My Son Alex; Choosing to Live in the Sunshine of his Life, Not the Shadow of his Death

child loss suicide life after suicide loss of son suicide bereavement suicide grief suicide loss suicide support Jun 08, 2022

Date Written: July 2021

Today, on my podcast, I went "Down the Rabbit Hole" to talk about my amazing son Alex. As we approach five very long, yet somehow also short,  years without him it feels like the perfect time to share more of what we had with him while he was alive. 

Today, I do share a little more of the story leading up to his death by suicide on Aug 7, 2016, but mostly I just talk a little but more about his life and the amazing human that he was during his 21 years here on earth. My life - my entire families life changed on a Sunday. Saturday, my life was normal. The very next day, Sunday, August 7, 2016, my normal was devastated; shattered beyond recognition. From that day forward, my life would be measured in 'before' and ‘after’. 

On Friday, July 29th, after over 5 weeks at home from college, I helped Alex pack up his car to head back to college. It was just me, him and his beloved 'girl' Harper (his 2 year old Carolina Dog). We laughed and joked as he gave me a big hug and kiss followed by “Don’t cry mom, I will be home in 2 weeks for Nic's birthday.” That would be the last time we spoke, though we did text a few more times that week. Alex drove away that day, waving and smiling, with his whole future ahead of him. Only eight days later, my youngest son Parker would get a call that would put him standing in front of me struggling to say the words “Alex is dead mom.” Those words will forever ring in a hollow place just beyond my comprehension … life as our family knew it ended in those moments. My heart lay in shattered pieces all around me.

I am still unsure how, and there were times I doubted it could happen, but I survived. Somehow, we have all survived. I have learned that traumatic loss changes us… on a cellular level, deep inside.

i will share more on my survival (and beyond) in future posts but let's skip to Alex in life now. He was funny and smart and, he didn't love change, but was the best friend anyone could ask for - and one of the best kids a mom could ask for. He was a Varsity baseball player, a show choir singer and an advanced diploma earner! He could do anything he set his sights on. Never short on friends, Alex was the kind of personality that attracted people - almost all people. 

He had a goofy sense of humor and loved to do impersonations. He also loved and felt deeply - he had passions that ran to his core and thus, at times, this could translate to a quick temper but he always leveled back out and saw things more rationally in fairly short order. He could be impulsive - a trait that may not have served him well in his final moments of grappling with his own overwhelm. His smile sure could light up a room. His laugh was super infectious, and I didn't talk about them in this episode but HIS HUGS WERE THE STUFF OF LEGENDS!  When Alex hugged you his love was felt to your toes! Oh, and he loved pizza, Vietnamese Pho and TACOS! Always tacos!!

Surviving my son's death felt nearly impossible for a very long time - but eventually the fog lifted and gave way to hope and from there I journeyed into healing. I will NEVER get over his death, of move on, but I am learning to live successfully alongside my grief, though it takes a lot of work, it is worth it.

My goal has become to strive to live more in the sunshine of his life, and so much less in the shadow of his death. Our life, after all, is made of of so many more moments than the one in which we left. My own life is so much richer that he lived and now, in his death I have learned to appreciate the gifts he has left for me...they are numerous.

Thank you for reading today. As with everything you read here or listen to on my podcasts, please take that which serves you & leave the rest. I hope you will find something of value & I am so sorry that you need to be here, but so honored you are here. Talk soon!

I hope you will listen to this episode - click HERE for Season 2, Episode 6 

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