He Loved to Sing: a Son Lost to Suicide

Karen Kosman:

A mother grieves as she recalls memories of a her son lost to suicide.


Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

Karen remembers a special time when she and her husband walked on the beach after a heavy rainstorm. The sun broke through the clouds at sunset, and rays of light formed a cross upon the water. Sandpipers scurried along the seashore. The air felt crisp and smelled fresh God’s creation displayed serenity after the raging storm.

Those left behind after the suicide of a loved one often experience an emotional storm before light can shine once again on their hopelessness. They search for understanding. The weight of their grief causes a sea of uncertainty as they are tossed to and fro on their emotional waves, searching for a safe harbor.

He Loved to Sing “Jesus Loves Me”

Our minds play tricks on us when we are grieving. There were times I felt certain I heard my son’s voice. And then I’d remember our last phone conversation—the last time anyone talked with Robbie. Like a tape that had been recorded, my mind replayed our conversation over and over again.

I must have missed something in his voice, something that might have made a difference. He’d called on Thanksgiving. I’d convinced myself that Robbie was homesick and that accounted for the lack of joy in his voice. “You will be home for Christmas,” I told him.

The more I’d wrestled with the question—“Why?”—the deeper I sank into a pit of despair. Family and friends who tried to comfort me could not reach far enough into my prison of despair to pull me out.

At Robbie’s memorial service, I sat in the church where Robbie had gone to Sunday school and thought of how he loved to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Yet, I also remembered how he’d refused to talk with others. People labeled him shy, but in my heart I felt sure it was because of his speech difficulties. Colorful arrangements of flowers, including a beautiful bouquet of red roses, stood side-by-side at the front of the church. As I looked around this warm, familiar building, echoes of the past replayed in my mind.

Although I heard every word the minister said, I journeyed back in time. . . .

Robbie was three, standing on our couch and looking out the sliding glass door at the rain falling. He announced, “De sky is crying.”

“Why?” A sob escaped my lips, and I felt my husband’s hand touch mine.
Yet I moved onto another memory, Robbie’s fifth birthday party in the park.

“Happy birthday, Robbie,” I said, as I knelt down to kiss him. When I tried to smooth down the hairs on top of his head, that stubborn cowlick stood back up. I smiled and asked, “Would you like to open your presents now?” His brown eyes grew huge as he looked over the pile of presents. His expression was serious as he thought about which package to open first.

Returning to the present, I stifled a sob, and thought, if only . . . Within seconds Brother Stanley’s words penetrated my heart, and I listened intently. “It’s not for us to judge, but a time for us to remember God’s mercy . . .”

O, God, I need you. Please help me to accept what I cannot change.