My True Journey (no surviving children)

by Annie Mitchell, Author
Holding Back the Tears
Holding Back the Tears (UK)

My journey began on 6th February 2000, which tore my insides apart.

My son, Finlay Sinclair, age 26 years decided he had had enough of life and died through suicide.

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For almost two years after his death I was in denial, I refused to accept I would never see my child again. I went out of my way to avoid any outside contact with friends and family or anyone who wanted to offer me their help. I believed I could cope on my own, so I pushed away any help offered to me. I finally realized I needed to seek professional help when the nightmares every night and the forgetfulness began to affect my daily life. I was not aware of leaving the pot boiling away on the cooker or forgetting to switch off the taps once I had started running the water or go out without locking the door behind me. The list was endless. I was oblivious to these facts, which were so obvious to everyone around me in my daily life except to me.

I protected my belief that my son was not dead by keeping myself cocooned in a shell where I could live my life in peace and harmony, which was not realistic or acceptable to the real world.

I spent most of my days in a daydream state of mind, believing that every time I saw a shadow or a figure that resembled my son, he would be back home to be with his mum soon.

I had lost contact with Finlay seven years prior to his death so when he died I did not know if I was saying goodbye to a teenager or a young mature stranger who I had never met.

I could not bring myself to go to Finlay’s funeral. I was not prepared for him dying or for saying goodbye. I had, for over seven years, yearned for him to come home to be with mum and by putting my own life on hold, I only fed this belief that he would one day knock on my door and say, “Hi mum, I am here. See it was all in your head. I never died”.

Finlay_1It took me two years, nearly three, before I was finally able to let my son go by holding a memorial service for him with a few friends and family at a private ceremony held at his graveside.

The day I received the news of his death I recall, on the very same morning, that I was lying in bed when I felt something cold touch my shoulder which made me glance around quickly to find nothing there. This happened at 10:30 a.m. It was some time later after the funeral that I sent for a copy of my son’s death certificate which read time of death, 10:30 a.m. To this day I believe he came to see his mum. He did knock at my door, but not the way I had wished.

My journey has affected my whole life, my health suffered immensely with mental issues as well as physical. Mentally, I have developed chronic anxiety and depression that is now under control with medication and care from professionals.

As the years go on, more and more illnesses are showing their ugly heads, which may or may not have been going to happen anyway regardless of my son dying. I lead a restricted lifestyle now, as I find any chaos going on around me that causes me great stress. I use many self-help methods to keep me calm.

I know I am not the same person I was, but I do know my journey has made me stronger and more appreciative of those around me. I live every day as if it were my last day here on earth. I learned many lessons after my son died. One being how quickly you can lose someone you love. I take nothing for granted. I cherish everyone I meet and who comes into my life as I travel along my journey. I write and speak straight from the heart with compassion and with empathy for all who have experienced similar circumstances.

I am aware how precious life is. I enjoy nature like I have never done before; fresh air, small, living creatures whether wild or domestic. I grow my own salads and tend to my garden with an enthusiasm which I have never experienced before. I am an ordinary mother with a special place in my heart for all parents who have been affected by the death of their child. My child left me a gift, a gift to move forward on my journey to share with others and to help them on their own special journey.

I use different names to protect the privacy of my son and myself as I know this is what he would have wished. Finlay Sinclair is the name I use throughout my book and any other writings or articles or interviews.

Thank you for reading. My heart is with yours as one.

Annie Mitchell

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