Song

Today, as I was driving to work, I had another sign from my sweet boy. As I often do now, I talk to him on my drive to work. I asked him to choose the next song. While I waited for the song playing to finish, I asked him for an answer to a question. The next song started…. and the lyrics clearly gave me an answer. And as if to confirm that this wasn’t a mere coincidence, i noticed that the car ahead of me in traffic, was the same model and same color as his car. And the license plate started off with the letters FYM. When I looked at those letters, the words ” for you mom” spoke inside of my head.

Sam loved music. Of all things Sam….music was one of the most prominent things in his life. It brought him much comfort and much joy He enjoyed it immensely. The collection of guitars and bass’s , and various other music instruments filled his home. So it is only fitting that much of the signs he has given us have been around music.

The drive to work was not the first time I have asked him to change the song on my Playlist. Last week, I was tired of what was playing on the radio and asked him to find something better. The next song was ” I lived” by One Republic. The words: pretty darn fitting. Another time, I was laying in my bed and talking to a friend over messenger. I was telling her how a few family members had been having issues with electronics since Sam left us. I typed in the words, ” Sam, it’s cool that you do that but I feel sad that you haven’t done anything to mine so that is know you were around me”. Literally, at that moment, downstairs, the TV volume started going up and down uncontrollably. I was astounded but figured that it was just my spouse adjusting the volume, when he came running up the stairs, wide eyed, and said ” Sam’s here. He is messing with the TV volume”. He had no idea I was in a conversation and as it was a text conversation: he wouldn’t have over heard. Oddly enough, as if it wasn’t already “odd”, the show he had been watching downstairs was about drumming. And my friend and I had also been talking about Sam and drumming.

The gifts they give us, are their way of communicating with us. It is their way of letting us know they are around. Sam….is still around me. And I feel this. I only wish he was here in person.

Gifts and signs

My son died by suicide 7 weeks ago.  I still am in disbelief that he is gone.  But I guess we never get over the shock right?  Especially when they choose to leave this world.  


I know he is at peace and this is the only thing that brings me comfort. Some days grief let’s me out into the world and I almost feel like I can take a breath.  Other days,  grief keeps me hostage and i feel like I’m going to suffocate.    I have no choice but to face this head on because it’s not going to go away. 


My beautiful son has given me gifts since he left: whether it be dragonflies,  music,  electronics acting funky, shadows….    I have awoken singing the words to a song I don’t really know and haven’t  heard for years…. the lyrics, as if in answer to my woeful cries of ” why Sam? ” as I fell asleep only hours before. 


Our loved ones departed this world,  as we also will one day.  But I have no doubt that they still walk along side of us. We have to be open and receptive to them and understand, that coincidences – when they happen over and over,  are not usually a coincidence. Pay attention to your dreams. You will know the difference between a dream and a visitation: I assure you. 


Imagine the reunion when you cross over.  Often, the thought of that is what gets me through my darkest hours. 

Author unknown

B.O.I.

It’s been 7 weeks, yet it seems like yesterday. It’s almost 1 am….and I’m guessing, that with the time difference that this was possibly around the time of the morning exactly 7 weeks ago that you did it. I can’t get this out of my head. I suspect it will be a night of little sleep.

Lately, I’ve not been able to shake the images that plague my thoughts. And I keep thinking that if I could go back to that night, that somehow I could change the outcome and you would still be here. It’s funny how our minds work : I think I can turn back time…. and you thought that there was nothing worth living for. How could we both be so wrong?

God damn it Sam. You were supposed to bury me one day. Not the other way around.

7 weeks and 1 day ago, I spent my evenings watching YouTube videos; the occasional movie; and, way too many dog rescue videos. Now, I spend my evenings reading posts from other parents whose children died by suicide. I Google ” suicide by hanging” to try to understand what your last moments must have been like. I don’t do this lightly or to be morbid: I do this to assure myself that you wouldn’t have suffered. Sometimes, I think about trying it myself. How, I miss the days of dog rescue videos. 😢

I received a call from the officer who is conducting the Board of Inquiry into your death today. He is flying out here next week. I have asked to speak on your behalf based on what you told me in our conversations over those last months. I know this won’t bring you back, but maybe recommendations can be made within the organization to prevent someone else from dying. This BOI will get me through the months that it is being conducted. Beyond that, I’m not sure how I will cope. Although I do have better days, I don’t deny that my love for my own life often is very diminished.

This weekend is Thanksgiving. I don’t really care much to celebrate it but I will. I will try to remember that I do have so much still to be thankful for, even though it feels right now, that I don’t. I will save a piece of pumpkin pie for you. I know how much you loved it.

I miss you my son. I’m going to try to be more positive in the coming days. Many times in my life I’ve had to ” fake it til I make it”. This time, I don’t know if I can because most days, my eyes tell a different story. But I’ll try.

I love you Sam

The Note

Tonight, I read your note. I’m sitting here, on the stair listening to the rain and trying to catch my breath.
I’m sorry.
I told you I would try to stop crying so that you could be at peace. But it’s not that easy Sam. It’s never going to be easy. I dread every morning as the sun comes up, because when I sleep, I can forget.
IF I can sleep that is.
But every morning as the sky begins to get brighter, just reminds me, that another day is about to begin without you here.
I don’t know how to be a mom to 3…. when I am a mom of four.
I don’t know how to exist when I’m walking between two worlds. I feel like I’m in pergatory.

The Ativan is kicking in. I hate it when I have to take it, because I don’t dream. And I’m so afraid that I’ll miss a dream where I can see you. And talk to you. But tonight, I read your note. So, an Ativan night it must be.

I wish this wasn’t so hard. But, this is the price of love. I only wish, that love could have saved you. If it could have, you would have lived forever.

I love you Sam. And I’m so proud of who you were on this side. I’m proud of you no matter where you are.

Visitor

The past 6 weeks have gone by in a blur. I returned to work nearly two weeks ago, and although my days there are short ( 2 hours per day) it helps to get out of the house.

The grief never goes away. Sometimes, for a moment I can find a place in my mind where I can begin to adapt to this new ” normal”…how I hate that word, but inevitably, the grief and shock come crashing back to me.

Today we went out for a drive in the country and found a pathway that took us along a field of cows. As we stopped to look over the fence so I could call out to them, a dragonfly landed on me ; just inches from the dragonfly necklace that I wear which contains a small amount of Sam’s ashes. On the night of his funeral, after I scattered a small packet of his ashes, a dragonfly started to dance and swoop and flutter in the twilight air, just above the cat tails and wildflowers where I spread his ashes. It was an incredible sight. My Playlist randomly played the song ” My Sacrifice” by Creed – the words of which could not have been more fitting, and as the music finished, the dragonfly flew away. There was no doubt in my mind, or anyone else’s that evening, that Sam had joined us, and, there is no doubt, that today, as I stood amongst the tall grasses adjacent to the field of cows, that Sam joined me, and stood looking out over the fields with me.

I felt at one with my son. For those fleeting moments, I felt him here with me.

Monument

My father called me to tell me that Sam’s monument had been erected yesterday. Sometime, in the last few days, the cemetery workers had removed the temporary white cross, and erected his beautiful granite monument. There was no ceremony, no formality. The temporary marker replaced with a formal reminder, that he is gone from this world.

My son is buried almost 5000 kms from where I live and my shattered heart is further complicated that I can’t go to sit with my son whenever I want to. I will fly out for Remembrance Day, and I will leave my poppy after the service with him, as I have done in previous years, on the Graves of my fallen comrades.

Last evening, a sunset ceremony of remembrance was observed closer to home, at the Veterans Cemetery in Victoria, BC. It was a 3 hour drive for me in pouring rain , and home again in darkness and torrential downpour. But I felt much love from those in attendance who were strangers at the beginning, but have taken me in and comforted me as one of their own during these darkest days of my life. To hear Sam’s name read out was difficult. But the rain poured down around us , as a mirror image of the tears that fall from my heart and soul daily since he left.

I just miss him….so much

It’s only been five weeks and one day. My son left me on a Rollercoaster of emotions and sometimes, I’m not even sure what it is that sends me into the most intense bone racking convulsive fits of crying. It can be anything. The thought of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, his birthday, Monday, Wednesday, a trip to Walmart….. I miss him more than I miss my own breath when I try to hold it too long. It’s still so fresh for me. I wonder if it ever won’t be. You know, the pain I can take. It’s missing him that I can’t.

Who am I Anymore?

I’m a mother of four, wonderful grown children. But one is gone now. Although I’m still a mom of four … the balance is off. Who am I even? I love my 3 living children, but what good am I as a mother when I am broken? I find myself not wanting to face the grim reality of a world without Sam. I find myself praying daily, for a short life. I’m between two worlds , drifting in and out of each…

I used to eat moderately healthy. I used to do yoga regularly. I used to walk. Now I eat candy : a lot of candy. Caramels for lunch. Molasses candy for dinner. I just don’t care anymore. I haven’t done yoga but for twice in the month since he decided to go. I pop pills – not caring if you shouldn’t mix lorazapam and Ativan and wellbuterin and Tylenol and advil – let’s throw in a edible into the mix. Why not. I just don’t care.

I cry. Alot.

They say that when you commit suicide, you just pass your pain on to those who love you. And it’s so true. I’m not mad at my son. I’ll carry the burden for him if it lifts him up. But I really wish he had just called me to talk that night. Or decided to sleep on it until morning. Because maybe he would still be alive. Or maybe he wouldn’t.

But now, I look for signs everywhere I go, in hopes that he will send me something to hold onto. I say goodnight, and I love you to a picture. My son is the first thing on my mind in the morning, and the last thing on my night before I sleep. If I sleep. So what about my other children? They lost their brother. And, they lost their mother pretty much as well.

Return to “normal”.

I returned to work today: one month plus one day from the loss of my son. I found that people were uncomfortable around me ; as was I also, around them.

How, someone can just return to their old life, when there is a gaping hole through them…is just not possible. I am an aircraft mechanic in the military, and with my mind absent 90 percent of the time, and my GAF factor ( Give A Fuck) at near 0, I certainly wouldn’t want to fly in an aircraft that I signed off as being air worthy. Well, that is not true exactly , because right in this moment, I could care less if I live or die, and I’m leaning closer to the dying side. But, not wanting to be useless in my first day, I opted to empty the toilet and urinal on the plane when it landed. And then I went home, 7 hours early.

But going back to work this soon, is what I wanted. It gives me a distraction from looking at these house walls that just blend into my grief.

Returning to normal, is going to be a lot harder than I thought. I suspect, it will be impossible.

The pharmacist told me today that the risk of becoming addicted to the Ativan I’ve been taking most days since Sam left us, is pretty low because of the constant stress my body and mind is under. So, an Ativan night it is.

We need to talk about mental health

We need to talk about mental health. I, need to talk about mental health. And depression. And suicide. Right now , somebody, somewhere, is struggling. It could be you. It could be me ( well, that’s a given considering….). My point is – people are hurting. And although we may not be able to ” fix” what is hurting them, we sure can do our best to help them, and maybe let them know that people do care and people do love them and maybe, that little bit of reassurance will be enough to get them through the crisis that maybe you or I don’t understand, but that is slowly eroding their mind and their life.

Today, marks one month ago, that was the last day that my son Sam was alive. Tonight, marks one month since the last time I ever got to talk with him – to hear his voice. In the last conversation I had with my son, he said ” I don’t want to do this anymore”. Those words, haunt me. They reverberate inside my head over, and over. I knew he was down : but Sam was good at covering up his feelings. We talked some more, and I felt that I had left him in a better state of mind by the phone calls end. How wrong I was. At least, the last words that Sam heard from me, were ” I love you”, as we ended all of our calls that way. Sometime, in the few short hours that followed our call, Sam decided that he wanted to go home. He died by suicide. He hung himself. I have not hidden his cause of death, because it was just his cause of death. It doesn’t change who he was. He was a kind, sweet, gentle soul. He wasn’t perfect – as none of us are. He just struggled with the cruelties and the unkindnesses of this world.

Covid has heavily effected all of us. But for those who are alone, and struggling with mental health issues, it has been harder beyond words. While we can’t change their circumstances, we surely can take the time to notice them. We can show an interest in their lives. We can ask them questions about who they are. And we can listen. Even if you don’t necessarily like someone, you can always show some compassion ; some empathy. Some kindness. Sometimes, the smallest gestures that aren’t much to us, can give a person something to hold onto as they go into their darkness. It might just be the difference between life and death for them. And you may never even know that…but wouldn’t it be good to think that maybe, at some time, an act of kindness that you showed to someone, somewhere, saved their life? Be it a stranger…a co worker…a friend….a loved one?

We are all in this big mess together. Let’s all try to help one another. Phone that person who you think might be lonely. Include the ones who sit alone. Ask the questions ” are you ok”, or ” do you want to talk”, when you think someone needs it. Notice the changes in even those who seem to be the most together – because they aren’t immune either.

I’m not ok right now. I’m trying to be, and I suspect that I may never, be fully ok again. But I’m not suicidal. I won’t lie : I don’t particularily want to be alive right now because this pain is like nothing I have ever felt, nor want to feel again. But I have loved ones who would be destroyed all over again if I left, so I wake up every day, take a deep breath, and carry on. Please don’t worry about me. But please, in my son’s memory, be kind to EVERYONE you meet. We are all on this journey together.

If you want, feel free to share this. Maybe if we spread a message of love, and compassion- maybe, we can save a life together.

Bless and love to all of you.

I can’t sleep

Grief is a wondrous thing. You make it through one day with little to no tears…. but the next day hits you like a wrecking ball.

I’m laying here in bed. My chest is tight. I’m having palpitations, or ” Butterflies” as they are often to referred to, but they feel more like big giant moths – there is nothing light and fluttering about them.

Everything tonight seems to trigger a memory. The aching in my soul is low and deep, and I feel like I’m going to lose it. I don’t want to laugh. I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to sit here, or lay here, or get up and move around the house. I want to quiet the voices in my head that feed me the memories that trigger the tears, and the missing of my son that I know I can’t do anything about.

It’s not yet been 4 weeks. It seems like it was only days ago. It feels like I just spoke to him on the phone. I can’t stop thinking about the last few minutes of that call. I can’t shake the ” what ifs” …. the ” if only’s”….or the ” I wish’s”. The voices are so loud tonight.

I think it’s a night for medication.

I miss my son so badly. Fuck you suicide. I don’t know if I am going to get through this.

Struggling

Struggling.
I’m living between two worlds….I wish I could say I had one foot in one or the other…but I’m in neither. I’m just here.
Losing a child to suicide really turns you upside down, and backwards, and inside out.
I have so much support. But ive never felt so alone.
I was told that my lifeline on my palm is deep and it’s long. I lay here this morning contemplating that.
I don’t want it to be long.
I know that this emptiness will be with me for what’s left of my life. And I just, can’t imagine living for decades like this. My heart is broken. My spirit is broken. I, am broken.

I have no plans to hurt myself. I just don’t want to hurt anyone. But I feel like I’m hurting enough for the whole world right now.

A Roller Coaster of emotions.

It’ll be three weeks tomorrow. Three weeks ago was your last day alive. I wonder about that day. I like to imagine you walked your dogs and took in all the beauty and smells of the walking trails on your last day. But I don’t know what your day was like. You called me that evening. The words we spoke will be the last words I have from you for the rest of my living days. I knew you were struggling that night. But I thought I had cheered you up a little bit and you seemed like you would be OK. I told you to text me as soon as you woke up. You said you would. But you didn’t. I guess in one way, I am glad you didn’t txt me, because I would have missed that call or txt as my phone is usually set to silent through the night. I don’t think I would have survived that day had I discovered you reached out at the very end, and I didn’t answer your call. I still don’t know how I’m going to survive. I feel like I’m living in pergatory: in between two worlds. I want to be with you, where you are. And I want to be here with your brothers and your sister. I don’t know how to live this way. Somedays: in some moments, I have the urge to lay down and just join you. I’m told that is a normal part of the grief process. But, I will grieve you for as long as I live. How, is this any way to live?

You have given me a few ” gifts” since you left: just little things so I know you are still around me. Whether it’s a song I’m not overly familiar that I wake up singing, as if you whispered it into my ear as I slept, or an image on the TV that was something I would never have noticed except that it was exactly like the tattoo on your arm. Im getting that same tattoo by the way in remembrance of you. The dance of the dragon fly over our heads at the cottage was spectacular as I scattered the small packet of your ashes that I asked be held back from your burial. I just know, as we all did, that you were there with us as the sun was setting on that day.

My grief is a mothers grief. It is deep. And it is raw. Yet…it is beautiful in someways because it reflects the love I have in my heart for you. I only pray that what is left of my natural life is short and sweet. Maybe I won’t feel that in the months to come. But I feel it now as I walk through this pergatory.

I love you Sam.

Life after loss

It’s been 15 days. My world has stood still for 15 days. My son, Sam, chose to leave this world 15 days ago. His family; his dogs; his friends ….. he chose to leave us all. He was 31 years old. He is my third born of four.

I feel no anger … just a deep and profound grief that knaws away at my very existence every waking second. I miss him.

We buried him a week ago today. What a beautiful funeral. I know he would have scratched his head in amazement at such a turn out : full military funeral complete with an honour guard. At the end of his life, he felt such little self worth that this funeral would have made him look on in awe. I’m sure he was impressed. And I know he was there.

I’ve decided to write about this, while my grief is so raw. Perhaps it will help me through these darkest of days. It’s , I guess, a very public way of grieving. Maybe it will find its way into the hearts of others who are facing this same bleak reality. Maybe it will help someone who is standing on the edge, to step back on the safe side, to rethink.

“They” say that suicide is an act of cowardice. Who ever “they” are, well : I wish to congratulate them for having such a perfect life that they never had to face the kind of pain and anguish that one faces when they decide to leave this world by their own choice. Yay you. But the one thing I will agree with the “they say” group is this : when you end your own pain, you pass it on to those who love you, and who you loved.

This is the worst kind of grief.

Today is day 15. I can’t seem to get out of bed today. I don’t want to. In some moments, when I break down in the kind of body ravaging sobs that I seem to succumb to….I find myself hoping that in those moments that I can’t seem to catch my breath: that I won’t catch it. And I won’t have to grieve anymore.

But of course, I still have my three other children to think of. They are hurting too. They lost their brother. Their lives are also upside down.

I just got back from a walk with my partner. He never had the chance to meet Sam. But he spoke with him over the past two years often on the phone. He is angry. We ended up arguing on the walk. I understand his anger. But I fear that his lack of compassion and understand could cost us this relationship. At least that is how it feels right now. He doesn’t know my grief. He has lost both of his parents, grandparents, uncles, a friend…. but he has no comprehension on what it is like to lose a child. I feel like he thinks I should snap out of my grief and go back to being who I was before I lost my son. It’s been two weeks. I don’t know if the person who I was can ever come back to be honest.

For the Love of Sam

My name is Judi. I’m the mother of four beautiful children. On Aug 19, 2021 , I lost my third child to suicide. Sam was 31.

As a parent to four children, my biggest fear in life, was to ever lose a child : how could I ever go on and be a good parent to the remaining siblings, when I would want to die with the one I lost? Well, now that is my reality. I don’t know how to be a parent who has lost a child.

I started to write this blog, because, well, writing is good. It allows the author to release the words, and the emotions that reverberate and hover in their mind, and in their heart. Grief is a human emotion. It’s part of life, and it’s part of love. I honor my son with my grief. I wish I didn’t have to. My life was so much more when he was here. I’m fragmented now. But, for his brothers and his sister, I have to continue on this side of the veil, until its my turn to go.

My hope, in making my grief public, is that it may help someone going through the same ” hell on earth”, to know that they are not alone. And my hope, is that maybe someone who is reading this, who is struggling with the demons inside of their mind and thinking about leaving, may discover just how broken they leave their loved ones behind. I hope that they will get help.

The climate that we are facing in this current world, is hard. We need each other now, more than we ever have.

Be kind to one another. Just always. Be kind.