Parent Column – September 2022

Aug 9, 2022 | Parent Column

Bridges from a loss

My son Adam took his own life 13 years ago. Adam was a loving, caring soul that always helped whoever he could. Immediately after Adam’s death I did what I could to stay connected to his spirit, his unique caring energy. Although mortally wounded I did what I could to help myself and those around me with the gift of Adam’s essence. 

I realized shortly after his passing how people would open up to me about their own experiences with depression, loss and suicide.  It became very clear that life is difficult for most and it does help to share our experiences. 

In many cases once I shared my pain to other people, they would tell me all sorts of things. I guess they felt if I can share my pain and loss that they were safe to share their own difficulties and tragedies.  I never hid the reality of my son’s death with anyone I met. In return many sad stories were told to me. Heartbreaking stories that were difficult to hear, especially since my soul had experienced immense pain and was raw to extreme emotions. 

It was important for people to hear about Adam. I wanted to share what an amazing person he was. I also wanted to hear the stories of other people for the sole reason of connecting in the deepest of ways. Perhaps we could help each other. 

Two people with open and broken hearts sharing their pain is intense but unites those who allow it. It was challenging for me to cross the emotional bridge to another suffering heart, but I forged ahead with faith. 

In that tender, intimate connection is where I found Adam. Yes, Adam’s spirit was with me when I connected to another human in pain. Adam helped people when alive and together in his death we are united in trying to help others. 

Just sharing life’s pain connects people but there was more. A way was found to give others hope.

There is a reason to live. 

I felt Adam would want me to live a happy meaningful life. I shared this thought with those who suffered in a similar way. “Honor the departed by being happy and productive in their name” is what came out of my heart and mouth. 

Through loss I found many bridges to connect one broken heart to another. 

When I did, Adam was there. Sometimes we could not be of help, but we tried. 

The credo of the bereavement group Compassionate Friends states the following: “We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends. We reach out to each other with love, with understanding, and with hope”.

These lines are the material my bridges are made of. 

After 13 years since Adam’s passing, I realize how through loss I’ve crossed many bridges to connect to people. 

With love, understanding and hope a bridge is crossed hopefully bringing comfort to someone in need. 

I was never alone on this journey as Adam was with me every step of the way. The experience has transformed me, and I know Adam’s spirit has made me a better person.  He does live on in my soul and in everyone who knew him. He was a true blessing beyond measure and led by example. 

I wish there were less bridges to cross but if I need to do it again, I will not be alone. 

Rick Jacobs


Column and photo courtesy of Rick Jacobs