I want you to know.



Dear Isaac,

You were the centerpoint of my world and I never resisted. Being your mama was who I was– I mean it when I say this: I considered being a good mama as the measure of my heart and my worth. No matter what else I did or who else I was, I was mama first and last and I never wanted that to end. I did not want you to grow up from the earliest of days– I held you back as much as I could from the big wide world. I was so over protective and I hovered so much. I believed it would protect you from all harm. I believed it was possible to keep you safe if I was vigilant. I believed wholeheartedly in this bubble theory.

In retrospect I’m not sure HOW I could have separated myself from you, it seems like it would have required a detachment I am incapable of even imagining. But I wish I had been more open, direct and clear about mental wellness. About how important it is to let someone who loves you know when you find yourself overwhelmed by adversity. I wish I had shown you that it is normal to get low– a part of life and perhaps especially, a part of growing up. I wish I had told you more about our family history and what to look out for. It was only two weeks after Robin Williams died that you turned 18, that would have been a valuable time to share some things with you.

I can see now how much I valued sweeping shit under rugs. In your absence I have found so many piles of dirt that would have been so easy to just take care of then. I was afraid; I had my own shame and I  carried the shame of others as well. It’s a shame. The moment you left you brought the mama bear out in me– I refused to let you, your death–your name–be linked to shame.

Your life was the center of my existence and now your death is. Everything– I mean EVERYTHING falls into two categories– before/with you and after/without you. I’m not sure yet if this is sustainable or healthy, but for now it is inevitable. Confronting the truth and pain, looking it in the eyes, finding compassion and seeking peace WITH the truth rather than sweeping the pain under the rug, is all informed by your death, is the legacy of your suicide– I refuse to hide my truth or yours. I refuse to ignore pain in myself or those around me. I refuse to make everything ONLY seem perfect and beautiful and to hold such high expectations of something as fragile as our humanity. Instead I embrace the messy beauty, the gut wrenching, breath stifling, face contorting, vulnerable agony that exists simultaneously–running parallel, beside, hand in hand with the joy and ecstasy, the hope and potential of what it is to be alive. I do this for us, Isaac. I do it for both of us.

I love you bigger than the sky–


Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.

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