Thursday, April 21, 2011

Death of a Beloved Son

We received this from one of out volunteers. Upon reading this, my eyes swelled with tears and my heart ached for Elizabeth. . From all of us, you and your family are always in our prayers! Thank you for sharing your story! If you or your Veteran  are in the need of help, please don't wait! 

“Stoicism is not Heroism…
Elizabeth Sparks on the death of her son”

Our son, PFC Cody J. Thompson, US Army Reserves, took his life on 02 December 2008.  Since that time, I have been determined that he would not die in vain.  I am a survivor of suicide, an elite club of which I would rather not be a member. 

When an individual dies by suicide, that person's family and friends are left with an intense, devastating and persistent pain.  It is an experience unlike any other.  When news arrives that someone we love has died by suicide, most survivors are immediately thrown into a traumatic and complicated grief.
Traumatic losses such as the death of a loved one to suicide are far outside of what we normally expect in life.  They cause us to question our beliefs about safety, and shatter our fundamental assumptions of the world.
Some survivors have a more difficult time healing. They develop more severe and lasting symptoms, which are diagnosed as "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD).  Some of the responses include:

 Distressing recollections, dreams or reliving the experience
 Feeling numb, emotionally detached from others
 Always feeling "on guard" or hypervigilant, as being easily startled by noises
 Difficulty working or concentrating
 Difficulty in social situations
 Irritability or outbursts of anger

Survivors each grieve in very different ways and our grief is incredibly complicated, mostly related to the manner in which our loved one died. 

Survivors must accept the fact that their loved one died by their own hand and for those of us left behind, many questions remain, questions that will never be answered. I therefore, have made it my mission to continue his legacy of caring and love of others.  He would always tell me to, “oh, just pay it forward mom,” and that is what I am doing. 

Although I grieve every day, in so many ways, I have chosen to celebrate his life.  I have supportive friends and family whom are nurturing and allow me to grieve in my way and in my time.  This is one of the most important pieces of healing.

Pay it forward, in the memory of my son and the honor of our troops!  Hooooaaahhhh!

Elizabeth Sparks, RN
Trauma RN
STILL an Army Mom

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