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Echoes of Loss: Navigating the Labyrinth of Grief After Suicide

On December 29, 2021, a part of me died alongside my child. Since then, grief has been an unpredictable journey, with moments of intense pain and small victories in healing. Grief manifests uniquely for each person – for me, it's been a rollercoaster of emotions, from overwhelming sadness to simmering anger.

Yet, amidst the chaos, I find solace in the love and support of those who walk this path with me.

The Grieving Process

The grieving journey feels like stumbling through an emotional maze, where each twist and turn uncovers new layers of pain, sorrow, and longing. In the aftermath of my son's suicide, I was hit by a tidal wave of emotions, each crashing against the fragile walls of my heart.

A little over 2 years later, there are still moments when the loss feels like a crushing weight, making it hard to breathe in a world that suddenly seems colorless and meaningless. Memories become daggers, reopening wounds I thought had begun to heal.

But even in the darkness, there were glimmers of hope – small victories against the relentless tide of grief. A touch, a comforting hug, or moments of quiet solace provided brief respites from the storm raging inside.

Grief doesn't follow a script; it's as unique as the person experiencing it. For some, it's overwhelming sadness, while for others, it's simmering anger at a world that keeps turning despite their pain.

For me, grief is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, with each day bringing unexpected twists and turns. Some days, the pain feels suffocating, threatening to swallow me whole. But then there are moments when sunlight breaks through the clouds, reminding me that even in darkness, beauty can be found.

I've learned that grief isn't a straight path with a clear destination. It's messy, chaotic, and utterly unpredictable. It's a journey marked by sorrow and grace, with ups and downs that defy explanation.

Through it all, I try to find comfort in knowing I'm not alone. Others walk this path with me, their presence a reminder of the enduring power of love and connection.

Surviving after Suicide Loss
December 24th, 2021. The day he wrote his Good-Bye Letter

Guilt and Shame

Guilt and self-blame weigh heavy on the hearts of those who have lost a loved one to suicide. In the aftermath of my son's passing, these feelings consumed me, and at times, they still do, becoming intertwined with my very being.

The internal dialogue is relentless, a constant stream of "what ifs" and "if onlys." If only I had reached out more, listened harder, been more present and understanding. These questions sometimes feel suffocating, each one a painful reminder of my perceived shortcomings as a parent.

As I've navigated through the depths of grief, I've had to face a harsh truth: I couldn't control the outcome. Or could I? Could my actions have changed the path my son ultimately chose? Was his struggle too deep for me to ease? As a mother, isn't it our instinct to want to shield our children from pain, no matter how deep? Even now, I struggle to accept that nothing I could have done differently would have changed what happened.

Despite my best efforts over the years, I couldn't save him. The guilt still weighs heavily on my heart, and thoughts of what could have been haunt me. But I hold onto the hope that one day, I'll find peace in knowing that I did my best with what I had at the time.

In the meantime, I honor my son's memory by advocating for mental health awareness.

I speak out, challenging the stigma and offering support to those who are struggling. Each small act of kindness feels like a step towards healing, a way to make a positive impact in his honor.

Guilt and self-blame may always be a part of my journey, but I refuse to let them define me. I am like any other mom navigating through grief, searching for meaning amidst tragedy. Though the road ahead may be tough, I walk it with determination, knowing that each step honors my precious boy.

Losing a child to suicide

Impact on Family Dynamics

Needles to say, losing my son has completely rocked our family dynamics, throwing us all into a whirlwind of emotions we're still trying to navigate. It's like our whole world got turned upside down overnight.

With my daughter, it's been a rollercoaster. Our bond has always been strong, but grief has a funny way of messing with things. Sometimes it feels like we're on different wavelengths, unable to fully connect because we're both drowning in our own sorrow. But then there are these moments of pure understanding, where we don't need words to know we're there for each other.

Supporting each other while dealing with our own grief is tough. There are days when I'm so lost in my own pain that I can't be there for her like I want to be. And there are days when she's hurting so much that I feel helpless, like nothing I say or do can make it better.

But despite the challenges, we're in this together. We lean on each other, sharing memories and finding strength in our shared experiences. It's a bumpy road, but we're taking it one step at a time, holding onto the hope that together, we can get through anything.

Jaden Keanu Tunis, such a beautiful soul

Seeking Support

Getting support has brought a range of experiences for me. Therapy and group sessions? Let's just say they didn't exactly hit the mark. They weren't total disasters, but they didn't quite give me the comfort and understanding I was hoping for.

My husband and few close friends, though, have been incredibly helpful. They've been there to listen and provide their insights, trying their best to help me through the mess of grief. But at the end of the day, I've realized that the real healing has to come from within.

It's a tough pill to swallow, knowing that no amount of therapy or well-meaning advice can glue my broken heart back together. But it's also kind of empowering, you know? To realize that I have the power to heal myself.

So, I'm still reaching out for support when I need it – leaning on my loved ones and taking moments to reflect on my own. The journey to healing is far from easy, but I'm trudging along, one step at a time, knowing that I'm getting closer to finding peace with myself.

Life after suicide loss

Navigating Reminders and Emotions

Navigating reminders and emotions has been like walking through a minefield. It feels like anything and everything can set me off – a young man who resembles Jaden, a song on the radio that he used to love, a mom with her son, or just a fleeting glimpse of a memory or his picture on the wall...

These reminders are everywhere, lurking around every corner, waiting to ambush me when I least expect it. It's exhausting, constantly being on guard, trying to anticipate what might set me off next.

But I've also come to realize that these reminders are a testament to the depth of my love for my son. They're a reminder of the impact he had on my life and the lasting imprint he left on my heart.

So, I keep going on, navigating the minefield of reminders and emotions with as much grace and strength as I can muster. Some days are harder than others, but I take comfort in knowing that each reminder, each wave of emotion, is a testament to the love I will always carry for my son.

I lost my son to suicide

Finding Meaning and Purpose

Diving into spirituality and mediumship, as well as listening to every Near Death Experience (NDE) I can get my hands on, has been a profound and deeply meaningful part of my healing journey.

Spirituality has provided me with a sense of connection to something greater than myself, offering solace and comfort in times of immense grief. It's been a source of strength and guidance, helping me find meaning in the midst of tragedy.

Mediumship, on the other hand, has allowed me to connect with my son in a way that feels tangible and real. Through mediums, I've received messages and signs from him that have brought me immense comfort and reassurance. It's as though he's still with me, guiding me through the darkest of times. (I will be sharing more on this topic at a later time)

My next steps involve delving deeper into my own journey of connection and exploring mediumship to develop my own abilities further.

As for Near Death Experiences, listening to the stories of those who have journeyed to the other side and back has been incredibly enlightening. It's given me a glimpse into what lies beyond this life, offering hope and reassurance that there is more to existence than meets the eye.

I look forward to interviewing those, who would like to share their experiences in the next chapter of my life. (Connect with me, if you would like to share your NDE, SDE or had any other After Death experiences)

Together, these experiences have helped me find meaning and purpose in my grief. They've provided me with a sense of peace and understanding that goes beyond words.

And though the road to healing may be long and winding, I take comfort in knowing that I'm not alone, that there are forces at work beyond my understanding, guiding me along the way.

Teen suicide
One of the last pictures of my kids together

Advocacy and Awareness

Advocating for mental health awareness and suicide prevention has become a big part of my healing journey. After losing my son, I felt this strong pull to shine a light on mental health issues and encourage others to speak up.

I share my story openly, hoping to break down the stigma around mental illness and suicide. By being transparent about my experiences, I aim to create a space where people feel safe to talk about their struggles and seek help when they need it.

When it comes to suicide prevention, I'm all about spreading the word on recognizing warning signs and reaching out for support. I'm constantly sharing resources like therapy options, support groups, and crisis hotlines to make sure people know where to turn for help.

There's a lot of support out there for those dealing with mental health challenges and suicidal thoughts, and I'm passionate about making sure people know about it. Whether it's through therapy, online resources, or just talking to a friend, there are ways to get through the tough times.

My advocacy work is driven by my desire to honor my son's memory and prevent others from going through the same pain. It's not always easy, but knowing I'm making a difference keeps me going. And hey, if my journey can help someone else feel less alone, then it's all worth it.

Discover a heartfelt journey through grief, loss, and hope in this poignant blog. Explore themes of healing, advocacy, and spirituality as the author navigates the aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide. Join in on the conversation surrounding mental health awareness and finding meaning in the midst of tragedy.

Hope for the Future

As I journey through the depths of grief, I cling to a glimmer of hope for the future. While the pain of losing my son will never fully dissipate, I hold onto the belief that healing is possible, even in the midst of profound loss.

I've learned that grief is not a linear path with a clear destination, but rather a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs. And though the road may be difficult and filled with challenges, I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone.

Each day brings with it the possibility of finding moments of joy amidst the sorrow – a smile shared with a loved one, a beautiful sunset, or a cherished memory of my son. These moments may be fleeting, but they serve as reminders that life still holds beauty and meaning, even in the darkest of times.

So, as I continue to navigate the ups and downs of grief, I hold onto hope – hope for healing, hope for peace, and hope for a future filled with moments of love and joy. And though the pain may never fully go away, I choose to believe that there is still beauty to be found in the journey, and that one day, I will find solace in knowing that I have survived, and even thrived, in the face of unimaginable loss.

Dedicated to my beautiful son. Jaden Keanu Tunis. I will miss you until I take my last breath here on Earth.

Sunrise March 6, 2002

Sunset December 29, 2021


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