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Tomorrow marks 5 years since my teenage son died by hanging in his father's garage. Two years before that, I found him unconscious in his bathroom after swallowing 60 pills - whatever he could find - allergy medicine, dramamine, my prescription 'mood stabilizers.' Those two years were pure hell for me: constantly on the watch, fighting to get him intensive therapy, worrying, never sleeping...with the mantra "don't do it" playing in my head, over and over. I suspected and knew in my heart that he was being emotionally and likely sexually abused by his father - but nobody would listen. The doctors, the court appointed psychologist, all of them fooled by this man who drove ME to the brink of suicide so many years ago...they all were too pc and insisted I was just the vindictive ex wife.

My son was hilarious, the life of the party, beautiful in every way...gifted athlete and friend to hundreds of kids at many schools. Most had no idea of the torment that he kept hidden away - until the binge drinking started, and the rage surfaced from time to time.

He attended a private Christian k-12 school, and the horrific shame and stigma imposed on us was beyond belief. His football coach assured me that the seniors would plan a way to honor him that next fall, but in reality the school leadership determined that because of the 'mortal sin' committed, and the risk of "promoting suicide in others," the coach and his wife came to my home and presented me with his jersey in my living room.

My own reality is that I have experienced the depths of grief - a pain that words don't touch - but I also have experienced incredible joy and relief. Through a series of uncanny synchronicities and undeniable expressions of his energetic presence around me (and in me) I have connected with him through meditation and especially with the aid of gifted mediums who can see and hear him. When I am quiet and clear, sitting on my cushion or hiking alone in the woods, I get "downloads" of love and thoughts that are unmistakably from my son. The gift of this horrible story is my infinitely expanding awareness of the survival of consciousness and our souls beyond the physical death of our bodies. My understanding of our interconnectedness with each other and all beings has led me to connect with so many other mothers who are experiencing the same - the bond of love does not die. The constant message from the other side is that of forgiveness and unconditional love.

18 months after he passed, I was at a poetry workshop with Ellen Bass at Esalen, and I very clearly 'heard' my son say that he had not lost all hope when he "gave up" but rather he could see the light beyond this darkness and suffering, and that he knew we would remain connected forever. In that moment, I grasped that my grief was a small price to pay for my exquisite child's release from his torment and secret prison of abuse. I connect with him constantly now. His personality and sense of humor is very much intact. During readings he relates very specific details about our (mine and his brothers') current lives, and this gives me great comfort. He says he is guiding me and helping me network with other likeminded people so that we can change the attitudes and embedded fear of death in our that we can live more fully.

Anniversaries are still very hard. I spent most of yesterday crying in my bed. I wish he were still here in the physical, but I am also very grateful to have such an advocate on the other side. My son's suicide has expanded my life immeasurably.