Update

8 June 2017

PG usually doesn’t share much in the way of personal information on TPV, but felt it might be beneficial to some visitors if he shared a few of the recent experiences he and Mrs. PG had experienced along with some lessons he learned.

About 2:30 AM on April 29,2017, two police officers knocked on the door of our home. They brought news that our 32-year-old son had committed suicide.

Our son had experienced mental illness, at first diagnosed as depression and later bipolar disorder, for about twenty years. Suicidal thoughts were part of his illness from the time he was twelve. He was extraordinarily intelligent and achieved some amazing accomplishments, but his illness seemed to intrude whenever things were looking the brightest for him.

Since that early morning visit, PG has learned that grieving has a physical as well as an emotional impact on him. Physically, he’s been getting sick with every virus or bacterium that comes around and feeling chronically exhausted. Generally speaking, PG is a bounce-back-from-problems kind of guy, but there was no bounce for several days. He is definitely improving, as is Mrs. PG, but still has a distance to go.

Two weeks after our son’s death, PG’s younger brother died in a distant state following an eight-month battle with brain cancer. PG made travel arrangements, but decided he just couldn’t make the trip at that particular time, something that’s never happened to him before.

A few lessons PG has learned:

– PG’s personal religious beliefs and Mrs. PG’s similar beliefs have been extraordinarily important to both of us during these experiences.

– Few people know what to say after a death, particularly a suicide, but saying exactly the right thing doesn’t matter as much as PG had previously believed.

– The support of others, expressed during visits and phone calls or via email, condolence cards or flowers, has been very important for both of us. The ability to articulate detailed comforting thoughts or theology is less important than simply letting someone know you’re sorry they’ve had a death in their family or among their friends and offering to help them in any way you can.

– PG is never going to decide he doesn’t know an acquaintance or friend well enough to avoid some sort of an engagement with that person after a death in their family. The kindness of others, expressed in any manner, is enormously important to the surviving family and friends.

– A great many decisions must be made quickly following the death of a family member – funeral arrangements (casket selection, services the funeral home will provide, embalming or not, etc., etc.), funeral service arrangements, selection of a burial location, notification of the date and location of the funeral communicated to family members and friends, etc. PG hadn’t gone through this process before and was not in the best condition to make such decisions in a hurry. A neighbor who had worked in a funeral home on a part-time basis while he was in college provided important counsel that made the process easier.

– PG and Mrs. PG have decided they will make each of these choices for themselves ahead of time, including selecting a funeral director, casket, gravesite, paying for it all, etc., so their family members won’t have to deal with this upon their deaths. Many of these decisions will affect the cost of these services and, PG believes, are better made before the emotions are at their height.

– PG forgot to notify a couple of relatives who should have received notifications in time to attend the funeral, so he’s putting together an email/phone list for future use.

– PG’s surviving son is handling the property, debts, etc., of his deceased brother with the assistance of a competent probate attorney. This is his way of serving his deceased brother and PG is extremely grateful for that assistance.

– Basically, once a probate case is opened with the appropriate court, you instruct all creditors to file their claims in probate court. Final tax returns will need to be filed. A leased vehicle is involved, so you tell the leasing company where the car is located so they can pick it up.

– You don’t want to start dividing property among the survivors until the creditors have filed their claims and you know whether the estate will have enough cash to pay all debts. It will take time, often several months, but the process is one that probate courts and probate attorneys do all the time so no one has to invent anything new.

– PG had forgotten that thieves sometimes visit the homes of surviving family members during the funeral, so he appreciated the offer of a neighbor to house-sit Casa PG while PG was attending the funeral.

– Some people don’t understand how mental illness can be a deadly disease. While most people don’t die from mental illness, unfortunately, suicide is the way mental illness usually claims its victims.

– While the various treatments PG’s son underwent ultimately were not effective in saving his life, the treatment of mental illness has improved immensely over the many years PG has dealt with the disease in his family. Many people who might have died twenty-five years ago are alive and well today because they received proper treatment. If you wish to support further research into more and better treatments for these diseases, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is one organization that does very good work.

Being the recipient of the many and varied kindnesses of others during the most difficult time of his life has made a deep and lasting impression upon PG. He will never see or speak with those people again without remembering what they did to help him during this time.

 

 

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PG's Thoughts (such as they are)

119 Comments to “Update”

  1. So sorry for your loss, PG. A dear friend of mine who suffered from bipolar disorder committed suicide many years ago. She thought no one cared about her. There were over 400 people at her funeral.

  2. Dear David,

    It is extraordinarily kind of you to think of others at this incredibly difficult time for your own family.

    Those of us who know of the middle-of-the-night phone call, and its devastation, are praying for healing and the ability to remember your boys with all your love.

    If there is anything I, as a member of the community you nurture here, can do for you or Mrs. PG, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Alicia.

  3. I am very sorry for your losses. I’m glad you and Mrs. PG had help and comfort during this time. Please take all the time you need to look after yourselves.

    Thank you for sharing your lessons, particularly the relationship insights.

  4. I’m sorry for your losses, PG and Mrs. PG.

    I appreciate you taking the time and emotional energy to share what you’ve learned.

  5. Thank you for sharing this, PG. Not many people would think to pass on these helpful learnings at such a time, and it says something good about you that you’re one of them.

  6. I’m so sorry. Take care of you and yours.

  7. My wife and I are still relatively young, but we’ve made plans.

    I’m firmly of the opinion she will pass first, and then about six weeks later I will join her.
    I’m pretty sure the conventional wisdom is going to be “He missed his wife and wanted to be with her.”

    Fact of the matter is, she knows where all the pills are.

    Having dealt with similar issues in my family, you have my best wishes for the future, and thanks for sharing.

  8. I am so so sorry for your losses. My good thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family.

  9. I’m so sorry, that’s just awful. Thank you for sharing these points. I know that I always feel awkward when someone I know loses someone, not knowing what to say, which usually ends up with me not saying anything. So thank you for giving some perspective. It’s helpful to know that next time that comes up, I should still say something even if I can’t think of anything perfect to say or if I’m unsure if the person is close enough to me.

  10. Thank you, as always, for sharing. You’ll never know how much you’ve helped others with your selfless act. So very sorry.

  11. Thanks for sharing these things with us PG. It matters. 🙂

  12. I am so very sorry for your loss. Your list is spot on. I lost my parents late last year in a car accident and very much appreciated the kindnesses extended by others. Your family is in my prayers.

  13. Dear PG,
    I have personally lived with depression my entire life. I am 55. I understand how slippery the slope can be when I am very depressed and suicide seems like a rational end. But of course it’s not. I am feeling better now because I’ve changed medications again. I want to thank you and Mrs. PG for your courage to speak out, amidst this tragedy. I know God is with you now and was with your son in his darkest moment. God’s love never leaves us, no matter where we are. I pray God will continue to send you love, peace, and grace.

  14. So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this list. It will be helpful to so many people, and is one tiny way of finding a sliver of brightness amid the sorrow you and Mrs PG must currently be feeling.

  15. Oh, PG, my heart goes out to you and Mrs. PG all over again. To lose two sons at almost the same time – I just ache for you. Thank you so much for sharing what you learned through it all. I continue to pray for you in this most difficult time. God bless.

  16. Thank you for this post. My brother committed suicide last year, after years of mental illness. It hurt so much when friends and family avoided contact and conversations, too uncomfortable to acknowledge what had happened. There isn’t much that can be said to diminish the pain of our loss, but listening and presence can provide strength.

  17. I’m holding back tears (ok, now I’m crying). What a beautiful message of support to this community you are offering here all the while letting us know you more. Thank you for both.

    My condolences to you, Mrs. PG, and the rest of your friends and family.

  18. Having learned yesterday of a young man at a nearby grocery my wife and I frequent having committed suicide, it’s deeply comforting hearing your expression of the value of any kindness – thank you for such gracious sharing in your own time of tragedy….

  19. My mom is a Death Midwife. She also does green burials. She recently had me fill out the Five Wishes from http://www.agingwithdignity.org.

    The Five Wishes are:
    My wish for…
    The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t
    The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want
    How comfortable I want to be.
    How I want people to treat me.
    What I want my loved ones to know.

    It was an amazing process to be asked all the questions that my loved ones will be asked when I pass and to have the common answers right there to choose from.

  20. [hug] May the rest of year be infinitely better for you.

  21. Thanks, PG for sharing your insights. It is always shocking and so very sad when you hear of someone who suffered such a loss. I always struggle with what to say. And yet, like you, when I lost my mother and had to make quick decisions during such a difficult time, I remember those that stood by me and everyone who shared condolences. Even 20 years later, I remember everyone who came to the funeral and can even visualize the cards sent by those who could not attend.
    So I would agree that such expressions are really very helpful. And yet, I still struggle about what to say. Thank you for articulating so well.
    And again, to you, Mrs. PG and your son, condolences on your loss and all the best for the future for all of you.

  22. Thank you for sharing. It must have been hard, perhaps cathartic, to do so.

    One thing I have learned through observation is that everyone grieves differently and sometimes it’s really hard to let them. A friend’s father literally threw his wife’s things out the window when she died. Another friend’s father had to gather all of his son’s things, down to thumbtacks in the wall, after his death. He made a shrine in the attic, to their son, that totally alienated his wife.

    So now when I have to deal with a death, I always expect weirdness and give as much space as I can.

  23. I am so very sorry for your losses, and admire you for sharing your story and thoughts.

    I’ve never known what to say in these circumstances. A friend of our daughter’s just committed suicide, during her freshman year at college. We barely know the parents and were at a loss of what to say. Now I know how important it is just to reach out. Thank you.

  24. You are a brave and wonderful person for sharing such a personal experience in an attempt to educate others.

    I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through, but I wish you and your family peace.

  25. Dear Mr. and Mrs. PG,
    Though we’ll never meet in person, I take your daily email to heart like nothing else in cyberspace. If something is happening in the publishing industry, then I’m interested in your legal or personal opinion and I know I’ll find it in the coming days in your column.

    When you went offline for a few days, I knew something had shaken you to your core. Like everything else in this column, you shared some extremely personal lessons with the life and death of your son.

    Suicide brings its own unique pain to the survivors and I wish you and Mrs. PG a journey of healing.

    Know that you have a positive impact on lots of nameless readers like myself everyday and that we’re sending you positive thoughts on your journey. So sorry about your loss.

  26. My condolences and deepest respect.

  27. Condolences. I don’t know the pain of losing a child, but I know the fear of thinking that might happen. That was awful enough. Hope you and your family find strength and consolation wherever possible.

  28. You and your wife are in our thoughts.

  29. What a generous and loving thing you’ve done by sharing your experience and what you’ve learned through this difficult time. My heart goes out to you and Mrs. PG and I’m sending you both healing light and love.

    Huge hugs and best wishes.

  30. I’ve just been prescribed a medication for my clinical depression coupled with anxiety. It’s been a bane since I was 8. My first (childish and thankfully failed) suicide attempt was shortly thereafter, age 9. I’ve had frequent episodes of suicidal ideation, but never attempted again after my teens. What kept me from doing so was a religious conversion coupled with not wanting to hurt my very good parents, and later husband.

    I know the kind of dark feelings your dear son must have had, the hopeless lethargy and wanting release from the pain. And I am so sorry that he didn’t stay with us a while longer.

    I hold on for loved ones, but honestly, there are times I ask God to take me home, if he’s not gonna heal me…when it gets bad.

    And I know the physical illness aspects of grief. The immune system takes quite a shock. Please eat well, walk, and take supplements to shore up your shocked bodies.

    God bless you and the Mrs and all who loved your son and brother and are grieving.

    Death is a momentary separation. We meet again, later.

    Thank you for sharing your pain and for, as always, including valuable information on how we can make it easier for those left behind.

  31. I”m one of those who doesn’t know the right words to choose. I realize that this is not the time immediately after the death, but I hope that know you, Mrs. PG, and your son are in my prayers will be some small comfort.

  32. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. God bless your family.

  33. Yours is a terrible loss. I knew your son died from your earlier post but I didn’t know he was mentally ill. My daughter is bipolar. It is a horrible condition. I hope she wouldn’t follow your son’s example.
    Thank you for sharing.

  34. My deepest sympathy.

    My mom, kind and competent soul that she was, went even further. She listed the hymns and songs she wanted, wrote her obituary, etc. She put these in a file and also had a file of all her investments, etc., which made it much easier for us to deal with her passing. She told each of us about the files.

    We authors need to take special notice of our books, etc. I’ve collected articles on the subject as well as a link to an author will/codicil from Neil Gaiman.

    http://mbyerly.blogspot.com/2015/08/author-wills.html

    http://mbyerly.blogspot.com/2016/08/an-author-will-and-other-things-you.html

  35. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    I think grief is a lifelong journey.

    I had a lot of guilt following my husband’s suicide. Was there anything I could have done? What more could I have done? Why wasn’t I able to stop him? The guilt gradually faded, but the specter of suicide sits in the back of my mind because of my son. He has schizophrenia and when he doesn’t take his medication voices whisper to him to end his life. Thankfully, he’s been compliant for a number of years, but I never take anything for granted.

    Some events in life change you in deep and profound ways.

  36. Thank you for writing these thoughts out, PG. They were very helpful.

    I continue to pray that God holds you and your family in His hands.

  37. I’m very sorry for the losses in your family. Thank you for sharing your learning. My brother and I are dealing with our father’s estate now that both he and our mother have passed away. You are very correct that making decisions about funeral services etc ahead of time is a huge help to the surviving family members. Both our parents made such arrangements. Not only does it take the pressure off the decisions during a time of grieving, but afterward we don’t have to wonder if what we arranged is what mom or dad would have wanted. God bless you in your grieving.

  38. -hugs- Lessons learned in pain. Thank you for sharing them to help others.

  39. Hugs to Mrs PG and PG.

  40. Thank you for the update. I’m so sorry for your losses.

  41. Thank you for your generosity in sharing these insights. Earlier this year, our dear neighbors lost their own son in the same heartbreaking way. It was a struggle to find any words for them, let alone the right ones.

  42. Hugs to you and Mrs. PG on the loss of your son and your brother. Many hugs.

    And thank you for your insights. Because I prefer to hide when in pain, I’ve always avoided others’ pain. I’ll know to at least try and reach out now.

  43. Please continue to take care of yourselves, and be gentle with yourselves. Everyone heals differently, and you need to listen to your body. Deepest sympathy.

  44. Thank you for sharing. Most of us have to learn these lessons the hard way. Planning ahead can save those closest to us a world of pain. I wish you peace and good health and join your other followers in urging you to take care of yourself.

  45. Deepest sympathy to you and Mrs. PG for all your losses. Wishing you both renewed health and strength.

  46. I’m so sorry for all you’ve gone through. Praying you comfort as you grieve.

  47. I join the others who thanked you for so generously sharing your thoughts and experiences. I’m sure they will be valuable to many who read them. And my condolences upon your loss.

  48. Your family has been through a lot, Mr. and Mrs. PG. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  49. Absolutely horrible, so sorry for both your losses. Take it slowly, you don’t really have a choice. This pain doesn’t go away easily.

  50. I am heartbroken. Speaking as a father, no parent should ever have to lose a child. You are in prayers.

  51. PG & Mrs. PG – Thank you for sharing your heart, your grief, and your lessons learned with us. You’ve so clearly penned such important things, not only encouraging us to continue reaching out to those suffering loss around us, but motivating us to do things differently in our own lives. You are truly a gift to us, and we are honored to be able to grieve alongside you. Thank you for allowing us the privilege – praying for you and yours.

    Becky

  52. Your gracious post surely will give hope to readers who find themselves unable to voice their worries and regrets but find in your words a sign toward their own healing.

  53. *hugs* to you and yours, PG.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  54. I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s been a very tough time for you and your family. Please take care of yourself.

  55. Mr. and Mrs. PG, there are no words to fully express your losses, only tears of what has passed, and the hopes and prayers for the future of you and yours.

    Regards,
    Werner

  56. HuGs.

  57. I’m so sorry. I wish I had the words. You and your family are in my prayers.

  58. So sorry for the loss of your son.

    Your list is a wonderful (and painful) reminder.

    Please take care of yourself.

  59. What a huge heart to think of others so. Thank you and know that you are all in our prayers. My family also has had such experiences. We thought life would never feel right and good again. It doesn’t feel like it now but the future can bring a new meaning and joy rekindled. One step at a time, just keep stepping. Bless you all.

  60. Wow. My sympathies are with you. That’s some rough stuff.

  61. Thank you for sharing this, PG. Mental illness is a painful and difficult topic for so many of us — your willingness to share is much appreciated. My deepest condolences to you and your family for your loss.

  62. Death of the love ones is always hard, but it’s especially hard when your child dies. I have seen that second hand when my uncle committed suicide. His death hit my grandmother so hard that she wasn’t able to get out of bed for months. My condolences to you and your family.

  63. Thank you, PG. And Mrs. PG. The “black dog” has pursued me more than once. He’s tenacious.

    Excellent advice and reminders. Thank you. You and yours remain in my prayers.

  64. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and I’m glad you have friends and family who are there for you.

  65. What a wonderful blog entry on such a difficult subject. I thank you for putting into words all the things that you learned. I struggle with depression and have been suicidal in the past. It’s hard to tell why one person can overcome suicidism while another cannot. All I can tell you is that suicidal depression can be very painful. It warps our perspective until death seems the only logical choice. It’s all part of the illness. I hope that you and your family members don’t blame yourselves in the weeks of sadness to come. I lost a friend to suicide a few years back, and blame is an easy trap to fall into. Hold onto your faith. It will ground you. Be well, and thank you again for such a useful article.

  66. I’m so sorry for your loss. The way it happened and the reason for that make it harder to bear, I know.

    I’m bipolar myself, and I feel empathy for your son, and for you and your family. It’s hard for everyone to deal with, however it ends. {{{}}}

    Angie

  67. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this with us. Your experiences and what you learned are very valuable and many of us have benefitted from reading them from a trusted voice.

    I am grateful you and your wife have family and community to be there with you through all of the physical, psychological, and spiritual ramifications of your son’s passing.
    Semper Pax, John

  68. So sorry for your loss, PG. Thank you for the insightful post.

  69. My deepest condolences. Your courage and compassion in sharing what you’ve learned at this time are profoundly moving. May God hold and comfort you.

  70. Dear Passive Guy,
    I usually passively read your blog in my email inbox, find it often very informative and then move onto my day. Not today! This has moved and touched me, educated me. My sincere condolences on your loss, and my sincere thanks for your thoughts on handling loss from both sides. I just lost my dad a couple months ago. He had Alzheimers and was not expected to live much longer, but I did not expect the heart-wrenching sorrow at the loss of someone (for the first time in my life) from my immediate family. I’d lost dear-to-me grandparents, but there is something different about losing your daddy. I don’t even want to imagine the loss of a child. Praying peace for you today. Thanks again for your transparency on this particular topic. It will be a help to many.

  71. I am so sorry for the loss of your son and younger brother. I’m not surprised your body, as well as your spirit, was wounded by these events. Please convey my condolences to Mrs. PG as well. Remember to take care of yourselves during this time. I’ll be adding my prayers for your continued healing from these shattering losses.

  72. About 20 years ago, I got the knock on the door from local police to tell me of my brother’s suicide, under depression, at the age of 50. I was the only family member left who could go and deal with all the fallout involved.

    My father, in another city, walked in front of a train a month later (Alzheimers, suicide). In all, there have been 4 generations of men in my family who died at their own hands.

    By brother and I used to joke that “whatever the problem is, it stops with us”, and neither of us had children.

    That was a conversation I long remembered while I dealt with first his death, and then my father’s.

    I feel greatly for you as you go through the process of bearing up under life’s hard blows.

    • Karen, I’m so sorry to hear of your losses, too. You’re a strong woman. Kudos to everyone in this thread who’s shown such fortitude.

      PG, thank you for trying to educate us in the midst of your grieving, and knowing how set limits for yourself. So hard to lose your son and your brother back to back.

      When my dad died from brain cancer, one of my friends told another that she didn’t know what to do. Your lists helps all of us. Thanks again.

  73. Thanks for opening up and sharing with us, PG. It’s been enlightening. So sorry for your loss, and I wish you and your family the best.

  74. Thank you for sharing. I am deeply sorry for the loss of your son and your brother. I hope your health improves. I just purchased a few of Mrs. PG’s books in my little way of extending my support. Please pass along my condolences to her.

  75. Christine Kersey

    I’m so sorry for your loss, but I really appreciate the insights you posted. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  76. I am so sorry to hear your news. Having lost two adult sons myself, I understand just how much it hurts. Be gentle with yourselves. Grieving is hard work and takes time, but life will be better eventually. It won’t be the same life and the hole in your hearts will always be there, but there can still be hope and happiness. In case it helps, here’s something I wrote the day after my second son died.
    “Grief is a sea of tears that ebbs and flows. Now, so soon after that last goodbye, the waves are huge, engulfing me completely so I can feel nothing except sorrow, then retreating briefly, leaving me exhausted. But just as the real sea calms after a storm, so I know my grief will steady over time. It will never disappear completely. I will always miss you. But eventually I will be healed by the warmth of your remembered smile and once again be happy.”

  77. Cynthia Gilbert

    Thank you, PG, for your thoughts.

    I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  78. Thank you, PG, for sharing this with us, even though it must have been painful and sad. Death is never easy, even when we expect it – and the journey you will take through your grief will be your own journey – whatever ups and downs you experience will be true and honest to yourself and to Mrs. PG. Whatever you feel is what you feel, so if you feel happy one day, you should not feel guilty to be happy. The grief will come back when you are ready to handle it.

    As for myself, your website, and all the lovely and interesting articles, have given me pleasure and insight for several years now – and I wanted to let you know how much I’ve appreciated your hard work and your consistency, both in thought and deed. Thank you.

    Be well, and take good care of yourself and Mrs. PG.

  79. What a heartbreaking and incredibly difficult time for you and Mrs PG. So many losses . . . I am so sorry.

    May your son and your brother rest in peace.

  80. I am truly sorry to hear about your losses, and so close together. 🙁

  81. Community is how humans deal with surviving the world. Even if the community is just kind strangers willing to take a moment from their own life problems to share a kind word or assist somehow. I’m glad you found your community of help in your time of need.
    Thank you for having the strength to share this very personal time with the world, perhaps you will help others in their unknown future time of need by way of your experiences.
    I wish the entire PG clan well and hope smiles can return to your lives before too long.

  82. PG & Mrs. PG, sending you waves of loving thoughts, as I don’t believe the “right words” exist, just words of love and support. May your hearts be soothed and eased. Although that always takes more time than anyone would suspect, I believe friends and family do speed that process just by being available to share the heartache.

    To further your words of wisdom, I just finished M.L. Buchman’s very helpful book, “Estate Planning for Authors: Your Final Letter (and why you need to write it now)”, which extends your personal suggestions to include good information about the business side of things.

  83. I pray for your family’s peace of mind and solice. Each day will bring what it brings, and one day, your burden will be lighter, and your mind more settled with the knowledge that your loved ones have found peace.

  84. Dear PG,
    I found your website just after your son’s death, and something about the way you wrote about it made me think it might have been suicide. My older son also suffers from bipolar disorder and has had periods of being suicidal for many years. I try to enjoy as much of our relationship as possible (there are times that simply aren’t very enjoyable), knowing that I don’t know what may happen. We still know so little about mental illness (as could also be said about cancer). Holding your family in the Light, as the Quakers say. Your list is
    very helpful.
    Heather

  85. So sorry for your loss.

    You bring up quite a few things that people need to know of/plan for should a death occur in the family. Hopefully, that information can help others in the future.

  86. Your column and the ability to interact with fellow writers and others concerned about publishing has been and continues to be greatly appreciated.

    I was terribly sorry to read of your loss. Mental illness and premature death have touched my family in many ways. Even dealing with a death that is not untimely can be highly stressful and result in extended grieving.

    I wish there were some way I could help. At least I can post that my thoughts are with you. If I could offer any advice, it would be to be kind to yourself and be patient with the ups and downs that continue over the course of many months and years.

  87. So sorry to hear about your son.As a parent, I frequently think of the quote, “To have a child is to forever have your heart walking around outside your body.” Hope your heart heals soon! Prayers,

    Janette

  88. You demonstrate your own kindness by sharing your very personal story. Thank you.

  89. I’m sorry for your loss and Thank You very much for this post. The information you have relayed will be taken to heart.

  90. Rebecca Burmesch

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your experiences to help the rest of us.

  91. PG,

    So sorry to hear of your double loss. Losing a child is always hard, but losing two in such a short period of time must be an almost unbearable double whammy.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Sharing such an enormous loss is difficult.

    I hope that you, your wife, and family will keep the fond — and happy — memories of your sons deep in your minds and hearts.

  92. Thank you for sharing with us, and for passing on the information. It is very helpful. I’m amazed again by your grace under such trying circumstances, having two losses so close together would just be so much more difficult to deal with.

    I read years ago something from a grieving person, who said the best thing to say was “I’m so sorry.” and also “What can I do.” And mean both. It isn’t really the words, it’s the sharing of the sorrow that matters. (In my family, we tend to hug really hard, for a long time, and cry. It helps.)

    Peace and strength to you and yours, PG.

  93. You and your wife seem to be honoring your son’s memory in the best possible way, by dedicating yourselves to kind and generous actions toward others. In choosing goodness or kindness, even in this sad time, you inspire all of us to be more caring. This is the true meaning of Mitzvah in Jewish tradition.

  94. I’m so sorry for your losses, PG. I’m keeping you and Mrs. PG in my thoughts and prayers.

  95. Just reading your words is heart breaking, PG. I cannot begin to imagine how it must feel for you and Mrs. PG. My biggest prayer for you is that your pain becomes bearable sooner than later. I’m just so relieved to know that you know you’re not alone.

  96. As one of those who has a hard time finding the words at the loss of a child, thank you for this post. Hugs.

  97. Deepest condolences during this sad time.

  98. PG,

    I’m deeply sorry for your lost. We lost a child and it never stops hurting. But life does go on and is worth living.

    *hugs*

  99. So very, very sorry for your loss PG. Can’t imagine what you’re going through. But you have people (you don’t even know) who care. Sincerely.

  100. I am so so sorry for your loss. Fifteen years ago my youngest daughter overdosed while away at college. We were so lucky; a friend found her and got her to the hospital in time. “I just hurt all over” she told me later. “I just wanted it to stop.” For me, the world became a different place. Still, I carry my cell phone everywhere. It’s always next to my bed. I advocate for better pain management in patients, and better access to therapy. She had a big secret–she’d been sexually assaulted when she was younger, and was not able to get an appointment with a college counselor. Please do whatever you have to do to take care of yourself and your wife. And I too am very grateful for your excellent advice.

  101. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  102. I’m sorry for your loss. And grateful that you were able to offer lessons leaned from the experience.

  103. That you have looked beyond your grief and continued to serve the writing community with such devotion is impressive. May you be blessed as you have been so generous to bless others.

  104. You continue to serve as a role model to many of us, as writers and as human beings, of information sharing, transparency, and authenticity. Thank you for this enlightening note. You and your family remain in my thoughts.

  105. PG, I’m SO very sorry for your loss. Thank you for this information, much appreciated!

  106. So, so sorry to hear this. I can’t even imagine how awful it must be to lose a child. My thoughts are with you.

  107. Thank you for your great gift in sharing all this information and insight.

    I hope that you and Mrs. continue to heal and feel the pain less sharply in time.

  108. Thank you for sharing this, PG. It’s a brave thing to do, and one I really appreciate. If you don’t mind, I’ll share on my blog so that others can benefit from the lessons you have learned.

  109. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  110. Very sorry. The death of your son brings back memories of my eldest son’s teenage death, and now I live on the edge with my youngest suffering like yours. Mental health remains the unacknowledged step-child of the medical system. You seem stronger than I ever was. Nothing helped ease my pain, and suffering increased with time for ten years after, then eased. As you say, most friends and strangers gave helpful support; some did not; a few caused harm (zealot religious phonies, sorry to say.) I wish you and your wife serenity however you find it. Wish is all I can offer, anything else would be banal advice. We all react and cope according to our ability until we don’t need to. With heartfelt sympathy.

  111. I’m so sorry for your loss, PG & family. Thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to you at this very difficult time.

  112. I am so sorry for your loss. No parent should have to bury his or her child. I have children of my own, one who is struggling with depression and anxiety, as I have since I was six. You battle with it, but sometimes, you’ve got nothing left inside you, and it takes hold of you, has its way. I’m sure you’re son did his best to keep going, to fight. Forgive him if you are angry. Remember him at his best. He loved you, and was in no way trying to hurt you by his actions. My prayers are with you. May God lift you up, and carry you through the time of your grief.

  113. Losing a child, let alone two, is unimaginable and I can’t imagine how difficult this has been for you and your wife. I am so sorry. Please know there are many who care for you and your family.

  114. Dear PG and Mrs PG, please take it easy for a long time – as you say, stress of this magnitude does take a huge toll on one’s body.

    I’m very sorry for both your losses.

    It’s so generous of you to share your thoughts here.

  115. I am so sorry for the loss of your son to your family. I am praying for your peace. My heart aches for all of you.

  116. As a father who lost his younger daughter from bipolar suicide I know and empathize with you, PG. May you and your wife recover quickly from the ordeal and live on to remember your son’s life until you’ll meet again. My wife and I offer you and your wife all our sympathy and share your grief.

  117. I’m late, having just returned home from being with my wife after her mother died just a month short of her 100th birthday.
    I’d like to reiterate our feelings for you and your family; our condolences on your son’s death.
    But I’d also like to second your advice about pre-planning. My parents-in-law contracted with a funeral home ten or so years ago, to cover almost all the details. My father-in-law died about five years ago, but the smoothness of the operation, the advice my wife and her brothers were given on the death of their mother was a major hurdle removed from them trying to get arrangements made. Financially, since they’d prepaid, the bill was almost nil (relatively speaking). I can recommend the course of action – as long as the funeral home will be in business when your time comes.

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