Journaling After My Son’s Suicide

By Karen Kosman:

 Journaling after my son’s suicide helped me cope with grieving.

 

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

 

Two years after the loss of my son I found my grief once more resurfacing. I thought I had moved on and tried to push the feelings away. But, the tears flowed anyway, and I realized that grief has its own time schedule. “Lord, give me the courage to go on.”

I began dreaming about Robbie. In one dream, cliffs stood high above the beach where houses overlooked the ocean. Beautiful pine trees surrounded the houses, and a wooden staircase led down to the shore. Below on the beach I sat on a log. In the distance my son approached. I called to him, “Robbie, I want to tell you something.”

Instantly he vanished.

A few weeks later I shared my reoccurring dream with a close friend. Cynthia was an author and inspirational speaker who dealt with human emotions all the time in her ministry. I knew she would understand.

“Karen, I believe this is part of your grieving process. Tomorrow is your day off. Why don’t you call a Christian counselor? Therapy can help you deal with your feelings.”

Cynthia thought for a moment before continuing, “I have a condo in Oregon. Why don’t you and John spend your vacation there this year?”

“We’d love to, Cynthia, and I’ll think about the counseling.”

The next morning I made the call to begin my counseling. In therapy I found permission to express my fears, anger, and doubts. I also told of my hopes for the future. My counselor suggested I keep a journal.

Between therapy sessions, I journaled. Then I wrote about my dream, only I changed the outcome: I sat on a log and watched Robbie approach, but this time he sat down next to me. I looked into his eyes and said, “I miss you. I felt angry at you for leaving the way you did. I even felt angry that God hadn’t stopped you. I didn’t understand the depth of your pain, and that made me angry at myself.”

As I wrote those words, I felt my anger being lifted. Tears fell as I continued to write. Goodbye, son. I love you. I’m not angry anymore.

But, in my writing, unlike my dream, Robbie stood up and smiled. Then he walked back down the beach. He stopped and turned to wave. I waved back and felt the freedom to let go.

During my next session, I shared my story with my counselor. A few days later, over lunch, Cynthia read my journal. She smiled and said, “I think you’ll find that beach when you visit Oregon.”

I didn’t understand what she meant until John and I arrived at Cynthia’s vacation home. The condo was surrounded by pine trees and sat on a cliff, overlooking the ocean. We climbed down a wooden staircase to the beach below.

“Lord,” I prayed, “this is the beach in my dream—but I’ve never been here before!”

A gentle breeze touched my face, and I relaxed as the waves lapped onto the shore. I realized that God knows all things. He knows my coming and my going, my thoughts and my dreams. He sent me my dreams to help me to let go.

 This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

 

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If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
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