When I was about eight or nine years old I had a crush on Donny Osmond. I even wrote him a letter telling him how great it would be if he visited Dayton. That was back in the days of "Puppy Love" and "Go Away Little Girl." Then when he teamed up with his younger sister, Marie, I loved the Donny and Marie Show. It would be great to have Marie as my sister-in-law. I was heartbroken (not too badly though) when Donny married his wife and I knew Marie would never be my sister-in-law. However, this afternoon I realized that Marie and I are sisters, sisters as moms who have lost their sons to suicide.
As I sat down to watch Oprah this afternoon, I knew it would be emotional, but I wasn't expecting the emotions I feel right now. Right now I feel a little relieved. The words that Marie spoke, are the words I needed to hear. She is feeling the same way I am right now. Her son took his life eight months ago and mine took his five months ago. However, her words could have been coming from me. "Your life changes." "If you stay with the 'what ifs' you will have no life." "It never gets easier. God gives you respites, but it never gets easier." Amen sister.
She also said that she will never know just why her son took his life; her words rang so true. I'll never know why Andrew made the choice he did, but I've come to peace with the fact that I don't want to know. Will it bring him back? Will it make my life any easier? Will it make me love him any less? No, no, and no.
Dear Abby also had something to share with me tonight. "More than 30,000 people take their lives annually. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, more than 80 percent of us will lose someone to suicide during our lives. This is why the organization sponsors National Survivors of Suicide Day every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It's a day when surviving parents, children, siblings, spouses, and friends gather and take comfort in being with others who know what it means to lose a loved one to suicide."
I won't be able to gather with Marie on November 20, but my prayers will be with her. I don't need a national day to be comforted by others who know what it means to lose a love one to suicide. All of you who knew and loved Andrew are survivors too. And your love, support and prayers for me and my family comforts us daily. My life will never be the same without Andrew, but my life was made better by the fact that he was in my life for sixteen precious years.