I am a Christian who has been beaten and scarred by the ongoing spiritual battle after the loss of my son, Brandon, to suicide. Depression was prevalent in Brandon’s life since the onset of puberty. Before then he was a happy go-lucky boy whose only struggle in life was his ADD which was the passive kind, meaning he lived in his own little world. He was obedient and very kind to others. It did not matter to me that I had to call his name at least three times to get his attention. What did matter was his inattentiveness in the classroom and so he was tested and put on Ritalin. He was on medication even into adulthood but only in a classroom situation. In looking for blame, I blame myself for allowing my child to be put on a medication that had no evidence at that time of long term affects.
My father dealt with depression when he was in his early twenties, as a result, he too attempted suicide. He meant to die because he shot himself in the chest but, I guess it was not his time. Winston was diagnosed as a “neurotic depressive.” I don’t know how that translates in today’s diagnosis. He survived so that the DNA would continue and here I am, telling the saga of mental illness/clinical depression that has glued itself to the very fiber of my family tree. When my father died, it was from a massive heart attack brought on by too much digoxin in his system. I will always wonder if it was an intentional overdose, in light of all I have learned.
I feel like a very old woman, tired and worn from the emotional test from losing a child to suicide. It does not take any imagination what it must have been like for my son. He is gone and must have suffered terribly an emotional suffering that compelled him to heed a dark impulse. These past three years have been torment. My own sanity felt like it was at risk at times. I am suffocating under the weight of this grief and I often wish it was over for me, as well. I miss my wonderful son. We had a wonderful relationship, which in the end, seemed not to matter. I tell myself upon going to bed at night that the day is over and I am one more day closer to Heaven. My tear soaked pillow is still damp when I wake up the next day. I am still crushed and on some days it seems like it is new all over again. It is a torment that I don’t ever see ending until I die.
In the very beginning, I tried to read the Bible but in my pain the words sounded harsh and punishing. I read devotions, instead. Even in my anguish, I struggled to find solace in what I knew would be my salvation. I went to the internet and found foolishness and ignorance but also wisdom and acceptance, and understanding. There, too, have been ministering angels, total strangers sent by God.
I have very little patience with those people who believe that a suicide goes to hell or that the grieving parents failed that child in some way. There is so much ignorance on the subject. It hurt me to the marrow of my soul when in the very beginning of this unwanted experience I would come across blogs online written by religious persons who think they know the mind of God. If you read the Bible at all, you will already know that God says we can’t know His mind….”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:7-9 .. I am so very thankful that they are not God and that the only way to hell is to reject Christ. My Brandon was a Christian and he had such a wonderful heart albeit overly sensitive to the loves in his life. If I could be like someone, it would be my son.
This experience has humbled me and strengthened me at the same time. I have felt the power of God in my life and his signs of mercy on me in most divine and fascinating ways. Then again, on other days, in my humanness I forget, and there I go again into the deepest abyss where no one should have to go. It is an ache like no other. It is not only maddening grief but a spiritual warfare.
My creative, sensitive, loving, son yearned for the love of his life to love him back. In his own words taken from a prayer journal now in my possession,”I love too much”… like my father, who he hardly knew, was spurned by unrequited love. My son died because his brain was altered by irrational emotions and depression. Outside forces were also at play and were the catalysts that propelled him into an unforeseen action.
He was gone and all twenty-nine years of my prayers and nurturing did little good. In the end, it did not save him from himself. My struggles are with the obvious whys of it all and devastating sorrow, the complicated grief that trails me like a shadow. I have been shamefully angry at God but as I heal each day and grow in my faith I realize the Lord saved my son from this world, and that it is not how a person dies that matters but how that person lived. As the tired old cliche says, “He is in a better place.” But to a grieving mom, the “better place” is in her arms. After all, I am only human.