Often I look back, well beyond November 3, at November 2 and October 31.
I go over those days that I remember well, even though months have passed. I remember them accurately because they stand in stark contrast to November 3, and thereafter.
Watching something bloom, whether a flower or well-cooked pasta, fascinates me. What has me wide-eyed, is the magic of transformation, the seemingly sudden moment, when it happens.
Take the peonies I had planted in the front garden of our old house. From the sudden moment they made it out of the ground, every year the peonies held me in thrall.
I watched them day after day. Still I could never catch the moment when they grew.
The stubby little stalks with their tiny, tiny buds grew slowly at first, then they pushed upward for the sun by the inch, until, suddenly, the stalks were taller than a child, and the buds had burst open!
Yet, for all the watching, it was always a fait accompli.

Similarly, I watched Andrew for a little over twenty years and I never saw him grow.
And yet: “Mummy, I need new pants,” he would say every year, when the time came to switch from shorts, to long pants. “Look,” he’d say, pointing to the pants legs a couple of inches short of his ankles.
“Wow Andrew, when did you grow so much – in your sleep?”

"Pants too short"

Pants too short

What happened to the boy who used to show me that his pants were too short?
What was it that set into motion the events that led to my son’s suicide?
When did it happen?
The last time I saw Andrew, nine days before he died, to me as well as to his father, brother and sister, he looked like his normal self.
He had ice cream with his sister late in the afternoon of Monday, November 2nd. They chatted and laughed, hugged each other…
But, ten hours later, Andrew took his life.
We were woken up with the news that our son was dead. ((((((((DEAD?????
How, what, when, where, why?
And here’s the un-graspable unreality for me, being alive seconds before being dead!
In vain do I go back past the day he died, looking for answers, looking for the chance to intervene.
In vain do I do it again and again, like those who have watched the Titanic dozens of times, each time hoping for a different ending.

What is it that I miss? What is it that I am blind to?
If my spiritual beliefs are true, then Andrew has only got off the bus, that’s all. When I reach my stop, I’ll get off the bus too. So… why the unbearable sadness? Why this ungodly pain?


13 thoughts on “Transformation

  1. For us, there were few signs. As the years would go by we’d, in hindsight only see 1 or 2. The most prominent is that Dad’s depression seemed totally gone the weekend before he died. Particularly at church on Sunday. He was like the Dad I’d grown up with. We know now it is because he’d made a decision.He had a plan and knew his suffering was going to be over soon. The weekend was special. I think it would have been even if he’d changed his mind.

    Yes, the loss of my Dad is different than other losses. It is more intense. The only one that comes close is the still birth of my daughter.

    Who knows if it’s the parent/child relationship for both, or if it’s suicide that intensifies it.

    I get angry when people say that suicide is always the selfish choice. Yeah, it is, it can be and to a degree, even Dad’s was ..but the truth of the matter was .. he saw us as being better off without him. How very very wrong he was.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Remember, you’re still in the very very early stages of grief. Allow yourself to grieve and don’t let anyone take that away from you. If you’re ok ..don’t let anyone take that away either. Feel what you need to feel at any given moment, any given day … it’s OK.


    • I do not agree that there is any selfishness involved when someone takes his life, none. Only pain!
      What kills me is not having known, I actually thought that he was happy.

      • I don’t believe it’s selfishness either. But you’d be surprised how many have told me it is. As if I shouldn’t grieve for him because he did something so selfish.

        People don’t often think before they speak and they often think they understand when they have no possiblity of understanding without having been down a similar road.

        I lost a friend when I was 19 to suicide. Mike was 17 and had no intention of taking his own life. He had every intention of ‘getting at his parents’ He wrote about it in his journal, without that they’d never have known (and to a degree, I think it’d have been better off if they’d not.)
        They were never ever late anywhere. They were supposed to be home at 2. At 10 till 2 he wrote a note and went out to the car in the garage and started it. His parents would find him in a few minutes, sick and groggy but ok.

        Only, his parents decided to stop for ice cream on the way home and didn’t make it home until 4. By then it was too late.

        I also lost an uncle and nephew as well as a boss … their reasons were all different and their methods different.

        It’s all so tragic and difficult …

      • I didn’t know how “pandemic” suicide was, until Andrew died. I know a lot more now, 1 attempt every minute and 1 “successful” suicide every 16 minutes in the UN alone.
        What just told me, about having lost several people to suicide, I have heard several times before. I am shocked every time, but no longer surprised.
        But my God, that poor boy and his parents, indeed, that would have been better not knowing.
        I can’t remember if I asked you before, but would you like to help with the Fair?

      • I would love to help with what I can. What do you need? When is it? (I haven’t found the blog post you mentioned. I’ve figured I’d run into it as I peruse previous postings)

      • The post is called Get Your Wellness on. Permit “permitting” it will be September 18 in Manhattan, I will give the location once we have the permit.
        I wish one could have a sign up sheet on the blog.
        Even long distance, as long as one has a computer and the internet, that’s all one needs really.
        Perhaps you could contact people, organizations…getting quotes for T-shirts with the logo for the volunteers, looking for donations of donuts to give out, water… that kind of thing. What do you think? Hugs, Esmeralda

      • The idea of selfishness and suicide is a human fear response that many folks exhibit who are not as close to those who are directly impacted…meaning when my nephew died of suicide I was angry at him as I saw it as a final fuck you to all who loved him. I saw it as an afront and a final word on a discussion worth having but controled by the act of the suicide. I was angry and felt him selfish for years as I saw the immense pain his parents (my brother in law and sister in law were going thru) It took 10 years and my own son’s suicide to realize that this is not a selfish act but an act of desperation to end a pain so intense that the final act eclipses morphine or any other pain releiving narcotic. Needless to say I have said I am sorry a million times over to my family members impacted by my nephew’s death.

  2. It’s almost noon – its almost 8 years – where are was and where I am now are very different, but it is a journey with many dips and peaks. And there seems to be a lesson everywhere.

    This morning I wrote about the disbelief of my grief. How, seeing Kerry lifeless generated a deep state of denial and a belief that I could bring him back.

    At first, I thought it would be my breath that would bring him back. When that didn’t work, it was my touch, then my screams. As the days moved forward, I tried different tactics…. I’d push away my tears and focus on his energy. Pull his energy towards me. The shell was something but it wasn’t who he was and I wanted my son back more than words can ever express.

    When I was exhausted, I’d rationalize my need for him by agreeing to go to him. He needed me, I was certain of it.

    I’m certain I told you this before, but …as badly as I wanted to be with him, as hard as a tried, I couldn’t end my life because I was not mentally unstable. I was grief stricken and heart broken but my brain was functioning as it should.

    Knowing this showed me just how much Kerry must have been suffering. He would not have been able to leave us if he was not mentally ill.

    My son was mentally ill.

    8 years, and I’m just beginning to understand what this means.

    I have great compassion for those living and dealing with mental illness. It takes great courage. For whatever reason I was not able to help Kerry while he was here.

    This still, will always, gnaw at me… I wish I could have done more. I wish I understood. I am so very sorry Kerry. Please forgive me….. You were brave and you held on as hard as you could…. and you were alone with your pain and you were alone when you passed.

    I miss you, still, always 8 years, all the years that I am here….

    Love, Ma

    • And that’s the other thing that bothers (understatement) me, he died alone. What was the last thing his eyes saw before he died? The floor rushing up to him?
      I just want to tear my hair out!!!

    • I was never one for massages (for whatever reason it made me feel uncomfortable) I have grown beyond this and indulge when I need that touch of energy and expulsion of toxins. I have had several after my son’s passing and have since learned to warn my masseause that I’m not in pain when she reaches my arms. It is quite a phenomenon that when the energy comes to my arms it triggers a myriad of tears and the only thing I can attribute it to is that these arms are empty and they can no longer hold him….

  3. Esmeralda,
    Your grief is very fresh and very raw … ‘unbearable sadness and ungodly pain’ … I don”t see any way around it, I’m afraid….sadly, there are no short cuts …

    I am local ( a friend of Ginny and I know Terri) … if you want to meet for coffee or a walk, I am here… just let me know.

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