by Sue Endsley
It has been almost 14 years since my youngest of three sons, Ryan, took his life at Niagara Falls. I definitely remember those first days, weeks, months, the first year. Three years after Ryan’s death I started a support group for suicide survivors. When people new to the grief of losing a child attend the support group their first questions are does it get better? Will I survive this? Helping others survive and get beyond those first years is what also helped me in my healing and moving forward. So the answer is yes, it does get better.
But it does take a while and you do have to want to move forward. Most important of all is that moving forward does not mean leaving the memory of your child behind. I have moved ahead and keep Ryan’s memory with me always. And I do still get knocked over by a wave of emotion now and then, but it is much less often than at first.
The moving forward actually took me by surprise. I remember thinking on the ninth anniversary of his death that I couldn’t believe nine years had passed already. And then it struck me – life is kind of “normal”. I guess about as normal as it can get after losing a child but definitely better than it had been the “first year”. I also remember being amazed at how I was nine years later. Because I also remembered those first months when I was sure I would never laugh again, never “see color” again, never… survive. But I have and life is good again. Still filled with memories of Ryan, but also full of new memories being made with grandchildren.
So when I meet newly bereaved parents I try to offer support and show that YES, IT DOES GET BETTER!
About the Author: Sue Endsley resides in Ingram, Texas where she has worked at Mo-Ranch Assembly for the past two years. Her son, Ryan, took his life by jumping at Niagara Falls October 1, 2000. Ryan was 19 and attending the College of Wooster in Ohio at the time.
Sue has attended the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention training for facilitators of support groups. Sue facilitated a Touched By Suicide support group for five years before moving to Ingram. Sue also started the Touched By Suicide Walk. The Walk is to raise funds for the support group and two other sister groups and for the Lewisville School District to help work with teens who are contemplating suicide or have lost a friend to suicide. The support group and the walk continue under the guidance of Sue’s friends who helped her when she got them started.
Sue also helped implement a weekend retreat at Mo-Ranch for bereaved parents and has been part of the facilitating team for the last several years. Sue is currently chapter facilitator for The Compassionate Friends, Texas Hill Country chapter in Kerrville, TX.
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