The End of the Road

In three months it will be two years since Barry decided to end his time on Earth and move into the great unknown. For the family and friends he left behind, we grieved in many ways, for many months. In fact, the process continues for most of us, to varying degrees.

However, I have reached the end of the road when it comes to sharing that grief in public. The words on this website were necessary and they were put here for other people as much as for me. The words are private, yet it was my choice to make them public. I wanted, needed, to tell people what it’s like to lose a son to suicide and how a family suffers. It was important to me. In fact, it was the only thing that kept me going at one stage. It was therapy. I also wanted to raise people’s awareness because I couldn’t stand the thought of another mother having to go through to agony I’ve been through. I thought if I could inform people of the risks, then maybe – just maybe – it might make a difference to another family.

It was my choice to share, and now it is my choice to stop sharing. I feel sad that I never did write about Barry’s life in the way I really wanted to, but grief plays tricks on the mind and I couldn’t write about something that I couldn’t really remember. Now, nearly two years down the track, I realise it doesn’t matter. My son is in my heart and he is in the hearts of everyone who loved him. I will write Barry’s life story in private and I realise now that’s how it should be.

This morning, I wrote the following in an email to a grieving aunt:

I feel happy and content…and so peaceful. It’s a wonderful feeling. I don’t know what the future holds, and I may or may not decide to write again, but I know I can face whatever is thrown at me. I guess in some ways I feel cleansed.

I’m telling you this because I want you to know that it will get easier. You just have to give yourself lots of time. The healing stops and starts unexpectedly, but you do heal.

I don’t know why you came to this website. Are you curious about suicide? Are you a grieving parent/sibling/child/grandparent? Or was it just a complete accident that brought you here? It really doesn’t matter how or why you are here. I just hope you leave feeling some form of comfort or more suicide aware after reading my words.


16 thoughts on “The End of the Road

  1. Rosepetal

    I will miss your writing Karen. I hope your feeling of peace and happiness is enduring and I am so glad you found it.

    Take care my friend.

  2. anonymous

    Thank you Karen for choosing to share your feelings during your hard times. Somehow, you contributed in saving my life. You are a strong, beautiful spirit.

  3. Denise

    Karen,Thankyou for all your sharing. I am sad it is ending,I did find some solace.
    My 18 yr old son has been gone so much longer,May 8,1995 but I have yet to find any lasting comfort, any closure. I Grieve.I mourn all our lost boys.
    Peace and best wishes to you and yours.

    Denise (in Canada)

  4. Karen,

    I can only guess that time will change how I feel about writing about Owen and our family. Thank you for being a part of our early grieving. You showed up in those early months, and I can’t even remember how. I just know that Barry’s story meant so much to me, and your words were always so honest and meaningful in the midst of our mystery.

    We don’t know how or why Owen left this life. We’re still searching. We may always. Suicide was one of many possibilities, though not the most prominent one, accident and murder are still possibilities, according to the accounts of people present on Owen’s last night, and our local (though not so thorough) police department. All of these thoughts will remain possibilities, until someone has the guts to tell the real story – so Barry’s story was paramount in the early stages of our loss. Barry was everyone’s son – in that, any of us could lose our child in the same way.

    Thank you for being there on the other side of the world. Thank you for caring enough to open up your heart to the world. Barry must have been a great kid, to allow you to do so. I know how much you loved him. I can say this, because I lost my son, too. I don’t know how, and that will always haunt me, but I know the loss, the pain of the loss.

    Please take care of yourself and your family, as there are others of us out here hoping and praying for your futures together.

    Owen’s mom

  5. Janice

    I’m a stranger, my words cannot begin to validate anything you have gone through. I was curious on another website and bumped into your website of your beautiful son. I did not plan on sending a comment, but here I am. I’m 28 and have lost so many people in my life to drugs. It’s not the same, but the pain that comes with it is. (Not saying losing a child would be even close to the same.) I guess I just want to thank you for sharing your son and a part of your life with me. When people say, time heals all wounds, I don’t agree….you learn to deal with it but nothing is healed. I pray for you and your family and I hope that someday you will find the peace that we so desire when something like this happens.

  6. maree

    Hi, Karen,
    Thinking of you and your family on 18th May, your son’s second anniversary. Hoping you are all coping …it will always be a difficult date on the calendar.

  7. Thank you, everyone, for your continued words of support.

    I miss Barry so much. Today is the two year mark, but that doesn’t mean I miss him more today than any other day.

    I stood in the cemetery today and wondered what he would be doing now if he had gotten through the turmoil in his mind on that terrible day two years ago. Would he be happy? I cannot know for sure, but I believe he would be. What can I say? That thought just tears at my heart even more.

  8. Christy

    I spent some time reading your site today – Barry is a treasure and so is Daniel – I admire your courage and the love your family has for one another –
    On the eve of Barry’s birthday , I just wanted you to know I care ~ I’m sorry ~ I’m thankful that you are there for others~

  9. Karen — I am very late in commenting — I happen to click on this site for unknown reasons, but I read these comments and my heart filled with compassion for you and others who have experienced loss so deeply. While I have not had to bear the agony of losing a child, I feel in my soul your pain. My prayers of healing go out to you, Karen, and I hope someday your heart will no longer feel incomplete. Blessings to you.

  10. You are a woman of amazing courage and I am certain your son is proud of you, both for your strength as a woman and your love as his mom.

    May God bless you and yours always.

    I wish you peace.



    Hey karen
    .Iknew barry from high school and was hurt when i heard of his passing,im sorry for leaving this popst so late but i,ve only just learnt of this website, barry was such a great friend i know now where he got it from your a great mother and barry would be proud

  12. Again, thank you, everyone. Your words are appreciated.

    Charlie, thank you for stopping by and thank you for saying such a lovely thing. You brought tears to my eyes.

  13. Karen,
    I did come to your website by accident. I was doing research for a sermon I am preparing to preach and I was touched by your words. I have prayed for you and your family today. As the father of two daughters I have absolutely no idea the depth of your pain…It is difficult to even allow myself to consider that possibility. God bless you and thank you for sharing your heart and life with us. Barry has a wonderful smile and his smile tells much about his heart. Bless you.

  14. Terry

    What a beautiful website/blog Why and what brought me here, well my life has been forever cahnged by suicide…my 26 year old son took his life on 1/29/10… will forever be the saddest day of my life… he had so much to live for…and as we approach Mothers day I find myself so incrediably sad… We have 2 other children…girls and 3 granddaughters…but yet I cannot shake the dread and saddness of mothers day. Thank you for sharing your story. Terry

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