A new world order
I haven't posted in a good long while. The last two weeks were horrific.
My elder son died. His funeral was Friday, January 29.
No, I'm not going to talk about it. His obituary is here: https://www.littletonandrue.com/obituaries/Matthew-V-Smith?obId=19735044#/obituaryInfo.
It has been absolutely the worst experience any parent can undergo.
When I got word that my son had passed, I began making many, many phone calls. Several were to clients whose project I put on hold. Except for one client, all were gracious and understanding. That exception sent messages demanding a response, apparently not understanding or believing that my out-of-office message stating I was going to be radio silent due to bereavement wasn't just an excuse to avoid work.
I haven't finished making phone calls.
The glimmers of creativity which peeked through the extended creative hiatus of the past half year have vanishes. Who knows when they'll return? I know I'm depressed: who wouldn't be? My first born child is dead.
To compound the sadness, our younger son flew back to Alaska today. The military was great at putting him on an airplane 12 hours after receiving the terrible news. They gave him 10 days to mourn with us. Then it's back to work as usual.
My youngest brother and his wife came that awful day. They took off work and stayed to help us, to keep us company, to provide whatever support my husband, son, and I needed. My other two brothers and their wives were also incredibly helpful. My husband called them "amazing." My in-laws, too, provided tremendous support and assistance. Strangers offered condolences and kindness.
The outpour of kindness and generosity has been overwhelming and deeply, genuinely appreciated. Our gratitude overflows.
Friday evening hours after the funeral, I was perusing my news feed on Facebook and came across a woman in an equestrian group. She expressed concern for her son's well being. I could not help but respond.
"If at all possible, go to his place. If not, call him and let him hear your voice," I responded. "Don't text. Call."
"I've tried, but he won't answer."
"If you have the phone number of one of his friends, call him/her and ask that he/she visit. Or contact local law enforcement to request a welfare check. If they don't get a response from you son, then escalate the call to a 911 emergency. Otherwise the police won't go into the premises."
I know this from recent, awful experience.
If your gut's telling you something's wrong, obey that instinct.
I hope her son is all right.
2/8/2021 10:26:27 am
I am so sorry about the death of your son. Thank you for sharing his story and highlighting an issue deserving of much more attention than it is getting. My healthy and successful 19 year old son started having panic attacks in September/October following a move to full online college courses. We sought medical help for him that included a multitude of labs and testing to rule out physical ailments he was just certain he had. Diagnosis: Situational anxiety and depression related to Covid-19. Much like your son, he is an outgoing and hardworking young man with tons of friends and a close family. Mental health effects of this virus and resulting shut-downs will long be felt, I am afraid. We have to keep shouting it out until people hear. God bless you and give you strength.
2/8/2021 11:05:32 am
I pitched the story to Newsweek and they accepted it. The article went live today: https://www.newsweek.com/my-son-took-his-own-life-it-was-lockdown-that-got-him-opinion-1567246. I had nothing to do with the title. I hope that it gets people to rethink lockdowns. They don't work and they exact a terrible consequence.
2/8/2021 10:39:28 am
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for your devastating loss and I pray for your family. Your advice really hit me. I have a senior son going off to college next fall. I'm not sure how this pandemic will shake out but I will make sure to stay in touch with him and check in on him often. He is a people person and he will need that if there is a lockdown. Again, I am so sorry about your son. I can't express that enough.
2/8/2021 01:00:56 pm
I saw your story on Newsweek. I am so sorry for your devastating loss. I live with the fears of losing a loved one daily - I have 2 teens that have really struggled throughout the Covid restrictions. The lockdowns for otherwise healthy people are causing irreparable damage. The media drama adds to an already scary situation. The missed screening tests, doctor appointments, increase in addiction behaviors and increase of abusive behaviors are just not talked about. No one really knows how many lives have been drastically changed for the worse.
2/8/2021 04:53:58 pm
Your article in Newsweek was so heartfelt and shines the light on this issue which affects so many. I can't imagine the loss you have endured but you are honoring him by sharing his story in attempts to prevent further loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.
2/8/2021 09:34:23 pm
So sorry for your loss. My 15 year old granddaughter died by suicide in June. It is the most awful thing that has ever happened. It's been almost 8 months..in ways it feels like yesterday..I believe one of the biggest reasons was the isolation from covid.
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