My son took his life and I found his letter this weekend: - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Grief and Loss > My son took his life and I found his letter this weekend:
ldsapmom's Avatar ldsapmom 08:32 PM 08-26-2004
Hi. I am so sorry for what happened. August 22nd was the 3 year anniversary of my step-dad taking his life.

I did not live in the home any longer, but my sister (14 years) and brother (12 years) did. My sister still goes to weekly counseling because of the aftershock of it all. She has talked of suicide before, like within the first year of his death. She seems to be in a good place now, but she still swings back and forth pretty hard.

My brother did go to counseling for the first two years, but says he does not need to go right now. He appears pretty unshaken about the whole thing, but he does not bring my stepdad up, either.

I was the one who found my stepdad's note.

(((hugs))) to you and your family.

Emilie's Avatar Emilie 01:11 AM 08-27-2004
Just wanted to tell you that I am so glad that you feel comfortable sharing here right now. We are all thinking of you and are here for you.
I am sorry that you had a father that did those things to you. I have heard of the hitting kids with baseballs to get them not to be scared to get hit before- it is sad.
I do think that a couselor ( there seem to be some great resources listed above_ will be a great help to your family- it will help you to help your son more and your wife and yourself. You are doing what you can for your son. His pain is so real and so is yours. It has to be so hard to try to take care of them- while taking the time to grieve youself. Take care of each other- love each other.
Remember it is ok for your son to see you sad- the reason I say this is because it seems that from the way your father was- seeing him cry was probally unheard of..
We are always thinking of you here and I am so glad that you continue to post.
pia's Avatar pia 09:33 AM 08-27-2004
SeaClearly, I am so so so sorry for your loss - I can only send a big tight hug for consolation - words don´t seem sufficient.
I lost my Dad to suicide 5.5years ago - and I still haven´t quite healed. But it does get easier, even if the pain is still there.
It helped me doing a lot of reading and research. I did endless searches on suicide on the internet, and it helped me knowing that other people were in my shoes too. A very good book to read though is "Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide", by Kay Redfield Jamison.
Stay close to your other son now - he needs you - probably more than ever (your wife too!).

I recently came across a couple of very good websites on death and dying:
The second one also deals with grief in children.
There is a also a PDF that your son may want to try out to try to get his feelings across - it´s called "What Color is Death, Daddy?" ( ) ?
Please take care of yourself - try to make sure you all get good healthy food and rest as much as possible! Your immune system will need all the help it can get right now. Make sure that your son stays away from dairy products, as they just exacerbate asthma.

I hope this helps. I am glad you are on this forum - everyone here wants to help. Keep posting, and we will all try our best to meet your need for talking about this.
Sending love and healing vibes as best I can to you and your family!!
Emilie's Avatar Emilie 02:28 AM 09-01-2004
Just checking in to see how you and your family are doing. We think of you often.
LaLaLuna's Avatar LaLaLuna 04:09 AM 09-01-2004
SeaClearly- I only just saw this thread as I'm a little sporadic on this board sometimes. I want to offer my support and condolences. I lost my beloved brother to suicide a few years ago; I still get overwhelmed by sadness at times. It was hard watching my parents have to absorb that monumental loss, too.

I am not surprised at the memories of distant abuse coming up for you; I think that deep grief does something to stir up deeply buried memories; I found myself dwelling on some of the abusive behavior of my father after my brother took his life as well.. I'm not sure why that had to be part of the process but it was.

I'm glad that you have other family nearby during this time, and i"m glad your son has a supportive and available dad. Nurture him- he needs to know that there are still safe places to be in the world.
BelovedBird's Avatar BelovedBird 07:39 AM 09-01-2004
I am so sorry, sea. I hope you find a good couselor or clergyperson to talk to and be there for you. I agree with the others who said trust your instinct about your 14 year old.
Joyce in the mts.'s Avatar Joyce in the mts. 10:04 AM 09-01-2004

Here's just a touch on the shoulder for strength.

I really don't much else that would really be helpful to offer you.

Wishing You & Yours Peace,

Joyce in the mts.
Bluegrass's Avatar Bluegrass 10:59 PM 09-07-2004
You are in my thoughts during this time. I can't even imagine what you are going through. I lost my mother to suicide, but that is so different to losing your child.
Do you have any family or friends who would be willing to come over and sit with your son and wife while you get some sleep. Your friends want to help you. They just don't know what to do. Give them something concrete. Just have someone awake in the house so you can rest.
I also suggest looking into Hospice. Many times Hospice conducts grief counseling and has different support groups (you don't have to have had a Hospice patient to access their services). I used to be a Hospice social worker, and we would sometimes have groups. I also would take calls from people who were grieving. The social workers there are trained to deal with death and grief over death. I highly recommend them.
Emilie's Avatar Emilie 02:54 AM 10-01-2004
Just checking in again to let you know that your family is in my families thoughts.
Ellien C's Avatar Ellien C 12:01 PM 10-01-2004
For what's it's worth - I was once part of Army Combat Stress detachment and we had a unit on "the signs of suicide." But at the end, one the counselors said that men very often show NO SIGNS of suicide. You're his parent - you knew him best. It isn't that you missed signs. He just didn't show any. This is more common than we think.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 11:57 PM 10-01-2004
Well I haven't been able to post for a few days and I need a little bit of help. First off I'm still in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and I didn't think Jeane would be this bad and it was too late to get a flight out and my relatives house we have been staying at just got power back a few hours ago and it went out Sunday morning. Now it has been so stressfull for all of us that my son has started having massive attacts with seizures and now they won't let us go home without us having to spend several thousand dollars for a medical transport and we either have a choice to spend the money or stay. They are saying that this is from stress but I've never read anything about severe asthma patients having seizures. He had one so bad at the hospital he broke one of his teeth and vomited and almost choked on it. They just won't tell me what the hell is wrong with him.

The only thing they will tell me that for him to go home we have to get a ticket from an airline and flight that approves medical transport for ICU child patients. He also has to go with a doctor or or a nurse with a background if child ICU transport. He also needs to be put to sleep and have breathing done for him because of how high the plane will get.

None of this is covered by insurance and they said the bill would be around 2 grand just for the airline seat for him not counting almost 5 grand for his life support costs. I can spend the money but I would rather not if we will get better but they can't tell me that it will get better and that is what is really bothering me. They did a MRI and 24 hour EEG and they have had doctors go in and out and had meetings all the time and are doing other tests such as a PET scan, EKG and ultrasound of his liver, kidneys and heart but they won't tell me why they are doing them.

Shouldn't I be allowed to know what is being done to my son. Shouldn't I have to authorize this stuff. I asked the doctors that I should be giving permission to do this stuff and they shot back at me saying if I didn't they would allow the state of florida and child welfare services take contral over his case. This is bothering me in that why would they say this unless something is very serious with him.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 01:20 AM 10-02-2004
I just got back from the hospital and was thinking about taking my son up north as they advised but they told me I would have to wait until they reserved a bed in the nearest ICU from the hospital closest from the airport and they also have to arrange a critical care transport team to take him from the airport to the hospital. I know there is something they aren't telling me now and my lawyer isn't available right now until Monday and I need to know who I can contact to force the doctors to tell me what is wrong. This doesn't seem normal does it. Even for Asthma and the seizures this still can't be normal can it. I can understand the airplane stuff because if he does stop breathing in the air that could become a big problem but it doesn't make sense that they would need to arrange critical care transport and a bed for another hospital. If I do this they would make me fly into Logan Airport and they would reserve a bed in Childrens Hospital Boston. They are talking with AirLifeLine about letting me pay them the money directly because it would be cheaper than any other route but they mainly do transport for needy families but for the time being I would rather pay 5 grand instead of 10 grand because I don't have that much money to just blow 10 grand.

But even this will take time because AirLifeLine doesn't normally take patients that actually need life support needs during the flight so they will have to work out that and a doctor would have to be with him the entire time but at least using a private plane can land at the nearest airport quickly if anything happens. They also tell me this would all depend on whether the FAA would approve these methods. These planes aren't equipped with life support gear at all.

They also told me that they would fly him via BayFlight to Tampa General Hospital and make sure he is stable and once the plane arrives he would be taken from Tampa General Hospital to Tampa International Airport via Critical Care transport. They would also put him asleep and put him on a breathing machine while at Tampa General before he is taken to the airport.
spero's Avatar spero 01:30 AM 10-02-2004
Oh, I am so very sorry. I can't imagine what a nightmare this must be for you.

Is there a 24-hr legal aid hotline or ANYTHING that can help you? If your lawyer isn't available, I think I would find one who is - immediately.

My gosh, what a horrible situation. I pray you find answers and that your son is all right.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 01:58 AM 10-02-2004
I just got a call from the hospital and they said AirLifeLine wouldn't take him because the planes aren't setup correctly but they talked to my insurance company and they are now willing to cover him for transport from a company called Air Trek and I did a google search and found their website but I'm not sure if I should say yes or not because I don't know this company at all. They said they would only transport one family member with him so I'm going to get another flight before so I can be there and my wife is going with him if I say yes. The hospital said this company would provide all the life-support needs between transport to and from the plane and during the plane and they can do anything on the plane that they could do in a hospital. They have a tube down his nose to breath now but they need to have it down his throat during the flight for whatever reason. They also said they need to put in a central line into his chest before transport.

Should I just stay in All Childrens Hospital in Florida or do you think its not that risky for him to fly. I'm thinking if we stay it would be less risk but I would also like him to have his other family members see him but that would mean going back home. I just don't know what to do right now. They are scaring me more and more with all this stuff they have to do.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 02:08 AM 10-02-2004
My wife called me from the hospital and told me a couple of things and I wonder if anyone knows that could cause these things. I never bothered to look at this for some reason but she has been jotting this stuff down.

Over the last 14 hours his blood pressure has gone from 106/72 down to 73/59 and his heart beat has gone from 126/minute down to 83/minute.

Do you think they should be telling us something about now and all they say is that they don't know whats wrong but I think they do because why would they allow us the chance to leave but they will be sending records with him to the next hospital. What if they don't know whats wrong.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 02:38 AM 10-02-2004
I called the hospital and said I want to know everything or I would go to a news station and say everything that they are doing to us and they said his doctor would be paged and would call me within 15 minutes. I just talked to him and finally got some information. They didn't tell us because they didn't know and still don't know but they didn't want to tell us the worst. What he did tell me is that his lungs are failing and he was having seizures because his brain was being starved from air. Also his heart is starting to fail because of this and that is why they did the EKG. They did the EEG to see if his brain was being starved of air and they did an MRI and a PET Scan to make sure he didn't need surgery right away. Right now they are still doing tests and are planning on doing a biopsy of his lung to check for cancer. They also noticed from tests that his lung sacs aren't holding as much air in them as they need to to survive so that is why he needs breathing done for him.

They said right now they think he has emphysema but they would need to do further testing to make sure its not cancer because right now if its not cancer they can do a lung reduction but if he has cancer he would need a lung transplant and even touching his lungs now if he had cancer would be way too risky.

This isn't the news I wanted to hear but the doctor said this problem was masked by the athsma but was cought intime that if its not cancer he would need a lung transplant. He did say it was good that he had a severe infection because if he didn't have it he at some point could stop breathing in his sleep because he said unlike asthma when a parent can hear to attack if his lungs failed you won't hear it at all he would just stop breathing instead of weezing and fighting for air.

But he said they don't think its cancer but they will do a biospy to make sure but he didn't want to tell us bad news and then say we have to check for more bad news. But he didn't want us going to the news because it would cause more problems than it would help.
LittleIslandMom's Avatar LittleIslandMom 06:40 AM 10-02-2004
May the LORD continue to give you and your wife the strength to come through this together with your son.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 08:48 AM 10-02-2004
Well they did a biopsy last night and the doctor came in about an hour ago and told my wife that it wasn't cancer and they have scheduled him for lung reduction surgery this afternoon and it should take about 10-18 hours depending on what needs done and how things go. The doc said this is very good news even if it seems hard to believe that. So I somehow got 5 hours sleep tonight so now I'm going to be driving myself nuts for the next 24 hours. They did have to put a chest tube in last night to clear out fluids and to pump air into his lung and the doc said they would like to get this done as soon as they can. They did a genetic test and that was ruled as not being the problem so they now think that once he got his serious infection that allowed the outside air to just eat up his lungs for some reason. So he now has holes basically in his lungs and after they patch them or do whatever they are going to do they will be giving me medication that he will take this rest of his life because if the same thing happens again he will need a lung transplant but the meds will avoid this happening again.

All in all pretty good news. But the bad news is the surgery itself is going to make my sons recovery very painfull. They will have to crack his ribs to do their work and he will have increased risks of bleeding and increased risk for his system shutting down. They will be forced to put him on a heart lung machine so they can work on the lungs because they can't inflate and deflate during this and they need to do their work as fast as they can because the longer they keep him on this machine the great risk that he might die.
girlfromthefuture's Avatar girlfromthefuture 10:12 AM 10-02-2004
Such incredible grief you're all just doesn't seem to end. Please know that we're all here supporting you and sending love and energy for complete healing ~

I don't know what I can do for you, but if you can think of ANYTHING ~ AT ALL ~ please don't hesitate to ask.

I will be praying for you all.

Please take good care of yourself, too. You've had way more than one person should have to handle. You're a good man.

Mary Karl-Gruswitz
Bluegrass's Avatar Bluegrass 11:49 AM 10-02-2004
I have no words.

You are in my thoughts. I will be praying for your family.
spero's Avatar spero 12:28 PM 10-02-2004
Praying for you, your family, and esp your son today.

May the Lord grant you all strength and the peace that passes all understanding.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 09:06 PM 10-02-2004
The kid that was scheduled for 9am wasn't able to have surgery because she had an infection so they did my sons at 9am and I just got home about 10 minutes ago. Everything went really good and they got done a little bit before 10 hours. I just couldn't believe all the tubes and other things all over his body. I thought what he had was bad but he had at least double the stuff coming every direction. He couldn't talk because of his breathing tube and they tied his hands and legs to the beds so he didn't pull anything out in panic. They gave me a pad that he could write on and at the time he woke up he was trying to tell me something and I asked him to write what he wanted. He wrote to ask me where his mom was and at that moment I knew things went great. She was having something to eat and I went and got her for him and he wrote to her that he was hurting really bad and was crying so the doctors thought best to give him some strong meds that would put him to sleep so my wife is staying with him and I went home to just rest and post here.

I just can't believe that things are starting to look up now. But it was hard for me to see him in that much pain. He was crying and shaking bad for the last few minutes until the drugs kicked in. Those last few minutes I couldn't bare because I couldn't help my baby except for my wife and I to just hold his hands.

The docs said they most likely will take out the breathing tube sometime within the next day or so but right now they have to make sure he doesn't get an infection because he body is so beat up and his system that he can get an infection much easier because of this and having a fairly open wound makes things worse but they assured me they are pumping anti-biotics into him left and right and as long as anyone coming into his room have masks over their nose and mouths things should be great.
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 08:37 AM 10-03-2004
Well they took his breathing tube out a few hours ago and woke him up and he was doing fine for about an hour until he complained of severe itching on his chest and they were forced to tie his arms up again so he wouldn't scratch it. It ended up being an allergic reaction to something they called steri strips and I'm not sure about the spelling but that is what it sounded like. So they had to take him back into the OR and remove them and stitch him up again and he will need more pain drugs after that but he won't need a breathing tube again and will be able to talk to us again but at least he doesn't need a breathing tube anymore now. They expect him to be out of the OR in an hour or so. My wife has been really good keeping me informed of changes. I will be taking over and letting her sleep in a few hours so I won't have a chance to keep you informed for at least until afternoon but overall things are going better than expected. The doctors said that patients usually take closer to 24 hours to breath on their own without assistance but my son was closer to 12 hours so that is good.
Unreal's Avatar Unreal 09:46 AM 10-03-2004

You are in our thoughts

don't forget to take care of yourself through all of this

SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 03:27 PM 10-03-2004
Thanks and I'm doing fine for the most part. Just very happy he came through all right. He was awake and happy to talk with us for most of the time but he just can't stay awake for more than an hour at a time and when he is awake he still hurts even with the meds but it doesn't seem that bad overall. They did say that for now he is out of the woods with the exception of infection but that should not be a problem.
HomebodyMom_with3's Avatar HomebodyMom_with3 11:34 PM 10-04-2004
Lots of us are pulling for you, Sea, and for your son and wife. Don't forget.... your family has an angel in heaven watching down upon you all too. No, you may not understand why the course of events happened with your oldest son but the Lord does.... and has welcomed your oldest son into His waiting arms. So, don't forget, your youngest son has some "heavenly help" these days, from his big brother who now has wings.

Take care and thank you for keeping us posted!!

Homebody Mom
SeaClearly2004's Avatar SeaClearly2004 07:54 AM 10-05-2004
Thanks and he must having something helping him. He is doing very good now and he might be allowed to fly home in a couple of weeks but he is healing right up and he is much more upbeat now. He also hasn't had as much trouble breathing even before all of this happened. This problem could have been what was making him worse over the last few months. Also when he seemed depressed and not wanting to talk much it could have been because he was too sick and worn out so that might of made him seem depressed. I've talked to him for the last day or so and asked him if he was very sad about his brother and he said he missed him but he was always tired and never felt upto doing anything and when he did he said his chest would start to hurt really bad so he never did anything.

I wish he would have told me exactly what he was feeling but he said he didn't want to bother me because I looked very sad. I'm just glad I know what I know now but I just would rather not find this out in the way we all did.

Now he will be taking meds from now on and I told him if he ever feels the way he did again he must tell us even if he doesn't want to bother us because nothing is more important than making sure you are OK. That made him smile as you might expect. He needs to understand that just because we are sad he still means everything to us and must tell us when something is wrong.
Unreal's Avatar Unreal 09:35 AM 10-05-2004
I just wanted to let you know that with every post of yours I read, I have this huge urge to send hundreds of hugs
and tell you that you are an incredible parent--I know we all just try our best, but I do think you are doing an exceptional job.

I am so glad to hear that your son is feeling better and that the lines of communication are open between you

polka123's Avatar polka123 12:31 AM 10-08-2004

My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.

what you have endured is incredible.

please know that you have many friends here

rachelle-a-tron's Avatar rachelle-a-tron 05:11 AM 10-08-2004
Wishing you all peace & strength. I am so sorry you are going through all of this.

Love from the Stephens Family.
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