Becoming A Warrior

(Art work by seunghee lee. Freelance Concept artist, illustrator :

The last few days have been extremely rough. I’m sure that the full moon has a lot to do with my melancholy state of affairs, along with trying to process the loss of my Son. I’ve cried a lot more than I want to admit over the last few days but with tears comes learning and healing.

You may ask what could I possibly be learning through my grief. The answer my friends is everything. I’m learning to live in the aftermath of tragedy because I’ve hit bottom and the only place to go is up. Now the hard part comes. I have to condition and train myself to reawaken the person I have always been. I will open my mind and heart to grief as if it were my best friend. I will have coffee with her, date her, share my heart with her and accept her into my heart as my partner in life. We will wade through the ups and downs with tears and laughter as we walk through life’s journey. As with any relationship we will have our differences. She will surface when I want to laugh. She will want to be in control when I’m in no mood for her shit. We will fight and struggle as most couples do. The goal will be simple, we will pace ourselves and let each of us take turns being the best of who we are. We will love each other to the best of our abilities.

I’m going to marry my grief so I can become a better person with her by my side. She will teach me just as I will teach her. There are no divorces when you marry your grief. This new life has only one way in and no way out. Once I sign the dotted line, I’m in it for a lifetime.

Where do we begin? It’s about coexisting in a world of love and pain and absorbing each other into one being. It’s about finding perfect balance. Today I will say I do to my new life. Together we will thrive as I teach her how to pace herself and she teaches me to cry and feel my way through this journey. Once joined we will become the warrior we were intended to be and the storms of life will melt in our strength.

– R. S. Ivany

The Death of a Child

Honestly I never thought my life would end up as it has. I thought my three children would all watch me grow old and finally put me to rest.

In walks a twist of fate… it kicks me in the stomach and takes my breath away. In on quick motion it rips my heart from my chest and watches me curl into a fetal position, screaming and wishing I could die. Disbelief and shock move in rapidly and try to protect my fragile state of mind. Reality tests my awareness as I watch my life unravel before my very eyes. My body shakes uncontrollably and sweat covers every every part of me. My heart pounds frantically in my chest. I fear I’m having a heart attack. I try to calm myself however my years of meditation and relaxation techniques deem useless against the enormity of this blow.

I lay in a fetal position unable to move. I’m frozen and listening to the sound of my own heartbeat as it resonates in my ears. Loud and clear reality checks in again and reminds me that my son is dead. I shake uncontrollably as adrenaline pumps throughout my body. This can’t be happening. It’s got to be a horrible dream. Can someone please wake me up…

My son died by suicide. He took his life on April 22, 2018 and the life we once had is no more. Nothing will ever be the same. Nothing will feel the same or look the same not just because he is gone but because I am forever changed. Every fiber in my body is being re-wired to accept the fact that I had to bury my son. This is out of context for the life I had planned for my family. Life changes in a heartbeat so remember to love deeply and cherish the moments you do have. Life is short, make the best of what you have.

1 year and 1 month

Today marks 1 year and 1 month since my son Ryan left this earth. He was such a precious soul. Today I felt more alone and sad than usual, maybe it’s because I’m realizing that he’s never coming back and there is nothing I can do to change this reality. Maybe it’s just the passage of time or knowing that the world keep turning even though my son is gone. It still feels like it happened yesterday but in the same breath it feels like I haven’t seen him for a lifetime.

I’m sitting in the car outside my house listening to the rain beat against the windows and wondering how I got to this point in my life. The windshield wipers steady rhythm distracts me as I try and finish this post. The rain and the sadness of life seem to be drowning me as I wallow in my own self pity today. I don’t like being like this. I’m struggling to keep my head above water and for the life of me I can’t solve this problem. I can’t turn back the hands of time. I can’t bring him back to life. I can’t solve this. I have to feel this pain and live with it for the rest of my life. How? That’s the million dollar question. Is time the answer? I’ve been told that the second year is worse than the first. I found that hard to believe last year but now I’m a believer.

How do we keep moving forward when nothing feels right? How do we find that new normal and is there such a thing? Will we ever find a place of contentment and peace? Will anyone other than our fellow sister moms understand this living hell? Will we always feel the sense of not belonging either here or there? I feel as though I live in two worlds, one on this earth and one on the other side of the veil when my Ryan lives. I’m sort of stuck between here and there. I live my life here but a part of my soul lives there with him. This living between here and there is the best description of my new life. I will continue to live in this parallel existence and find ways to pass time, if that is the answer to that million dollar question. If that’s not the answer then I’ll go back to the drawing board and figure out a new way to navigate my sailboat in the darkness of this treacherous sea.

Keep shining that light for me sister moms and I’ll do my best to find my way back home…

One Year ago

On April 22, 2018, I was awoken to the most horrific news of my life. Ryan was dead and I was going to have to embark on a journey I never thought possible. Here I am, exactly one year later still trying to wrap my head around the reality that I buried my son. The days and months following Ryan’s death were masked by a thick shroud of protection often known as shock. Shock took on the job of numbing my senses in a similar way that Novocaine numbs the tissue in our bodies. Shock definitely had the properties a long acting drug. It protected me from the pain for a good period of time. Then the shock slowly began to blend into reality. Today I face the day with clarity and the realization that I lost a part of my soul the day my son took his last breath. One year ago today I began this journey of healing and learning to live a life without my son.

The road has been rough but a learning experience none the less. It has taught me more about empathy and pain than I wish to say. For some reason this life was chosen as my destiny. The cards were dealt and I had no choice but to play out my hand. This fragile game of life comes with many ups and downs. I’m holding on for dear life and I’m gonna ride the waves of destiny into the further. I have no choice but to accept the good the bad and the ugly of what life throws my way.

Ryan died on Earth Day which is so symbolic of his life. He loved the outdoors and nature and being one with the Earth. I was blessed and honored to be his Mother. He taught me so many beautiful lessons in his short life. I will alway hold my son close to my heart and one day I will see him again and ask him to return the part of my soul he took with him when he departed. Then and only then will I be whole again.

I will celebrate Ryan’s life today with both tears and laughter as I embark on another year without my buddy.

The Uninvited Guest

I feel like I don’t care about the world around me. I sit quietly and watch the world spinning past me. I’m stuck on a little island with nothing but my memories to entertain me. An uninvited guest came to visit after my son hung himself. She appeared out of no where and honestly I don’t even remember opening the door for her. She has a quiet demeanor but she packs quite a punch. She never strays far from my site. She hovers as I go about my day and as quiet as she may be I always feel her presence. She lurks in the evening hours waiting for my mind to settle down. We stare at one another in bitter silence. She touches my soul with her mind. I question what she wants but she speaks no words to me. Her eyes tell my story. We are parallel beings living in the same dark reality. I’m sure she has a purpose, it’s just to early to know. Will I learn from her? Will she stick around for all eternity? Will she quickly vanish just as she appeared?

She follows me like a shadow and sits quietly staring at me even when I try to ignore her. I’m really not in the mood for company, but she insists on moving in. I can’t force her to leave. She’s like a magnet that pulls me into her lair. She’s my reality, and my enemy all wrapped in one. She’s persistent as a bad storm as she beats the hell out of me. I fight her with my mind but she never backs down. She’s a stubborn self centered bitch. She thinks she’s my friend, but I’m not sure. There are days when I find solace in her existence but then again there are days where just the sight of her turns my stomach. Fighting her isn’t working so I’ll try and use psychology on her. Maybe I can trick her into going back to where she came from. Or maybe I should try and talk with her. Maybe then I’ll be able to figure it all out. Maybe I’ll just sit quietly with my new friend and get to know her. I’ll begin by ask her what her name is? I’ll give her a moment, because I’m not sure she can talk. We stare at one another for quite a long time before she leans in and holds my hand and say’s, “my dear friend, my name is Grief… “. I weep in her arms as she holds me tightly and tells me I need to coexist with her in order to heal.

9 Months

Today is January 20, 2019. It’s Sunday and most everyone know how much I dread this day of the week. Sunday’s have taken on a totally different meaning since April 22, 2018. That day was suppose to be just as every other Sunday. It should have been filled with the love of our beautiful family gathering together to share a wonderful Italian pasta and meatball dinner as we always did. That tradition came to a screeching holt that April morning. I received a phone call that changed the core of my being… the call that informed me my son had hung himself. So as you can see Sundays lack the meaning they once had. They lack the spontaneity and humor of my son Ryan. The other kids don’t even like coming to my house anymore because it’s riddled with their brothers memories. Everywhere they look he was. Everything they touch he has touched. Every step they take is a painful trudge down memory lane. They chose to avoids the home they grew up in to spare their pain. They prefer to stay in their own homes where memories are not as painful as those that were created in their childhood home. I still live in that home. I’m left to look at every square inch of it and there is no reprieve from the memories that paint my mind. It’s painful enough to known that he choose to leave us but it’s even more painful to come home to a silent home where all you have left are memories. I can’t run from them as my other children do. I’m stuck living inside of the halls and rooms of our home.

Not only is it Sunday but it’s the precipice of my son’s 9 month anniversary of his death. I don’t even know how to begin explaining this mark. It took me 9 months to carry him and now I face the realization that he has been gone as long as it took me to grow him within myself. It was 9 month of knowing he was safe and sound and awaiting his birth. I’m waiting for the 22nd of this month to compare my 9 month journey. The same length of time is 2 days away and I can assure you this wait has been pure hell. In 2 days there will be no Ryan to see. There will be no Ryan to hold. Tuesday will be a painful day. It took 9 months to finally hold that beautiful angel. This last 9 months has left me with nothing more than a hole in my heart to cradle my grief.

Sleep my pretty…

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my beautiful son. I search for him in everything I do. I always scan a crowded room in hopes of finding a glimpse of him. I listen to the whispering wind in hopes that I may catch the sound of his voice. I visit our favorite places. I cook his favorite meals. I wait patiently in hopes that he opens the door and yells, “Ma, I’m home….” Reality smacks me as I crawl into bed and close my eyes on another day without my son. I talk out loud in the stillness of the night, wishing he could hear my plea. I teeter between the real world and the peacefulness of sleep as I request his presence in my world of dreams. I gently drift off to a land where pain and grief are banned from visiting. It’s my private and much needed reprieve from reality. It’s my own gentle world without any worries. It’s always filled with memories of my little trio. My three perfect children so tender and forever young at heart. They frolic and laugh and remain forever protected from harm. Everything remains calm and perfect in the peacefulness of sleep. I dream about life as it once was. Beautiful and intact and full to the brim with endless love. I startle from my perfect world… I slowly open my eyes to face a world of harsh reality. Groundhog day once again. I must face the reality that my son died by suicide and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I must face the day in addition to all of the realties that begin the moment I awaken. The cycle continues as I wish the day away in hopes that my sleep-fullness is more pleasant than my reality of day.