As many of you who are regular readers of mine know, March 8th will be the one year anniversary of my oldest son Anthony’s suicide. I would be lying if I said that I am not feeling the anniversary lingering over my days and weeks ahead of it. I am trying to stay busy, but that only works for so long before the fact that my child is gone and buried in a cemetery hits me like a brick to the face. His two year old is now starting to verbalize her questions about what happened to her daddy. One the one hand that is proof of what a great father he was and on the other is breaks everyone’s heart to hear her little voice ask “what happened to daddy?”.
I don’t know what it was but one morning I woke up and suddenly it felt as if an internal countdown began letting me know that a year ago we only had 24 days left with Anthony. I looked at all the things going on in my life at the time using Facebook memories and going back through his text message and pictures. I am still trying to piece together what happened. The last 15 days of his life were a roller coaster. 14 days before his suicide I began to get hysterical and begging people to listen to me that I was scared he was going to end up dead. I knew in my gut that was coming but I tried to tell myself that I was just overreacting. I would do anything to go back to that day and do things differently.
It is as if a bomb went off in my family and I am barely now beginning to assess the damage. Everyone has different injuries but we are all still walking around in a bit of a fog. There are still bills to pay, work to do and we have to do it in the midst of mourning the loss of Anthony who was by far the person each of us was closest to in our own special way. That isn’t something we say because he is dead, the fact is that each person in this family had their very own relationship with him, he was just that amazing. The wound left after losing his goes very deep for all of us.
We are trying to all look forward to good things to get us through. One of them is to spend the day as a family on March 8th. My best friend is coming down for the weekend and is going to help us Spring clean and work in the yard as we eat, laugh and watch some of our favorite family movies. One of our favorite priests will be coming for dinner and I’m going to ask him to bless the house. On the anniversary of Anthony’s funeral we will go out to his grave to plant him some Spring flowers. Finally we are throwing a huge party to celebrate Anthony’s fiancé coming into the Catholic Church!I would not have gotten through this past year without the help of everyone who reads my blog or my rants on social media. Your prayers and your donations have really helped me to take care of my family as well as keep my faith.
Because of this, I wanted to involve ya’ll in the activities in the next few weeks. I came up with two things that ya’ll can do along with us as we face the next few weeks.
- Light a candle, if possible a St. Anthony candle and tag me in it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. The prayer intention being for the repose of Anthony’s soul and in thanksgiving for all God’s grace this past year. You can use the hashtag #InMemoryOfAnthonyGallegos so that I can find them easily. I would like to show his girls the pictures so they see all the candles being lit for their daddy.
- Starting on February 28 I am going to start the novena from the book “Forgiving Mother A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace”, if it is possible, please join me in this novena for the intentions above as well as for healing of my family, everyone who loves Anthony and those who are touched by suicide. If you will be participating in this novena just let me know on social media. Take a picture of the book or just leave a comment on a thread. I have read this book and it is beautiful. The Blessed Mother has been my role model, friend and prayer warrior since Anthony’s death so this book seemed perfect for me to read in the aftermath of that. I didn’t get to the point of praying the novena but a few days ago the idea came to me to pray it in the days leading up to March 8th. Consider joining me!
It would be an honor to have ya’ll walk with me and my family for the next few weeks as we remember the gift that Anthony was to us.