Hope by Rachel Fredericks

posted in: Uncategorized | 9

My story starts on January 31, 2012. That day my mother took her life. It’s something I carry with me every single day, and I have the images that are engraved in my mind. I really can’t express the feelings I had after that, I was just so in shock and felt so guilty. We had a fight right before it happened and the last words we exchanged were not very nice. We never really had the greatest relationship. It is a struggle to deal with that alone. Knowing that I will never have that closure and realizing the permanence of suicide is unbearable. I stayed around my home for the rest of that year, but I knew I couldn’t do it any longer. There were memories everywhere. My dad was having a hard time and basically wanted to be by himself, and was not a good resource for me at the time. I had a one-year-old son also. I felt so alone. So January of the next year I moved with my son 9 hours away, where I had some family. I didn’t know what was going to happen with my life but I just knew that I had to get away. I had wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember and I started working on a few more prerequisites that I needed and got into a nursing program. It was hard, but that nursing program brought me back to life and gave me something to work for. The wonderful professors that I had were so encouraging, and were there for support when I needed someone. Two years later, I graduated nursing school with honors and won an award for “Outstanding Clinical Leadership.” I am proud to call myself a registered nurse.

When you lose someone to suicide, you need something that you can hold onto that will keep you going. I thank God every day for my son and my nursing career, which keep me going. It’s hard to reach out to people, because most don’t understand or know what to do for you. I still try though because I need people so badly. I have gone through the most darkest, horrible days of my life. I suffer from depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Certain times of the year, or going to familiar places are tough for me. I have never once felt angry at my mom. I feel sad – like a deep, empty sadness that stays with me. I ended up moving back home to be with my dad. We’re in the house that my mom died in and every day is a reminder of her and that day. But being here also brings back some good memories that we had. I have my really bad days, where I feel depressed and shut out the world and am stuck inside my head. Sometimes I sit in my parents’ closet and go through pictures and old things and just cry. Then I have my good days where I am able to focus on the good. This experience has softened me as a person. I am so different now than I was, and look at life so much differently than other people – it’s hard to even explain. It has made me more patient and kind with others, because I know what it is like to feel like you don’t want to be here anymore. As for my mother, she just couldn’t do it anymore. And I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way. I feel like I was put on this earth to be a nurse – to nurture and take care of others. To know that I can make a difference to others is what keeps me going.

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I wanted to live on for my mother – the good memories and good parts of her that I carry with me. I try to forget the bad. She could not do it, so I am doing it for her. Go on for them, see the beauty in this world for them, and live your life in honor of them. There is hope. I have a ring that I wear every day that says “hope” because without it I would be lost. I choose to hold onto hope.

9 Responses

  1. Dianna Matzo
    | Reply

    I’m sorry for your loss. It is a paradox of life that great suffering can open your heart to great compassion for others. It isn’t worth losing your mom to suicide, but I can’t help but think she’d be proud of you. Much love from a fellow survivor… Dianna

  2. Joann
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    Thank you for sharing your story, and I am so very sorry for your loss and such painful memories of that day. I am so proud of you that you decided to carry on with your life and become what you wanted to be, a nurse. It is such a wonderful profession, and rewarding which we need to feel in our journey of loss. I wish you peace, and that you can carry on with your life and know that your mom is so very proud of you. May you always have hope, serenity, and balance in your life. Thank you for sharing your feelings with all of us, we are not alone, and we need to share our stories. Peace and hugs.

  3. Dawn Williams
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    Rachel you know your mother was a special friend of mine and I think of her often. I know she would be proud of the wonderful young lady and mother you have become. She was so excited when you had little Johnnie. It brings me comfort seeing the smiling faces of you, Johnnie, and your dad. I will continue to hope for the best for you and your family. Take care.

  4. Ginny Thompson
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    Rachel, January 31, 2012, is also the day I lost a good friend, your mom. I can still remember receiving the news of her suicide. I remember watching you carry your son out of the church sanctuary the day of her funeral. My heart ached for you and your dad. I was so sad to have lost such a dear friend, especially to suicide. I began to pray for you and your dad daily – for your peace. A year and a half later, on August 25, 2013, my older sister, Beverly, also chose to take her life. That wasn’t suppose to be a part of my story and I struggled to make
    sense of it all. My thoughts returned to losing Joann.
    Two very special people gone from my life. Beverly was also done with the struggle of life. I wished she had said goodbye. I had tried to call her earlier that day, by no answer. She was already gone. A day forever etched in my memory. She is now at peace – a peace that alluded her all of her life. I have found peace in knowing she no longer struggles. I know the change that comes from those of us left behind. I am grateful for a God who sees us through. I still sometimes see the lights of your house through our back yard and think of that January night where your life forever changed. Mine too. Know that you and your dad are covered in prayer, and not forgotten. Much love and courage to you sweet Rachael. I know that she would be so very proud of the woman and mom you have chosen to become.

  5. Sherry Mergner
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    Thanks for your courage and your honesty. Your mother was a beautiful woman. She was always so kind to me and to my son with autism. I loved seeing her in the mornings and we shared a special connection. I am so glad to hear that you have transformed your life and are changing the lives of others. Never give up hope and never stop sharing it with others. Your mother would be proud!

  6. Susan G Pressley
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    Rachel, Thank you for sharing your story. I knew and loved your mother for many years – watched you grow into the woman you are today. Suicide is never an easy thing to deal with but rest assured this precious woman is sitting beside the throne of God. She is at peace, something she searched for here but could not find. God bless you, your son, and your dad. I continue to pray for all of you.

  7. Doris SNipes
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    Rachel, your mom was a very special person. I worked with her and I also knew her through her bass playing. She loved music and I think that was a source of relief for her. We talked often of you and of her being a grandmother. At times, life can be really hard and it is sometimes hard to find our way through the dark patches. I am so thankful that you have been able to. I praise you for becoming the strong person that you have. You are now able to help others in a way that you could have never learned from a book. You can relate through the heart. May God continue to bless you and your son as you travel through life’s journey.
    Doris Snipes

  8. Dustin Tharrington
    | Reply

    Rachel, you’re strong, beautiful, and inspiring. I love you and I know that your mom is so proud of the woman and mother you’re today. You have perseververed through one of the toughest days of your life, and I know that no matter what, you will continue to do so everyday.

  9. Sue cornwell
    | Reply

    I’m so proud of your accomplishments, Rachel. I can’t even say of which I’m most proud.
    These words were beautifully written with so much emotion and honesty.
    You are truly the soldier of our family. I love you…Aunt Sue

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