The Dropped Smile by Julie Harris

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It’s early. I’m up by myself watching the rain come down. No sleep last night. I couldn’t stop the thoughts of what day it is. It’s a grey, dreary day; perfect for the way I feel. Today’s the 24th-anniversary date, the suicide date, the one anniversary date I absolutely hate. I can’t wait until tomorrow.

I lost my first love, my best friend, the father of my first son on this day 24 years ago. You’d think it would get easier, but on this date it never does. To top it off, he died on a Friday the 13th. I always try to avoid going back to that day but no matter how hard I try these thoughts just come crashing through. So once again I’m forced to relive the day. Everything from that day is so crystal clear, it’s like a photo has been taken with all the minute details of the day. I don’t know why that is. I don’t know how come it’s so vivid. I guess that’s what happens with shock and trauma. The weather, the feel of the spring day, what I was wearing, what my young son was wearing, what I was going to fix for dinner, everything so clear. The breath being knocked out of me, slumping to the ground when I found out, watching my darling boy play outside the window and knowing his life would be forever changed by this day. How could I tell him; my God what would I say? If only the why of why he killed himself were that clear?

I’ve come to hate most of the month of March because from the very first day of March I think of day 13. Every day leading up is filled with dread. Then it comes and the pain hits, the tears come, the “whys” and “what ifs” start. I try to block it out or change it every year. However, it doesn’t work that way. So, I’ve just learned to let it happen knowing tomorrow I’ll start living again.

I was walking downtown yesterday, deep in thought about tomorrow’s anniversary, and had a man walk past. He said, “Was that one of your smiles I saw dropped back there?” Caught off guard I just replied, “It most likely was.” The comment rubbed me the wrong way. I was kind of offended but then I thought, how was he to know why my smile wasn’t there, how my heart was aching just thinking of tomorrow? Just let it go I told myself.

My son and I are very close. We both experience March in much the same way. We lean on each other. Everyone else forgets that date as the years go by, but it’s always very real for the two of us. Today, he has his friends to get him through. I have God.  I know that my smile “has been dropped” the past few days. I also know I’ll go back to my life tomorrow. It’s a happy life filled with love, family and friends. I thank God for every day of life. However, for today, I’ll allow myself to grieve in my own way, to reflect, to cry, to hurt, to let that smile be dropped.



5 Responses

  1. Kate
    | Reply

    Grief is so hard on the anniversaries, especially. Thank you for eloquently expressing your loss, Julie. I am sorry.

  2. Denise
    | Reply

    God does see you through. I lost my dad 59 years ago. I was very young, I wish I could have known him better and he could have spent more time here, but. …. I have been blessed with an awesome heavenly Father !! Thank you for sharing.

    • Julie Harris
      | Reply

      So sorry for your loss Denise. When you lose a parent at such a young age it would be like losing them for a whole lifetime. Always wondering what it would have been like if you’d grown up with them. I know when my son lost his dad at age 6 he couldn’t really even begin to process the question “why” until his older years. Even now at 30 he struggles with it. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Evelyn
    | Reply

    I lost my son to suicide on March 14, 2016. This was the first Anniversary. What you said is so true! I will always hate the month of March and the weeks leading up to the Anniversary have been heartbreaking. I was hoping that after I got through the 1st Anniversary it would get easier but I knew on that day that every holiday, birthday and anniversary would be hard to get through.?

    • Julie Harris
      | Reply

      You’re so right Evelyn. Every holiday, birthday, anniversary is so very tough. Time certainly helps but the really tough dates are always there, at least they have been for me. My heart goes out to you. Losing a child to suicide, in my thinking, would be the absolute worst. Hugs to you!

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