Saturday, August 31, 2013

What Emileo Missed

He missed you my darling Mat! He missed you! You were the missing piece! Were you there my darling? I sure hope in some way you were! Sure could have used your help! Your sweet sister is taking out fingers now! :)
Funny how the 2 of you, you and Jess, were so close until the drugs seperated you. Now she has isolated herself and numbed herself from everything. Scarey! Look out over Emileo you have to its your job and your sisters! Keep our Jess safe Mat! I can' t be with her but you can! Good night my sweet angel! Love you Bubba!  And P.S. stop it with the pipes already I get it!

Friday, August 30, 2013

I Am Jealous Of The Angels

I heard that song on you tube and I realized baby boy I am jealous of the angels! Jealous they have you and I don't!
What a road we must now follow, what a lonely path! The only ones that understand this path are those who must also follow it! I never realized what it was to love so deeply and for a love to become so deeply embedded inside your soul until I gave birth to my childen. I knew of suffering but none so intense until one of those children was lost!
To have lost a child is intense, to have lost a child to suicide....undescribable! A grief at times that I can only describe as, a raw continuously open wound! Never heals, never completely closes! Always tugging at your heart, always tearing at your soul!
This grief causes you to cry, scream, become easily enraged, depressed and feeling quite alone, because who will listen and who will understand? It is a difficult road we travel as the parents whose babies have taken their own lives!
What does the future hold for us? Only God himself knows! We trust and we pray and God holds us each and everyone in his arms. He carries us as we so often are unable to carry ourselves physically and mentally!
Now that you are gone my Angel, my nightly ritual consists of....listening for your bells to ring, taking my Valerian Root because only God knows, a grieving mama never sleeps. I get down on my knees and pray. I pray for you, your daddy, your sisters and brothers, and me.I then pray for all the other people I have meant that have also lost their babies to suicide! Everyday same prayer, same ritual....routine now keeps me sane and I have to do that because as we all know I easily loose my mind since this has happened!
We will make it bubba! No one can otake our memories away! You took much when you left but you can never have my memories no one can!
And you know what I am deeply jealous that they have you! I can only imagine you are giving them a run for their money.

Mats Mama

Poem By Evelyn Brine

Everyday is A new beginning, 
Sometimes losing ,sometimes winning, 
Yet there is Really nothing to win, 
A New Day of life simply Begins! 

We are not the same As before, 
Since suicide opened it's horrific door, 
Life Goes on, Regardless Of Pain, 
Wondering If We live Each Day in Vain? 

When We suffered that first grief, 
When The Pain showed No Relief, 
When We asked the If"s and Why's, 
Exhausted , drained of All but A sigh 

Somehow We found our Way, 
To survive Still another Day, 
As we held the deep dispair, 
Pain became our greatest Care, 

Pain so enormously Great, 
Held us down With all It's weight, 
Focused wasn't A gift for Me, 
Beyond such Pain I could not See. 

My Entire life was mine to Gain, 
As time overruled the pain, 
Sense of time, I have no clue, 
I only know it can happen for You. 

Everyday is A beautiful Beginning, 
We think We're Losing, We Are Winning, 
A New Life compassionate And strong, 
A life of wisdom And where We belong! 

Evelyn Brine 

The Suicide Curse By Evelyn Brine

They stood alone in the dark,
A numbness tore at their Heart,
for their child completed suicide,
Am emptyness they could not Hide,

Could not hide? what do you mean?
Why hide the facts that need to be seen?
Were you one moment yet Ashamed,
It would be degrading to your Name?

As it was many many years ago?
Shh!, We must not Let anyone Know,
So They kept it all repressed,
Next generation Met the same Death!

Repression is terrible indeed,
Never brings help to one in Need,
Nothing to be shamed about suicide,
It Is simply the Way one was to Die.

The only shame that one should Feel,
The fact ,their illness could not be Healed!
If It was Cancer or any other Disease,
Society would never put on the freeze.

How do we educate The cluless Ones?
We start by doing what must be done,
I for one would Definitely Insist,
Died by suicide, Read The OBit.

By doing this , What would I Gain?
Maybe another would do the Same,
It could become A lengthy chain
Proving that none of us are Ashamed

Our children lived, To society they Gave
Carrying their illness, they were Brave,
They did not wait &sit idly By,
Knowing that they were going to die.

They lived A life that was Fulfilling,
Doing their job which encluded giving,
To society whatever the cost,
How soon , It Would be their Loss,

For Society has become their judge,
Society still holds A Grudge,
It Is up to us to change this Course,
To Rid our loved ones of the suicide curse.

Evelyn Brine


Grief is not the enemy.
Grief is the teacher. 
But its lessons are not learned in the head.
With the mind.
Its lessons are heart lessons.
Filtered through grace. 
and over
and over
our mind will say
“But, this is not fair.”
“I don’t deserve this.”
“Why me?”
“I will never get over this.”
“The pain will always be there.” 
Don’t get trapped
in the viscous
of your mind. 
Grief is not a head-thing.
Not if you want to heal. 
Healing grief 
is a heart thing. 
And when the heart speaks
to you
in silence
it says
I know darkness
deep, all-encompassing, endless
so I will be light
for the next person. 
I know loneliness
even in (especially in)
a room full of people
so I will be friend
for the next person. 
I know terror
so I will be comfort
for the next person. 
And I know despair.
life is too dark
so I will be hope
for the next person. 
And in time
with grace
and heart
I realize that
I am more of who I was
not less. 
I am more.
Not less. 
We think that grief is the enemy
to be avoided at all costs.
It is not.
Grief is not the enemy.
Great is the great, life-giving teacher. 
Not in spite of the fact that someone you love has died.
But because of that fact that someone you love has died. 
Grief is the teacher.
The life-giving, heart-expanding teacher.
Because you have chosen to say yes
to life
to love
to your beloved, 
and over
and over again. 
Grief is not the enemy. 
Tom Zuba 


Forgiveness ends suffering that stems from harboring rage towards oneself 
or others. It lets the air out of the balloons of holding one's breath, 
filled with anger. When you decide that a wrong has occurred -- regardless of the 
perpetrator -- you place that situation into a prison cell and hold it 
captive in your consciousness. 

The perception of 'evil' that you harbor within yourself is akin to 
swallowing a foreign virus that subsequently attacks your physical self. It is 
impossible to perceive evil and harbor it in consciousness and not have it 
negatively impact you. 

Forgiveness frees these unwanted tenants from your system, freeing you to 
heal on many dimensions. When we speak of forgiveness, though, we see 
certain efforts in this direction falling short of their mark. Forgiveness with 
judgment is ineffective. To be free is to release the judgment of wrongdoing 

Give the situation to God and the angels, and know that we will effectively 
guide the situation -- and all involved. In that way, you will not need to 
be the captor or the judge of the situation or people, whether they be 
'perpetrators' or 'victims'. 

You are given the power to heal, a power so lovely that if you cast your 
eyes before it, you would fall to your knees in awe of the Creator's great 
gift to you! Your willingness to utilize your power in the in the name of 
healing is a chief incentive for you to allow forgiveness to reign. 

You are not forgiving because of some prescript, but because you can 
forgive. You are not forgiving to gain or to lose something, but because you can 
forgive. Your power is so great that you have the ability to forgive all. . . 
for all. 

Forgive yourself, Darling Child of God, for your harsh judgments of your 
reality! You have selected instances of your life, and judged them strongly 
with malice. Yet, is this a way to heal yourself or others? 

Does such self-judgment remove your consciousness from the Light? For the 
only judgment worthy of you is this: In each situation, ask whether each 
thought, each word, and each deed creates a greater or a lesser awareness of 

Walk On...U2

Suicide Is

"Suicide is
unspeakable, and to speak it is somehow to bring it into a human, imaginable
sphere, even if only in the moment of speaking. The need to tell is both a need
to tell oneself and a need to be heard.... Telling and being heard are the
first steps toward reconnection." ~ Victoria Alexander

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Never Be Forgotten

My Dear Old Friend...Patty Griffin

No Matter What


Jenn Bostic "Jealous Of The Angels"

Address In The Stars...Caitlin And Will

I Look To You...Whitney Houston

When I See You Again...Emerson Drive

Love Remains The Same....Gavin Rossdale

Reach Out Your Hand

Live And Breathe- Stacy Earl

He's My Son: Mark Shultz

Somewhere Out There

I Will Not Say Goodbye...Danny Gokey

For My Sweet Sweet Husband...Always Standing By Me

Diamond Rio- God Only Cries

Dancing With Angels-Monk & Neagle

Cassadee Pope: "Over You"

Held- Natalie Grant

Leann Rimes...Amazing Grace

If I Could Be Where You Are....Enya

Lost without precious Son (playlist)

Tears behind My Smile By Lyndie Sorenson Pavalon

There are tears behind my smile
And a mask I wear's called denial
Life is tragically to real
From this loss I will not heal

No one has a single clue
How much it hurts losing you
Although they think I'm doing fine
Sometimes I feel I've lost my mind

Memories are all that I have left
After this terrible life theft
A heart that hurts beyond control
Deep down to my very soul

There are tears behind my smile
And a mask I's called denial
I have cried with and without tears
And have been doing so for years

I have found no place to hide
Carry all of this inside
No earthly words that do explain
The kind of life that does remain

I look for signs most every day
That you are close ...not far away
I play a game within my heart
As if you never did depart

There are tears behind my smile
And a mask I's called denial
Missing you my special child
When you were here I truly smiled

Monday, August 26, 2013

To My Angel

Have I told you lately my son, I love you so very much? I think I tell you every morning and every night. :) Have I told you that you never leave my mind! Somedays are worse than others lately. I am on a different path now baby boy! I did the front of the boy scout trailer for you, you would just love it! So sorry it has to be in a situation like this. Your Daddy is right about a lot of things lately! Especially about you! Always my pride and joy bubba, you will always be! Loving you always my baby! Always and forever!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Have To Stand Back Baby Boy, Take A Breath

There are days when I feel as if I can't even take a breath in it's so hard for me. School is starting and we should be shopping. God how I miss that! It is almost unbearable. I try baby boy. I try to just get up and just move on. But with the sad realization that you are not here to move on with. This was your big year, you were going to be a senior! Driving and looking forward to the years ahead. Now all I do is count the days you have been gone. Count the seconds, count the minutes even. I just have to stay with the now. I just keep telling myself, move along, move along. I see your pictures and still tears roll down my face. I hold them close to my heart, there will be no more pictures of my darling son. Now the days just pass us. Memories are all we have baby. So I just stand back and I just take a breath! Its all I can do!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

4 Months

So my baby boy....4 months today! 4 month's since I found you that awful morning! And we all ask, as I am sure you are Mathew... well I am sure you know, mom what have you been doing with yourself? Well, let me tell you what I have done, out of pure grief or out of stupidity some may say. Because if you were here I am sure you wouldn't have allowed any of this! Let's start with, starving myself to death, I have lost over 25 pounds, and I guess if I wasn't under weight to begin with that would have been a positive and welcomed occurrence  but it hasn't been. I do not eat, my excuse to myself, I am to upset, I am grieving, I don't have an appetite, well of course I don't, I am wallering in my own personal hell on a daily basis. Because if I stop grieving then I give up everything that I have left that connects our souls as we lie to ourselves! I ask myself everyday, how long do I have to endure this agony and pain? No answer because only I have that answer and no one else. The solution to my agony lies within me, myself and I!

4 months I have gone without you, yes that is a fact, until the day I die and we are reunited again, I will have to live without you being here with me, that is a fact! No matter how many tears I cry and I have cried oceans to date, and I will cry oceans more before the day I die, and then again when I see your face when once again we will be together forever! These tears may never, ever, ever stop again! But that's OK, that is my grief and that experience of how I grieve and how long belongs to me. Nobody can take them from me or magically turn them off. I can cry when I want, whenever I want and as long as I want, if I want to cry in the middle of Walmart dammit I am allowed, because I am a grieving mother! But I do have to remember that as I am crying somebody else is waiting for me to once again smile and for the old me to once again return. I guess the question is, if I make them wait another 35 years for me to stop being miserable, then will I have wasted another life, my own and maybe all that surround me? Then in retrospect what will we have gained by the 16 years that we were blessed with you? Misery and agony and pain? 

4 months I have prayed not to wake up just so that I could be with my son, every night I prayed that! I also in the other breath pray for God to keep you safe and to love you no matter what choice you have made....ironical how that has become my nightly prayer isn't it! Instead of being thankful, because I already know you are with God, because our God is a loving and forgiving God, I pray for him to take me, before it is my time, away from people who need me here and I live a life that is headed right towards that goal, why? Grief or a slow suicide of my own, by my own hands. Does one wrong make a right? Or do 2 wrongs make a right should I say! Starving myself to death when I already know it will solve absolutely nothing, not the answer, so why? I under no circumstances agree with people when they say, they took the easy way out, screw them, let them put a rope around their neck, tie it and jump to their death.....yeah I thought so! What you did my son took a great amount of courage! You won't catch me doing that! I don't have it in me, as I am sure many other people, that have said you took the easy way out do either! If I was going to commit suicide, I just want to go to sleep! And by looking at the last 4 months, in honor of my son, I am doing a dam good job at just going to sleep and not waking up, probably from starvation and dehydration more than anything. So what you have done that has caused so much heartache and anguish to us all, I now 4 months later am repeating again in a different manner. Question being are you looking down on me and smiling at how much I loved you, that I am willing to take my own life and ruin it in honor of you? And what honor is that? Or are you heartbroken because of something that you just simply didn't stop to think of, because just simply 16 year old's just don't see the end result, they don't think anything out at all. 16 year old's are not structured mentally yet for those reasoning skills. They make selfish and illogical mistakes just because they can. So do I stay or do I go? Apparently the answer to that is I stay, because I woke up again this morning, sometimes I guess God doesn't give us what we asked for all the time. So out of my great and unconditional love for you, do I stay and suffer for the next 30 yrs or more or do I choose to live? Apparently God has other plans. He needed you to come home because your job here was done, mine I guess is not!

4 months later and I now realize God was with you that night, waiting for you to make the choice, holding your hand and your soul, just in case you chose to come home with him. It doesn't mean he did or didn't want you, but I know that you were not alone, that has tortured my soul since the morning we found you. I even said to your daddy, what if he's stuck somewhere awful and I can never find him when I go, I never see him again, what will I do? Your daddy said, then we will go to hell and back to bring you home with us, no matter where you are, we will never, ever, leave you be anywhere else but with us! I just have to believe in our God and what it was he has promised us! Eternal life! Forgiveness and a home with him. If I do not believe in that I will loose my mind.

4 months later and speaking of which at any given time in the day, I may appear to have lost all my marbles! I cannot think, remember or process anything before the 16 years of your life flashes before my eyes! Is that what you would have wanted for me, in honor of you am I willing to loose all of who I am and what I have fought 50 years to get, sanity! This world is just crazy and I really on certain days don't blame you for your decision, people are nuts. They are all about everyone elses business but their own, let the world around them fall apart as long as they have their nose in somewhere it doesn't belong they are good! Privacy and family business, what happened to that? They post the stupidest shit on Facebook I have ever seen! One may just sit back and say, nothing I don't know about your dam life, on to the next person! You were right and became very wise to that after only a few years, it's a soap opera in print! You used to say, if you want to know who not to screw or who to, or who is loose or who isn't, check their Facebook statuses they put it all out there. You used to say, you can tell the good wives mom, they aren't on Facebook 24/7 huh? I used to say I think you may be right! You would say when they spend all their time in front of a phone, who's caring for their babies, who's reading to them, WHO IS LISTENING TO THEM? He was right in so many ways so wise! So after 50 years I guess now is not the time to go all crazy and sit and stare at a TREE!!!!! Because that is where I am headed at this rate! To a tree myself and then who would live to tell all the great stories about all the great things our son has done? Who will be left to sing your praises, the ones where you did such tremendous things in your short 16 years, the  ones where you touched and impacted the lives of so many of your friends! At this rate it sure won't be me!!! So I have rotted away 4 months of my life out of the great love and respect I had for my son's life.....yes I did!

4 months later and I have either lost or isolated everybody that made my life incredible and put them as far away from me as I could get them! Can't loose anything else or anybody else because I could not bare another thing! Best to protect my heart! I guess to people just don't know what to say to the grieving mother that's son has hung himself, I guess scared to say to little, to much or to hurt their feelings! You can only say I am here for you so many times and then what else do you talk about? In 4 months I have managed, in your honor, to isolate and abandon people that I hold near and dear to me.....pretty sure that wasn't something you dreamed for me huh?

4 months later and your father has developed pneumonia in the middle of August and become so sick that for a minute I thought I was going to have to loose him as well. Yesterday with tears in his eyes your father said, all the guys ask me at work, how are you doing this? And he said, I told them because I have to, I don't have time to grieve myself, and I started to cry! He said, I have to worry about my wife who has a broken heart and my grandson and the rest of our family and keeping it together. He said, you don't think for a moment that I miss our son so much sometimes I want to die myself, you don't think that not a day goes by that I don't remember bringing him down in my arms from that tree or the look on your face when you held him in your arms, because I do! He said and I will remember it the rest of my life, he said but I also remember the good times we had! The day that we held him in our arms and the joy that he brought to our lives for 16 years. How proud he made me when he played football and track and karate and he said, I just choose to recall that first before the bad stuff, I remember the good first! I always remember how good he was, how kind he was and how much I loved him! For that I froze! Always knew how much pain I was in but really never bothered to ask your dad if there was something I could do for him because I was so deep in my own anguish I forgot how much he loved you to!

4 months later and I have tried to drink myself to death, take to many pills, smoke so many cigarettes and prayed for cancer, attempted to jump from the second story window not once but twice. I have lost who I am and what I stand for, I have lost my soul and my heart! I have become bitter and angry and gotten lost in a deep dark hole, so deep that I don't believe myself some days I am still here, that I am still alive! I have prayed for death and for things that would cause my death! I have actually tired myself out thinking of death itself! The whole time I couldn't understand why at first it felt as if you where here with me and lately it's as if you have abandoned me. Believe me buddy if I could have run from myself, I would have been like Forest Gump and ran my ass off! I think that was even a thought of mine, start running and never stop! Run from me and who inside I have become. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that a mother that looses her child feels all these things and at one point I even made the comment about someone, it's about time she gets over that I think! How very much we do not know until we have the experience. I now have this experience and I don't wish it on my worst enemy ever.

4 months later and I now know that none of the above are anything abnormal or unusual just because of the great people there are out there going through the same thing their self and struggling just like me. Yesterday and the day before that I felt as if my boat was sinking, today I feel a little differently. I feel that if I have learned anything at all from April 20, 2013, I have learned that when you are this far down, you could give a rats ass who is left when you are gone, no matter how much you love them or you know they love you, all that matters is your pain, and how to make it stop! So I will give you that one Mathew Jacob, I get it now, my right hand to God I get it totally and I get it with all my heart and soul and you know I do! That night must have been the night from hell in your mind but more importantly prior to that you must have struggled with a darkness in your soul that was so overwhelming to you that you chose to take your own life! Been there with you my darling baby boy, I have gone to the exact place you where in my mind and in my soul, but I turned around baby boy and I come back, I chose to come back and I am sorry for that, I tried but I just couldn't do it and I think that's because you turned me around, I know you did!

Woke up this morning, after only several hours of sleep, haven't had any since you've been gone you know! Anyways in my mind I saw it's the 20th, 4 month,s switch and time to be sad, another day of hell has come. I cried after that of course like everyday the last 4 months and every night and tried to get myself ready for work. Thought of all the bad stuff over and over and over in my mind. I looked down where I found you and I said, 4 months baby boy, I love you and I miss you so very much, more today then ever. I said I wish you was here baby, if only I could have you here with me, just one more day baby! I said but I will never have you again ever will I? Dried my tears again and proceeded to get in the car and put on my music, my sanity. Me and you loved our music, we loved a lot of the same and some we disagreed on, but pretty much we would listen to whatever. Anyways I put on a station I created, I named Mat's Angels on Pandora, it was a joke remember and you gave me the answer to what I needed to do to be able to spend another day with you and maybe even an entire life with you but in a different way, the only way we can now! Not meaning that I won't ever be sad again, or never cry again, or never ever remember a bad thought about that day, but that if that's all that I remember is the bad and I stay stuck in that awful place I will never find you again, I will never feel you again and I will never remember all the good in your life, the happy thoughts! You I think have risen out of that place and I think I had to go there and I had to find you and I did but I got lost too and now instead of me bringing you back my sweet baby boy I think you have brought me back! I think you were there with me just long enough so that I could know that you didn't do this to hurt us. you did this because you were hurting and because of the drugs that you had done, curse Devin Hamilton and all your "SO CALLED FRIENDS" that dragged you down! Curse that dam K-2! Bless the ones that stayed your friends but chose not to be a part of that behavior! The ones that didn't abandon you! Devin Hamilton after reading his letter, I can say this because I am a grieving mom you know. After being locked up for almost 4 months in an adolescent center for your abuse of drugs and missing school and the rages of anger and breaking down the house, says in a letter to you while you are still locked up and about to be released, can't wait until you get home, we will have the biggest party for you and get messed up! Surely not messed up as in drunk, high, oh hell no! Why would anyone in their right mind write anything to a friend of theirs knowing the problem that has cost them 4 months of their life, they "out of friendship"are offering that to them again, out of friendship, glad I don't have one of them! All I can say is say your prayers Mr Hamilton, life may bite you in the ass some day, you little shit! Glad you and my son made it to the store before it closed to get your K-2, it helped his mind out tremendously, pseudo psychosis Mr Hamilton! Research it buddy! And to who ever it was that first said to my son, hey man try K-2 then you can get high and they won't catch you! They can't tell your doing it, well let me tell you, we can detect it and parents do not need a blood test or a urine test for that one, any idiot can tell when someones smoking K-2, because you guys plainly become idiots! Now that's an easy thing to detect! Or like Mathew you just hang yourself in a tree! Good high wouldn't you say? I would say you are high alright about as high as you can get after what Mat admitted to was a year, oh and he told the who's and the whens 2 days before he took is own life! Amazing how that can all come to that in the end! You just spill your guts because you just want to stop and you just cry out for all the help you can get, in his case it was a cry out that was just to late!

Anyways this is what I heard when I was crying and turned on my radio today: Your answer to my sadness once again, so wise Mat!
                                                              "Never Alone"

I waited for you today
But you didn't show
No no no
I needed You today
So where did You go?
You told me to call
Said You'd be there
And though I haven't seen You
Are You still there?

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I"m never alone

And though I cannot see You
And I can't explain why
Such a deep, deep reassurance
You've placed in my life

We cannot separate
'Cause You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen


We cannot separate
You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen

Then your answer to my sinking boat and my being so lost in my sadness, now this one Mathew really got your mama! Yes this one got to my soul! How could these be the first 2 songs I hear today, Mathew Jacob Riley, thank you baby boy! Thank you mu sweet angel! <3, <3, <3


I don't know you but I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me and always fool me
And I can't react

And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back

And moods that take me and erase me
And I'll paint it black
Well you have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice

You've made it now
Why don't you come?
One, two, three, four
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along, along
Baby, why don't you come home?

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Dream Of Grace.... About Dying....Mooji

What Can One Do To Fix A Broken Heart


Fierce Goodbye

Journey Through The Shadow Of Grief

60 Days Later

"This is not how a mother should hold her son!!!!!"

Fix You- Coldplay

When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home,
And ignite your bones,
And I will try to fix you,

High up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And I

Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

One Life

Saturday, August 17, 2013

PTSD After The Loss Of A Child To Suicide

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event.
When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

Who gets PTSD?

Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events.
Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people get PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or is harmed. The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms: 
  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
2. Avoidance symptoms: 
  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms: 
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.

Do children react differently than adults?

Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as adults.1 In very young children, these symptoms can include:
  • Bedwetting, when they’d learned how to use the toilet before
  • Forgetting how or being unable to talk
  • Acting out the scary event during playtime
  • Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.
Older children and teens usually show symptoms more like those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge. For more information, see the NIMH booklets on helping children cope with violence and disasters.

How is PTSD detected?

A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD. The diagnosis is made after the doctor talks with the person who has symptoms of PTSD.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have all of the following for at least 1 month: 
  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least three avoidance symptoms
  • At least two hyperarousal symptoms
  • Symptoms that make it hard to go about daily life, go to school or work, be with friends, and take care of important tasks.

Why do some people get PTSD and other people do not?

It is important to remember that not everyone who lives through a dangerous event gets PTSD. In fact, most will not get the disorder.
Many factors play a part in whether a person will get PTSD. Some of these are risk factors that make a person more likely to get PTSD. Other factors, called resilience factors, can help reduce the risk of the disorder. Some of these risk and resilience factors are present before the trauma and others become important during and after a traumatic event.
Risk factors for PTSD include: 2 
  • Living through dangerous events and traumas
  • Having a history of mental illness
  • Getting hurt
  • Seeing people hurt or killed
  • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
  • Having little or no social support after the event
  • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home.
Resilience factors that may reduce the risk of PTSD include: 3 
  • Seeking out support from other people, such as friends and family
  • Finding a support group after a traumatic event
  • Feeling good about one’s own actions in the face of danger
  • Having a coping strategy, or a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
  • Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear.
Researchers are studying the importance of various risk and resilience factors. With more study, it may be possible someday to predict who is likely to get PTSD and prevent it.

How is PTSD treated?

The main treatments for people with PTSD are psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), medications, or both. Everyone is different, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. It is important for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a mental health care provider who is experienced with PTSD. Some people with PTSD need to try different treatments to find what works for their symptoms.
If someone with PTSD is going through an ongoing trauma, such as being in an abusive relationship, both of the problems need to be treated. Other ongoing problems can include panic disorder, depression, substance abuse, and feeling suicidal.


Psychotherapy is “talk” therapy. It involves talking with a mental health professional to treat a mental illness. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group. Talk therapy treatment for PTSD usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but can take more time. Research shows that support from family and friends can be an important part of therapy.
Many types of psychotherapy can help people with PTSD. Some types target the symptoms of PTSD directly. Other therapies focus on social, family, or job-related problems. The doctor or therapist may combine different therapies depending on each person’s needs.
One helpful therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. There are several parts to CBT, including:
  • Exposure therapy. This therapy helps people face and control their fear. It exposes them to the trauma they experienced in a safe way. It uses mental imagery, writing, or visits to the place where the event happened. The therapist uses these tools to help people with PTSD cope with their feelings.
  • Cognitive restructuring. This therapy helps people make sense of the bad memories. Sometimes people remember the event differently than how it happened. They may feel guilt or shame about what is not their fault. The therapist helps people with PTSD look at what happened in a realistic way.
  • Stress inoculation training. This therapy tries to reduce PTSD symptoms by teaching a person how to reduce anxiety. Like cognitive restructuring, this treatment helps people look at their memories in a healthy way.
Other types of treatment can also help people with PTSD. People with PTSD should talk about all treatment options with their therapist.
How Talk Therapies Help People Overcome PTSD 
Talk therapies teach people helpful ways to react to frightening events that trigger their PTSD symptoms. Based on this general goal, different types of therapy may:
  • Teach about trauma and its effects.
  • Use relaxation and anger control skills.
  • Provide tips for better sleep, diet, and exercise habits.
  • Help people identify and deal with guilt, shame, and other feelings about the event.
  • Focus on changing how people react to their PTSD symptoms. For example, therapy helps people visit places and people that are reminders of the trauma.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two medications for treating adults with PTSD: 
  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)
Both of these medications are antidepressants, which are also used to treat depression. They may help control PTSD symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Taking these medications may make it easier to go through psychotherapy.
Sometimes people taking these medications have side effects. The effects can be annoying, but they usually go away. However, medications affect everyone differently. Any side effects or unusual reactions should be reported to a doctor immediately.
The most common side effects of antidepressants like sertraline and paroxetine are: 
  • Headache, which usually goes away within a few days.
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), which usually goes away within a few days.
  • Sleeplessness or drowsiness, which may occur during the first few weeks but then goes away. Sometimes the medication dose needs to be reduced or the time of day it is taken needs to be adjusted to help lessen these side effects.
  • Agitation (feeling jittery).
  • Sexual problems, which can affect both men and women, including reduced sex drive, and problems having and enjoying sex.
FDA Warning on Antidepressants 
Despite the relative safety and popularity of SSRIs and other antidepressants, some studies have suggested that they may have unintentional effects on some people, especially adolescents and young adults. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a thorough review of published and unpublished controlled clinical trials of antidepressants that involved nearly 4,400 children and adolescents. The review revealed that 4 percent of those taking antidepressants thought about or attempted suicide (although no suicides occurred), compared to 2 percent of those receiving placebos.
This information prompted the FDA, in 2005, to adopt a “black box” warning label on all antidepressant medications to alert the public about the potential increased risk of suicidal thinking or attempts in children and adolescents taking antidepressants. In 2007, the FDA proposed that makers of all antidepressant medications extend the warning to include young adults up through age 24. A “black box” warning is the most serious type of warning on prescription drug labeling.
The warning emphasizes that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be closely monitored, especially during the initial weeks of treatment. Possible side effects to look for are worsening depression, suicidal thinking or behavior, or any unusual changes in behavior such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations. The warning adds that families and caregivers should also be told of the need for close monitoring and report any changes to the physician. The latest information can be found on the FDA Web site.
Results of a comprehensive review of pediatric trials conducted between 1988 and 2006 suggested that the benefits of antidepressant medications likely outweigh their risks to children and adolescents with major depression and anxiety disorders.4The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Other medications

Doctors may also prescribe other types of medications, such as the ones listed below. There is little information on how well these work for people with PTSD.
  1. Benzodiazepines. These medications may be given to help people relax and sleep. People who take benzodiazepines may have memory problems or become dependent on the medication.5
  2. Antipsychotics. These medications are usually given to people with other mental disorders, like schizophrenia. People who take antipsychotics may gain weight and have a higher chance of getting heart disease and diabetes.
  3. Other antidepressants. Like sertraline and paroxetine, the antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac) and citalopram (Celexa) can help people with PTSD feel less tense or sad. For people with PTSD who also have other anxiety disorders or depression, antidepressants may be useful in reducing symptoms of these co-occurring illnesses.

Treatment after mass trauma

Sometimes large numbers of people are affected by the same event. For example, a lot of people needed help after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Most people will have some PTSD symptoms in the first few weeks after events like these. This is a normal and expected response to serious trauma, and for most people, symptoms generally lessen with time. Most people can be helped with basic support, such as:
  • Getting to a safe place
  • Seeing a doctor if injured
  • Getting food and water
  • Contacting loved ones or friends
  • Learning what is being done to help.
But some people do not get better on their own. A study of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that, over time, more people were having problems with PTSD, depression, and related mental disorders.6 This pattern is unlike the recovery from other natural disasters, where the number of people who have mental health problems gradually lessens. As communities try to rebuild after a mass trauma, people may experience ongoing stress from loss of jobs and schools, and trouble paying bills, finding housing, and getting health care. This delay in community recovery may in turn delay recovery from PTSD.
In the first couple weeks after a mass trauma, brief versions of CBT may be helpful to some people who are having severe distress.7Sometimes other treatments are used, but their effectiveness is not known. For example, there is growing interest in an approach calledpsychological first aid. The goal of this approach is to make people feel safe and secure, connect people to health care and other resources, and reduce stress reactions.8 There are guides for carrying out the treatment, but experts do not know yet if it helps prevent or treat PTSD.
In single-session psychological debriefing, another type of mass trauma treatment, survivors talk about the event and express their feelings one-on-one or in a group. Studies show that it is not likely to reduce distress or the risk for PTSD, and may actually increase distress and risk.9
Mass Trauma Affects Hospitals and Other Providers 
Hospitals, health care systems, and health care providers are also affected by a mass trauma. The number of people who need immediate physical and psychological help may be too much for health systems to handle. Some patients may not find help when they need it because hospitals do not have enough staff or supplies. In some cases, health care providers themselves may be struggling to recover as well.
NIMH scientists are working on this problem. For example, researchers are testing how to give CBT and other treatments using the phone and the Internet. In one study, people with PTSD met with a therapist to learn about the disorder, made a list of things that trigger their symptoms, and learned basic ways to reduce stress. After this meeting, the participants could visit a Web site with more information about PTSD. Participants could keep a log of their symptoms and practice coping skills. Overall, the researchers found the Internet-based treatment helped reduce symptoms of PTSD and depression.10 These effects lasted after treatment ended.
Researchers will carry out more studies to find out if other such approaches to therapy can be helpful after mass trauma.

What efforts are under way to improve the detection and treatment of PTSD?

Researchers have learned a lot in the last decade about fear, stress, and PTSD. Scientists are also learning about how people form memories. This is important because creating very powerful fear-related memories seems to be a major part of PTSD. Researchers are also exploring how people can create “safety” memories to replace the bad memories that form after a trauma. NIMH’s goal in supporting this research is to improve treatment and find ways to prevent the disorder.
PTSD research also includes the following examples: 
  • Using powerful new research methods, such as brain imaging and the study of genes, to find out more about what leads to PTSD, when it happens, and who is most at risk.
  • Trying to understand why some people get PTSD and others do not. Knowing this can help health care professionals predict who might get PTSD and provide early treatment.
  • Focusing on ways to examine pre-trauma, trauma, and post-trauma risk and resilience factors all at once.
  • Looking for treatments that reduce the impact traumatic memories have on our emotions.
  • Improving the way people are screened for PTSD, given early treatment, and tracked after a mass trauma.
  • Developing new approaches in self-testing and screening to help people know when it’s time to call a doctor.
  • Testing ways to help family doctors detect and treat PTSD or refer people with PTSD to mental health specialists.
For more information on PTSD research, please see NIMH’s PTSD Research online Fact Sheet or the PTSD Clinical Trials Web site.

How can I help a friend or relative who has PTSD?

If you know someone who has PTSD, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do to help a friend or relative is to help him or her get the right diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment for your friend or relative and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if his or her symptoms don’t get better after 6 to 8 weeks.
To help a friend or relative, you can: 
  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
  • Learn about PTSD so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing.
  • Talk to your friend or relative, and listen carefully.
  • Listen to feelings your friend or relative expresses and be understanding of situations that may trigger PTSD symptoms.
  • Invite your friend or relative out for positive distractions such as walks, outings, and other activities.
  • Remind your friend or relative that, with time and treatment, he or she can get better.
Never ignore comments about your friend or relative harming him or herself, and report such comments to your friend’s or relative’s therapist or doctor.

How can I help myself?

It may be very hard to take that first step to help yourself. It is important to realize that although it may take some time, with treatment, you can get better.
To help yourself: 
  • Talk to your doctor about treatment options.
  • Engage in mild activity or exercise to help reduce stress.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Tell others about things that may trigger symptoms.
  • Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately.
  • Identify and seek out comforting situations, places, and people.

Where can I go for help?

If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor. Others who can help are listed below.
Mental health resources 
  • Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Community mental health centers
  • Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
  • Mental health programs at universities or medical schools
  • State hospital outpatient clinics
  • Family services, social agencies, or clergy
  • Peer support groups
  • Private clinics and facilities
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Local medical and/or psychiatric societies.
You can also check the phone book under “mental health,” “health,” “social services,” “hotlines,” or “physicians” for phone numbers and addresses. An emergency room doctor can also provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.

What if I or someone I know is in crisis?

If you are thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately:
  • Call your doctor.
  • Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–TALK (1–800–273–8255); TTY: 1–800–799–4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.
  • Make sure you or the suicidal person is not left alone.


1. Hamblen J. PTSD in Children and Adolescents: A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet. Accessed Veterans Administration Web site on February 10, 2006.
2.Brewin CR, Andrews B, Valentine JD. Meta-analysis of risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder in trauma-exposed adults. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Oct;68(5):748-66.
3.Charney DS. Psychobiological mechanisms of resilience and vulnerability: implications for successful adaptation to extreme stress.Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Feb;161(2):195-216.
4.Bridge JA, Iyengar S, Salary CB, Barbe RP, Birmaher B, Pincus HA, Ren L, Brent DA. Clinical response and risk for reported suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in pediatric antidepressant treatment, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2007; 297(15): 1683-1696.
6.Kessler RC, Galea S, Gruber MJ, Sampson NA, Ursano RJ, Wessely S. Trends in mental illness and suicidality after Hurricane Katrina. Mol Psychiatry. 2008 Apr;13(4):374-84. Epub 2008 Jan 8
7. Foa EB, Cahill SP, Boscarino JA, Hobfoll SE, Lahad M, McNally RJ, Solomon Z. Social, psychological, and psychiatric interventions following terrorist attacks: recommendations for practice and research. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Oct;30(10):1806-17.
8.Watson PJ, Shalev AY. Assessment and treatment of adult acute responses to traumatic stress following mass traumatic events. CNS Spectr. 2005 Feb;10(2):123-31.
9.Rose S, Bisson J, Churchill R, Wessely S. Psychological debriefing for preventing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002 (2):CD000560.
10.Litz BT, Engel CC, Bryant RA, Papa A. A Randomized, Controlled Proof-of-Concept Trial of an Internet-Based, Therapist-Assisted Self-Management Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Nov;164(11):1676-84.

For more information on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Visit the National Library of Medicine’s: MedlinePlus or En Español:
For information on clinical trials for PTSD
National Library of Medicine Clinical Trials Database
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