People Are Strange

Another blogger shared his recent college reunion in a post. He told of how his compassionate classmates had kept up with his family as they endured the sorrow of cancer as it took the life of their daughter. As I read his words and how he had been surrounded by loving and thoughtful people during a most horrible ordeal, I was jealous. JEALOUS! That’s right.

Before Brandon died, my husband and I enjoyed our class reunions. Our high school, back in the day, was small and everyone knew each other or about each other. If we did not know each other personally, we at least knew each others’ name. Over the years our once-every-decade-class reunions became like quarterly coffee meets. People were dying and our class was becoming smaller. We began to include all the alumni from CHS to come and participate in our reunions. Those reunions still continue….without us.

I know how people have talked about those who have lost someone to suicide. One of them was my former “best” friend. Her words to me since my son’s death had at times been consoling but more times than not…she said very hurtful things about others who have lost a loved one to suicide. To me, those are her real feelings. Not the ones she had portrayed to me as genuine. She also betrayed my trust which is the best reason to end a faux friendship. I want no further connection to her for fear that others will associate us along with her gossiping ways. After nearly 47 years, I am afraid the damage has been done. Although, I may have been guilty at one time or another with gossip between us, I am no longer about gossip. Even after I warned her not to do it because it was not a very Christian thing to do, she still persisted. My own conviction could not persuade her. In her mind, as long as she was just telling me, it wasn’t gossip. I disagree.

gossip phrase

We lose so much when a child dies…sometimes it is a friend(s) …our dignity….our peace….faith…those things that were once stable and consistent. I learned a year ago that my friend was never really my friend so it was easy to leave our friendship at the cemetery of “what was.”

I cannot bear the ice breaker questions at reunions from those who may not know of our son’s death. “How many children do you have?” “Where are they now?” What do they do?” …and so on. They are typical and innocent but to me they are just another source of pain…the continuing pain of this kind of loss. The wound of death leaves an ever present painful scar that seems to open at any time. I don’t want the suicide parents’ paranoia to set in, watching familiar faces bent to each others’ ears…talking about our son…talking about us…judging our family in their ignorance. I could be wrong but I don’t think so. girls gossip

People are strange. They recognize cancer as a terrible disease but will dismiss mental illness as a disorder to which someone willingly surrenders. In our particular case, we had no idea just how bad our son’s depression was. He did not lie on a bed hooked to tubes and machines that would indicate the severity of his condition. There was no one holding his hand to soften the blows of his disease. He was alone, fighting for himself in a dark abyss.

Everyone who knows us or knew Brandon has their own opinion of how it was that Brandon actually died because there is much room for speculation even for us. They don’t have to read the death certificate where it is plainly stated that Brandon died by suicide. They don’t have any interest in Brandon’s journal where he wrote so articulately of his desire to die because of his anguish over lost loves. They don’t have his art work where he has drawn himself dead from a self inflicted gun shot. They don’t have his poetry that vividly describes his pain and his wish for death. The dark songs…. and lastly, they have never witnessed Brandon’s video from high school where he and his BF Jeremy filmed Brandon going out into a field and (pretends) to shoot himself…using his left hand, by the way, to the left side of his head. Brandon’s wound that killed him was to the right side. I wish I had known more about what we were up against when he was still a teen. Just maybe he would still be alive.

I wish we had the finances to pursue an independent private investigation of the two who are very suspicious in Brandon’s death. I have written about it all in past posts and journals. I hate the very word “closure” but it is what is needed to truly have peace. As I write, the feelings come back to me all over again. I want some kind of retribution. I want someone to pay for taking our ‘baby boy’ away from so many who loved him. Surely there is vengeance to be had. As a Christian, I know I should put those thoughts to rest. As a human, they resurface when I least expect them. I do know that God will take care of those who are guilty. He plainly tells us that vengeance is His. I believe it.

I have chosen to never return to class reunions. Talk will persist with or without us. I do not want to be there among the talking heads. There is that part of me that thinks that maybe they would be kind…compassionate, understanding, nonjudgmental. Right. And so I am jealous….that other people whose children died have been encircled by those who understand and love will be there for them with never a question or bat of an eye…while those of us whose children die by their own hands will forever be the topic of discussion as to the whys of it all….”there must be something sinister in that family for this to have happened…” and maybe a few people will huddle around with whatever it is they say. I forget. I do and I don’t care. How strange people are. How strange I have become.

My Dear Brandon….if you did die by suicide…if you did… I forgive you. I never thought badly of your action. If you died at the hands of others, please forgive them…….I am trying. I do not know just how I will know that I truly did forgive them. God give me peace.

As I write this post my Pandora channel interrupts with a song that Brandon loved. I have never read the words until now. They eerily represent of his mind…his acute sensitivity…his pain. I am reminded of one of the last drawings Brandon did….a demon coming out of the corner of a wall and Brandon in the center of the room…and he had written “I Am Nothing” in the top left hand corner. Oh, Brandon…I do wish I could “bring you back to life” but I know you are now in your eternal life of love…a lasting love that does not disappoint. 

Bring Me To Life (Wake Me Up) by Evanescence

How can you see into my eyes, like open doors
Leading you down into my core
Where I’ve become so numb, without a soul
My spirit’s sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home

Wake me up, wake me up inside I can’t wake up,
Wake me up inside, save me,
Call my name and save me from the dark, wake me up
Bid my blood to run, I can’t wake up
Before I come undone, save me
Save me from the nothing I’ve become

Now that I know what I’m without
You can’t just leave me
Breathe into me and make me real, bring me to life

Wake me up, wake me up inside I can’t wake up,
Wake me up inside, save me,
Call my name and save me from the dark, wake me up
Bid my blood to run, I can’t wake up
Before I come undone, save me
Save me from the nothing I’ve become

Bring me to life, I’ve been living a lie
There’s nothing inside, bring me to life

Frozen inside without your touch
Without your love, darling
Only you are the life among the dead

All this time, I can’t believe I couldn’t see
Kept in the dark, but you were there in front of me

I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems
I’ve got to open my eyes to everything

Without a thought, without a voice, without a soul

Don’t let me die here
There must be something wrong, bring me to life

Wake me up, wake me up inside I can’t wake up,
Wake me up inside, save me,
Call my name and save me from the dark, wake me up
Bid my blood to run, I can’t wake up
Before I come undone, save me
Save me from the nothing I’ve become

Bring me to life, I’ve been living a lie, there’s nothing inside
Bring me to life

Read more: Evanescence – Bring Me To Life Lyrics | MetroLyrics


  1. Dale, what a moving post. Another moving post. If the blog you refer to is the same one I read earlier – I was moved deeply by that as well. Seeing Mark step forwards in his writing moved me without any warning. That touched me. Reading your words I read of a loving Mum still in the background. Still so much horrible pain and anguish. Different circumstances, different responses from those around. Different pain – but oh so huge. I pray you can step forwards. Not to leave Brandon – just as Kylie is not left. But to live. Live the life Brandon never had, always hoped for, but never had. I pray you can embrace him and step forwards. Biggest hugs ever – Paul ((hugssssssss))


    • Thank you, Paul. Your love is so touching and true. I do believe some of my best encounters have been those friends whom I have made since posting on WordPress. I have been blessed with people such as yourself who have a genuine regard for others with the love of Christ. Your kindness will take me through the day….and further. Much love and Brandon’s bear hugs ~ Dale ps. it was indeed, Mark’s beautifully written post to which I referred.


  2. Dale, whenever I read your words I am deeply touched, as I know others are who are going through the same pain and grief. I always want to reach through the screen and hug you for a long, long time.

    The lyrics above see right through to the soul of someone in the depths and certainly give new insight to a silent appeal for help.

    Praying, sweet friend, for comfort and peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so very sorry for all the extra pain and heartache that you feel because of the circumstances surrounding your son’s death. In the year preceding our daughter’s illness and death we came very close to losing another child to depression and suicide. I was absolutely devastated that this was happening in our family and felt that I must be a very bad parent. Thankfully there is a voluntary organisation (secular) in our town who provide one-to-one counselling for parents in that situation. I eventually attended and had my burden of guilt lifted, as well as learning strategies to support my child.
    I found it difficult that I couldn’t speak openly about our situation because of the need to protect our child’s privacy. I felt very alone with this situation, until I found the courage to go for counselling. I was nearly physically sick before my first counselling session!
    The issues that you raise in this post are ones that I have often thought about. I understand your jealousy. We received massive support throughout our daughter’s illness and death due to a haematological malignancy and she became a “local hero”. Her actual death was incredibly sad but very beautiful. I am however aware that our story could have been very different.
    Thank you for reminding us that even within the child loss family there are so many different types of loss and different issues to struggle with. Thank you for your openness and honesty. No doubt you speak for many families.
    Sending you much love. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Victoria, I am humbled by your kind comment and your willingness to share your personal struggles within your family. It is often difficult when making the decision about what to share and what not. I am finding that our whole story matters. I, too, have another adult child who has mental illness but hers was so much more obvious and public than our son’s. It was her issues that were at the forefront of our lives when Brandon died. I have been torn with guilt over that, as well. She is now being seen by professionals and is on the medication that scares me, although, they do seem to be helping her.

      I wish there had been an organization for me to turn to such as the one that has been so helpful for you. If there was one, I had no knowledge of it. I am so thankful to know that you have been able to cope, to learn and to share the better news of your situation. It is very trying on the physical self, as well as, the mental and the spirit. All of that plus the loss of a child…..only God can carry us through. I know that for certain.

      I pray that you are able to carry on and be strong, filled with courage and faith to overflowing. We are only passing through this life…this place….to our next home where our children await with a loving Father.

      Much love to you, too. ~ Dale, Brandon’s Mom

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So honest in your writing, Dale…One thing is for sure–child bereavement changes “everything”. I’m finding that after 30 years and counting now–so much about “loss”–even my concept of grief itself–has so conpletely changed. Only one constant remains…my love and desire to be with them again. Thankfully, that’s only a matter of being patient. “Patient Endurance”–my mantra these last days on this very long journey…

    Love to you and all your beloveds, especially Beloved Brandon Bear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the time may go by but it cannot erase the huge vacancy left to us by our losses. I like your mantra. Whatever works to get us through to the other side…right? Love to you, too, friend.


  5. Somehow you always seem to speak from my heart. Our stories are eerily similiar. Thank you for sharing so honestly. Hugs to you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s