his best dog life with one of Sam’s friends. I took Buddy.

I did my best to give Buddy the best life that I could which included having a canine massage therapist visit twice a month for a doggie massage.
Buddy’s passing yesterday has gutted me.

His beautiful little soul is gone and has left a huge void. I had hoped that last night Spirit would allow me a glimpse into heaven through my dreams: to see Sam with Buddy restored to the young pup he was and the two of them running through a field together. I just know that Sam was there to meet him when he crossed. But, I didn’t dream, or at least, if I did, I don’t remember.

I’ve had visitation twice from my sweet Sam since he left us. I sure do hope he visits again. With his little Buddy in tow.

My heart is so broken right now.

I miss my son, and I miss his little side kick Buddy.

Boxing Day

It’s 0117. I can’t sleep although I’m tired. I’ve started practicing holotropic breathing at night before I sleep. It is said to induce visions. That’s just how desperate I am to see Sam.

It’s been 16 months and one week, and sometimes I wonder if I am just going batshit crazy. I’ve heard that a mother is never the same after losing a child. Is that just a nicer term for batshit crazy? I go to bed trying to induce visions to see him.

But I know he is here. I have no doubt. I just wish I could see him.

I have two weeks off work. We are moving in 5 days. This house has to be packed and I need to find tenants to rent my house. I also have to sit down and go over the findings of the Board of Inquiry into his death. They were delivered to me in early Dec. I’m putting in a grievance against them. I’m not just doing this for Sam. I’m doing this for every person in the military who has been screwed over by the mental health system that is provided for us. The more I talk openly, the more I have had others open up to me of their experience. And it’s atrocious. I had hoped that the BOI would address the concerns I brought up last year in Sam’s death, but instead they were brushed under the rug and the blame was conveniently placed on a mental health diagnosis Sam was given at the age of 17. The harassment he was subjected to in that last year of his life? They asked to have that struck from the BOI entirely ( the Major who conducted it refused). The mental health piece: the casual way drugs were prescribed without proper observation ( who prescribes an anti-psychotic to someone who is not schizophrenic and is already taking ” head meds” known to cause hallucinations? This was not addressed and instead the findings stated that the treatment he received was adequate. It was not. So, suffice it to say I have work to do. I’m not accepting their findings and I will go public if need be. At least this is giving me a purpose to keep going. Because I truly feel like I have no purpose left on this side anymore.

I went downstairs earlier and as I walked under the smoke detector, it chirped. And when I walked under it a few seconds later, I looked up and said aloud ” is that you Sam?” and it immediately chirped again.

I’m not going batshit crazy.

Christmas Eve

Six years ago tonight, I spent my last Christmas with Sam. It was a bit of a disaster. My daughter and I were barely on speaking terms. I had so desperately wanted her to just spend a few days with me, but she wanted to go to Kingston. It was in the early days of my break up from my last serious relationship. I just wanted family around so badly.

Sam and his wife and her son were to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my house and Christmas morning Tess and Matt would come over after breakfast. And then they would all head back to their father’s.

In the early hours of Christmas morning, I woke up to the sound of someone violently vomiting in the bathroom. I waited to see if anyone would go help but no one did. So I went. It was poor Sam. He was so sick with stomach flu. I got him some pepto, some gravol and a cold cloth for his head. By morning, he was well enough to sit with us as presents were opened. Then they all headed to Kingston and I was alone. I got sick that night with the same flu.

I’m laying here in bed now on this Christmas Eve and that night is all I can think of. I have his photo on the pillow beside mine and the tears are falling freely. What I would give to just go back. When the kids were small, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were always so special. The tree was decorated and the gifts were opened in the morning with so much excitement. Those are amongst my favorite memories. The looks on their faces when they would open those gifts.

I can’t remember a Christmas Eve since that last one with Sam or a Christmas Day that has really felt like anything special. Randy and I did drive to Edmonton in 2019 and that was nice.

I guess Christmas for me ended in 2016. Tomorrow is just another day. I don’t want to get out of bed.

It’s Christmas Eve 2022. It’s 9 pm. I’m going to go to bed now.

The many faces of grief

When we lose someone to death, grief is obvious. But grief can manifest itself through other channels of loss.

Grief can affect someone after the breakup of a relationship; or not getting a job promotion that was expected and hoped for; or the loss of health or a physical injury that keeps you from being able to live your life as you had before. Basically any loss, can bring on grief, and/ or depression.

But grief is natural and it’s normal. And in most situations, we can move through it, heal through it and come out the other side of it more experienced in this journey called life. It can also compound itself and lead to depression if it goes unchecked. Depression of course leads to a myriad of medical, mental and physical issues and this is where we need help to get through, and in the worst cases, survive it.

My partner is experiencing alienation from his children. His ex-wife destroyed the relationship he had with them in classic narcissistic injury style. She used manipulation, lies and cruelty to take away the most important people in his life. She doesn’t care about the damage done mentally to them: it’s about destroying the man who finally saw through her and chose to leave. It is taking its toll on him. And its taking its toll on us.

Although his grief is not the same as mine because his children are alive and there is always the hope that he will see them again one day, his grief nonetheless is deep and it is profound. It has been life-changing for him and my heart hurts seeing the depression he is in over this incredible loss. He has written them many a letter from his heart ; but they are always ignored.

His children are both adults now, but the alienation that his ex-wife created, has been far-reaching. He feels that he may as well be dead to them. Sometimes I worry that the stress will inevitably end his life.

So here we both sit; three nights before Christmas Eve watching Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer; in front of a lit Christmas Tree that just doesn’t sparkle for either of us.

Grief has visited this house for far too long now. Although I will grieve for my son until my last breath, I do wish that we could actually find joy in the season. I wish this house wasn’t filled with so much loss.

This is what it is like when you lose a child

I was walking through Superstore yesterday, and I saw a bag of cookies that I used to buy when the kids were young. I walked over, picked it up and immediately I had to put it down because I suddenly felt like crying.

I saw a pair of seat covers being advertised a few minutes ago and it reminded me of how excited Sam was to show me the slip covers he had bought for his chairs when he moved into his apartment.

Randy and I were out looking for a sectional couch on Black Friday for our TV room in the new house we are moving into and I saw a bench like one that I had given to Sam … I had to walk out of the store in tears.

Whether it is a favorite food, or a song, or hearing the name Sam or listening to the guys I work with who were his age, talk about things I knew he also enjoyed : it hurts. Inevitably, many times a day I am reminded of something that, although I’m not going to ever be able to forget, will trigger a memory and there I am…. having to walk away or risk tears that I try so hard to hide from everyone.

How is someone supposed to live like this?

Passive Suicide

I spent an hour with the dietician yesterday. My doctor referred me weeks ago, to help me with my bingeing. This was my second appointment.

But I’m not just bingeing. I am slowing destroying myself from the inside out. I starve myself for 2 or 3 weeks in an attempt to control ” something ” in my life. But then i lose control then I’ll binge for weeks trying hard every day to get back my self control to stop it. I’m pretty sure I am anemic again : I’m exhausted all of the time and I have no energy. And I’m sure that my blood sugars are all over the map.

My poor digestive system and metabolism doesn’t have a clue what to do anymore. Is it feast? Or famine? Should it store fat? Or start burning fat?

I can’t remember to take my blood pressure medication, unless I am feeling uncomfortably bloated and then the diuretic prescribed for my BP at lease alleviates that. My ADHD drug leaves me with the worst side effects so I don’t take it most of the time. Which is too bad : it’s a drug that is known to reduce appetite. It might actually help my inability to control the binge behavior except that I can’t tolerate the side effects. I asked my Dr to prescribe Wegovy – a drug used that helps type 2 diabetics lose weight. I’m agonizing over my weight gain because I can’t seem to stop it while I’m so out of control, but my Dr won’t prescribe the drug. I feel that if I could get my weight back under control the starving and bingeing cycle might stop. Instead she sent me to a dietician: who is wonderful except its not a matter of me not knowing what’s bad and what’s good. It’s a matter of me not being in the mental state where I can stop what I am doing.

My psychologist said the starving is my way of slowly killing myself. A ” passive suicide”. I wonder if she is right.

It took years and years to get to where I was mentally before Sam died. I was in a good place ; a clear headspace for the first time in years. I had spent most of my life in survival mode. And i was finally living. But now look at me. I’m freefalling hoping for the crash. I was dealing with a lot of stress at work a few weeks ago and the chest pains started and as it radiated down my arm, I thought ” I’m ready” . Except I guess the universe or heaven or whatever you choose to call it, wasn’t ready for me because here I am…. still above the ground.

How the fuck am I supposed to survive any of this? I lost my family : they lost me. So why the hell do I have to stay here?

The Dance of the Dragonfly

The dragonfly danced on guilded wing

Against the twilight sky as the sun dipped low.

Above our heads, he flittered high

As we watched in awe, from down below.

He came to say a last goodbye

But also just to say hello

As the sky grew dusk on that painted day

To the heavens gate he soon would go.

To the music he danced above us high

To delight us in our sorrow

The dragonfly gracefully called our names

One last time, before he’d go.

A year in time,  he danced once more, 

To the cherished glee of a wedding day.

He danced just to let us know

He was with us still on the sun’s golden ray.

To the bride he had come on her special day

To wish her well in wedded bliss.

The dragonfly danced, with us once more

Then he flew up to the sky,
With one last kiss.

2022 international Suicide loss survivors day.

Today is International Suicide Survivors Day 2022. Never in my lifetime did I think today would be about me. But then, I don’t think anyone who survives the loss of a loved one to suicide ever thought this would be a journey that they would be on. As human beings, we face every day with optimism that each day will just be like the day before. Those who we love will be there in the morning when we wake up; the sun will shine somewhere and life will carry on as per normal….until it doesn’t.

I am stuck on that day.. it plays over and over in my head : the way the sun shone through my bedroom window that morning; that phone call and the desperation in my oldest son’s voice on the other end of the line telling me I needed to call my former husband right away; and the instant the dread filled my heart as I realized it was about Sam. My sweet, sweet youngest son Sam. For those brief seconds before i spoke to his dad, it was only speculation – I could still hope that maybe it wasn’t as bad as I knew already it was. There was that brief, fleeting hope. And then it was torn forever away.

I screamed that day: i screamed three times the deep guttural scream of a mother’s heart shattering into a billion pieces as i succumbed to the realization that he was gone. Poor Randy still can’t get that scream out of his head. I’m sure the moon shifted that morning at the sound.

Life has moved on, as life does: just not for the loved ones left behind. I personally can’t move past that day. I’ve said before that I wish I could be stuck in the day before : that last phone call; that last ” I love you” that last optimism that we all take for granted, that tomorrow will come; our loved ones will wake up; and somewhere, the sun will shine. I wish I could be stuck in that last day that he was alive. I’d gladly loop in that day forever.

The sun doesn’t shine the same for me anymore. Nothing is the same. I live in a pergatory: stuck between two worlds, not really belonging in either. Wanting to be here, and not wanting to be here. My surviving children lost the mother they knew: I was a mother to four. I’m not sure what I am now. There is no word for a parent who loses a child.

I live my days wearing the smile I hide my grief behind in hopes that I can blend into a world that I’m not really a part of anymore and trying not to be awkward for those who are around me.

15 months ago yesterday, he was here. 15 months ago today, he was gone.

Today is International Survivors of Suicide Day. What I want to share with those who are struggling on this earth, is that you are loved more than you know. The black hole you would leave behind for the ones who love you: your family and your friends, is so vast that they would be sucked into its vortex and they would be lost into a life of confusion, grief, anguish, sadness, anger and desperation for what remained of their journey here on this earth. The voices inside your head telling you that you are not worthy, and that the ones you love would be better off with out you, lie. We need you here. And we love you.

What I want to share with those who are fortunate to not walk this journey is this : don’t take life for granted. The optimism that tomorrow will just be another day like today can be ripped away without any warning. Make sure you tell your loved ones each and every day that you love them. That they are more than worthy and let them know how much you need them in your life. Be kind to all. Be inclusive to all.

I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t wish this on any one.

14 months, 4 days.

I can’t shake the thought that if only I had stayed in Trenton 5 years ago rather than move to the other side of the country, Sam would still be alive.

He moved there in 2020 after the breakup of his marriage. He had asked to move there so his ( then) wife could be closer to her family. But she left and he had no choice but to move. ( it was a military move).

Id have gladly had him move in with me to help him get back on his feet.

I don’t know how long I can keep living with the constant guilt. It permeates my thoughts.

I miss my before life. I miss sleep. I miss peace and joy. I miss everything. I hate existing.

A Complicated Grief

Suicide loss is a complicated grief. Those who havnt gone through it will never understand it. Hell, I don’t think we understand it ourselves. I don’t know how we are supposed to survive it. I often don’t want to survive it.

When people say, ” Sam wouldn’t want you to be so sad. He would want you to be happy” . I feel like saying the only thing that will make me truly happy again, is seeing my son. And to do that, I would have to die. That’s my dilemma. I don’t say that out loud: but I feel it.

We live in a state of guilt, for any thing we ever said out of anger; For anytime we had to discipline them. We also live in a state of guilt for not being the parents we were before they died to our surviving children. Its not fair to them: how broken we are. They lost their sibling and in many ways, for my children anyway: they lost their mother as well. I’m not who I once was. I’m sure that they know I don’t want to be here anymore. And that’s just fucked. It’s not that they aren’t enough , it’s that my heart is so shattered that I feel it break every day.

We live in a pergatory of what if’s and if only’s.

It’s fucked up. And I miss my son.

I’m having a rough night.

It has been almost 14 months now since Sam left us. Mental illness was his demon: he died by the final symptom of it. He died by suicide. He was 31. He would be almost 33 now. He should be almost 33 now. But instead, he is forever 31.

They say that the second year is the hardest. But who is counting anymore. Days just becomes weeks, and weeks become months.

Time has disappeared inside of this vortex called grief. It has robbed me of time. I’m no further from the day he left than I was one month into this journey. Time means nothing to me any more. I sleep; I work and I sleep again. And as each day passes, I rejoice in the fact that when the day ends, I am one day closer to going to where he is. I can’t find joy in any of the things I once did. It feels like I am still standing in the doorway of that morning. I can’t leave. I wish I could go back one more day and be stuck in the last day that he was alive instead. I’d happily stay there with him. But suffice it to say : I have not moved on from the day he left. The world has as the world must, but I’m still standing here: loitering as it were, and I can’t seem to step away from it. I can’t seem to wrap my head around any of it.

I don’t cry as often as I used to, but when I do: look out. It gets messy. For those looking at me, I have created a facade of carrying on with the day to day things that I must do in order to pass the test that I am ok to be around. I just try to fit in, like a square into a circle slot …. hoping no one notices how much I have to bend to get in. It beats being alone: I find some comfort in being around others but inevitably something will happen that reminds me that Im a square amongst the circles and I have to retreat to a quiet space.

I used to feel a future, but I don’t feel it anymore. I have 3 living children who I don’t love any less than I love Sam, but they have lives : good lives and I know they will be ok. I know that they hurt over the loss of their brother but they have families and things to bring them joy. When a mother loses a child, there is just no more joy. Hard as I try, I just can’t feel it anymore.

Time moves on

It’s been 1 year, 1 month and 16 days since Sam left us. I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by. The good in that is that the time moves quicker and I can be with my child again before i know it.

The grief hasn’t gotten easier. It’s become softer and I can go days without breaking down now. But inevitably I will find myself in a pool of tears when I find a safe and quiet place to let go. I rode home from work after dark the other night, and while the road was quiet under the stars, I couldnt help but to let go a guttural scream at the top of my lungs as my motorbike carried me down the lonely highway towards home. I needed the release. I’m afraid to show my emotions to others. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with my tears.

I started to watch a series on Netflix before Sam died called “Afterlife”. It was a dark British comedy about a man ( played by Ricky Gervais) in the aftermath of losing his wife to cancer. It was a wonderful series that concluded after 3 seasons. The premise of the show was about life after the loss of a significant love and moving on. But he didnt want to move on and considered so many different ways to end his life. He was befriended by the most colorful characters: a lonely postman; a junkie; a prostitute; a widow. It was a series that you couldn’t wait to watch the next episode. Had I watched the final show before Sam died, I probably would have hated how it ended. I would have cried for the loss of such a beloved character and hoped that the writers would do one better by re-writing one last script where that final episode had been just a dream. But it was the last show. And, after having lost someone I love so much, it was an ending where I felt so much peace in it. You see, the leading character went to a village festival and he happily took in how life had moved on, as life always does. New loves; new friendships. He smiled, and he and his loyal dog who had started to go grey around the muzzle and long in tooth, turned and walked off into the sunset. And as they walked up the hill, they faded away until they completely disappeared. I loved that ending. I cried my eyes out, but I completely understood. It’s how I feel- I watch the world move on as it should, but I don’t feel a part of it anymore. I don’t feel like I belong anywhere anymore. I wish Abe and I could just walk off into the sunset and quietly disappear like he did.

On another note: the Board of Inquiry finished up months ago. The officer in charge will fly out to me with the envelope containing the findings. I will sit with him, read the pages and afterwards when he leaves, I will sit alone and cry for the son who felt so lost in this world that he decided to leave. He told me that last night, that he just didn’t feel like he belonged anywhere. And lord , how I know just how he felt. I can honestly say that today, as I lay on the couch, I thought how nice it would be to just close my eyes one last time. But, today is not going to be that day.


I dreamt about Sam last night. I hadn’t dreamt about him for a year, well not that I can remember anyway. I don’t often remember my dreams. I once asked him a question back in January on my birthday as I was drifting between sleep and awake, and I heard him answer inside my head…. like, I heard him in my thoughts, but it wasn’t my own thoughts if that makes sense. Anyway, around this time last year, just days after the funeral, I dreamt of him but it wasn’t like a dream. He was there. A visitation perhaps? No doubt actually. Since then though: nothing. Until this morning.

I have good days where sometimes my smile isn’t a fake ” hey I’m ok smile”. It’s genuine. I usually end up crying later that night because I feel guilty for feeling almost good in the moment. That’s just a normal part of grief. But yesterday work started off good. Around 5pm I got a message that I will be getting a copy of the findings from the Board of Inquiry into his death within the next few days. The military is good about doing this: they are sending the president who resided over the board to go over them with me in person. He lives almost 5000 kms away.

The findings, to me anyway, probably won’t tell me much more than I already know. But it finalizes it all. Ha….”finalizes”. As if this isn’t already final. To me, it will be like reading the autopsy report: which I never got and I doubt I could read it if I wanted to. It would only state the obvious : 31 year old male. Relatively healthy. A little overweight but not significant to cause health issues. Smoker. No substance abuse ( the coroner told me the day he died that there was a six pack of Corona on Sam’s counter with only two full bottles left in it – but that six pack with two full bottles had been there for the last month or so that I Facetimed with Sam). He was not a drinker. There might have been a little THC in his bloodstream. Cause of death : strangulation due to self inflicted hanging. I don’t need to read the autopsy. I already know. But the Board of Inquiry was conducted to see if the military hold any responsibility in his death, and to take away any points that may prevent another suicide from happening. ( suicide in the military is so prevalent lately. We lost another soldier just days ago). I don’t blame the military although there are situations that they contributed to, leading to his final mental health state. And I do feel that the psychiatrist and his casual prescribing of certain drugs without proper observation played a key role in Sams death. I hope…that is addressed. If not, I will be speaking to that and probably addressing the Board of Physcians and Surgeons of Ontario.

So anyway, long story short: I broke down in the bathroom at work and I couldn’t get my emotions under control so I left. And I called in sick today too.

Stupidly, I drove the motorcycle home from work: tears uncontrollably streaming down my face, riding the highway into the low setting sun. I may as well have been riding with my eyes closed. I’m surprised I made it home at all to be honest. Part of me didn’t care if I did.

I didn’t sleep well at all. Randy’s PTSD had rendered him useless for emotional support: he couldn’t even muster a hug. I went to bed with swollen eyes and a wicked headache from crying. I lay awake for hours. And then I slept. And awoke. And slept again. And awoke. It was a shitty sleep to say the least and I had to get up early for a peri-ondontist appointment (to find out that I have to have a root canal through an existing crown…yay…whatever).

But…. before I woke up for the last time this morning, I had a dream. Like most dreams, it was strange. We were at a resort type of place, and for some reason my daughter was there and she couldn’t breathe so I was panicking to find her epi pen. I found it and injected her to stop the anaphylaxis attack she was having, and then I was running through the corridors looking for what I’m not sure. But I went into this room and there was a young man with dark hair and I said ” do you know where Sam is?” He pointed to a door and told me he was in there. At that moment, Sam walked out smiling and I ran to him and wrapped my arms around him and told him not to disappear on me again. That hug lasted only long enough for me to wake up. But I woke up smiling. And then crying, but then smiling again. It felt so damned good to see his face.

All these months, I have gone to bed every night hoping and pleading with the Universe to let me see him; let me talk to him. But no dreams other than that first one. And now this.

I was in one of my darkest places last night but Sam showed up to help me out of it. I’m still struggling today: I’m in quite a funk actually. But, I got to see Sammy this morning. God I love that kid so much. If nothing else in this strange fucked up world: at least I was blessed with the four best children any mother could ever hope for. One day, we will all be together again. I hope for the 3 who still are on this side of the veil, that they will be here for many many more years to come. But I know that I don’t have many years left, and I’m good with that.

I just found this photo from about 13 years ago. Maybe it was why I dreamed of the hug. But I think the dream was much more.

A year came and went.  I couldn’t write. 

This is slowly killing me. 

I’ve bargained.  I’ve begged.  I’ve cried.  I’ve screamed. 

I’ve tried to be a pillar of grieving.  But I can’t breathe.  My heart feels like it is suffocating right now.  I watch the world move on one day at a time.  I don’t want to move on with it.  I want my family.  All of them.  I want to go back 15 years ago.  I want my children home.  I want everything to be normal.  I want to call my mom and for her to know who I am.  I want to call my father and not have him tell me of all the people visiting him at night when he is falling asleep… those people including his parents.  Who have been gone 30 years or more. My dad is dying and I don’t want him to. He has spoken to me twice now about MAID . I told him I understand and I’ll support him if that is what he really wants. But I don’t want him to die. I’m not ready. Is it wrong to make it about me?

I want my life back as it was…. before Sam died. Everything feels so bleak now.  I wake up.  I go to sleep.  I wake up.  i go to sleep.   How many more wake ups? How many more sleeps? Until I don’t have to any more.

The alcohol is kicking in.  And the pills.  Tomorrow is another day. 

One year ago today, we laid you to rest in a beautiful place surrounded by heros: a place so serene and so sacred. I felt you there that day: I know you watched in amazement at how many were there to say goodbye and to support us in our deepest time of sorrow.

We had a custom black granite urn made for you, with your rocket ship that was so meaningful to you etched into the stone. I now wear that rocketship proudly inked into my own flesh in memory of you.

That night, as we remembered you by the river in Merrickville, a blue dragonfly danced in the gentle breeze over our heads as the sun began to set while I let some of your ashes that we held back from the urn scatter in the breeze, as you had requested.

This past week, a blue dragonfly landed on Tess and Blaise right over the place where she wore a pin with your picture on it as we took pictures after their wedding ceremony. I had not seen a dragonfly on the property in the days leading up to the wedding, or in the days after. And trust me: I had watched for one.

So I know you were there with us.

Sam, my heart is made up of four quarters : one for each of my children. With a quarter of my heart missing, I am no longer full. I miss you so much.

Rest peacefully my sweet child. You are loved more than you ever knew. I love you, and I’ll see you on the other side.


I recently started buying house plants. Like, literally everytime I go to the store, I go to the plant section. Oftentimes, I buy healthy plants, but when I see a plant that looks like it will just be thrown away, I feel sad for it, so I buy it and bring it home, take off the sick or dead leaves and flowers, and I attempt to nurse it back to health.

I havnt cared much for having house plants in many decades so I couldn’t explain why suddenly I’m buying plants, especially the sick ones. I had a green thumb when I was younger but it was lost on me many many years ago. I even bought a cactus yesterday: I named it Dom Pedro.

But I think I figured it out this morning.

I’ve lost control of so much in my life in the past year since Sams untimly departure. I couldn’t stop eating and I couldn’t stop the grief weight from gaining. I can’t control my lack of motivation to get back to running or to the gym. The injury to my Achilles tendon prevents running but I know that the extra weight is partly to blame for that injury not healing. I can’t control my emotions and you have no idea how exhausting it is to try to act ” normal” at work all day. Yet, i cant fall asleep at night for hours and then when i finally do, i have a hard time waking up in the morning. I can’t control the dark hole that I can’t seem to get out of: I don’t want to even tie a bottom at the bottom of the rope .

But these plants: like my dogs and my cat – I make sure that they have food. I make sure that they have enough light. I talk to them. I love them. I keep them going for the next day, and the next.

I can’t love myself. I couldn’t keep my son alive. But I am trying my hardest to keep these plants who have no control over their lives happy and healthy.

Will I gain back control over my own life one day? I don’t know. I’ve taken control for 7 days of what I eat, and finally I have reached the point where I am not fighting cravings. It is a start. But I broke down last night to the point I couldn’t catch my breath. My life is not as it was a year ago. It turned 90 degrees and I don’t think it will ever get back on the straight and narrow. Grief is not linear: that is for sure. But I know that the old path I walked is overgrown now and I doubt I will ever find it. No : I know that it is lost to me for good.

I miss you Sam. Xo

11 months 11 days

This is the last month of the year Sam was alive in. It’s been a year of firsts : much like the 1st year of his life except as each date passed, they were filled with sadness rather than joy. The milestones have added up – first Thanksgiving; first Christmas; first birthdays; first Easter ; first winter spring and summer: first year. All of these milestones we celebrated 32 years ago – but this year they were just filled with an emptiness – for me anyway.

It’s been the hardest year of my life. And as I navigate each day and each tear, it doesn’t get easier.

I’m told by other grieving parents that the second year is even harder. I don’t know if my heart can, or will survive it.

My thoughts of my son are obsessive: I can’t get him out of my head. I can’t stop the thoughts or the flow of memories. I’m afraid to say his name because it makes people uncomfortable. I used to speak freely of him, and of my other children in general conversation but, with death it seems that we are expected to not speak their name anymore. And I hate that. I’m proud of who he was just as I am proud of all of my children but it feels like I’m supposed to steer away from any conversation that his name would come up. Our society and culture has such an unhealthy attitude about death. I believe we should celebrate who our loved ones were in life even after they are gone.

But I started a ribbon campaign in my neighbourhood that starts tomorrow : many of my neighbour’s are going to tie teal and purple ribbons on a tree or fence post on their front lawn for the month of Aug. It is for Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention. It has opened a dialogue amongst us. The local paper is even picking up on the story in hopes that it reaches more neighbourhoods. So talking about Sam is having an effect, sadly, amongst strangers. For me, the ribbons are a way to celebrate my son but they are significant in bringing a lack of mental health awareness into the open : Sam will bring about an awareness of mental health and suicide prevention into the open. I hope that it helps to save someone, somewhere. I’m so proud of my boy.

The other night I was watering my garden and I felt like if I would turn around at that moment, I would see him standing there right behind me, with a big grin on his face. I wanted that so badly : just to have a brief moment with him. But I didn’t turn because I was afraid that if I did he wouldn’t be there and the vision in my head would lose any meaning. So instead, I just smiled at the thought. And it was special.