How has being in POS
From Diane RS, Mom of Laura &
In a heartbeat........POS has
made me feel normal in a very abnormal world.
My grief is so encompassing, I often cannot see beyond it. My
husband would love for me to be thin and sexy again, like I was
BEFORE. My friends would like to see a smile and joy on my face
again, like I did BEFORE. Some friends would like to share all the
brain storming we use to do to make this a better world to live in.
But again, that was BEFORE.
Other family members miss the Diane from BEFORE. Who is this person
they ask. We have known her all our lives, but she is now a
Now, the only thing I want to improve in this world, is better care
for our sick children who are suffering from this horrible disease,
depression. Even world hunger is no longer on my radar screen.
Nobody "knows" Diane anymore. She is gone and will never be back in
her previous/comfortable capacity.
But.....I am accepted and understood here at POS. I am not hiding. I
have not dropped out of the world. I still love and care for my
family........I just don't have the energy to be the happy,
productive, optimistic, kick ass, let's look at this in a different
way, of my past life with family and friends. They miss me.
want me back. But I cannot come back. Instead, I have all of you,
who everyday post something that I am feeling. You say it in
beautiful ways. We connect, and for a few minutes, I feel normal.
Thank you all for the gift of POS.
From Diane P, Pete's Mom
When my son died I was in a huge
fog. I wrote to him and about him. I talked to him and about him
until I am sure that I repeated myself to the same people a million
times just trying to keep him near. People who knew him of course
were the most supportive and reinforced to me what a good and kind
person he was and what a good mother I was to him and so it wasn't
until after the fog started to lift from my soul that I began to see
that many people I had confessed the greatest loss in my life to,
(several having lost children of their own, one to an asthma attack
and another lost an adult child to an accidental drowning) did not
seem to want to include me in their grief sharing process.
I began to see that while as a parent we all shared the despaired
feelings of not being able to protect and save our child, MINE and
actually purposefully ended his life and they lost theirs by
accident....it just wasn't the same.
I was just not up to a personal one on one suicide support group. I
needed to reach out and touch someone who could identify with the
estranged comfort that we get from those who simply will not hold
parents of suicide in the same privleged category as any other kind
of cause of death when I needed it.
I searched sites on line for what seems like forever before I
stumbled across Parents of Suicides. I was able to begin healing for
real after I became a member. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I
listened and listened and listened. I felt safe telling the story of
my sons life as I was able to read the stories of other parents
loss. I felt terribly humbled by what other parents and endured and
eventually I became one of the comforters more than the one needing
the comfort. POS gave me the tools... the space...the time to come
to terms with all aspects of life and death.
I am still grieving and still learning how. I am still healing and
still learning how. Even tho I am no longer involved in POS on a
daily basis I will always feel connected to parents who have lost
their child to suicide because the stigma that goes with it is
unique and one can only truly feel understood by another parent of
From Binnie, Mom of Keely
I tell EVERYONE that POS is a
life-saver. Many people have said to me how glad they are that I
found POS - they are aware that they don't know how to help me and
are very relieved that POS does.
POS - validated any and every emotion I have felt on this journey
POS - gave me perspective on my grief, that I am not alone and that
there are other's who have suffered even more
POS - has probably saved my marriage - my husband loves the stories
I share and the information we get helps us understand each other's
POS - gives me wonderful factual information about depression,
bipolar disorder, grief stages, coping etc. that I would find NO
POS - alleviates the dreadful sense of isolation
POS - My husband says to relay that the daily access to sharing is
critical and that it is so important the POS can be tailored to your
needs (digest, special notice).
From Norma, Mom of Terri
When my daughter took her life, I felt alone with no
one to really be there to comfort me as they had never experienced
this kind of tragedy for themselves. I found myself alone with my
feelings, like I was the only person on earth dealing with such a
Once I found POS that all changed. Writing to others
who were going through the same experience made me realize all of my
feelings were normal for such a situation. I could cry, relate my
feelings, my experiences with people who were or had been through
the same as myself & my family.
As anyone knows who has gone through a suicide, be it a
child, spouse, friend, lover---support is the only thing that truly
helps you heal. No judgements from anyone ever.
Will I ever truly get over losing my daughter. No I
don't believe so. But as time passed, I began to live again. Through
my tears I could see light at the end of the tunnel
What would I have done had it not been for the internet
support group POS, I shutter to think. I truly believed it saved my
life. I would recommend a group for suicide survivors without
From Pam, Mom of Jason
My name is Pam and I lost my son to suicide July of
2004, he was 19 years old. I found parents of suicide about 5 months
after my son died. It was so helpful to find others who had lost a
child in this way. So many people in our society are uncomfortable
with the topic of suicide and will often kind of freak out when you
begin talking about the suicide of your child.
But sometimes you need to talk about it, you need to
sort out the sometimes gruesome details, sometimes you just need to
talk with someone who knows the devastation that goes along with
losing a child to suicide. Even those who have lost a child in other
ways, do not grasp the isolation that a survivor of suicide often
The reaction of society is often different when the
loss is suicide opposed to an accident or a physical illness. I know
this first hand. 8 months after my son's death, I lost 2 of my
daughters in a car accident.
There is a different reaction when I say my daughters
died in a car accident and when I saw my son died by suicide, people
become very uncomfortable.
POS has been a great blessing to me, it has allowed me
to speak freely about my son and my daughters (even though their
death was not suicide, the group graciously allows me to include
them in conversations of death) and have always been there to
We are very much a family. And although in addition to
my POS family, I am blessed with a great support system of my
family, friends and community, there are many who are not as
fortunate and do not have a close source of support, for those
people the group brings on a whole new level of necessity.
There is pretty much always someone there 24/7, in
times of crisis, someone is there to listen and someone will respond
within a very short time. There are those who have been on this
terrible journey longer then others that will help to guide the new
comers, to give them hope and comfort
From Lois, Mom of Bryan
P = Positive input from group members,(parents who understand the
facets of grief associated with the loss of a child at any age due
O=Outstanding love, and compassion. What you won't find from family
and friends, because they don't know what to say, fear makes
outsiders run from us, Fear of not knowing the right words. Fear
because they don't feel what we feel. Pos members do, they know
everything, every up and down that we go through, in the span of our
grief. Days, months, and years, someone here at Pos understands the
emotion that a person is feeling.
S= Substantial information , articles from doctors, poems, literate
information to help us better educate others about the effect of
mental illness, depression, signs, and no signs. In Pos it's a
saving Grace unit. a unit composed of parents from around the world,
that all understand the word suicide, and the effects it has on the
family, the melt down it causes in our stablility as people. We are
not who we once were, nor shall we ever be.
From Faye, Mom of Lisa
Karyl has told us that you would like a word of
commendation from POS
members. I am more than happy to oblige. I have been a member for
many years and have made some wonderful friends. Initially, I
received all messages, but eventually I chose to just get Karyl's
"Special Notices." I can keep up with everything that is going on
that way and not have the large number of posts to deal with.
Losing a loved one to suicide is different from other
ways. Many of us have found that we were sort of "looked down on" or
even "blamed" in some way for the death. The vast majority of people
out there simply do not understand suicide. They didn't do it to
hurt us and they didn't even want to hurt themselves. They just
became hopeless for some reason and saw no way to go forward. They
didn't want to die, they just wanted to end their suffering and
The brain is an organ of the body, just like the heart
or kidneys or liver.
Anything can go wrong with any of these organs. The brain is no
People in POS/FFOS know this and can comfort each other
blame. Our loved ones ARE in heaven -- of that we have no doubt.
Suicides DO go to Heaven. Lifelong friendships are forged between
people who are seeking answers and finding them.
We have two opportunities a year to meet each other.
Karyl has a big,
rambling log house in Tennessee and she invites any who will come
every spring and fall to a retreat. It is incredible to meet the
people you have become so close to online. And Karyl and her DH,
Ron, are fantastic hosts and conduct the retreats in a manner that
all would approve of. .
I hope you will decide to join us.
From Kristi, Mom of Chris
I joined POS after searching the internet on suicide,
around November 2001, shortly after my son Chris died on Oct. 29,
2001. I recently met with a woman whose son died 9 months ago and
encouraged her to check out POS. My reasons were there is only one
thing you want to do after losing someone to suicide is be among
others who know how you feel. I said POS was my life saver.
I could write
anything about my son or how I felt that day and I would receive an
outpouring of encouragement from other members. I spent countless
hours on the POS email and felt at home. I could post my sons story
and photos of him and share him with others.
I made some connections with
members who have become very good friends to me now. Even though it
has been almost 6 years since Chris died I still look forward to
Karyl’s messages that come through even though I am no longer an
active member. I really do miss it and have thought about joining
again. I feel I could help others now at this point in my journey. I
really do not know what I would have done without POS.
From Rebecca, Jenny's Mom
POS was so helpful to me
especially in the beginning. I was still in shock when I joined
about 3-4 months after I lost Jenny. I needed an outlet for my
emotions. I would sit and type with tears streaming down my face but
at least I felt that I could share about my feelings with others who
understood. And when new people would join I was able to post to
them and comfort them in their time of need. It was a win win
situation for me and I don't think I would have come through those
early months without the help of POS.
One of the comforts of POS was connecting with mom's who shared
similarities with my situation. A lost daughter, maybe the age,
maybe the personality of my Jenny something that made me feel closer
to them. And also I connected with mom's who lost son's that
reminded me of my own son who struggled for the last 4 years with
his own demons after the loss of his beloved sister.
I encourage anyone who has lost a child by suicide to join POS and
at least experience the warmth and comfort that the group has to
offer. For some it may not be what works for them but without trying
you will never know.
From Phyllis, mom of Pete
POS was instrumental during those first days of having
to sort it all out, why Pete died, how do I go on . All the
questions we have were answered with caring and unbiased messages.
The first retreat I went to was very overwhelming and it was all too
raw for me to continue to participate and that is how it was for me
and me only.
The best part about POS is that after all this time,
nearly 4 years since Pete took his life, all of his friends have
moved on and have lives of their own. One of my biggest fears is
that Pete will be forgotten and become only a memory of a past life.
POS helps me keep his memory alive by their candle sites every year
and when his birthday and memorial dates come along, I get emails of
support to get through those days. No one forgets me and no one
forgets Pete. That is what POS is about.
From Pat, Mom of Jason
POS is the best thing that I found to help me work
through my grief. I went to a support group at a local church where
the suicides were parents, spouses, siblings and children.
It was not that helpful because we were all grieving
differently. The death of a child is like no other. It is not the
same as coming to this group where we are ALL grieving over the loss
of our precious child.
And no one condemns you or points fingers at you. You
can post your true feelings and pour your heart out. Whatever stage
you are at someone will come to your aid. You need hugs? Someone
will give you (((((((((Hugs))))))))).
You can say anything you need to say, just bare your
soul. Everyone understands. Karyl and the others that make this site
possible are the greatest. They do a lot of work in memory of their
child and ours.
I have made a couple of friends that I keep in touch
with through this site. One is in South Africa and one is in
Pennsylvania. The one from PA and I keep in touch regularly and she
is actually moving here. And people from all over the world that are
members of POS will come to your aid when you need them.
From Lee of Australia. Mom of
What this group means to
me???? I find it has allowed me to tell my story and know someone is
always listening. I have mentioned to quite a few people now that I
have joined this wonderful group of parents and tell them how much
their support helps me cope. It will be good to get together at a
retreat someday ...... maybe October next year. I love having this
group accessible any time of the day or night. When I start pouring
my heart out here I just keep going till it feels a whole lot
better. I cry, I sob, I scream, but most of all I feel the love and
support. This group is a big part of my life now. Thank you
From Marcia, Mom of Doug
I joined POS in December, 1999. I had lost my 22 year old son, Doug,
suicide that June. Living in NY, I was fortunate enough to be able
to go to
a grief counselor several times a week, and in-person support
However, the in-person support groups were not just for parents
children died by suicide. That is a totally different loss than
lost a parent, or a child by other means.
I met a woman at one of these
support groups- we were the only parents there. She told me about
POS. Even after I found an in-person support group just for parents
who lost children to suicide, I found that once a week or once a
month meetings did not fulfill my needs. I was in such pain, and
feeling so alone, as if I was on a different planet than everyone
POS gave me support 24/7. The members understood how I was
feeling on holidays, my son's birthday and memorial dates (which
remembered and acknowledged when my family did not). They stand in
I did not feel alone on another planet. I especially appreciated the
events and projects- candle website for the holidays, making Karyl a
butterfly quilt, the memorial wall, the butterfly tree with our
photos, the memorial quilt, the balloon launch on New Years eve 2000
night I had been dreading became meaningful), the cookbooks,
Karyl opens her house at retreat time- I met many members in
person, who have become my closest friends, my sisters. I have
South Africa (going again this March) and New Zealand, and other
plan to visit Australia, enjoying the amazing hospitality of POS
These are places I would probably never have visited. Too far away.
made the world smaller for me, through my friendships. Many have
come to NY.
We can be ourselves, not put
on our outside masks. We watch out for each
other, know when one of our members is in a bad place, and try to
and lift them up. We help each other along this painful path. We are
alone with POS. We can say what we want on a bad day, and no one
POS has really been my lifeline. I sincerely believe I would not be
functioning as well as I am if I had not found POS. For years, I was
at the computer all the time. I don't have that kind of time now,
but I know POS will always be there for me.