Sing Loud and Clear by Chris Locke

posted in: Uncategorized | 19

I was asked months ago to write a blog for this site and I tried many times but I couldn’t find the right words. That is until now. Right now it is 3am in the morning sitting in my kitchen on a snowy night. As all of us know, when you lose a love one to suicide, sleep can be sporadic, sleep can allude us.

I lost my son Sean, two and half years ago, to be exact 881 days ago. He was 23 years old. Sean was a great kid. He was six foot four, blond hair, blue eyes. A tremendous athlete, a three time Academic All American, played in March Madness for the University of Delaware, a college graduate with a fantastic job. He had more friends who loved him than anyone I have ever known.

However, also a kid who suffered in silence battling with the disease of depression and anxiety. You see, Sean like so many people with depression and anxiety kept his disease quiet from all the people who would have done anything and everything to help him. The darkness and despair of depression snuffed out his amazing light on July 18, 2018. The Holiday season (in our case Christmas) is so much different now that my son Sean is no longer here. We have a large family so there will still be the traditional get together, giving of gifts and eating our favorite foods. However, we all know that Christmas is not the same because Sean is not here with us. His absence is larger than his presence ever was, which is really saying something since Sean loved Christmas and followed his favorite movie, ELF, advice and sang Christmas songs “loud and clear for all to hear near and far.” As we all know, Christmas can be very tough when you have lost a loved one to suicide.

It is hard to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”, without thinking and wondering where was our loved one’s Clarence the Angel, to show them NOT to end their life. To show them that it really is a wonderful life. Like in the Christmas Carol, we think about Christmas Past and all the memories we had with our loved ones and how happy we all were. We think of Christmas Present and would do anything to have the ultimate gift of seeing our loved ones, hearing them laugh and hugging them. We think of Christmas Future, knowing that the stocking with our beloved names will never be taken from the mantle and opened again.

Christmas was Sean’s favorite time of the year. His favorite movie was ELF, he knew every word. His favorite song “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by NSYNC. Sean’s love for Christmas was like that of a six year old, who woke up at 4am and ran down the stairs to open every present in ten minutes.

Sean’s Spirit, like all of your loved ones, are all around us. They are the Christmas spirit, if we allow them into our hearts. For us to heal from the trauma of losing our loved ones to suicide, we have to constantly remind ourselves of the joy and love they brought to us in Christmas Past to help ease our longing of love in Christmas Present and to help carry their beautiful spirit into Christmas Future.

I know it is hard. I struggle each day to try and do it but I know that is what Sean and all of your loved ones would want for each of us. So I will sing loud and clear for all to hear.

That’s my Christmas wish for each of you.
Chris Locke
Founder of SL24 UnLockethelight

19 Responses

  1. Sheila
    | Reply

    Thank you for your words, sharing what I feel. I’m sorry for your loss and can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. It’s been 499 days since my husband lost the battle with his demons. Demons that I didn’t know he fought. It causes a physical heartache and pain on a daily basis. I want to see him one more time, tell him I love him. I want to feel his hug and soak in his love and strength. Our Christmas decorations remain untouched for a second year. Our magic of Christmas is forever gone. Your words about his absence being larger than his presence is Spot On Right. Again Thank you for your words and sharing. I often look to others to “help” me make sense of what has happened so I’m not alone.

  2. Melanie Chrencik
    | Reply

    Thank you for the courage to write this, even at such an early morning hour. For those of us who find comfort in this blog knowing we are not alone in our pain, your words are encouraging. Praying for your peace and comfort during this Christmas.

  3. Madeleine Visagie
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    Thank you for sharing this. Your deep love for your son, and the pain of losing him touches a deep cord in me. I lost my 34 year old daughter to suicide 2 and a half years ago, and this Xmas season is so difficult without her, although I certainly believe her spirit is around me. Your Sean is a very handsome young man!

  4. Struggling Widower
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    Thank you Chris for your beautiful words during this difficult time for the bereaved. Your boy looked amazing in the Delaware blue. God bless.

  5. Ana
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    Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to so much of your story. My 21-year old daughter took her life on August 10th this year (she would have been 22 in October). She also never gave any indication of how she was suffering from depression and all that she was experiencing. She always seemed so happy. She was so full of love and I always felt she seemed like an “old soul”. She was very philosophical for her age, and she always wanted to be helpful to others. She touched so many lives in a positive way and had so many people who loved her so much. This is the first year Emily isn’t with us (physically). The first year of many times she would have been here with us laughing and smiling like she always did. I believe, as you said in your story, that their beautiful spirits are with us always!

  6. KATHY
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    Thank you for sharing your story. My 37 year old daughter died from suicide on July 29, 2015. It is a pain and longing that never stops. I do believe our loved ones spirit is with us, especially in the darkest hours. There are so many what if’s that we will never have answered, trying to find peace with that. I think the pain carves a space so deep in our soul that it also holds at times a joy that I have never known, watching a sunrise, love for my family etc. I hope that you find joy and peace this Christmas remembering the light your son brought to your life and knowing he is still with you.

  7. Robert L Bagosy
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    My Son USMC Sgt Thomas R Bagosy completed suicide after returning from a combat deployment in Afghanistan May 10, 2010. Tommy was 25 Married with two small children, a Graduate of the class of 2002 Glasgow High School, DE, Tommy was suffering from PTSD as the result of a TBI in Iraq 2006, miss Him everyday!

  8. Lisa T
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    The day your son died, I was “celebrating” my 20 year wedding anniversary. My husband died the previous November by suicide. I also have a college athlete and I know it’s hard for them to be strong and competitive while still taking care of their mental health. I’m so sorry for your loss, and grateful for your courage to share your story with us.

  9. Amanda
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    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m not sure why it’s helpful to know we are not alone in this awful “club”. My son Gage took his own life at the tender age of 14 in October of this year. Like Sean, Gage never showed any sign of depression. He was happy, healthy, and loved by all who met him. The holidays will be hard this year, but then again everyday is had without him! His father, 2 brothers, and I will carry on our traditions, but they will never be the same.

    • Steph
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      Amanda – We recently lost our 14 year old son, Dawson on December 17th. We tried to have a semi normal Christmas for our other 2 kids, but it was so hard. I never thought something like this would ever happen to us. Dawson was always so funny, happy, competitive in sports and ready for the next adventure. I sure miss his presence in our family. We are just taking it one day at a time because that’s all we have the strength for.

  10. Carolyn
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    Beautifully written and meaningful. I was touched by your words at the end when you spoke of remembering the joy and letting our loved ones spirits of the past, present and future into our hearts. And your honesty in expressing how hard it is to do. We lost our son to suicide in March and even though Christmas was not his favorite as an adult – he too suffered from depression and anxiety that eventually led to alcoholic dependency – this holiday season is so so hard. We decided to hang his stocking and are placing notes we’ve written to him in it.
    I try to find joy in every day and even though I’m not entirely successful I’m positive it will happen.

  11. Michelle
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    Thank you for sharing your son story with us, I too had a daughter with played Div. 1 basketball and suffered from depression and anxiety, we learned what it all was from when she was 15. Counseling and therapy we thought would help. As a mother it has been 1285 days without my beautiful baby. She took her life her Jr. Year of college. I wish I would have seen the signs. My Ashley loved Christmas and was the only one out of 4 girls who was so happy to help me set the tree up. She would have turned 24 on Dec. 3nd this year. I have been asked many times how do we get through it. I always say with Prayer and holding on to our faith.

  12. Anita
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    I am sorry you have to experience this pain. My brother Daniel died due to suicide March 2019 at the age of 28, he was struggling with depression . May God bring you hope once again as he does to me.

    • Sarah
      | Reply

      I wonder what woke you to write this piece…it may have been due to another lost light and others crying out for help…..My nephew took his life late in the evening of 12/20/20 and was found 12/21…19 years old 3 days shy of his 20th birthday…buried actually on his 20th. So accomplished, loved by 6 siblings and two parents so deeply. Thank you for your work for other..

  13. Kelley
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    Thank you for sharing this and bringing a message of hope with it.
    It’s heartbreaking to know there are so many of us suffering due to the impact of suicide. Your message affirms the day to day struggle. Thank you for providing a message of strength and hope along with the struggle.

    Merry Christmas.
    Kelley

  14. Caroline Wade
    | Reply

    “His absence is larger than his presence every was”
    My 20 year old son Ezekiel (Zeke) left on November 13th.
    We are all laid waste, just made it through our first Christmas without his physical presence. My oldest daughter commented that it seems that more than one person is missing, yes it does.
    This is fresh and new and horrible. I’m grasping for the Light and the love and hope!
    Thank you for writing. It is others who walk this path ahead of me/us that help give me a spark, the courage and hope to keep walking (or crawling) forward.

  15. Cheryl French
    | Reply

    Dearest Chris…I read about your Sean, and it seemed you were describing our Dylan, who left us January 6, 2012…a couple of months before his 21st birthday and the day he was to return to Laurier In Waterloo to begin the second semester of his second year.
    He shocked everyone who knew him…he was THE LAST person you’d have expected would leave this way.
    Your words “his absence is bigger than his presence ever was” are so profound… I believe no matter how big their Presence in Life has been, their untimely Absence from Life Here is bigger… the gaping hole in our souls is so huge…
    It was nine years yesterday for our family without Dylan… he also was the “up at 4am, rip Christmas wide open and believe in Santa Claus as long as he possibly could” guy. Our Christmases are quieter now…his absence paplpable; his missing stocking horrendous.
    But we’ve discovered something very powerful these years…God has brought so many other families like ours into our life, and although their presence does not replace Dylan’s absence — the joy of their family traditions shared in a new way, meeting their remaining children and allowing our lives to intertwine first in sorrow, then over time, in newfound playfulness — it fills that gaping painful hole with Hope and a curious Peace. We easily understand each others’ pain but also because of that, intentionally share each others’ moments playful joy.
    It has taken a long time to get here and it has been deliberate and chosen but so very worthwhile… I hope that on your journey through your family’s Sean Grief, you are blessed with new friendships with others “like us”. Praying for you in 2021…and thanking you for sharing your beautiful boy with us…

  16. Glenna Nolan
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    Thank you for sharing. I lost my son to suicide in July 2020. He was 24 and had battled a mental illness for 5 years. I went through the first holidays without him. My life will never be the same. My thoughts are with all of you going through this painful journey.

  17. Mrs. Nancy Anastasi
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    Thank you for sharing your story. My 57 year old son died of suicide on July 18,2020..My fathers birthday. He suffered from depression from his early 20’s but her managed to hide it from all of us. He had a loving family, husband and friends. I think Covid was “the last straw” when he lost his entire business. He is dearly missed by everyone. Depression is like cancer… it is incurable and fatal. He is in the hands of God. We will always miss him but were blessed to have him in our lives. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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