I know when the darkness comes because I can no longer read. Reading has always been my escape, and yet I find myself skimming over the same paragraph, unable to comprehend the words on the page. For a college student (more on that later), it is definitely not ideal. It’s not due to distraction, or a need to have my eyes checked. The combination of contacts and cheaters suit me well enough. It boils down to the simple fact that one cannot read in the dark. That is where I am finding myself again. In the last 5 1/2 years, I’ve learned to recognize the shadows when they descend, but sometimes I am blindsided to the pain. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will always hurt me”. At times it starts from the lies my brain tells me, and other times it begins from lies told by others. Whether it’s from hatred, social anonymity, or blatant disregard for human empathy, the comments I have been subjected to since Devin’s death still astonish me. After putting it off, here are a smattering of comments I have received:

“I’m so sorry he had you for a mother. He probably would still be alive if he didn’t.” (social anonymity)

“How dare you mourn a child who chose to take his life, when mine fought for theirs for years?” (mother of a child who died from cancer)

“Who are you to ask for prayers? Your son committed a mortal sin, and he will burn in hell.” (so-called Catholic)

“How can you relate to my pain? I have wanted a child desperately and my miscarriage has nothing to do with the fact your son committed suicide. Maybe you should do the same.” (woman suffering from fertility issues)

“I pity you. Not because your child died, but because your child had you for a mom.” (I won’t disclose this author)

I gave you 5 examples, one for each year he has been dead. That number far exceeds the amount I’ve actually received. The worst are from the people you share children with. Bonus parent or biological parent? Be a human. Sometimes it’s the one you thought were close to you. Dear people? Be a human. The ones who don’t understand the difference between sympathy and empathy? Read up on it and be a human.

I don’t have words of wisdom. I don’t know what it will take to pull me back to the light. I take my medication, I participate in therapy, and some nights, I still sleep on his grave.

If you take anything from this post, please let it be that kindness matters. And be a fucking human.

Heather Wood

Author Heather Wood

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Robin Henry says:

    To be an empathetic, responsible human is to recognize another’s hurt + pain. It has zero to do with your own loss or judgment. I’ve known Heather and her heart for more years than I can count. I know, I bestow everyone to know the love she has for Taylor + Devin.
    Heather, I’ve felt your ache in my bones when we hug. I adore you, immensely. My professional respect doesn’t compare to my maternal envy.

    Devin knows. He knows. The most important knows.

    Never forget. Never not feel that.

    Xoxo #57 ?

  • Michelle Spanbauer says:

    I don’t know what to say except that I am so sorry and so angry that you have had to endure such hateful comments. You certainly don’t deserve them. I will never understand some people.

  • Sir says:

    You, my friend, are the best human I know, and have always been a wonderful mother. Whoever is saying these horrible, disgusting things has issues and demons of their own to deal with. Keep pushing forward and finding the light, we all need you ?

  • Chris Johnson says:

    This makes me so sad. It is terrible the comments you have received. Death and loss is something we all have and will at one time or another experience. I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Devin but here is what I know, he had great parents who care about him greatly and supported him through life, he had great friends who understood and loved all his Wackiness. But above all I know he knows how much you care about him and he was proud to be your kid. You and Scott are great people and good parents. Anyone who says otherwise is just flat out wrong and for a lack of a better word, an ass. Just like I tell my dog when we walk around the block and other dogs pick on him, “ignore the haters”, Homeslice. Love ya friend.

  • Dad says:

    All those comments are terribly hateful and hurtful! How can people be this way? No empathy, no sympathy, no humanity, no thought at all for what another person is going through, dealing with, and suffering from such a traumatic loss! All of them are wrong!!!

  • LaReese Ballmer says:

    My empathy and sympathy has no bounds when it comes to you. I have known you for a long while and can honestly say that you have the biggest heart I ever met. I worked side by side with you and was amazed by the love you have for your patients, their families and your fellow workers. I love your sweetness and your strength and support you when you feel weak. I am appalled that people would make such ugly comments and God will judge them. I cry for your loss and pray for you to get through each episode as well as you can. Will it get easier? I don’t think so. But you have so many of us who love you and pray for you. My friend, I am always a phone call, text, email or vibe away. Someday, mankind may realize it is far better to be kind and loving than be mean and insensitive. Love you my friend.

  • Carrie Guy says:

    I am astonished and appalled at the cruelty displayed online. I see the effort you put into living each day.I see you trying to make a difference, bring some light to the world, even though you’ve suffered such darkness.
    I love you, and I believe in you.
    Please keep fighting, my friend, because tomorrow needs you.
    Tomorrow needs me, too.

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