How do I move on?

Good morning Faithful Reader – 11/4/2021

As promised, I will be sharing some of my posts in this group to my personal timeline in November as a way to bring about awareness of parents who have lost a child to suicide. This is one such post and no link to this group or mention of anyone here will be made.

How do I move on?

My name is Bob Cristello and my son, Anthony Cristello, killed himself a little over four years ago at the age of 35. I say this to claim my seat here and show my connection with a club that no one wishes to be a member of.

The answer is, you don’t. I honestly hate to be the one to tell you this, but you never do. Once you accept that then you will start to understand that acceptance is a key tenet in this community. If you don’t like that it is a key tenet of our community, you are in good company because I don’t like it either. I am pretty sure that none of us like anything about this. But, I am not here to preach to you because that doesn’t work for us. What works is if we honestly share about our experiences. After a while, our experiences become strengths so we can now talk about two things. In time, our experiences and strengths come to give us hope. It is in that hope that we find a common bond and come together in peace to talk of our pain and more importantly, our ability to heal and nurture others on this journey. My views are uniquely my own and I offer them purely out of my need to heal from the loss of my child.

I have learned, in my experience, that moving on was for other people. We find ourselves in a world of mortal beings where the natural ebb and flow of life is experienced in the joys of birth and the sorrow of death and all of the milestones in between. We find beauty and elegance in the soul of mankind and all that it can be and we see ourselves enter the river at one point and know we are going to leave at some future point. Then, in some miracle of life; we find these rivers growing off of us and see their tributaries enter and know that one day they will leave, but not in our time.

We can accept the death of parents, loved ones, friends. We can accept disease, old age and natural order. We hate it and we all hurt, but we all seem to heal from these types of things. We all seem to embrace each other a little more, be a bit more tender and allow people to naturally grieve and get back to life. Then there are entire categories of death that we never discuss but we know they are there. Accidents, criminal interference or passions just gone awry will steal people from us and that seems like it takes longer and people seem to understand it for much longer. When your child kills themself, that is a punctuation mark in life that there is no symbol for in any language.

I have had to make some public statements lately that were difficult for me, but I made them because they are the truth. They are also things that I am ashamed of that keep me quiet in public. I do not wish to be quiet any longer and if I am going to be of any use to this community then I need to bare my soul in public. I need to say I am a bad man, I have done bad things, I am responsible for death and I have hurt people who’s only crime was being in my path and loving me. So, if I am going to speak about death and about suicide and I am going to make a difference then I have no choice but to speak the truth, especially the truth about myself.

That is what I am doing. Seven weeks ago I got up and submitted my resume. It had been four years since I had a job and my wife was supporting us barely at the poverty line. This morning I will go into my six figure income job and be what they need, because I have to. I will take my daughter to school and pick her up and be what she needs, because I have to. I will take the time this morning and write about my grief and I will cry and I will be angry and I will force myself to feel my feelings and not let anything stop them. Because that is what I have to do. That is not what you have to do, and I want to be clear about this.

What you have to do is get through just one more minute. The fact that you are here reading is a sign that you are getting better even if you do not believe this. The fact that you are reading means you can still focus and that shows that you are getting better. When people in their best intentions hurt you deeply with what they say, believe that they are trying to encourage you and love you and not making a mockery of your pain. If you cannot believe that, please believe that I believe it. Please believe, that I believe in you faithful reader. I encourage you to make a connection with one person you meet here today and I hope you will be here tomorrow because you may get to see me crying in the corner, alone and lost like you are today.

That is how our community works. We reach out to each other in our moments of need and we listen to each other hoping to learn one more strategy to get through one more day. One day, you might reach out to someone else and on that day you will see how far you have come. If you do not believe that will ever happen, please believe that I believe it and that I love you and I am sorry you are here.

Welcome to the club that no one wishes to be a member of. My name is Bob, thank you for letting me share.

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Who Am I, now?

My friend called me last night and I won’t use his name but he is the reason I am writing this today because I want the world to understand something. He wept, literally like a child sobbing and I felt such sorrow for him. He was crying “Bobby, I had no idea, what did they do to you”?

Comedians And Suicide

I watched a comedian perform the other night and I said something to him, via the world wide web. I made a comment on a video and I honestly just didn’t think about it again. Now, late at night I get a message and he says, “Hey, did you post on my timeline?”. Now, amazingly enough I have no idea who this guy is and it turns out he is a pretty famous guy in his own right, and I will not say who he is. Anyone who knows me, knows that my celebrity friends enjoy a great anonymity with me in public.

Acceptance & Tolerance

I wrote for several months, as others in this group can attest to. I started sharing it on my public timeline and with my family. I then continued to expand as I moved farther and farther away from the shock of my son’s suicide and into the realm of grief. Grief was actually like a calm pool of warm water compared to the raging oceans of shock that I had been riding on. Each day, I asked for help quietly and each night I said thank you. I didn’t start quoting books or attending a church or converting anyone. I did become open to the discussion about God, which I suppose is only fair since I was asking people to be open about the discussion about suicide.

Brutal Honesty

In Jaws, Peter Benchley wrote the opening line “The great fish moved silently through the night water”. For me, the night water is the calmer pool of grief that I now swim in. I swim in it every moment of every day and I will never be able to leave. I can, instantly, be tossed into the deep and dangerous ocean of shock when I realize that my child is dead all over again. If you have lost someone to suicide, you know the waters I speak of. If you have lost someone for any reason, you still swim in the night water of grief that we all can identify with.

We Have No Choice

People see the life rush out of us. Some have the luxury of speaking to us over the phone as they place us into a state of shock. I feel empathy for the first responders who come to our doors, into our lives, attempting to dissuade us from seeing the pictures, the autopsies, the drug reports or listen to the stories heard from the friends and family they investigate.