Category Archives: Anything Goes

Life Moments #38 -That Moment When You Realize……Part One

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My Reason……

Where to begin……

For the past four months, one week, and one day, I have not been attending Mass. Of course, if you go back those months, that week and one day, you will realize it corresponds with the day that my son took his life. In all honesty, I have avoided Mass to the point that I won’t even go in the church doors. Sadly, I stopped praying. I stopped reading Scripture and study books. I stopped writing in my journal. The whole she-bang.

For the first couple of months, I didn’t attend Mass because, like many, I questioned why God would allow such a thing to happen. Please understand, I do not blame God for what happened to my son as He does bless us (some might swing toward curse) with something we all like to have, but never really consider ourselves to be accountable for: Free Will. Again, I do not blame God for my son taking his life. To some, it may appear as such, but appearances can be deceiving.

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My precious boy….

Each painful day that passed brought more questions with no answers and still does. People whom I consider friends have been kind. Nobody has questioned my sanity, that I know of 😉 and nobody seems to be critical of my frame of mind. Of course, I’ve almost completely withdrawn myself through the process so I guess I wouldn’t really know. I try to assume the best. My husband has told me people are asking about me at church. I’m not sure what that means, but there you have it. Again, I assume it’s out of concern.

Anywho, as the days keep passing by and I stumble through the healing process keeping myself busy with my new passion, suicide prevention, I feel myself beginning to lean back toward my faith. God is slowly creeping back into my life. I say creeping not in a bad way, but in a way that implies slowly moving back into my life. I find myself……

questioning Him……

questioning myself…….

questioning the circumstances of the last four months…..

questioning life and our existence….

questioning everything.

And I have realized that a small part of me misses my relationship with God, but with a little fear etched in there, too. My faith is tugging at my heartstrings, but battling my pride, my confusion, my inability to really trust in God’s plan for my life. I have tried talking to friends, to family, to my husband and I keep getting the same answer, “Shannon, I don’t know the answer to that” or “Shannon, I ask the same questions, have the same doubts, but still I trust in God’s plan” or “Shannon, I can’t tell you those answers, but I do know that God loves you and loves Darren.” And of course, those answers only bring a whole new set of questions that nobody has the answers to.

Yet, my heart is still broken and my mind is still confused. How can I have faith in something and not really know or understand what it is? As I said earlier, I don’t blame God for what happened to my son, but I question Him. Why would He (the one who can perform miracles) choose not to perform a miracle in my son’s life? Through Mass, we are taught to anticipate the glory of heaven. It’s the place we all hope to get to when our time on earth ends. I often hear that Darren is way better where he is than here where he was. His pain is over. He is no longer suffering heartbreak or anything else. I should be happy that he is in a better place. But am I? Am I happier, I question? Yes, some of me is, but some of me is still being selfish and wanting him here with me.

Story to be continued, but I will leave you with this:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Knowing how painful it’s been for me losing my son, why would God do that?

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Losing him and they are the reason I keep going, the reason for what I am hoping for: opening a non-profit in memory of my son

~ Shannon

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Life Moments # 34 – The Night My World Changed in a BAD Way

This Life is for You!

The night ended as chaotically as any other night. My husband and I went through the bed time ritual with the girls: wind down time, pajama time, water/bathroom/brush teeth/more water/ another bathroom visit time, arguing ensues between girls time, calming girls down time, again, prayer time, hugs/tuck-ins time, another round of fussiness (heavy eyelids and all) time and finally…..

Quiet.

Three little zonked out girls are tucked warm and snuggly into their beds. Afterwards, hubby and I relax in front of television until one of us goes to bed. Might be him. Might be me. Might be both of us.

Soon enough, all’s quiet in our home. Darkness surrounds us while everyone sleeps. Hubby sounding like a freight train, baby waking for her feedings, but sleep….oh the peaceful sleep.

Meanwhile, 35 miles – give or take – from my home, my son lies dead. I awaken from my peaceful slumber to hubby saying, “Honey, you have to get up. The cops are here asking for you.” And me, in my sleep-hazed confusion respond, “What? The cops? What?” as I stumble out of the bed and stumble, still half-asleep and rubbing my eyes, out to the kitchen where I am greeted by a sheriff and a chaplain to hear the worst words I’ve heard in my entire life, “Your son, Darren Wallace, is dead.”

I simply stood there, dumbfounded. Not my Darren, not any of my children, but not my sweet, loving, broken-hearted, Darren. Not my big eyed, blue-eyed curly-headed Darren. I cannot even remember my reaction. I didn’t break down into a crazy-minded mother (but if I had it would be understandable!), but I was frozen. Like seriously, couldn’t make my feet move kind of frozen.  I remember asking how, what happened. It all seemed so surreal, like I was standing outside of my body watching this happen to someone else. I stood there, tears streaming down my face frozen in that horrible moment.

How could it be happening to me, to my family?

————-

I’ve relived that day in my head about 1000 times. I would like to say only once a day since then, but that wouldn’t be true. A more accurate amount would be to say 3-4 times a day. And I always arrive back to the same place……Why? How?

As I rushed the girls’ bedtime to me that fateful evening, my son was contemplating suicide. As I was going through the girls’ bedtime ritual with them, my son was lying dead.

It’s two days shy of four months and it hasn’t gotten easier. The days come and go in the same fashion, with the same fervor they always have, but now his death hovers over me, surrounds me like an invisible blanket.

Since that evening, my trust has diminished. I still trust the people in my life prior to that tragedy. Since then, I have met people who I trust, but I definitely don’t trust anyone in the judicial system, if I ever did, I’m not sure. Definitely not now. There’s a story there for a different day.

I had a meeting today with a couple of ladies. During the meeting, one lady asked about my son. I told her some about his story. She mentioned something along the lines of how some people would not be able to speak about their experience. I went on to explain why I think it’s easier for me. It’s never easy by any means, but the agenda to this meeting is what has made it so much easier for me. I am trying to do something with my son’s story. I am trying to help others not get there, to that dark place. Some may know and some may not, but my son took his life that tragic evening. So, when I mention the dark place, that’s what I mean. My dream is to help others not get there, but also, show others that that doesn’t have to be the option. Our goal is to launch a non-profit in memory of my son, DJW LifeProject.

Help is available and you can start with the number below. It is a national hotline, not connected to me or the non-profit I spoke about above. You can follow DJW LifeProject on Facebook if you so choose.

Life Moments #33 – What Do You Say……?

What do you say when you have so much to say?

What do you say when so much of what you have to say can be hurtful? What do you say when you can’t say anything?

That’s where I am for the last 4 months.

Hurtful thoughts that

turn into hurtful words

that have potential to turn into hurtful actions.

What do you say?

I spoke with a friend the other day….a friend – and I use the term loosely – I haven’t spoken to in a very long while.

Friends…could be friends I suppose, but….well who the hell knows?

Anyway, during our conversation I told her about everything I have been dealing with in a nutshell kind of conversation. I didn’t include all the painful details, but the important ones.

As I sat there in the conversation with her, it dawned on me that I probably need to see a counselor because…..

My heart is broken from years and years of dealing with hatred and, quite frankly, stupidity.

I feel anger. I feel hurt. I feel confused and betrayed and everything in between.

I have a constant ache in my heart from losing Darren, but what hurts the most is that so many years of his life were stolen from me by a selfish person….and now, I don’t think it will ever go away. When he died, a piece of me died to. Dylan is grown-up, about to become a daddy and Darren will be 17 forever…will never see his 18th birthday.

So, what do you say, when you have so much to say, so much that could be hurtful…..could probably even be considered hateful? What do you say?

How do you keep maneuvering through the grief, one painful swerve after another? How do you keep living life when all you really want to do is go live alone in a cave until whenever? How do you continue to put one foot in front of the other when both of your feet feel like 1000 lb dumbbells?

I will say this:

Death freaking sucks! Death of a child. Death of a parent. Death of a friend. Death of a stranger.

Death freaking sucks, but nobody is immune from it!

Now, I can be a bit more understanding when it comes to other people’s losses. I can listen without trying to ease their pain because nothing I say makes a difference anyway. Trust me, I understand this better now. I will no longer be one of those people who wants to offer my condolences, instead I will be there to say,

“This freaking sucks!”

And I will mean it because it does freaking suck.

So, again, what do you say when most of what you have to say, during a time like mine, is going to hurt someone else?

…….

You say nothing at all.

Life Moment #31 – A Place I Don’t Want to Be In….Not Supposed to Be In

 

While I was growing up, my mom was mostly a stay-at-home mom. My dad worked as an OTR truck driver so he was gone most of the time. My mom really started working as we got older and didn’t require so much one-on-one with her, when we became a little more independent.

Either way, we knew we could count on our parents to provide for us and to be there for us. We weren’t materialistically spoiled, but love spoiled. As I started growing up, college was not on my radar. My dream was to become a wife and a mother.

Simple. I know and not very common, but there it is. I wanted to be a wife and mother.

Well, in the ebb and flow of things, mothering came first…marriage came much later.

However, when I held that life so completely dependent on me for the first time, I knew it was what I wanted. The wife part didn’t matter anymore. Oh, sure, I wanted to get married. I wanted us to be a family, but life had other plans. Instead of marriage we had another little life. As those first two were born and life kind of hit us head on, neither of us knew what we were doing. We stumbled along…….

But…..you learn and we did. We weren’t the best parents. We made mistakes and we kept chugging along. Marriage never became an option and eventually, we went our separate ways. Much to my dismay, the two boys ended up living with their father. Again, not what I wanted, but by that time, my self-esteem had been hit so hard, I was convinced the boys deserved better than me. Little did I know…..

I never imagined that my future or theirs, held the tragedy that my family has endured. I worried about something happening to one of them. I feared it. I fretted and fussed over them getting hurt, but never in my heart did I believe one would commit suicide….

until…..

The early part of this year. As a parent, the biggest fears I had were severe injury, my child getting kidnapped and enduring extremely traumatic physical/sexual abuse, and death. Yes, I feared for their emotional well-being, physical well-being, and daily treatment, but I really believed they were better off where they were.

But, I don’t know what happened. I am still stuck, trying to figure out when suicide became an option for my son. How? When? Why? As I said, the earlier part of this year, I began to get concerned about my son taking his life. My worry for him increased and I tried to reach out for help….In vain. I was ignored. My pleas were ignored.

Every night I lay awake wondering all kinds of thoughts. I question everything.

I mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G surrounding Darren’s life. I question his mental state. I question his emotional state. I question my parenting. I question his dad’s parenting. I question his relationships with other people. I question and question and question some more. I replay that night in my head. I replay the last time we seen one another in my head. I replay the four previous months in my head. I replay the last year in my head. I replay it all in my head and still have no answers. I am as much without answers as I was three months ago.

I want the pain to stop.

I want the questions to stop.

I want the tears to stop.

Mostly, I. Just. Want. Him. Back.

Now, to figure out how to go on without him — heartbreaking for me as his fear was that he wouldn’t be missed.

How do I move on with my life without forgetting about him. I mean, forget. Who could forget? Definitely not me, but he’s not here, so where does that leave a person?

In one of his suicide notes he wrote:

I should just go, go for good. I’ve thought about it many times………..*** will be happier, it’s just Darren gone.  ~ Darren

I’ve thought about that quote many times since he passed away. What does it mean?

He’s gone, there’s no denying that. But, what does it mean for him to say “It’s just Darren gone” because he’s not just gone. Yes, he’s no longer with us. He will never walk or talk with us again on this earth, but his memory is very much alive. He will always be with me albeit not physically, but with me still.

Oh, hell, this sucks!

Life Moments # 30 – Suicide Prevention Month

It’s official….

It’s now #SuicidePreventionMonth

And here’s my motivation:

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Since Darren passed away in May, I have been looking for ways to get involved. I’ve made numerous posts all tagged #suicide.

As many of you know, my son took his life. He made a choice to end his life rather than continue living with all the pain he felt in his heart.

I don’t understand. I will never understand.

I don’t know what pushed him to that point. I have some very strong assumptions that will stay with me forever.

Through these last 3.5 months, I have been trying to get as involved as I can in the prevention of suicide.

Through reaching out, I have found some great resources, ways to get involved, and met some great people who also share my passion for helping others who have gone through what I have or who are headed down that road. My hopes are to connect with those people who have seen the darkness, but have found a way to overcome it.

So, to kick off suicide prevention month, here are some suicide facts:

Please join me in spreading awareness. You can even join my team for the upcoming Out of the Darkness walk @

https://afsp.donordrive.com/team/Darren

Life Moments #29 – Living with Loss, but Making Progress

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Darren J. Wallace 1/11/01 – 7/17/18

Darren has been gone 3.5 months – May 17 will forever be a day etched into my memory for two reasons:

  • My niece was born in 2002 and
  • Darren took his life.

It’s funny how dates will stick in our minds, but other stuff seem to drift out even when we need to remember it. At least, that’s how my memory works.

Anyway, he’s been gone 3.5 months. The first day of school came and went. It’s already been almost 2 weeks since school started! Where does the time go?

With all but one of the kids in school, I have much more time to think, to stay busy, or not stay busy. I choose to try to stay busy so I won’t focus so much on what happened as it is a heartache that will never heal. But, I do need to learn to live with it, unfortunately. Not something I want, but something I need.

I continue to talk about Darren because he’s my son and no matter if he’s with us or not, he will always be my son. Plus, I don’t find it so easy to not ever talk about him. My big fear with that is that he will be forgotten and I just can’t allow that. In my home, we will always remember him. I understand he’s not here and he never will be again, but he was. He made a difference in our lives and for that reason, he will be remembered. In fact, when people act as if he didn’t exist, my heart breaks a little more.

I will say, though, that the days are getting a little easier. I still cry at night and during the day. I still tear up at a memory or a thought. The tears are not constant anymore, but my breathe catches at the mention of his name sometimes. I visit his grave multiple times a week. A few of his friends keep in contact with me with their memories and talk about their own sadness over losing Darren.

Really, my goal now is to keep him alive in my heart and to help others who may be contemplating suicide. However, I want to focus not only on helping keep others alive, but also to change the way people think about pain (all sorts) so they never reach that point.

September is Suicide Prevention month. As we draw closer and closer to September, I ask you to remember the lives that have been lost to suicide as well as take a stand against suicide by reaching out to others who may be in a dark place. You can prevent suicide! We all can! We don’t need a degree in psychology, social work or mental health. Here are five ways you can do your part to prevent suicide:

  • First and foremost, be a friend. Always. Be kind.
  • Get educated about suicide: warning signs, causes
  • Show compassion
  • Talk about it! Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Rather than hide from it, confront it. Take away the stigma.
  • Take threats seriously, Always. This is crucial!

For me, my involvement begins with the Out of the Darkness walk in my area taking place on September 14. However, the walks occur around the country in the month of September. Find one close to you and take part in it.

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Life Moments #28 – Dreams of Darren and Communication

 

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Brothers

 

My heart melted one evening as I was getting ready for bed. My 13 yo son came to my room and snuggled against me, laying his head on my shoulder. It was getting late and since school is starting, I have been trying to get the kids back on school schedule. My first instinct was to tell him to go back to bed, but then he asked, “Do you dream of Darren?” That stopped me in my tracks, like now as it does most anytime I hear Darren’s name. Anyway, I told him that I have and asked him if he dreamed of him. He answered, “I had a dream of him while I was visiting at mema’s.” And I could hear the catch in his voice, he choked up a bit. I looked at him to see tears rolling down his cheeks. At this point, I wrapped my arms around him and asked what he dreamed about and this is what he said:

While I was sleeping, I dreamed that Darren was shaking me, telling me to wake up. And then he told me, “I love you so much.” Then I opened my eyes, but he wasn’t there. I didn’t see him.

He just started crying at that point and then we cried together. It must have really shaken him up because he was still thinking about it two/three days later. He went on to tell me of another ‘talk with Darren’ that he had a few days after the funeral. I then told him of my dream of Darren and a similar ‘talk with Darren’ experience that I had.

For some reason, we both felt a peace after those experiences.

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Boys and their toys

Death is hard for an adult. Losing my son has been an extremely emotional, devastating ordeal for me. Sometimes, we forget that others are affected by the loss as well. Talking with my 13yo that evening was a step for both of us on the road to healing.

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he loved little kids

I encourage my children to talk to me, to anyone they feel comfortable with, almost daily as I want their emotional well-being to be healthy. I do not ever want them to feel bad or guilty or silly for what they feel nor do I want them to feel bad or guilty or silly for talking about it.

Some ways that I find helpful to engage my young teenagers in heart-to-heart conversation include:

  • Listen. My first objective when it comes to communicating with my children is listening. When he or she feels heard then conversation will continue. Using myself as an example, there are many times I quit talking because nobody is listening. Everyone wants to know that what they have to say is important enough for someone to hear. If we teach our children from a young age that their voice counts, they will keep their voice.
  • Let them lead the conversation. If you want to know what’s going on with your young teenager, let them do the talking. It’s so easy for adults to ‘take over’ the conversation with our ‘wise’ advice. Sometimes, the best lessons we learn are the ones learned the hard way. As much as it sucks for us, as parents, to watch our children stumble and fall, we have to understand that eventually they will regain their balance and learn to walk. Such is life.
  • Give them breathing room, but make sure they know you are there. Not there to fix their problems, but there to help them through the problem. Not there to take over their joys, but there to share their joys.
  • And learn their passions. There isn’t any better conversation than a conversation with someone than a conversation about an interest the two parties share. If you hate football (as was my case), learn to love it. I made my two oldest boys talk about it with me all the time. They had to explain everything to me, but they talked. They were teaching me something! Now that can open doors!

So mommas and daddy’s, pull up a chair and encourage your young teens to talk. I wish I had pushed a little more with my Darren.

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Hangin’ out with little brother

#FightSuicide #SuicidePrevention #SuicideAwareness #MissinHimBad #lovehimforeverlikehimforalways #suicidesucks #lovethembabiescuztheyaintbabieslong #Darren

 

Life Moments #27 – Changes

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Reading this quote made me think about change in my own life. I came to the conclusion that:

Change is not my friend.

As many of you know, my son passed away three months ago.

As I said:

Change is not my friend.

Losing him has been one hell of a change, a change that I definitely have not been able to accept. At least, I’m doing a pretty crappy job of it right now.

The day I lost him, my world dropped out from under me. These days, it seems like I am just floating through my life.

Here, but not here.

I have carefully catalogued each memory of him into my mind, but don’t let them surface very often yet. It is quite painful.

But, I recently was going through some computer discs and came upon some goodies.

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Over the last few days, I have had quite a few melt-downs. I feel like I am drowning in this heartache. Nothing around me makes sense and although I should feel joy, the hurt is just too big. I went to his grave, like I do most days, and just sat there.

Not talking.

Not scolding.

Not feeling.

Just crying.

I sat there and just cried.

I want the pain to stop, but it won’t.

I want Darren to be back with us, but he’s not going to be.

I want the tears to stop, but they won’t.

I am a jumbled up mess right now. Will I ever be normal again?

Change is not my friend. Even less now than ever.

 

#FightSuicide #SuicideSucks #lovehimforeverlikehimforalways #MissinHimBad #Iamnowbroken

 

Life Moments #26 – Missin’ My Baby

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I sat and stared at your picture today.

It still doesn’t seem real that you are gone.

Honestly, it can’t be real.

Can it?

I have spent a lot of time thinking of the short seventeen years, four months, and six days you were with us. I thought about all the laughter and the tears. I thought about the triumphs and the fears. I thought about the many sleepless nights, from infancy to teenager.

Sometimes, I want to run, just run, screaming for you to come back. Other times, I sit and cry. Sometimes, I want to hit the wall or a tree, just hit something so hard because you’re gone. The early morning we got the news, we waited to tell the kids until later in the day. However, we found out everybody already knew and we didn’t want the kids to find out from someone else so we picked them up from school. I remember your middle brother telling me he wanted to hit something because he was angry that you were gone.

OMGoodness, it was such a shock to the little kids. To me, I was stunned. I didn’t have a reaction right away other than disbelief, like it wasn’t true, but I knew. To this day, I wish I hadn’t carried that fear because maybe if it wasn’t a fear then it wouldn’t be true and I wouldn’t be typing this right now.

And still I ask, it can’t be real.

Can it?

I think about you constantly. My mind is jumbled with thoughts of you, of helping others, and letting our tragedy make a difference for someone else.

But, I just can’t get past how stuck I feel, as if I am sinking in quicksand and nobody around me can help. People move on. People accept it, remember you, but move on. Why do I feel so stuck?

Every day, I get up slowly and I look around. And I remember that you aren’t here so I try to graciously get through another day. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I talk about you all the time. I write about you mostly. I show pictures of you that I have on my phone to your baby sister. I have been teaching her your name. She can almost say it, so garbled that it doesn’t sound anything like your name, but it is. One day she will say it clearly!

I still can’t believe you are gone. And all I want to know is…..

WHY?

and

How do I go on?

 

 

#missinhimbad #Darren #lovehimforeverlikehimforalways #FightSuicide #suicidesucks

Life Moments #25 – Hanging On…..Barely

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These last few days of summer are busy, busy, busy trying to get everything ready for the school year. Today’s agenda: took a couple of the kids to their semi-annual dental appointment.

As I sat in the waiting area for my kids’ turn, I watched everyone scurrying around me as they, too, were doing the last minute dental check-ups. It was a busy place today! I observed in my own quiet way. The introvert that I am, I just watched. Kids here and there, even ran into a friend’s son, someone who knew my son. He kindly ask me how I was doing, but I try to stay away from the subject of Darren with most people as it….it’s a hard topic for me. I told him we were hanging in as expected and then changed the subject back to him and his accomplishments. He has been kind of a big deal at his high-school the last few years due to his wrestling skills so I gave him congrats on his upcoming freshman year in college and more wrestling. Yes, I’m guilty. I don’t know all the wrestling terms, but it was nice to see him. I know his parents are proud of his hard work and commitment. He will do great things in his life. My point here was that I just needed to change the subject from my son to something a lot less emotional for me.

As he said goodbye and left with his friends, I went back to my observing. Each family was there for a purpose, a dental check-up and as I watched their perfectly ordinary lives from the outside looking it, nothing seemed askew. The children chatted, the parents or parent thumbed through magazines and conversed with their children. And as we normally see, many people were on their phones, completely oblivious to the noise around them. I continued my observing, most of the time lost in thought – a black cloud hovering above me – wondering what their lives were really like. Nobody except the receptionist knew of what had happened to my son. To be kind, she asked how we were doing – a well-meaning question full of concern, but it cuts so deeply as my heartbreak is still so recent. It’s only been three months. A question that is asked with the best of intentions, but painful nonetheless.

Every day I swim in this grief, trying with all my heart to claw my way out of the darkness, but not having much luck. I wonder if everyone else knows and just not saying anything because what is there really to say? What are the other people in this place really thinking?

They don’t know. How could they?

Finally, our turn. As we made our way to the exam tables, the boys needed updated dental x-rays so we started there. Looks like braces in the near future for one, the other just needs to brush his teeth better. What is it with kids and brushing their teeth? You would think they would want clean teeth! 

Time to exit my head and put on my focus hat because now it’s time to drive. It felt like a really long day, but in all actuality, we were only gone about 3 hours.

In my grief-stricken state of mind, three hours that felt like a week and now my mind is exhausted.

How does grief have that affect on people?

Hmmm……

He’s never far from my thoughts. The pain is always with me.

#heavyheart #MissinHimBad #Darren #Smoochie #anotherdaywithouthim #FightSuicide