Many of my sons friends and neighbors assume my son died from a drug overdose as he had been in a drug rehab almost a year before. This had started to bother me. One of my son's high school friends who no longer lives in the area dropped by last Saturday and I asked him if he knew what happened. When he said he didn't, I told him that my son was struggling with some things that were happening in his life and he took his own life.
I didn't know how I would feel about saying those words out loud and you know what? It felt okay. It felt honest. My son and I talked about the importance of honesty all the time. Even if it hurt people, in the end honesty is essential to living a life where one could feel good about themselves. I think it came as somewhat of a shock to his old friend as my son was outgoing and loved my many. He talked about what a free spirit and happy person my son was and I needed to be reminded of that.
I've tended to live in the last few moments of his life (even though I wasn't there) than in his life as a whole. I need to find a way to live in his joys and accomplishments, his laughter, his sense of fun and celebrate the wonderful caring and kind person he was rather than the person he was in those few minutes. It's not fair to the memory of my son and his life to dwell in those last minutes.
So please do what you feel if right for you. I know for me it no longer felt "right" to let people think what they wanted or assumed. I also don't believe there is a timetable for any of this. My life is now measured only in before and after the day I lost my son.
Take care of yourself the best you can.
This post first appeared on the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors forum. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Visit our moderated community of support to those who have experienced the tragic loss of a loved one to suicide.