Overcoming Fear After Losing Son to Suicide

Fear. Terror.

Do these words describe your present state because of loss of a loved one? I know it did mine after our son, Joshua, died by suicide over six years ago. Do I still feel this way from time to time? Yes, but with God’s mercy, I passed through and out of the terror over Joshua being gone.

Psalms 56:3 is fitting: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (KJV)

Hard to practice living that verse? Of course, especially when you’ve lost a child. I walked around full of terror that first year after Joshua left us. But I didn’t stay in that miserable state. We may feel fear during our loved ones’ birthdays and the holidays that we experience without them. And we may know terror when their death date rolls around, but all this can be less of a burden.

In time.

This year, my husband and I were not overly saddened at Christmas time. Few tears and sorrow to overwhelm us. Why? We reached out to a community where I spent much of my growing up years. My husband passed out Bibles and the Gospel of John tracks at the town’s Christmas dinner feed. At one table, we shared about God’s love to a suffering soul. We even got to eat with my dear friend who is still like a mother to me after all these years. We felt blessed by the day.

Something else I’ve recently come across is a book about writing through your healing process. You do NOT have to be a writer or a published author. You can take up writing at a point in your life when that has never been your intent. It can be words only for your eyes.

The book is entitled, “Writing as a Way of Healing” by Louise DeSalvo. I believe God allowed me to find this book as an aid to my healing process. With God as my foundation, I’ve been reading DeSalvo’s words. I understand I am doing well to write about my feelings after all the major losses in my life.

DeSalvo suggests we write in a journal about an event that has caused us so much sorrow that we can not let it go. Something that keeps us stuck in neutral. Here’s a quote from DeSalvo’s book: “Engaging in writing, in creative work, then, permits us to pass from numbness to feeling, from denial to acceptance, from conflict and chaos to order and resolution, from rage and loss to profound growth, from grief to joy.”

Do you think David understood this when he wrote Psalms? I see David’s life poured out onto the pages of our Bible. So, why shouldn’t we create our own words of healing? Or paintings of healing? Or woodwork, crafts, sculptures? Why not try it, friends?

Until next time . . . create.

Jean Ann Williams 2011

Jean Williams

More Articles Written by Jean

Jean Williams, a freelance writer, lost her young adult son Joshua to suicide in 2004. She lives in Southern Oregon in a mountain valley community where she works on short stories for adults and novels for young people. She grows a large garden on an acre of land with her husband, who is a retired police detective. Jean is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of 12. Jean has been a practicing Christians for 38 years, and owes her life to God. Many times after Joshua's death, Jean wished she could join her son in the afterlife, but her faith in God kept her on earth. The last few years have been filled with joy, as Jean reaches out to help others through their grief process. Read her blogs at: http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/ http://joshua-mom.blogspot.com/


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  • Cass Wessel says:

    Thank you Jean for sharing your sorrow, hope and recovery through writing. May God continue to grace your walk so that you no longer suffer from the sorrow and angst of untimely death.

  • Jean Ann Williams says:

    Thank you, Cass, for dropping by and for your encouraging words.

  • CS Perryess says:

    Ahoy Jean Ann,
    Thanks so much for being out there creating — good things are coming of it & will continue to do so.
    All the best,

  • Jean Ann Williams says:

    Thanks kindly, Charlie, for stopping by.

  • Lucy Neeley Adams says:

    Jean, your words are alive. They are like a heartbeat with life because you express your real feelings. I do not know this kind of grief, but it helps me to reach out to those who do, in a more loving way. God bless you and your husband as you bring the healing power of Jesus to others.

  • PAT ROWLAND says:

    Jean, your words are rich with understanding and advice on how to move forward. I cannot imagine anything worse than losing a child. Thank you for your strength and courage to reach out to others.

  • Beth Reinke says:

    Jean, what a blessing that you can share your words of hope with others going through similar situations. May God hold you in His arms and direct your steps and your writing as you serve Him.

  • Jean Ann Williams says:

    Thank you, Lucy, Pat, and Beth, for the kind words and the encouragement we as parents need when we’ve lost a child. It is the worst kind of loss, I believe, but with God we are able to bear it.

    So glad you stopped by and visited Open to Hope.

  • Jason Williams says:

    Dear mom , a blessing to hear your heart concerning our loss. Birthday , holidays , and death date have been especially hard for me. Especially thanksgiving / birthday. Scripture memorization has been a key element in replacing fear with Gods word. The bible says to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. And it works too , cause the word of God is quick and powerfull and sharper than any two edged sword , piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. And is a decerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Sp? God bless. Jason Williams

  • Cori says:

    Dearest Williams Family, You are a true example of what a Christian family is. I was and am blessed that our paths crossed so many years ago. I have fond memories of your entire family. Jason never gave up in trying to get me to church, Jami blessed me with her friendship and laughter, Joshua was always there to greet me with a smile. Jim and Jean were and are a true example for me to follow. Thank You for all of you being a blessing, an example, a friend and a family. Cori

  • Jean Ann Williams says:

    Son, thank you for sharing your heart. God will bless your efforts.

    Cori, the time we shared with you was wonderful. You will always be our Cori. We love you. Jean

  • Susie Neal says:

    Dear friend, I’m so happy you are able to share your writing with many others. This has been God’s gift to you and I have seen you work through your grief with it. May you be blessed with many more articles to help others in need. Josh would be so proud of you. Hugs, Susie

  • Jean Ann Williams says:

    Susie, I thought of you as one of my friends that have helped me along my grieving journey. And another thank you for the lap quilts made by you and your mom from Joshua’s clothes. I cherish our history as friends that runs into three decades!