a mother of 3

Since the passing of my youngest child, Brandon, in March 2009, I have been possessed by that loss. It seems hardly fair to my two daughters who live in the shadow of a brother who left a huge vacancy in our lives. They are also my children and should not in any way be forgotten by their grieving mother. Sometimes I have neglected those who share in this agony by my blind suffering.  We have all been affected.

My oldest daughter has a husband and two sons. Like everyone familiar with all the circumstances of our situation, she has her own theory about what happened. She believes it was an accident. Knowing her brother as a sensitive person who also possessed a wealth of strength and self-discipline, she believes his attempt to scare his wife into thinking that he was going to actually harm himself, was never meant to be. Brandon had big hands and was left handed (it was a right sided wound)…..and it could have been that he actually was hoping for his wife to intervene…to plead for him not to kill himself  because this was done in the middle of an argument. I have not dismissed her theory totally. It could have been just that way. She has lost her younger brother to a “clumsy accident” in her mind and it is just as painful.

Brandon’s other sister is 3 years older than he. They became even closer when their older sister married and left home. I always enjoyed the distance in age of my three children. It left me plenty of time to have one-on-one time while the other began school. There is an abundance of cherished moments that I have locked in my heart. Brandon’s sister was away for the weekend when we received word from their older sister about what had happened. She would not get the news until she reached her aunt’s house who would have the task of telling her. We had all spoken to Brandon on the phone “that morning” and he was cheerful. Our daughter made plans to call him so they could get together that evening. She bears the guilt of not calling him when she said she would. We all assume some kind of “guilt” that will stain our very existence forever. Mine would be to tell him that he and his wife should try to make their marriage work for Natalie’s sake. What a damn idiot I am!! Natalie was not his blood child but he loved her like she was. Oh God….how could I tell my sweet boy to stay in a marriage that would take his life? My son was a rare gem in that he still sought my advice and for that I am grateful. I can’t count the times he wanted me to talk to his wife, concerning her own depression and that final time, when he wanted me to tell her how I rose from the oppression of being a child of an alcoholic. His wife had a liking for alcohol that was destroying their marriage. We had no idea how badly it had gotten because Brandon did not tell his dad and I about her problems with the bottle. Brandon was desperate to have me talk to her…like my wisdom could compete with the bottle but Brandon had the faith in me that I could help. I think of this verse;

“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” Luke 11:10-12
It would seem I gave my son, unknowingly, poisonous advice.
Brandon’s sisters have given my husband and I our grandchildren. If it was not for our youngest granddaughter and her mother, our youngest daughter, living with us, I think there would have been a time when I could have left this life, too. We all still try to have “normal” gatherings and some kind of joy. Joy is subjective. I try to laugh with them and be “present” on all occasions but it is like a worn out movie. I am only there in body. When they are all laughing, I am crying on the inside, my  voice muted by feigned feelings. I cannot truly be myself ever again. If I catch myself smiling or laughing, I feel I have betrayed my son by that careless selfishness and also a betrayal of my daughters, who do not know I am a fraud. Brandon’s absence is never more obvious and palpable than when I am with his sisters. He is the “3”…the third that makes up my whole…and the hole left in my heart.
So it goes, I am always the mother of three. Image
We go back and forth about how it was that our Brandon could have left….our theories never to be as important than the fact that he is gone and we cannot change it. Like King David said in the Bible when his child died. ” My son cannot come to me but I can go to him…” and so it will be for our family and me.

4 thoughts on “a mother of 3

  1. How my heart aches for you and your family. I pray that in the smiles and laughter of your grandchildren, you find joy. I pray that in the searching eyes of your daughters who look to you as a role model, they see you find the strength to forgive yourself of all the things you think you could have done to change the past. I pray that you accept the overflowing love, mercy and grace that God holds out to you today so you are able to unapologetically, guiltlessly, bestow it onto those you love.

  2. Can I tell you not to blame yourself, or feel guilty? That it wasn’t your fault? How many times have you heard that? What I wish for you is that you come to believe those things, because it’s hard enough to deal with the magnitude of his loss without whipping yourself, too. But don’t think I don’t understand; first off, I know when I’m beating myself up about Philip, I don’t even CARE not to. What’s the point, I think? Living without him is just too hard. And I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to live with suicide. I just know – in my heart – that it’s not your fault. So if it helps at all, even if you don’t believe that, know that I do.

    My heart, thoughts and love are with you.

  3. Thank you Susan. I believe it is people like you who are the angels God sends me to help me and encourage me. You must have read this as I was tweaking it for errors…which when I write the first time, it is done through emotions and then I go back and correct and censor myself. I am mindful of God’s love through friend’s like you. I pray for you dear Susan, too. Much love.

  4. Thank you Denise for caring. I wish I could stop beating myself up but like you said, it is easy to believe I deserve that beating, even knowing how much I loved my son. Satan is having a field day and I know where all those negatives come from. Your kindness is welcomed. Love and peace to you.

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