Open Your Mouth

Title: Open Your Mouth
Format: Open Speaker Talk
Date: 01.08.2022
©2022 Bob Cristello

Hello Faithful Reader.

My name is Bob Cristello. I speak, and write, about parents who have lost a child to suicide. My son, Anthony, killed himself on August 16, 2017, at the age of 35.

I have not written a word since Christmas Day in 2021. That makes today day 14 since I have written anything of meaning. I started to wonder if I had just run out of things to say. I started to fear that I had strayed away from a path that my higher power revealed was available to me.

Did you ever hear the story about the guy who died and went to heaven and was angry with God for not sending him help? The story is long enough to sustain its own audience but the main idea is that the guy asked God for help during a flood. Many people stopped by, offering help. The man refused, telling everyone that God would take care of him. In the end, God sent people in every fashion including a boat when the guy was trapped on his roof with the waters raising quickly.

God was actually amazed at how stubborn the guy was. The guy was still angry at God.

I suppose the moral of the story is that when you ask God for help, make sure you recognize it when it arrives in the form of other human beings carrying out his plan for them. Conversely, there are other forces at work that will lead you astray should your vigilance waiver for even an instant.

This morning I get to return to a think tank I attend every Saturday morning. I suppose I attend it because there are many influential people who I am networking with. I think it would be acceptable to state that openly due to the way that the world sees business. I have made some great friends with people who normally would be out of my orbit in terms of connecting with. I guess that is a blessing of grief that I did not anticipate, but I am not surprised given the way the world uses technology.

I am also amazed at how little people understand technology. Not to sound pedagogic, but I have discovered that I have a unique perspective on technology that others do not share. I am also keenly aware of how gifted I am in this realm and not give in to my need to deprecate myself by being humble. What I need to face is the binary reality of 0s and 1s, is no different then the binary reality of the truth and a lie.

I entered into a rigorous process determined to find the truth about why my son killed himself. What I discovered was the only question I could answer was what my role was in the death of my son. I chose to answer it. It was a binary moment of do it, or walk away. Once I chose that path, there were only two binary results at the end of this. I was either responsible or I was not. I am always grateful for others who find they have no responsibility though they grieve no less once they move past being in shock about the death of their child.

I am a soldier, like it or not. I dig in where I am and I build from here. I made a choice to find the truth and I owe it to myself to stay well within it’s grasp no matter where I am or who I am with. This is a blessing of grief that, again, I did not anticipate but I truly welcome on this journey.

I choose to open my mouth. I choose to speak and to take whatever comes. I do it to, hopefully, help one other parent get through one more day in shock and hopelessness. There is hope, truly there is. Where there is truth there is hope and that is where our decisions come into play.

I do not always like the soldier in me, yet it comes out at times that I least expect it. There is nothing wrong with fighting for your life and for your family. I chose to return from the grave after almost four years from the day my son killed himself. I am still not a really nice guy, but I do have love in my heart for everyone. Even for my enemies, who I must forgive the trespasses they put upon me as I would wish to be forgiven myself.

Being forgiving is easy, after you remove whatever is offending you from your reality. Cleaning your area also means cherishing the quiet of your family and the sanctity of love and peace that is required to raise a child. When something offends you, remove it. If it continues to offend you, forcibly remove it. Forgive it as you would wish to be forgiven, but removing it is still a necessity.

I have cherished the way this community has embraced my writings and, in turn, my thoughts. I cherish my thoughts a great deal and enjoy having them. It means a great deal to me that you continue to show up to read each day. I hope that you find some comfort in my words or at least can identify that it is a struggle to live with this reality we have all found ourselves in.

There is hope, in rooms like the one we are in today. They may be virtual due to the way the world is, but they are as real as the pain you feel. Know that no matter how deep your pain is, it is real and there is a reason behind it. There is also love and healing, and that is just as real as the pain. I write about my pain because others cannot. I write about my experiences to offer strength to others. I offer my strength so that others might see the hope I have found. I pray that you find the strength to return tomorrow to share your pain, and your journey, with us again.

My name is Bob. I see you and I love you. Thank you for letting me share.