I learned to survive

Candy McMahan

A phone call in the middle of the night - my son is fighting with his fiance and has a gun. My husband and I said, now what? I drove to his apt. As I touched the door knob, his fiance came out and said "he did it"! I ran to the couch and saw him lying there. We ran to try and find a phone. The shock had set in! You all know about the funeral, not remembering anything, but then the record player in the head, every minute of the day. Why is the wallpaper on the wall, the trees still growing, cars still on the road?

My world just died. Why is everything else normal? For 3 months people "babysat" me. I went to the cemetery every day for 2 years. Went on medication after 1 year. I found the only thing I could do was play pac man or paint angles on T shirts, I didn't have to think, and for a short time that record player would stop. First holidays I did nothing! 2nd Christmas I bought new tree, did it all in angles and blue (for a blue Christmas).

I cared about nothing for over 2 years, but just existed and attended grief goups and support groups. I still attend bereaved parents and try to help others. You can learn to survive, even when you do not want to.

I try to tell others that time will help. There is no loss like the loss of your child and part of you dies with them, but the day will come when you can laugh again without that guilt feeling, and you can walk without dragging your feet, and you can go to the store and walk by the shirts, or their favorite food. It will be 6 years this month and there is still a part of his room that has not been touched. Just one corner, but it is just as he left it. I still have a hole in my heart, and I talk about him almost daily, but I do "carry" on now. I do think that attending support groups has helped.

I also have a "memorial" in the living room. His picture, a table (from his apt) the newspaper article, angeles and his photo album. I still look to the stars, and always hope that one day I will see him, for just one minute. I miss my 23 yr. old baby, everyday.


Candy McMahan

You can email Candy McMahan: [email protected]
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anniversary date 10-13-93
date of post 10-1-99


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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW

Candy, 52, Surviving the loss of my beloved son after suicide.