I Wasn’t Able to Save Him

Dec. 28, 2018- My son, David was 23 when he died by suicide on December 31, 2017, after he lost his battle with depression. David was an extraordinary young man. He was gifted at writing and playing music, and anything involving math. He understood people with a depth and sensitivity most of us never achieve in a lifetime. David was studying to become a physicist. He wanted to help make the world a better place.

David wanted to live. He tried desperately to get help. He worked with a psychiatrist, researched antidepressant medications, applied to numerous clinical trials, studied the science of the brain, underwent brain studies, adhered to a strict diet and purchased expensive supplements that promised to increase his brain wellness. David knew he had a brain abnormality and was determined to find a medication to stabilize himself and alleviate the emotional and physical pain that his depression caused.  David couldn’t find help, and eventually turned to researching the least traumatic ways of taking his life.

Even as his mother, acutely aware of his depression, as well as being an ICU nurse who has cared many times for people affected by suicide, I wasn’t able to save him. People have told me, “You did everything you could have,” but I will always wish I had done more. People have also told me it wasn’t my job to save him. You try telling that to any parent.

Although David is no longer here to continue his journey of life, his family and friends now have the opportunity to continue living their lives in a way that honors David’s kindness towards others.

In the midst of tragic loss and devastation, as suicide loss survivors, we ask ourselves, “How do I go on? Will I survive? How do I even function? Will I get out of bed, laugh or love again? How can I interact with others?”

I am beginning to realize that our loss can lead to our own growth and survival.

We’ve all heard it a million times: “Everyone grieves differently.” But one thing I have learned in my short time of experiencing such a profound personal loss is that I’m not alone.

Not only am I not alone, but we all really do need each other. The extraordinary bond we have as suicide loss survivors, and the understanding we can provide one another, is one of the greatest sources of strength I have experienced.

All of our stories have different circumstances, but we all share a common thread.  We all understand each other and get it while others do not.

We are all here to share our memories and bring meaning to our loved ones amidst our collective, tragic losses. How do we do that and still feel like we are not so alone on this grief journey?  We do it together.

For our own self-care and survival after suicide, we need to meet, get to know each other’s stories, and talk and share about our loved ones.

We never want to feel our loved one is being forgotten. That will never happen when you are with a group of new best friends who have suffered the same type of loss.

We are stronger together.

To find an AFSP chapter near you, and connect with others in your community who have been affected by suicide, click here.

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