Smile Through the Storms by Deb Maxwell

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Not sure how to start – everything is rushing to my mind at once. My story is no different than yours; though it is unique in every way. So this is it….

I put my son, David (he was 33 – never flown), on an airplane in mid-August 2013. He was moving to NC to live with his sister and her family; wanting to start over after his separation from his family. March 5th 2014, he went for a walk. March 11th, he was found and I received that dreadful phone call. March 22nd we had a memorial service back home. Honestly, I do not remember much of the entire month of March. Everything is still blurry – foggy. I do know that my entire family (I have 2 sons and 2 daughters) are forever altered with the loss of David (my youngest son).

 

He was not just my son, he was my rock, my companion, my friend, my light! I moved through the days talking to him. I told him that I was so mad – screamed it at the top of my lungs! I wanted him to know I was pissed, ripped apart, and empty! That I love him so much. I was sorry that I did not do more. I wanted my son back!!!

People came around less and less. Maybe they got tired of seeing me cry or not talking. Maybe they just felt uncomfortable around me – I do not know. I just know that one day I looked around and no one was here. That scared me – for I live alone and then I was completely alone!

A moment at a time, I re-entered “life” going through the routine that I had done before though I would never be that person again. I did not smile, laugh, and barely ate. Just went through the motions of each day like a robot. I went to a couple of grief support groups. Sweet people though they did not understand the loss of a loved one to suicide. All of the questions that a survivor has, thoughts, and wonders of “why?”. So I founded “Smile Through The Storms” support group in New York for the ones left behind due to suicide. We had the first group support in December 2014.

I have a closeness with other survivors – a bond. Though we do not have the answer to the question of “why?”, we understand one another’s feelings and thoughts. We know that we are not going through this hell alone. We provide a sense of comfort to one another. We come together to share memories of our loved ones, to cry, to comfort one another – this is an all healing time that is so needed.

I miss David each and every day! Talk to him? Yes, all of the time. He is always in my heart and thoughts. I will always grieve the loss of him – this will never end. I have forgiven him for his actions. I brought him into this world and loved him each and every day he was physically here. I will love him always!

18 Responses

  1. Dianna
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. When it has crossed my mind that nothing could be worse (than losing my sister to suicide), I have realized that losing a child the same way would be an even harder road to walk. I’m glad you found a grief group; I am sure that they are as blessed by you as you are by them. Warm wishes to you.

  2. Debbie
    | Reply

    I also lost my son, Jeremy. He was 36, would have been 37 in 10 days. I miss him everyday and I will always love him. I have gone to a SOS group (survivors of suicide) in Indiana. It is helpful to me. He will always be with me and I pray to be reunited with him when I am gone. I have a husband, two other daughters and 7 grandchildren. It has impacted our family greatly. I wish I had done something more to help him. He is always in my thoughts.

  3. Sherrie
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I lost my only daughter Brandy Lyn….I say her name every day and say that she matters. She was one month away from her 40th birthday. I have so many questions but my main one is did she suffer or was death immediate. I am fortunate that we have an SOS group that meets once a month. Brandy Lyn…8/29/75 to 7/25/15.

    • Mary Corbin
      | Reply

      Dear Sherrie, I lost my son, Adam, December 18, 2016. I know that before he pulled the trigger, God took him (Adams soul) to heaven. So Adam was already gone to be with our Lord before “it” happened. I believe the exact thing for Brandi Lyn.

      • patty foster
        | Reply

        Mary my daughter Daisy (30 yrs old) took her life the same way on the same day 12-18-16..it has been the hardest thing for me to go thur, she had 3 little girls 3, 6, and 9. Everyday i talk to her and some days I even yell at her and get mad at her, but then i think she is in Heaven with my mom and dead and is better off than us left on earth…

      • Deb Maxwell
        | Reply

        What a beautiful belief! Thank you so very much for sharing and comforting us with your words.

  4. Denise Varga
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing. As suicide survivors we all have a story about our loved ones who have decided not to stay. I lost my father to suicide when I was 5. It was kept from me till I was 12. I remember very little about my dad. I love to write. I shared my poem on this website, My Father. I don’t understand why he had to go. I want to see him again. I had a step father, but it’s not the same. My heavenly Father has shown me the love I never knew. Please know you are not alone and you are loved.

    • Deb Maxwell
      | Reply

      My granddaughter was 9 when my son David passed. I keep his spirit and memories alive for her.

      Thank you for your words…..your strength.

  5. Pam
    | Reply

    I lost my youngest son, Craig, to a self-inflicted gunshot wound when he was 18. He had recently graduated from high school and was working, preparing to go away to school. I had no warning. He left no note. That was 10 1/2 years ago. Most days, I live a full life. There are days still, however, that the grief washes over me like big waves. Helping others has helped me to heal. I have enjoyed the AFSP Out of the Darkness Walks. Even though they hurt, they bring awareness to many, which is so desperately needed. We all need to tell our stories in due time. Our children’s lives meant so much more than those final few moments when they made that decision that took them away from us. Remember the happy times. And laugh. It is healing.

    • Deb Maxwell
      | Reply

      Thank you for your words Pam. One of the most important statements that is made at each group is why focus on those last minutes of our love ones’life – focus on all the precious moments before that moment. I know that being that way has helped me in so many ways.

  6. April Miller
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing. I recently joined a support group for suicide survivors as well. I find comfort with being in a circle of people who can relate to how I feel. I lost both of my children to self inflicted gunshot wounds. My 21 year old on April 3, 2015 and my 16 year old on January 12, 2017. I am learning more and more to appreciate the opportunity to share with those who understand.

    • Deb Maxwell
      | Reply

      Exactly why I started a group – for no one other than a person who has gone through this hell can relate to it. I am so grateful to have the members of the group around me. ….as I am sure you can understand also.

  7. Julie
    | Reply

    My heart is broken for all of us. I lost my husband of 32 years to suicide in November of 2015. I found a support group 2 weeks later, and was immediately enveloped in non-judgmental support. I could not have made it this far without those amazing people who sadly are the only people who ‘get it’.

    God bless you for starting a group – you have no idea what a huge impact that has!

  8. Deb Maxwell
    | Reply

    Those who “get it” (as you put it) are “family” now. I tell others who don’t understand that they are blessed – for I would not wish this nightmare on any one!

    Thank you for your kind words….

    God bless us all…..

  9. Nicole
    | Reply

    Thank you all for sharing your stories, it was 17years ago today ( 4/5) that I came home from my eighth grade class trip ( a weekend in Washington, D.C.) to find out my father had passed away. I was 13 at the time. He died the night I left for my trip and my mother waited to tell me. She did not want to ruin my weekend with my classmates. I cry every day about what happened. I try so hard to express my feelings with others but no one who hasn’t gone through it truly understands. My husband tries so hard and I love him for it but some times it’s more comforting to talk to strangers who have been on through this type of loss. Losing someone is hard, but I feel like suicide is the hardest because there are so many unanswered questions.

    Thank you for sharing your stories, today I just needed to know I am not alone.

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      Thank you for sharing, Nicole. I am so sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your dad. You are not alone. Stick around here and you will see just how similar we all really are!

      • Deb Maxwell
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        You are so correct Brandy…..we are so very similar. I am thankful to have people around that do understand – though breaks my heart that another person has gone through this heartache!

    • Deb Maxwell
      | Reply

      I am so very sorry for your loss. What I fear most is that my granddaughter (then 9 now almost 13) will not remember her Dad. She lives so far away from me – her Mom involved with another. Her feelings and questions have not been dealt with – that breaks my heart.

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