Losing a child, particularly to suicide, is gut wrenching. It lends an entirely new perspective on the term, “a broken heart,” because every morning when I wake up and realize that ‘yes, Erik is still dead; it wasn’t all some horrible dream,’ I feel like a dagger has been plunged to the hilt into my heart. Since his death, it’s like I’ve lost a limb and must limp through life a broken woman. Some days I wonder how I can bear plodding through the decades I have left on Earth when every day that my son isn’t with me is like a bitter eternity. Some days, I long for death, but the love I have for my husband, my other children, my friends and the rest of my family plays tug-of-war with my soul. I must stay. I must love. I must endure.
Of course I have many good days, but when I slip into a particularly dark place, Erik comes to comfort me. The other day he did just that. Here is just one story of the many miracles with which he graces our lives:
Erik shot himself in the head in his bedroom. Finding him moments later was the most horrible experience I’ve ever had. For days, I couldn’t even go upstairs, much less return to that room. Then, I went through a phase when I wanted to be there all the time. I wanted to smell his dirty clothes. I cursed the fact that the sheets on his bed were changed minutes before his death, robbing me of the chance to soak in his scent, his essence. I tended to the makeshift altar on his desk by lighting the candles and rearranging the flowers that were slowly turning brown. I combed every surface, every wall to find the dent made by the wretched bullet that stole him from me forever.
Now, I avoid the room again. Seeing the rough wood planks from which the carpet was removed, seeing the yellow bags the crime scene cleanup crew filled with his clothes, seeing his empty bed…it’s just too hard. We keep pictures of him around the house, but every reminder of his death is locked away in his room: the photo album from the funeral home, the keepsake box filled with sympathy letters, leftover programs for his memorial service, copies of our eulogies, they’re all in his room as unspeakable reminders of a life cut short. Erik’s room is a no man’s land behind a locked door that no one dares open. To open that door is to open painful wounds again.
The other day, I felt particularly sad. As I sat on the couch sobbing softly, the housekeeper who comes once a week and has know Erik since he was 16 months old approached me quietly. She said, “Elisa, look what I found on the utility room floor.” She placed a little card in my hand. It was a card meant to be distributed to everyone at Erik’s visitation and memorial service providing information on how to leave an audio message, thoughts, prayers, remembrances, condolences.
How could this be? These cards have been locked away in the leather keepsake box in his room upstairs. The door to his room has been closed for months. How did that card go from that box, from that room, all the way downstairs to settle on the white tile floor in the middle of another room?
As I touched that card, Erik’s image appeared in my mind. However, this was no ordinary image. It was vivid. It was strong. It was tangible. And the smile on his face spoke volumes. It said, “Mom, I’m fine. I’m here. I’m as alive as I’ve ever been.”
I’ve learned so much from the books I’ve read on how souls can manipulate energy to move material objects, even books explaining the physics behind the phenomenon. In a previous entry, I recounted how Erik said he was working on developing that skill so he can contact us in more tangible ways. That miracle proved to me that his practice paid off.
A day destined to be sad had become happy. Thank you, Erik, my darling boy.