Scrambled Eggs

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Title: Scrambled Eggs
Format: Open Speaker Talk
Date: 12.23.2021
©2021 Bob Cristello

Hello Faithful Reader.

My name is Bob. On August 16, 2017, my son Anthony killed himself at the age of 35.

If you are new here, that sentence is the only sentence you need to say in order to claim your seat. It is a completely acceptable post all on it’s own to say that you are here, that you feel you might need help and you do not know what to do next. I see you and I love you. Welcome to this place that no one wants to be in today and know that, at least, you are understood here and can relax for a moment.

If you say the phrase ‘Scrambled Eggs’ and then say the phrase ‘Yesterday’ you wil discover that they rhyme and have the same number of syllables. Oh yes, I suffer from Hyperlexia as do any of the children in my unique bloodline. So I am fascinated with numbers, letters, words, symbols and most of all music. I see the world a little differently than others. I was also raped at the age of 13 and still made it to Broadway, Charlie Rose, Phil Donahue and 60 Minutes by the age of 35.

I have never met Paul McCartney, though I know many of you enjoy the stories of my celebrity friends. I was watching ‘Get Back’ by Peter Jackson and my wife was fascinated that Paul and John could write a hit song in 20 minutes from nothing but the need to create. Paul’s most famous song ‘Yesterday’ was something he woke up with in his head and started singing ‘Scrambled Eggs’ as he used it for a placeholder. We can take a lesson from Sir Paul in the ‘faking it until you make it’ category.

Today’s post is purposely crafted to be light, non-confrontational or angry. Yes, I am angry all the time. I am even angry at what some of you might call God, though I do not necessarily call it that all the time. I try not to use the term ‘God’ simply because many different people have different names for what they see in their soul as ‘God’. So, that could dilute the message of hope that we accept on the day we return to the living. Some of us never want to take that step and that is okay too.

I am not a self-help guru. I am not going to ‘sell’ you anything, though I have encountered people who have attempted to. They offered to help me if I ‘buy’ their product, their paradigm or their ability to heal me instead of teaching me to heal myself. Yes, I am angry at that too. I am angry that I am responsible for the death of my son. I am angry enough now to make a difference in the world. So, yes, I speak and write for a group of people who have lost a child to suicide. I also write to a group of people who have not lost a child to suicide, but they do love and wish to help another parent who has. So I welcome them into our conversations as an observer, but I keep a wary eye over my flock.

I am writing today because it is December 23, 2021. Two days ago, my son Anthony would have been forty years old. In two days, I will celebrate Christmas with my family. Two of my three worst days of the year strung together in a five day period. To be clear, for me they are the day Anthony was born, the day Anthony died and Christmas. Last year, I flew from Phoenix Arizona to Vermont to start a new life. Last summer I could not walk across my small city without stopping at every bathroom between my house and the Psychiatrist’s office. If I did not, I would not be able to control my own bowels. US Army Veteran defecates on himself over grief, film at 11:00.

My wife, a tiny beautiful creature who has brought nothing but love and light into the dark corners of my world, quietly asked me for help. She called me Bobby, which I knew meant she was really in trouble. People call me Bobby now, I actually am starting to like it. She needed me to get out of bed, to help pay the bills. I got up and looked around at the mess I had made in the year I was here. I saw the bills piled up and I saw that no money was coming in. I was walking around like a beggar and a thief and I had to do something. I made a decision, but I took no action. Please hear this, it is a skill you must learn and learn it soon. Learning to make decisions without taking action is a critical juncture in this journey and I beg you to not enter into this without someone from this group that has already undergone the process.

The decision was to return to life. If I tried to act on it in that moment, I would have failed. I made that decision it on the spot and I did not look back. I had no idea how it was going to happen but I did not let that deter me.

Four months later from that place of abject poverty I now have a book, a six figure income, a website, a manager and three businesses I am running. I write every day to an ever expanding audience of people and I am not selling anything. I have no idea why there are 140,000 people in my audience where just four months ago I was posting idiotic comments to social media and someone might take pity on me and post a like. I did not do any of that, I had help.

I had help from people in these very virtual rooms who just loved me. They told me, ‘Bobby, you are in shock bro’. You can’t grieve until you get past the shock and the world doesn’t even realize you are in shock. Like an amputee we feel our toes that we know are no longer there. They itch, we reach down to scratch them and we see that they are gone all over again. This is what it is like to lose a child to suicide. If you are one of those people who just love one of us, then next time you want to say anything please just put yourself in check and say ‘I see you and I love you’. It is what we say to each other. We invite you to use the same techniques if you wish to be heard.

Please know that there is hope, but if you do not carry that message it may not be heard. I am a soldier and I know no one is coming. That makes me responsible. I could not do it alone, I went a long way with the help of others but there were days that nothing on this earth could save me from shock and grief. I had to turn to something greater than myself, some people call that ‘God’. Some people simply call it service to the community because sharing our experiences, strengths and hope with each other is how this works. Others among us feel that no spiritual component is necessary though I do believe that road must be filled with a higher degree of difficulty.

If you are here today and this is your first time, please know it is ok to be clouded in the fog of war. It is okay that you are in shock and it is okay that you can’t think straight. While there might be other mental health issues that are a factor in your life, there is nothing going on here that cannot be explained with the medical definition of shock. Many of us are actually relieved when we discover this. We simply cannot grieve until we move past the shock.

If you can, please attempt to click one like button. Not because it is good for social media, or search engine optimization or it makes this particular group more popular. Do it to say ‘I accept that I need help and my grief is taking my life out of control.’ It is the first step in a long but rewarding process. I pray that you find the ‘Blessings of Grief’ that will come when you start to work this program.

Clean your area, create something even if it is just a sandwich, tell someone you love them today and be gentle on yourself. You are okay and you need time to think, to slow down and take a breath. Close your eyes for a moment, this post will still be here. Breathe in slow through your nose, hold it for a moment and exhale through your mouth but pucker your lips slightly to give some resistance to the air. Feel it move in, filling you and then leaving. This is God, you and I connecting in this way. This is how it works. Now, reach out and just click a heart.

I see you and I love you.

My name is Bob, thank you for letting me share.

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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.

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.

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”?

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.