Parent Column – July 2024

Jun 26, 2024 | Parent Column

“Light in the Darkness”

Rick Jacobs, June 2024

When my son Adam took his own life 15 years ago I found myself in a dark, isolated abyss. It took many months, if not years to learn how to navigate this new reality. How do I survive the loss of a child that filled my heart with so much love and happiness? 

How do I live in a world where I constantly trembled inside and was suffering from PTSD. All memories of Adam were lost as my soul shut down and formed a protective, numbing shell around my essence. Lastly, can a severely broken heart ever be capable of feeling love and happiness again? I thought these questions but had no capability of answering them. 

  From the very beginning of this arduous journey I could hear Adam’s voice whispering, “Pops you deserve to be happy”. 

Grateful for that inner voice, it became a beacon of hope towards hinting at a possible brighter future. 

So in my darkness could be heard Adam’s words. His words comforted me and yet were painful because he spoke from a world I could not see or touch. 

My inner life was turned upside down and with no preparation for such a life changing event, I was lost. Amid the chaos and darkness which there was something beautiful and nurturing that started to make itself known. I was touched by the compassion of those around me, particularly from those that had a similar traumatic experience. It took a fair amount of time before I could fully appreciate the love and support from family and friends. The numbness I felt did not allow me to fully experience what I just described. More work needed to be done that would take time. There was clearly no way to rush the healing process. 

Running parallel to Adam’s words and the compassion of others was my own inner voice saying, “You deserve to be happy”. 

There was no concept of how to actualize this at the time but I embraced its positivity. 

This thought offered another ray of hope to a dark world. 

So as time went on openings in my emotional armor formed and allowed the beauty of compassion to enter my heart. Slowly in time I was also able to feel the beauty of gratitude. I started to recall some aspects of Adam’s life and thought deeply on what his life and love meant to me. He made me a better person and enriched my life in ways that could never be fully expressed. 

On this journey I became more compassionate and certainly more grateful as I intimately experienced the fragility of life. My inner life of darkness was forever changing. The beacon of Adam’s words and the inner light that was starting to form was saving me. The compassion that I felt from others and for others had much todo with reclaiming my life, actually my new life. Something new and beautiful was forming in the dark, painful reality of my inner being. There was hope. There was some degree of happiness. Most importantly was the growing capacity to help others who were suffering a multitude of emotional and physical pains. 

I frequently heard Adam’s words of “Pops you deserve to be happy”. I truly believe they came from him. These words were the germinal seeds of hope and light that eventually took root. 

Today I find myself missing my son and at times in there is great sorrow. However, I have established a new life where there is great love, happiness and inner light. 

I’m grateful for what I’ve learned on this journey. I’m grateful for the words and compassion that has illuminated my darkness.