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Meet Rob

(This is exactly as I wrote it back in 1998-99)

Suicide is not an option. It eliminates all options.

If you happen to be one of the growing numbers hurled into this nightmare, it may help somewhat to know that the wild emotions, guilt, driving need for answers, and other things you struggle with are common to survivors. No, you are NOT losing your mind. There are many of us that can relate to those things you are feeling.

If you have ever considered suicide, please walk with me through the first few weeks following Nov. 16, 1998 ...

The phone call came around 10:30 PM. After I said hello, I heard a female voice demand "Who is this?" "No," I said, "Who is this?" In a blur of emotion, panic, and pain the female on the other end of the line rambled off that she was a friend of my son, and "Rob just shot himself! He's dead!" she bellowed.

I remember calling the police of the town where it happened so I could verify it, but in my heart I knew the pain and panic in that voice could not be faked.





I remember calling his dad, who lives in another state, but I don't remember the conversation. I just know that in my shock and numbness I babbled. I remember paging my youngest daughters friend, "please bring her home immediately." As she came through the door there was no hiding the pain I was feeling, and she knew immediately something was very wrong! "What happened?!", she demanded.

Oh, how can I tell these girls? They adore their brother so! I could barely speak, so I put my arms around her, and in as few words as possible I told her, "your brother shot himself tonight." We hugged and cried, then she vanished to her room to call her youth pastor.

Somehow in the next hour we managed to track down her sister, and they went to pick her up. How they managed to drive 20 minutes with her sister in the same car and not tell her, I still don't know, but we felt it was best that I told her. She had a bad fight with Rob the last time they talked and I was especially concerned about her. As I hugged my oldest daughter tight, I said, "Honey, your brother shot himself tonight."

She slid through my arms to the floor like jello. "NO! Mommy, it's all my fault! I know it's all my fault!" The rest of that night is a blur of numbness and my mind racing irrationally. All the whys, and hows, and what-ifs... on and on... spinning in circles.

Early the next morning the phone rang and a stranger very matter-of-factly told me who he was, what mortuary he was with, told me they needed permission to embalm, and then asked me, "Where do you want the body sent?" The body? The BODY? He was calling my son "the body!!"

For the next few weeks I was on automatic pilot. I didn't do anything, I merely responded to voices on the phone or someone around me needing answers. My oldest daughter went into denial and was snotty to everyone around her. My youngest daughter didn't (and still doesn't) want to talk about it. We all cry and try to deal with it in our own way, but we have each gone through a million battles in our minds... "Why couldn't I have done something to stop him?" "What signs did I miss?" "Didn't he know how much we loved him?" "Why didn't he tell us he was thinking this?" "Why..?"

After several weeks the shock began to wear off and the reality of it all set in. He really isn't coming through that door again. This isn't just a nightmare that will eventually end... our beloved Rob has stepped over the threshold of heaven, and his days here with us are no more.

How do you ever put into words an ache that reaches to the depth of your soul and back again? There are days that I long to hug him again, to tease him about those dimples I loved so, or to watch him wrestle on the floor with the babies. Those longings will never cease. But I am confident that we will heal and go on, because we HAVE to.

I will not willingly surrender to the same thing that stole my son from me. I will strive to make a difference for others! I will not focus on his death because in doing so, we will all "die" daily. Instead I will focus on his life and 'keep him alive.' We have so many memories of him... "Do you remember when he ... ?" (smile)

At the time I'm writing this it has been 10 weeks and 5 days.
OH! We have so far yet to go...

robMe    robMe    MeRob

(Note: My healing is coming in throwing myself into suicide survivor issues striving to reach those that have been hurled into this pain, and hopefully prevent survivors from 'following suit'. Twelve weeks after Rob's death, I founded Survivors Road2healing, and this organization is striving to make a huge difference! My oldest daughter has now joined our group. The youngest is pretending the Army sent him away again.)

It has now been three months and one day.. We have made our way through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, and all three of us have had our birthdays. I would be lying to you if I said it's getting easier. It is not. Just about the time the shock and numbness wore off totally, the emotions came full strength again, and people started pushing me to "go on with life." About two weeks ago the reality of it really hit my oldest daughter hard, and she cried for days. This week it 'hit' my youngest daughter, and she did the same. Even in all the fights, they both adored their brother!

Every time I think I'm moving on and doing well, something overwhelms me and I have to dig for more strength to fight my way through it. I still think I see him places, or hear his voice sometimes. One day I found myself following a car because the young man driving looked so much like my son from the back. He even sat in the car the same way. (Is that a part of me that's in denial, so hoping he really didn't die?) However, I will not give in to grief and depression. It's easy to allow yourself to fall into those things, but they are all-consuming. The more you allow it, the more it pulls you in. Fighting it is so much harder, but I refuse to give in!!

One of my most difficult battles has been with my mind. I've dealt with death before with people that I loved dearly, but suicide is so totally different from any other kind of death. And so is losing a child. Only those that have been through it can truly understand. I was completely unprepared for the driving force propelling me to find answers, yet my mind just doesn't work! I can't concentrate, connect thoughts, or remember anything more than two seconds. The battle I'm having in getting back my ability to think is SO frustrating to me. I literally thought I had lost my mind, and it scared me. Guilt seemed to have a death-grip on me! I still have days that it hits me, but for the most part I am able to function again in the day to day things of life. It seems to hit me when I feel pressured or pushed, and then I suddenly feel very fragile again. I have to work hard at staying on top of that.

I will be eternally grateful to God that my son loved Him and he waits for us in heaven. This separation for us is a temporary one. But I still have to fight the natural emotions because I miss him dearly! I am also grateful that I had 27 years with this young man, and I have memories that will keep him with me forever. I will celebrate his birth date, and not have rituals on his death date. I will hold dear our memories, for it is his life that gave me pleasure, and it's those memories that keep him alive here. Yes, he was about life, not death.

I have a strong faith in the God I serve, so I'll heal much faster than most. Most families spend years, if not the rest of their life, trying to move on beyond the suicide. Many, many survivors become suicidal themselves because of the pain and guilt, and too often they follow through with it. Divorce rates for survivor-parents are very high.

If you're considering suicide, please think about what it will do to your family. Please don't do it! They love you and you have NO IDEA the effect it will have on them. There is no problem in life that is worth losing you over. Let them help you.Your family will not be better off without you. Not ever! There are links on this site for you to find help. Please use them!

Help for the SUICIDAL
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Suicide is a permanent 'solution' to a temporary problem.
There are people to help you find answers. Please contact them

Christian Crisis Counseling
"Putting strong wings on heavy hearts" 24 hours a day since 1965

(714) NEW-HOPE or (714) 639-4673
(714) NEW-TEEN or (714) 639-8336
Teenline counselors are available M-F  5 to 9 PM.
New Hope Now (online chat)

A Survivors Road To Healing ~
written by a survivor-mom who truly understands what you feel.