I lost my son. He was 39-years-old, fighting mental health and addiction issues. It was an ongoing battle that most people in my small town were aware of.
We were once again on a journey to get things right after a long couple of exhausting years. He had moved home, taking a new bunch of medications for severe bipolar disorder.
It had been a good morning, but by noon something was wrong, and by the time he walked downstairs to go to bed, he was angry, and I was just too exhausted to follow and continue.
I found him dead in his room the next morning.
There was no clear cause of death but assumed overdose.
I do not even know how to describe that first year. But this is what I do know – before my son’s body was barely across the river bridge, the rumors started. Everybody had a story.
All of a sudden, people came out of the woodwork with stories and ideas on what happened.
My son was discussed in the area as if people were speaking of the weather, the score of a ballgame, and they did not care if I was in the room or not.
It turned out to be a death by his prescribed drugs, causing a toxic reaction — not illegal, and not one over the prescribed dosage.
I do not know how I survived. It’s been just over a year, but I do know that my intense desire to defend my son and introduce the real young man who was MY son became an obsession.
I now find myself in deep sadness. I am grieving as if it was yesterday.
All the firsts are over; some wonderful things have come to light, as well as more answers. Everything I was demanding.
But it did not bring him back. I am still missing my son.
The people I called friends seem strangers to me. I feel betrayed.
Small hometown football hero who they all claimed to love was now fodder for the gossip mill.
I guess if there was one thing I wanted more than anything was to hear some good stories. Because by the time the first year was here, I had heard many.
They came from people I knew but had never really gotten to know. There were so many wrong things to say to me.
When your child is an adult and dies in a matter that is a suicide, overdose or killed, in any tragic way that might infer a scandal, my advice is: do not do as I did.
I about lost my mind. My anger was all I could feel.
I didn’t take much time to be gentle with myself or the people around me. I have gotten to a place I don’t care anymore.
I have to find a way to accept no matter how many people I prove wrong; he’s not coming back.
I have to accept this horrible reality of my son dying at home under my watch.
Now I have people say to me, “You have to forgive yourself and try to move forward.” Who are they to give me that permission? So even though the hoopla has settled, I am stuck in a place of bitterness.
Yes, I have begun to see a counselor, and I no longer talk about him constantly, I don’t flood my social media with his pictures, or quote after quote on losing my son.
I loved him; he was mine. I know how much he loved me. I cannot stop thinking about that morning.
I don’t have a regular sleeping pattern, but I’m working on it. I’m paying more attention to my health and trying to get back out in the world.
When your child dies in a way others can’t seem to wrap their mind around, be prepared.
I think my battle with my home town was more about me than my precious son. It was a way to stay away from this deep sadness.
He didn’t need a hero anymore. His battle was over.
I try to send the love I thought I could no longer give him to him as if he’s just away in a different part of the journey of life.
I know he would not want me to live so bitterly. But I cannot ever see myself having much of my old self back — just pieces.
I don’t know if what I’ve put on here will have a message. But I’m still glad I decided to do this.
He was mine, and he was beautiful. I miss him so very much at this point.