Bringing suicide out of the shadows and into the light

[Originally published in The Sun Chronicle]

“Love u 2.”

That was the last text message I sent to my mom.

One week later, on Nov. 17, 2010, I found out she had died by suicide.

I held the phone to my ear and heard my uncle saying ridiculous things like “your mother is dead” and “she left bags and notes on the kitchen counter.” I wanted to scream. Instead, I sobbed and pictured myself shattering into pieces.

The weeks and months that followed were a blur, a surreal and exhausting whirlwind of activity that kept me focused on resolving the tangible aspects of my mother’s death: selling her house, her car, her furniture and all of her possessions, meeting with lawyers and bank representatives, filling out forms, canceling credit cards and magazine subscriptions until I had uttered the words “my mother has died” so many times they started to lose their meaning.

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I tried calling my mother last month

I tried calling my mother last month. I sat in the press box at Gillette Stadium before the Patriots-Texans playoff game, eating lunch at a table with two other journalists and vaguely listening to their conversation about a failed relationship. And I thought of my mom.

I wondered if I still had her number in my phone, scrolled through my contacts and found that I did. I wondered what would happen if I called her. Would I hear her voice again in that message where she always sounded so awkward and uncomfortable? Would a robot tell me this number was not in service anymore? Would the line simply go dead?

My mother’s been dead for over two years now. I dialed her number and the phone rang.

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