I have felt such a pull on my heart to raise awareness and talk more about mental health and suicide prevention since Teagan passed almost six months ago. I felt an urge very early on to share his story and talk so other people who were also struggling might have the courage and want to reach out for help. I also know how difficult it is being the mother to a child who is struggling and I wanted to somehow support those who are bystanders and feel helpless as they watch a child or loved one struggle.
I’ve been stunted in this for a couple of reasons. First and most obviously, I have been deep in my own grief and it has been very difficult to open up when my own hurt and pain is so new and raw. Losing a child, and losing him to suicide has wrecked me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I am picking up the pieces. I am healing. I have had a lot of therapy, a lot of coaching and I have offered myself more love and grace than I ever have in my life. While I don’t know how to grieve or what it is supposed to look like, for the most part, I am very proud of myself. I am proud of how I have chosen to handle it, the work I have intentionally put in to help myself feel and process my emotions and begin to heal. I knew from the very moment on the scene that I had to heal. That I had to be ok and be that example to my kids. My kids have been through so much and they needed a healthy mom. I literally felt that so strongly from the very beginning. It’s been messy and downright ugly at times, but I have stuck with my commitment to do whatever I need to do to work through all the emotions and do what feels impossible some days… and that is to continue to heal. Working daily toward that goal while also realizing there isn’t an end to it has been at times daunting, but now I just know, this is me, this is us, this is what we have and I will choose to continue to heal for the rest of forever.
Anyway, all of that, to simply say, I think I’m ready. I think I’m ready to talk more about all that is on my heart. I am taking steps and doing things that a few months ago, were completely impossible to me and that feels good, it feels hopeful.
I kept thinking about writing and sharing Teagan’s story and it just felt off to me. Then one day I could hear Teagan’s voice. You can’t tell MY story, it’s MY story. Dude, you are so right. We can’t tell a story for another person. Even as close as I was to Teagan and as much as we’d been through, talked about and worked through together, I can’t tell his story from his eyes. No one can. But I can tell my story. I can tell the story of being Teagan’s mom. And I think I’m supposed to.
This has been a journey from before Teagan was even born. It’s been a journey of the deepest love, laughs, adventures and joy. And the deepest of frustrations, hopelessness, fear and the most pain and sorrow I have ever felt in my entire life.
As I sit in the quiet of my home in the early morning, I ask myself again, “Amber, are you sure you want to share your heart with the world?” And as a hundred times before, the feeling of confirmation comes. Our story can’t be changed, but maybe someone else can gain a little hope, or see a little light or choose to stay if I share what’s on my heart and if we talk about suicide. Maybe another mom will be spared of the hell that this is to experience, if I’m open and honest and real. And I know that no matter how hard I pray or how much awareness I bring, tragedy will still happen. And maybe another mom, who’s life was just wrecked, might find strength and hope in our story.
This is a terribly lonely journey and I want others to feel love, light and hope in the midst of the hell that it is.