This is My Process

First I blamed the feckless girlfriend. Then I blamed the pain doctor for prescribing all those opiates. Then I blamed myself for not hiding them better. Then I blamed the doctor who told him to amputate his leg. Then I blamed my self for not finding a surgeon who could offer a   better prognosis. Then I blamed the doctors who didn’t notice the abnormal bone growth. Then I blamed myself for not getting him out of that fake hospital sooner. Then I blamed the first surgeons who didn’t care about his complications. Then I blamed the rehab facility that threw him out instead of accepting the negotiated fee from the insurance company. Then I blamed his father for screaming at him when he got thrown out. Then I blamed myself for taking him to the rehab place. Then I blamed myself for letting him go to spend one night at a sober house. Then I blamed the rehab place for not letting me know he was withdrawing from benzos and might be feeling psychotic. Then I blamed myself for not intuiting it. Then I blamed the lawyers for dropping the lawsuit against the rehab place. Then I blamed Social Security for denying him disability benefits. Then I blamed myself for not knowing the girlfriend was crazy. Then I blamed myself for going out to dinner when he was secretly planning to die. Then I blamed myself for not treating his depression when he was a little kid. Then I blamed my mother for having me so I would end up having him and then failing him.

Then I blamed him for not saying goodbye to me or taking me with him. Then it starts all over again.

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76 Responses to This is My Process

  1. alittlelux says:

    I’m so sorry…

  2. Joan says:

    Dear Sister Wolf,

    My shrink once said to me that if someone was absolutely determined to go, there was nothing anybody could do to stop them.

    Read what Staircase Witch says. It is so true.

    And some questions must forever remain unanswered.

  3. Sister Wolf says:


  4. chloe says:

    i lost an ex to suicide three years ago. despite us having been broken up for a year, he hung himself on my birthday. he’d been trying to get back together but i was just rebuilding my life after coming out of the shadow of his depression and was hesitant to return. i couldn’t face going to the funeral and tormented myself over his death for months, convinced that he was haunting me. it sounds ridiculous but i was terrified to be alone in the dark. eventually i had the most vivid dream, i just knew from the expression on his face that everything was alright. from that day i stopped being scared, it was replaced by an incredible sadness.

    like your son, muddled & as in pain as he mightve been, at the end of the day it was his own selfish decision. i know that even if we’d been together, maybe he would’t have killed himself that day but chances are, he would’ve done it later on. what if we’d been married? what if we’d had children? what if my children inherited his depression, sat in a room for days refusing company? he didn’t want to be here anymore and didn’t care about anyone or anything anymore. i think thats the hardest to deal with, to know that a person you loved can just give up and completely not give a shit anymore.

    you will come to realise that its not your fault. you go though tears, anger, RAGE, fear of life without him, finally settling to an empty sadness.. you just learn to live with it, resign yourself to it. it doesn’t get easier but you have to get on with things. for your own sanity and for the rest of the people around you. its a cliche, but you know that he would want you to.
    i will be thinking of you x

  5. Hortense says:

    Your words express so much more on this subject than any I’ve ever read. I have daily struggled with suicidal ideation, and it’s no exaggeration to say that reading about your trials has profoundly changed my formerly blase attitude toward this cycle of longing for escape and finality.

    You are a beautiful, incredibly strong woman. I’d feel lucky to have you as a mother, and I’m sure your son felt that.

    I know a therapist whose son (suffering from bipolar) committed suicide over a failed music career. She says that she knows he was happier that way now, and that she can’t undo his ultimate decision with “should’ve.” I don’t know how she says that or where her understanding comes from, but she does seem to mean it when she says it couldn’t have happened any other way…that he was hell bent on leaving life behind for a chosen ending. I sometimes think she’s a jerk for saying that, but maybe she’s wise.

    Your emotional honesty is inspiring. Love to you.

  6. elisa says:

    I think Hortense makes a beautiful point.

    I guess it probably doesn’t feel like it, and it doesn’t make the grief disappear or the pain and confusion go away…

    But reading your blog over the past months, and from the day I first read what happened….I hope you can find peace. That there is no one to blame. That what happened just happened and could not have happened any other way, because a million things could have changed nothing or something, but we, you, will never know. Your son made a decision, and in the end it was his. No blame. It just is. And I think…maybe there is some peace in that.

    love to you sister wolf.


  7. Sister Wolf says:

    Each word of consolation here is a gift. I’m trying to take in the compassion and wisdom. xo

    I guess the underlying problem is that I can’t get him back.

  8. Sonia Luna says:

    Everyone here expressed what I would like to say much more eloquently than I ever could.
    Home Girl is right, it will get easier, you won’t stop missing Max, but it will get easier to think of him without wanting to fall apart.
    After my father died my mom felt guilty because she didn’t follow through on one of those stupid chain letters, somehow she found a way to blame herself even though his death was an accident and not preventable in any way, he just left one Sunday morning to go climbing like he did every other Sunday and didn’t come back, that was 15 years ago and as I’m writing this I have a lump in my throat. I’ll never stop missing him but remembering him and talking about him it’s easier now.
    Please don’t blame yourself, we all read how much you fought for him!
    I wish I could give you a big hug, a virtual one will have to do.
    Stay strong, as always I’m sending love your way!

  9. Queen Marie says:

    My Darling Sister
    You and Max are my first and my last prayer of the day. Every day.
    I love you.


  10. Cricket9 says:

    SW, I’m so sorry and I wish I could help in some way. Don’t blame yourself! I started to read your blog quite recently – had no idea how much hell you both endured before, and how incredibly hard you tried to help. I’m so sorry that life became too unbearable for your son. My heart goes out to you.

  11. Madeline says:


    My love goes out to you and I want you to know that we care for you very much. You are an incredibly strong woman and an absolute inspiration to all of those suffering from heart ache and inner turmoils. I want you to understand that your emotional honesty is helping so many of us trudge through our troubles and you are like a mother to us all. We are always here for you.

  12. Thea says:

    Dear Sister Wolf,

    Peace to you. I pray for peace to come to you in some small way.

    My family was changed forever when my brother took his life 17 years ago. It was all too much for him. We didn’t know the depths of his pain. We would have helped. That was the road he took. We were left to pick up the pieces of the devastation. My mother’s heart never was the same again. It shocks me to say how long ago it was. It seems like yesterday.

    But, you carry on. And do the best you can. Some day, your heavy burden will weigh a little less. Please find someone you can speak to and share this grief in person. People are mostly good and want to help.


  13. drollgirl says:

    oh girl. i have no way to fix this. i am so sorry. hugs, and i wish i could make it better and less painful.

  14. Audi says:

    SW, I’ve been thinking of this post for days and wracking my brain to say something that might help you. It pains me to think of you blaming yourself and replaying all these terrible scenes. And here’s what I came up with: the pain will lessen over time, and these awful memories will fade, but the good ones inevitably fade too. That’s why I think it might help you to take some time, perhaps each day, to recall all your wonderful memories of Max and write them down: I KNOW you know how to do that. I didn’t know Max, but I’m willing to bet that he had many moments of joy and warmth, that he could be witty and probably hilarious, that he showed compassion and tenderness and quiet heroism, and I’m certain that this is how he would most like to be remembered. Devote your time to celebrating his proudest moments, not dwelling on his darkest ones. You have many loving readers who would probably enjoy celebrating these stories with you, too.

    Much love to you. I know there are many of us out there keeping you in our hearts.

  15. IndiaFrancis says:

    Much love to you

  16. hammie says:

    Now it is time to go and meet some other parents and loved ones who were left behind and get some support. You couldn’t tie him to this world. You didn’t do this Sis. He did. xxx

  17. sonja says:

    thank you for sharing your pain and your process and for accepting our probably inadequate words, yet deeply felt compassion, our admiration of your courage, our gratitude for your sense of community – may it bring you strength. Bless your tender, broken heart. love, love, love.

  18. You are one of the bravest women I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. Your strength, and honesty at a time like this, is powerful and heartbreaking. I know nothing will make the pain go away, and none of all those affirmation-filled mantras will make it any easier. We are here, we are in awe and in deepest sympathy. That is all I can say. xx

  19. Elizette says:

    These words evoke the heaviness of your heart. I can only imagine how tormented you must be by the never-ending loop of “what ifs”. I’m so sorry SW, I wish it didn’t have to be this way. I hope you find some peace at some point, however long it takes.

  20. Sister Wolf says:

    Audi – This is good advice. I know you’re right. I want to try this. I’m going to try. xoxo

  21. When dealing with the grief of losing my father, I turned to science. Every day I would see a man over 65 and think “why this not man, why my father?” But quantum physics shows that the universe does not pick sides – it is indifferent.
    The universe has no blame, no hurt and no hate.

    I don’t believe in an afterlife, but the energy within a human life that causes it to exist… the electricity between synapses, the spirit, the soul – whatever you like to call it – it is returned to the energy of the world when it passes. If this energy had a consciousness – it would not want you to live in torment – it is not existing in torment. It is at peace, harmoniously a part of the ether. And within this peace so should you take extraordinary comfort in the tiny current of electricity that runs through every living thing – because a part of that is your son.

    Grief is extraordinary but you can manage your path through it. There is no blame where Max is – so too must you let go of the blame and walk down your path unburdened. You will get to the end of the path faster without a load on your shoulders.

    All my love. xx

  22. Suspended says:

    Excellent advice Audi. That sounds like a beautiful idea.

    Sister, you need to stop reducing me to tears. I’m a man, godammit!


  23. Jaimi says:

    Sending my love your way. I can’t even imagine…

  24. joanneinjax says:

    Oh, Sweet Sister, you could be one of my oldest and dearest friends, who lost her 15 year old two years ago. To add to her misery/blame, she is a world renown clinical psychologist who works with children in the college of medicine of a highly regarded private university. (I hope that was vague enough.) She found her darling daughter after she had hung/’scarfed’ herself in her bedroom closet. She has PTSD episodes every time she hears a siren – police and EMT. I love her so much and wish so that I could take away her pain. Loving her and listening is all I can do.

    She did sue the hospital who dismissed her daughter’s wrist cutting a few days earlier and sent her home. The hospital’s psychiatrist told my learned friend, who begged for at least a 72 hour hold, that this was a ‘half-hearted’ attempt and to take her home and send her to school the next day. Two days later she found her dead. The money she finally received from the settlement is being put in a foundation, details not yet to be finalized, as she just received the money. Her goals for this ‘blood money’ (her words) has helped her heal a little.

    Sister, I send you my love and a warm, understanding hug.

  25. I can not even imagine this depth of grief. May peace find you and be with you. Sending you love and light.

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