Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood, Suicide Awareness/Prevention

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.

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Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood

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.

Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood, Suicide Awareness/Prevention

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!

Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood, Suicide Awareness/Prevention

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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Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood, Suicide Awareness/Prevention

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

 

Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood, Suicide Awareness/Prevention

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

 

Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood, Suicide Awareness/Prevention

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

Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood

Life Moments #24 – His Life Ended Too Soon….

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Darren, age 9. Aww, I sure love him.

As we are enjoying the last week of summer vacation, my heart grows heavier with each passing day.

Every teenager and parent anticipates the excitement of senior year. Darren was no different, although his reasons may have been different. He couldn’t wait to get out of school. He wanted to be done so he could begin his life out from under the control of his parents.

However……

He will not be attending senior year.

As I see all the fresh senior pics posted around me, my heart grows heavier.

Darren’s will not be one of them.

He and I discussed senior pictures earlier this year. It was something I was looking forward to. He and I shared that passion for photography. And he was very photogenic.

So, this is only one of the many milestones I will never see in his life.

I will never see him enjoy being the uncle to his little niece when she is born.

I will never see him go to college or not….whichever he would have decided.

I will never see him get married or have children of his own.

I will never get to hear him talk about his joys or see his smile.

It breaks my heart to know these things, but I can’t really stay in this place of darkness.  I can’t undo what has been done. I can’t run away from it. I can’t wish it to change as much as I want to.

What I can do is remember him and learn how to live each day without him.

And I’m not looking forward to that.

#FightSuicide #MissingHimBad #LoveHimForeverLikeHimForAlways #Darren #Smoochie

Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood

Life Moments #23 – Where Do We Go From Here?

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The sled for the truck pulls. The tractor pulls it backward into the starting position after each truck’s turn.

The other day, my husband, my children, and I went to the county fair as we do every year. My husband shares the same birthday with our twin sons and every year on or around his birthday, the county fair takes place. One of the attractions that we enjoy at the county fair is the truck pulls.

And every year we have gone to these truck pulls for almost as long as we have been together. We have some wonderful family memories that have taken place at this truck pull. This year was no different.

Only is was different.

We were missing one child, which – like most of the summer – put a damper on it for me. So, as we arrived at the fairgrounds, I suddenly had the urge, like uncontrollable urge, to just go back home. I told my husband exactly that and since the day was already off to a rough start, he was more than willing to agree.

But, I couldn’t go home.

You see, I had told my oldest son that I would come watch him because he thought he was going to participate in the truck pull. And, as most of the time, I wanted to be supportive and cheer him on.

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My oldest son, my youngest daughter and myself

With some apprehension, we unloaded the kiddos and trudged our way through the gate. As we walked along, I began to feel my apprehension go into almost a full-blown panic attack.

What the heck was causing such unrest in my soul?

My son being gone and here I am about to see his father not only there, but there to enter the truck pull with two (2) trucks. Mind you, I haven’t seen his father since our son’s funeral, and I haven’t spoken to him since before the funeral when I texted his girlfriend that they are to blame for the death of my son.

My nerves were very much a jumbled mess.

The other day I was talking to my oldest son who is completely broken-hearted right now. He lost his brother. He is angry. He is hurting. And he doesn’t understand why any more than the rest of us.

But, he is there. And he is caught in the middle. Sometimes, I think he feels like he has to choose. I told him when we spoke last and he was so upset that if it came to choosing, if he just felt like he had to choose –  like if he didn’t have a choice but to choose, then I want him to choose his dad. Not because his dad is better than me. Not because his dad deserves him more than I do, but because I don’t want to make him choose.

If parents could only understand what their hatefulness and spitefulness does to their children then they wouldn’t engage in such behaviors.

I am angry at their father. I am angry about the kind of person he is and what he has done to our boys. I am angry. But I wish him no harm. I blame him for what happened to our son because I honestly and completely believe that my son did what he did due to the hatefulness he received from his dad. But even though I feel that way, that man is still their father and we still have one son. For that reason alone, I try to forget the angst, the pain, the anger he has caused me and let the rest of it rest.

Crazy, huh?

#wheredowegofromhere #lovethatboyofmine #wishingtheotherwasstillhere

Anything Goes, Life in General, Missing You, Motherhood, Suicide Awareness/Prevention

Remembering Darren Giveaway!

concrete Darren image

Many of you may not know me personally or even know my Darren personally, but he wasn’t just one of my children. He brought blessings that only he could bring into our life. I feel we all have a purpose on this earth. Some may never know their purpose, and I may not even know mine, but one purpose for me was to raise a family. My husband and I are still pretty young, only 38, so our children are still pretty young, too. We haven’t completely raised them yet. My oldest is 19, Darren was 17, then 14, 13, 13, 8, 6, 5, almost 1….we have a ways to go before they are actually “raised.” However, it is with a big heart that I strive to accomplish my purpose of raising a family.

Losing Darren has been a hard battle, to say the least. My mind hasn’t fully comprehended that he’s gone although I know that he is.

It is through outreach, promoting suicide awareness, and talking about him that helps keep him alive. He may no longer be here in his body, but he will always be here in my heart.

So, far all who knew him, I ask you to talk of him as well.

Tell your stories of him.

Remember his goodness and laughter.

Remember his shining personality and help others to know him through your memories.

Many of you know by now that one way I am keeping him alive in my heart is by contributing to suicide awareness. I am getting involved in the fight against suicide. I firmly believe suicide can be prevented. It can be prevented by reaching out to those who are in a dark place. For instance, my son was texting a girl the night he took his life. He told her what he was doing. She could have prevented this from happening if she had had the courage, the decency, to call someone (his father, myself, 911) when she received the first message.

But, this post isn’t about her lack of action.

I am asking you to get involved.

I am asking you to pay attention.

I am asking each of you to contribute your own memory of Darren. Please comment your memory below.

 

In remembrance of Darren, the first three (3) people to comment their memory of him, will receive a gift to honor him.

Let’s remember Darren.

Let’s #fightsuicide together.