Updated: Nov 4
By Theresa Anthony, author of In Search of Gopher Hollow (new release)
Ten years? As in a whole decade? How have ten years passed since that dreadful day, October 23, 2013, when the world lost this beautiful young man, my son?
Alas, it has indeed been ten years since the death of my Boy Blue (aka "Matthew") – a whopping 3,652 days in all. Even though it is now common for me to feel sad when October rolls around, the gravity of this year's milestone hit me hard yesterday at church. As I sat there in the pew trying to pay attention to the sermon, I could literally feel the grief bomb building inside me. My mind wandered to thoughts of Blue, when suddenly I realized that exactly ten years ago on October 22nd I had no idea I only had one more day with my son on the planet. This just gutted me, and soon the tears were falling.
Actually, I don’t think the shock of that day - 10/23/13 - has ever worn off, nor will it.
Today, on his tenth memorial date, I decided to scroll through the photos on my phone to note all the many ways we have kept his memory alive over the years. I assembled thirty of these for a Facebook post to share with my friends, and as I clicked through the pictures, I found myself very moved. My son was, and is, so very loved.
In fact, looking at these photos, it is clear that my son has never been forgotten. The beautiful essence of his heart and soul remains alive within us. This is evident in so many ways, expressed by the little gestures so many loved ones have made to honor his memory.
For instance, my daughters and I still cook his favorite dish (tuna casserole) in his honor. One of my grandson’s was given his name. Matt's friends have honored his memory at their weddings. His daughter has grown up learning about all the special things her daddy loved, like the Ninja Turtles and Big Hunks and Creepy Crawlers and cheetahs. His alma mater placed a huge memorial banner on the baseball field with this name. Speaking of baseball, my grandkids always select his baseball number, #22, for their jerseys. And as for me, not a day goes by that I don’t speak my son’s name out loud.
Because I lost my son to the dual afflictions of depression and alcoholism, leading to his suicide, I choose to honor his memory through my writing. Not only do I create content for clients in the fields of mental health and addiction recovery with the hope that my words prompt someone to seek help, but I write books, too.
Yes, it would be nice if I were able to write fluffy romance novels, but that wasn’t my calling. No, my books revolve around heavy topics, like surviving the loss of a child, managing grief, and finding renewed purpose after enduring a tragic loss.
It turns out that my own renewed purpose involves writing things that happen to resonate with others. These readers are often going through a similar challenge in their lives, and I am happy to connect with them on a much deeper and more meaningful level than a cheesy romance novel would ever allow.
As I go through my days fueled by this new purpose in life, I believe that my Boy Blue is smiling down on me, happy that I have survived and am still making the most of my life here on earth. Still, though, ten years without experiencing the light of my son’s smile is a very long time. That said, my hope remains in Jesus, that someday I will see my boy smiling at me again, and this time it will be for an eternity.
About the book: People often ask me how I manage to get up in the morning, much less accomplish anything after enduring so much loss. In this new memoir, I share about the many challenges I have faced in my life, and how the influence of my amazing grandfather equipped me for the difficulties that lay ahead.
Other books by Theresa Anthony:
Hope Springs from a Mother’s Broken Heart: 11 Mothers Share How They Survived the Loss of a Child (on Amazon and Barnes & Noble)
My 13th Station: A Mother Shares Her Son’s Tragic Struggle with Depression, Alcoholism, and Demons (on Amazon and Barnes & Noble)
Please click the HEART button before you go!