Personal Stories

Four Years After The Loss of Tylor 

(Four years later and my grief still exists but it has become bearable.  The loss of loved one no matter how they pass we all suffer from grief.  Grief, a deep sorrow caused by death, also known as sadness, misery, anguish, sorrow, heartache, heart break, pain, despair and a mourning.  But when that said loved one dies by suicide, by their own hands,  their loved ones have added emotions to the grief. Guilt, as well as  survivor guilt, denial, agony, torment, dejection and rejection.  Grief, the emotion that will linger with loved ones forever, but it is how you handle that grief that helps decide the fate of your future emotional state.  I combat grief everyday after losing my son to suicide back on July 8th, 2012. But I will not allow my grief to dictate how I am now to live my life, or will I allow it to stop me from living. That is one thing my son would have never wanted and in fact stated it within his suicide note.)

Four years later, recovering and healing from my son’s suicide, a journey of sorrow, heartache and unconditional, undying love and commitment to my son Tylor and to his memory.

No one ever wants to lose someone to death. Death brings unspoken words of goodbye’s and finalize the truth of never being able to see, touch, hear or hold that loved one ever again. Some deaths we are able to prepare for to a certain extend but we are never prepared to experience the agony and heartache that comes with saying goodbye to our loved ones. For those lost to suicide, our loss in no different, we grieve, we mourn, but beyond that we suffer forever with unanswered questions, guilt, fear and also survivor’s guilt. At least this has been my experience.

I look back now to the day my son ended his pain and begin our’s. I look back with still a devastated and broken heart but although I still grieve I am able to look back at the loss of my son with undying and most of all unconditional love for my son. The way my son was taken from us, by his choice we will never understand but what we must understand is the unbelieveable pain he was in, to have taken such action of ending his life.  Tylor’s actions are not those of a coward, they are not those of a selfish man but his actions were of a young man in pain beyond his comprehension and beyond his knowing how to cope and handle that pain within him.  Can you image being in unbelievable pain and not knowing how to cope, how to handle, how to communicate and translate such great pain into words, and how to visualize a future without that pain and with healing.  Devastation by pain, torment within one’s own mind of sorrow, and heartbreak that has one suffering in agony that leaves them unable to come to the realization that one day their pain would cess to exist.  If we can say we do not know such pain, they we should never judge one’s choice to take their own life.

The day I lost my son, part of me passed with him without a doubt. A big piece of my soul, a huge piece of my heart was ripped from me that day and I thought I would suffocate within my own pain and sorrow called grief.  Everyday seemed to drag on, every minute felt like years and to be honest every second seemed as if it took a life time just to tick on by.  Time stood still, my heart dying with every passing moment, my soul sinking deeper and deeper into despair until I allowed my love for my son to stand up and conquer that tumble into blackness that I was falling into with my eyes opened.  My son’s suicide note he left behind, stated live life to the fullest, and here I was hiding behind my grief, living life within the four walls of my home, doing exactly what my son did not want.  

So I did what I had to, I let my grief grieve. I was numb for so long after, allowing the day to pass with a wall of denial up guarding my emotions from the world around me. I found the numbness allowed me to ignore the my own pain. It gave me the ability to ignore the stares, the whispers and the comments that suddenly surrounded me. Numbness made hiding within my own self and the walls within my home easier.

When the numbness turned into unbearable pain, I allowed myself to cry.  I cried, I screamed, I curled up into the fetal position numerous times to cuddle and comfort my own grief and to also wish to be that child again where someone else could take my pain away and protect me from the pain I felt inside and protect me from myself and the world around me.

When my tears dried out, my anger came. Anger, I was angry at myself, because I carried guilt of missing the signs. I was angry with myself for failing my son, Mommy’s are suppose to make the boo-boos and pain go away and I was unable to do so. He was hurting inside and I couldn’t make his pain go away. I couldn’t make him see a future without pain. Anger that God called my son home without my permission or knowledge. Angry that it was my child robbed from his precious life way too soon! Anger of why him, why us, why my boy! Anger of how could he, how could Tylor do such a thing to us and yet in front of us. And again angry because I failed him yet again in his passing, I couldn’t make that boo-boo of a gunshot wound go away.  Anger of letting my child down.

When exhaustion settled in from my anger, depression came knocking on my heart and soul. I can’t described to you or anyone what my depression is and was like. There are no words to explain in detail  my depression to make another understand. You can look in my eyes, maybe you can recognize the sadness also known as depression, and maybe you can’t. Just know that depression honestly and truly isn’t something that can be translated into verbiage.

Months passed, my journey through grief and healing will never be complete but once I accepted the loss of Tylor I was able to begin to live again, just as my son asked in his final words. The struggle to pull myself through my grief was not an easy journey, in fact it was a battle that I fought with every fiber of my being and one that continues to this day, almost four years later.

Conquering my grief, my emotions and understanding the loss of a child and the loss of my child by suicide allowed me, NO, made me determined to turn my grief into something positive. I realized I had a choice. I could allow my grief to steal me from my family or I could conquer it and be a voice for my son and so many others lost to suicide and educate our community of suicide awareness and prevention and help to change the stigma and taboo to suicide and mental illness. The choice was easy, I had to conquer, I had to make a difference. I had to save another mother from suffering the pain and anguish from losing a child.  Taking my negative experience, sharing our story, sharing the life and the death of my son I would turn into a positive and hopefully begin to save lives….one life at a time!

Eight months after the loss of Tylor, we founded the T. Holmes Foundation. The T. Holmes Foundation is an organization offering educational resources promoting suicide awareness & prevention. We also educate on other aspects such as bullying, mental illness, addiction, etc. We promote these awarenesses to our local community during educational events and as well as public speaking called “Let’s Talk about It.” We also offer the tools and support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The T. Holmes Foundation has also hosted an event called “Tylor’s Continued Journey” in which a photo of Tylor was shared around the world in hopes of spreading suicide awareness and prevention through sharing his story with others. Within “Tylor’s Continued Journey” Tylor’s ashes have been spreaded in numerous locations around the world by willing participants sharing Tylor’s story. His journey has touched many all over the world and has even been commended for helping to save the lives of a few who his story has touched.

 

The T. Holmes Foundation is very active within our community. We sponsor numerous events supporting our communities elderly, youth and children.  Within these events we promote awareness and prevention while making an impact on lives in other beneficial ways.

The T. Holmes Foundation has recently opened it’s new program called Tylor’s Place! This program is out anti-bullying program for the youth within our community.  Tylor’s Place is more than just an anti-bullying program. Tylor’s Place is named after Tylor, but the word PLACE has meaning. Place stands for Positivity, Love, Confidence, Acceptance and Empowerment.  Tylor’s Place was created as a safe haven where kids aged 4 and up can come together to celebrate differences in personalities, interests, learning abilities, and gender through encouraging lasting friendships. Within Tylor’s Place, kids will also learn to accept themselves while building their self-esteem and encouraging others to do the same. We will facilitate creative activities and cooperative games, as well as host events, offer homework help, and present educational videos and materials. A group forum encourages peer interactions and mentoring. The Goals within Tylor’s Place are as follows: Foster a sense of self pride in individuals. Create an active learning environment in which all acknowledge bullying as an unacceptable action. Teach positive strategies that prevent and end bullying. Construct lasting friendships. Celebrate differences

Now four years later after losing my son Tylor to suicide, where am I. I’m still living my life, just differently then I was before he passed. I still grieve, I still cry, I still hunger for my son’s touch and his smell. I long to hear his voice. My desire to just see him, one more time sometimes can be overwhelming but I do know one day we will see each other again. I know everyday he walks with me, he holds my hand, and wraps his arm around me when I feel I may fall into that darkness again. He is my guidance in all I do. He is my strength to conquer each day as if it were my last. He is my support and my back bone to be the voice for him and so many others.  I am who I am today because I went through an unbelieveable loss, and I was able to survive. Survival came via a fight and the last spoken words of unconditional love from my son and his longing for others to continue on living life to the fullest. I am a woman on a mission to make a difference in this world and especially in my community. I am a voice that will not be silenced by rejection, ignorance, and or by those in  denial that this type of loss can happen to them. I am a mother who although suffers the pain, emptiness of the loss of a child, I am one who behind my daily grief will continue to survive and continue to stand up and educate others on suicide awareness and prevention. Our youth are our next generation, they need our guidance and our compassion and understanding to allow them to be secure in who they are and who they can be. They need to know we can empathize with their pain and struggles and that they can be safe and secure in speaking out on those insecurities and pain so that they can begin to heal. No one needs to pass by suicide, we need to listen, to educate, and open our hearts with love and compassion and empathy  to end the stigma and taboo of suicide and mental illness.

Suicide should not be the permanent solution to a temporary problem!

Help save lives, educate yourself on suicide awareness and prevention!

My Note To Tylor

Tylor,

Oh my precious son, how deeply you are missed, every second, every minute, every hour of everyday.  Our lives are missing a huge piece of us, a huge piece of our hearts and for me a huge piece of my soul.  My heart aches from missing you. My heart aches from the unbelievable pain I feel inside. And my heart aches because I’m selfish and I want you here with me, making me laugh, making me angry, wiping my tears, and listening to your banter about this and that.

Its 4 yrs just about since you left me well us. It’s been 4 years of learning how to live again and live this new way of life brought upon us by your passing. But 4 years isn’t anything to the lifetime we have a head of us without you here, and the learning each and every moment how to go on with the knowledge of you being gone. The learning process of this life will continue, as well as our pain but I realized that it is my unconditional love for you that strengthens me everyday to live as you asked. “Live life to the fullest”  I am doing that for you Tylor and you have given me the strength to not only do that but to find my voice, find my backbone and stand up tall and strong with my head help up high saying to myself I got this because you are right at my side.  I also found the strength to be your voice, the voice for others lost to suicide. And to be the voice for all those who suffer from mental illness and emotional turmoil.  I live on for you and for them and for myself and the loved ones that surround me.

I must apologize to you Tylor, I didn’t see the depth of your pain and the agony your soul was in. I overlooked it, I missed the signs and as your mother it is with deep heart wrenching pain that I apologize to you for my failure.  It took me a very long time to forgive myself and let go of the guilt I carried because I wasn’t there for you. I thrived off the fact that I was the first set of eyes you laid on to when you entered this world and I was given the gift of being the last set of eyes as you slipped away from our lives.  It was only recently that someone read your note you left behind and helped me to realize I was not at fault that I missed the signs. I should not carry guilt at all because you did ask me and Dad to come get you and be there for you when you went away. As I shook my head with tears in my eyes trying to understand what I was being told he read your note out loud to me, when he was done his words and the others around him made me see things differently. He and the others said your note left behind was one done out of love, no blame, no shame, but unconditional love and acceptance of the choice you made. After he re-read it yet again, he said here, and here, he thanks you for being great parents for being good to him, and so on…….this is his unconditional love for you and his apology for what he is about to do. “He accept his choice as you did, but you need to let go of the underlying guilt you have deep down inside and really, and I mean really embrace life as he asked. You are a survivor dear, and you’re helping others to survive so love your son, let him rest in peace and continue to do as he asked live life to the fullest”

I want to also say how proud I am for the man you became! You were so filled with love for life, for everyone, for your family! You were so smart, so caring and compassionate it just boggles my mind how someone so young could have a heart and soul so pure so full of love for others it astonishes me. You touched so many lives and made such an impact on so many people it is unbelievable for someone only here for a very short time. The lives you have touched before is amazing and yet the lives you touch in your passing even more amazing.  You live on Tylor, through me, through your family, your friends and through the T. Holmes Foundation.

I want to thank you Tylor for once again being there for me in this way that many do not get after a loss from suicide.(your note that once was a heart wrenching read is now a cure to the healing process)  Thank you for teaching me yet another lesson of the meaning of unconditional love. Life will never ever be the same without you  but I do want you to know much I love you! How much I miss you! And how I was blessed to be given the gift of being your Mom.

I love you Tylor forever and ever my baby you will be.

Forever your Mom.

 

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"Advocates for Awareness"