My Story of Grief
IIt was October 4, 2010. My husband and I were visiting friends out of state, when I was woken by my phone; it was 6:00 AM. It was my oldest son, Alex. I knew it was important.
I answered, he immediately said, “Mom, Wes (his younger brother) killed himself last night.”
I immediately went into "mom" mode, I was outside myself, watching myself. I asked Alex: “were you there?” He answered:“yes.” I continued: “how did he do it?” Alex: “with a gun in his mouth.” Me: “was it bloody?” Alex: “yes.” Me: “are you alone?” Alex: “no, I’m with Michelle and her mom.” Me: “ok, I’ll get the next flight home. Stay with people who can support you. I love you. I’ll be home as soon as possible.”
I couldn’t believe I was so calm. I was holding all my emotions inside. I had to do my job as Alex’s mom. I had to be strong for Alex. I had to get home.
Once I hung up I had to wake my husband and tell him- I was numb. I then got up and told our friends. The world was closing in on me, I had tears streaming down my face but I didn’t make any noise. Someone was on the phone trying to get the flight we needed to get home. We got a flight home, only we had to sit in middle seats away from each other.
It took everything I had to hold myself together. I’m sure the people on each side of me could feel my grief and wondered what the hell had happened. Luckily, I was able to lean over and see my husband sitting behind and across from me. I knew he was worried about me being alone. It must have been killing him.
We made it home to a house full of young friends surrounding my son and, now daughter-in law, Michelle. They were telling stories and crying. My youngest sister showed up to help and answer the phone calls. So many phone calls. She was a godsend. Neighbors and friends stopped by, all bringing food. All I could eat was the macaroni salad my neighbor brought. It was so hard to eat.
I found myself sitting with and helping all the young friends. They had no idea what to do with the death of my son. Most of them didn’t have any spiritual connection and were completely lost. I shared my spiritual belief and what I feel is true with them. It seemed to console their struggles.
After a few days, I found myself alone in my backyard. I was able to crumble and fall deep into my misery of grief. I felt myself falling and falling fast. I had terrible thoughts flying around in my head. The worst thought was how horrible my son Wes must have felt those last few hours/minutes of his life. How messed up my son Alex must be to have been there. How broken my family is. How I will never be the same. How I will never be happy again. I will never smile again. Life had stopped. We were all stuck. We would be here together stuck in grief, never growing, never happy. It was so dark and I was crumbling apart. I couldn’t be the pillar of strength I’d always been for my family. I had no idea how they would be if I wasn’t strong. I cried and I cried and I cried, alone, the way I like it when I am weak.
In my weakest, deepest depth of misery, a message came to me. I heard it say; “You will be strong. You will be the best mom, the best wife, the best women because of Wes. You will choose to honor his life more than his death and be your best because of this experience.”
I started to laugh with my tears running down my face. The laugh came from a place of pure love. I felt my son and heard the message. I knew it was right and I needed to be strong. So I was and I am, strong. I cry as I tell you my story because it’s sad and always will be.
I decided right then and there I would do everything I heard. I would celebrate Wes! His life was so important to me and so many others. I would show anyone I could how to honor life over death. This felt right in my heart, this became a purpose for me in honor of life with death.
Society teaches us, we are supposed to be miserable. Yet, I know my son wants me to be happy, as much as I will want everyone to be happy when I die. So, that’s what I practice, I go against society. My grief will be with me the rest of my life and that’s ok. I will always wish my son was still alive, but I am so honored and happy to have had the experience of my son. That experience was less than 19 years long, but I learned more in those years than any other time. I feel so lucky to have had them.
We all have our own journey to live. My son Wes’s was short. Mine is to experience his journey all the way through. I want to carry his journey with me with love, laughter and grace. He was one of the most interesting people I was privileged to have had in my life. I’m beyond grateful for the experience of Wes, knowing I’m not in charge of life or death. I just allow both.
I’m honored to have had and am able to share my experience. I hope I can help others in their grief, find their way through with grace and love.
- Helping others with their grief.