June's Story

It was 13 years, 3 months and 6 days ago – just a month shy of his 35th birthday, that we lost our son to suicide. It has taken me soooooo many years just to say that word, “suicide’. We still miss him. No note. No nothing. To this day we still don’t know why. Our Eddie was just goofy, funny, and sweet. We had absolutely no idea. We didn’t know what the signs were to look for at that time, and frankly we didn’t realize that we should even look. He never said anything to us that seemed cause for alarm. He just stayed his old self. Just himself. Just my boy.

He must have had signs of depression, but we didn't know what to look for, we didn't see it! There is clinical depression. There is depression/depression. I would not have believed in a thousand years he went through clinical depression. We noticed, in retrospect, that he was pulling back from the family but even that wasn’t a flashing light – we just didn’t know! He didn’t say anything! I wish I had seen something amiss, anything at all, but I didn’t. I feel like I should have seen it, but I didn’t.

Suicide isn’t like a sickness or an accident. With those you can say, “My child died in an accident” or “He was sick” and at least you know what happened. Suicide is just a big question mark. And as a parent you feel soooo guilty – so much, “Why didn’t I see it? Why didn’t I do something?” So you live, not only with grief and loss, but with the incredible guilt and confusion. It’s really, really difficult.

I’ve heard so many people say that suicide is an act of cowardice. I think it is an act of desperation. You get so far down you just can’t see. You just can’t see anymore.

Our faith in God got us through. I know that sounds simplistic, but believe me, it wasn’t. But comfort would come in strange ways and we always knew that we would see Eddie again. We clung to that.

I didn’t really care if I lived or died at that point. I really didn’t. I wasn’t going to kill myself because I would not bring this on another person, but I really, really did not care. I couldn’t even make plans for the next day, not even for the next moment. It was my daughter who brought me around; she said to me, “Momma? It’s like I’ve lost my brother and my mother at the same time”. Then I knew – I had to live for the living; I didn’t want to hurt my baby girl. She missed her brother so much.

It doesn’t affect just one person. It ripples through the whole family. It is like having your leg taken off. You learn to walk again, such that it is. But a part of you will be forever gone. I just try, that’s all I can do.

I don’t think you ever really stop grieving or ever forgive yourself as a mother. Even if you didn’t know what was going on, even if you could not do anything about it, you are always a mother and that pain of “I should have known” will forever be with you. It is part of the grieving process. I think that as parents we believe that when it is our child we think we are supposed to know everything. Well, we don’t. The simple truth is that we just don’t know everything.

There is no bridge to get you there –back there to your child. Like I said, you have to live for the living. For a long time I did not feel that I deserved to ever be happy again. Sometimes even now, when I am having happy moments, doing my Hula or whatever, I question if I should be happy. But sometimes I am happy. And sometimes I’m not. And that’s OK.

What would I say to someone who was considering killing themselves?

I would say, “Please don’t”. You can get out of the darkness. Just tell somebody, go to the doctor. It is not a sign of weakness to be depressed; it is a sign of humanity. Get some medicine – don’t think “you can handle this”, don’t get all macho. Just tell someone. Tell a family member. Just speak.

And don’t take prisoners. You might think it is something that you only do to yourself. You don’t realize how much it hurts everyone who loves you. Our hurt will continue forever. It just won’t stop.

I miss my boy. I’m sorry he never got to see his daughter. I want him to come back. I want him to feel all better.
I wrote my son a poem. I think about it all the time.

Eddie,
Will the angles play a song for us?
A slow two-step I want to dance with you,
To the length of heaven through?
I want to look into your face,
In far away place.
To see your smile, touch your hair,
Oh How I will wish I was there.
Mom