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.
As you gather today in your homes and around your trees, sharing meals with people you love, opening presents and seeing the light in the eyes of an 8-year-old as I will do with my daughter today, I ask you to remember those who are struggling today. I don’t just mean people like me who have lost a child to suicide. I mean, really, take a moment and think about the suffering of the world today. While Christmas has become a national holiday, celebrated by those who believe in it’s religious significance, it is celebrated by those of all faiths because it is an American tradition. It was born in the suffering of a single man who was crucified because he believed, and told the world, that he was the son of God.
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.
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.
Today, I feel weak and vulnerable. Today, I want to cry and crawl into bed. Today, I want to be angry and make everyone pay. I have to say that out loud because it is the truth. I cannot stand here and tell you that I am not angry, that I am not hurt and that I certainly wish to get up now and go to work. I am angry, I am hurt and I do not want to get out of bed. I do not even want to be alive if the truth is to be told, but saying that to you on the outside of these walls brings up nothing but further mental health concerns on your part towards us, for a completely natural state of shock on ours.
All parents know inside that suicide is out there in the world. They may not know that the World Health Organization states that a person dies in the world every 40 seconds from suicide. My son Anthony, killed himself on August 16, 2017, at the age of 35. He left behind no note to explain his actions or his state of mind. He left behind a family, friends and one small broken man named Bob.
Toy Soldier © 2021, Bob Cristello, and its affiliates and assigns and licensors All rights reserved Bob Cristello is the Founder of Coping With Suicide LLC. Bob Cristello is an Author of https://copingwithsuicide.com . Michael Morrison Staffier is an Author of “Toy Soldier”. Michael Morrison Staffier is the CEO of Coping With Suicide LLC Michael … Read more
The Grief Monster
© 2021, Bob Cristello, and its affiliates and assigns and licensors
All rights reserved
Bob Cristello is the Founder of Coping With Suicide LLC.
Bob Cristello is an Author of https://copingwithsuicide.com .
While I have shared many of those days with my brothers and sisters in grief, I find myself facing a set of special days that for the last three years have sent me into a tailspin. I am speaking about December 21st, the day of my son’s birth and December 25th which is a holiday that we know as Christmas. Your special days and holidays may differ from mine, but the experiences that we go through are the same. This year, however, I feel none of the dread or anticipation of sorrow I have felt in the past. I want to try to share with you how this has come to pass for me.