There’s a commercial a while back now that starts with scenes of teens stomping off and slamming their bedrooms doors in anger and frustration at their parents. Images of teens yelling and parents hollering back. Eyes rolled and general upheaval that is supposed to encapsulate life with a teen. The catch phrase of the commercial is that the only thing harder that living with your teenager is living without your teenager. It’s a commercial to bring awareness to teen suicide.
My son’s actions to end his life three years ago make that simple concept hit far too close to home for me. I watch that commercial and remember. The yelling, the fighting, the temper flares of his, the words he would say in anger, the hatred and fear in his voice as he slipped further into depression and his own living hell. Then the silences. The growing fear inside of me as he stopped yelling and fighting and just simply and quickly started to slip further. The morose cloud that seemed to wrap him all the time. The sleeping, the closed bedroom door and the meals skipped because he no longer wanted to be near anyone.
The emptiness of his room when he was in the hospital. His bed, finally made but looking even more wrong than when it was a jumbled mess. The coldness of it without him in it. A hole in our family life every day that he was missing.
So hard and so painful and so full of stress and tears and fear.
He’s now silent and his presence is moved on. I hear people say he’s still here in a different way and I want to believe that. But the truth is that his voice is silent. His place in our family is empty now.
I would give anything to have another of him driving me crazy with arguments or even just his silence and sighs of frustration…because what’s harder than living with that is living without it.