Handcrafted Wreaths and Joyful Things

Silent Screams and a Snowman

 It started with a phone call…..

How will I ever find joy again after receiving that devastating phone call?  The phone call that informed me that my beautiful daughter, had taken her own life! Or had she?    All I could do was scream…and I did….over and over and over again.  I still scream today, three years later, only silently ….. Silent Screams…..

. . . then a funeral; and constant heartbreak every day since.

The fall and winter of 2016 was full of funeral preparations, travel and overwhelming sadness. We traveled to Arlington National Cemetery and laid her to rest on December 7th; so many people, so many tears. I felt like a zombie,… numb,… just going through the motions. I kept telling myself that I had to be strong, be that oak tree, keep it together, hold back the tears, wait until your alone to cry. “Thank you for coming”…..

After the police investigation and several Army investigations, there are still too many unanswered questions for me to completely accept it.  Time discrepancies, conflicting statements, why didn’t they get her phone records? Are all questions that will forever trouble me.  But, the one question that haunts me is “Why?

Suicide is such a personal death.  It shreds the very fabric of our souls.  It’s a cry of bottomless despair that ends up creating an even larger hole within us; an insidious reaper of our basic comprehension of life, of what we thought we knew about our world and the people who are essential in our lives. It’s a decisive turning away from those who love you.

We, the survivors, travel on a sea-saw of emotions from sadness to guilt to depression to anger toward the person who made this fatal decision. Guilt for not seeing; not being enough; not knowing there was something we needed to do or say. I try to put myself inside her thoughts, and I can only imagine the desperation she must have felt to believe that this was her only choice.

I always go back to the thought that it can’t be true . . . not her. She was strong, she was amazing. She always shined. How could she be so lost, when she had been able to touch so many lives, help so many people find their footing?  How could she not know how truly special she was?

8th Army Soldier of the Year Award


I listened to a song by Rascal Flatts, with the same questions that keep running through my mind. The name of the song is, “Why?” The song makes me uncontrollably sob every time I listen to the lyrics:

“Why, that’s what I keep asking. Was there anything I could have said or done?  Oh, I had no clue you were masking. . . a troubled soul. God only knows, what went wrong and why . . . you’d leave the stage in the middle of a song.”

I stopped listening to songs like this, and pretty much most music, as so many songs brought her to my mind.  I thought if I didn’t cry so much, maybe one day I would be able to stop crying.  I turned my music to gospel.  I don’t go to church or regularly listen to gospel music so I had never heard the song “He Said” by Group 1 Crew.  This song was perfect for me and gave me some strength.  Every time, I felt like I was sinking into a hole, I played this song. 

Since that dreadful day in August, I have learned a lot about myself.  One of which, is that I’m not an “Oak Tree” as some have called me.  I’m not strong at all……not this time…this time, I am FLOORED!

My new routine became rising each morning after a sleepless night knowing that I had to face another day without her, saying out loud “I miss you Sabrina”. Going through the motions of my work and other daily tasks; self-medicating with as much wine as I could in an effort to not feel this unbearable pain; and going to bed each night staring at her picture, crying and saying out loud “I miss you Sabrina”. I was totally broken.

I didn’t want grief counselling. I didn’t want to talk to friends or family. I hated everything and everybody. I just wanted to be alone with my sadness.  I felt that I surely would lose it if I heard “I’m sorry for your loss” one more time!  I stopped opening the cards and just threw them in a box that I had labeled “Sorry for Your Loss”.  I told myself, I would go through those things one day when I am in a better frame of mind to receive and appreciate the thought behind them. 

Upon our return home from her funeral in December of 2016, I awoke to the most beautiful snowfall.  The countryside was covered.  What would normally make me smile and feel joy, made me cry.  I took my cup of coffee, put on a warm housecoat and my snow boots.  I walked around my property crying and sobbing and screaming.  I couldn’t stop thinking of her.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I couldn’t stop screaming.

The next morning, I looked out the window at the melting snow and I told myself, “If Sabrina were here, she would be out there making a snowman”.  So, I put on the most ridiculous outfit I could find, the more ridiculous the better as far as I was concerned, and I took myself out there in that snow.  As I was rolling the snow, I began to cry and talk to her as if she were right there by my side helping me.  Remembering the many snowmen from the past, rolling the snow, crying, talking to her, crying……. before I knew it, I had made me a dang snowman.  I gave him the finishing touches by loaning him my hat and scarf and an orange highlighter for a nose.  He turned out a little short because in my excitement of the prospect of actually building a snowman, I forgot how hard it was to do all by yourself.  I named him Frenchie.  He made me smile….


The holidays were almost unbearable; more sadness and missing her so badly.  I remember, my husband attempted to cheer me up by taking me to this quaint little country store in our area.  It was decorated beautifully for Christmas.  They sold handmade ornaments, aprons, wreaths and such.  He knew this would be right up my alley and possibly give me joy.  As I walked through this cute little store with so many beautiful items, the handmade ornaments took my thoughts to Sabrina.  I suddenly missed her so desperately that I began to cry.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I hurriedly gave the items that I had selected for purchase to my husband and went to our truck to cry in solitude.

Sabrina was my best friend and Christmas was our holiday; we made handmade ornaments, baked cookies and pies, built snowmen, played games…we loved it and we loved family time. I was grieving not only for yesterdays’ memories of her but also for the tomorrows that I would have to face without her.

On that day, sitting alone in my truck, I decided that I would let myself cry for her no matter where I was or who was around me. No, I am not an oak tree and I have learned that crying is good for my soul. I have also learned that if I seek joy, even in the act of building an adorable little snowman, I may just find it.

I miss you always Sabrina, especially today!

18 Responses to “Silent Screams and a Snowman”

  1. Anonymous

    Your daughter is beautiful and brave.Frenchie gave me a chuckle in spite of myself. I wasn’t sure I could read Sabrina’s Blog now I’m glad I did.I’ve not been able to listen to music still too raw and vulnerable a place that caves when I try. I will listen to He Said because you did and I believe you when you say it helps. I understand too well, my son left us 2/11/15 an Iraq combat Veteran with the 101st AA 2004/05.Thank you and Sabrina for inspiring me tonight. Evan’s Mom……..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Road2Joy

      Thank you so much for your comments. It makes my heart happy that you were able to smile, even if just for a second, when you read about Frenchie. I am hopeful that you will find some strength to help you face each day when you listen to the song, “He Said”. It is a powerful song. May God bless you and your family this Christmas season and always.

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  2. Bella Sohn

    This is beautiful writing. I hope you are well Felicia, thinking of you! And yes, it is okay to cry it heals !! Merry Christmas 🎄 and happy holidays. 💝

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Aw the way you write is so beautiful. It is okay to cry, yes! I do hope you are well. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I think of you! Please take care ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Road2Joy

      Arlington is such a special and beautiful cemetery. I was happy I chose it for her final resting place. Thank you for your comments and for the prayers, hugs, tears and love. I send them all back to you as well. A mother should never have to bury her child!

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  4. Maria Padilla

    My brother died by suicide February 8, 2016, that’s the day that changed our lives in the most tragic way possible. We were going about our normal Monday routine when we also received the phone call. I still hear the screams, the cries, the uncontrollable and confusing and painful screaming coming out of my house. My mother screamed so loud she went into shock and had to be rushed to the hospital. My brother Joel was an army veteran, like Sabrina, he is in a National Cemetery. My mother might as well died that day too, she’s here but only because she’s still breathing. It’s been over 3 years and we still ask why as well. We live our lives knowing there is the then and this is the now, and this now that we are stuck living in is a nightmare. Christmas and holidays will never be the same. There’s a huge void in our lives. You are not alone, I know that your grief and your loss is yours because Sabrina is yours, she’s your flesh and blood, but what I’m saying is this dark path we’re traveling on seems lonely, but Sabrina is with you in many ways. We have to keep pushing and take it day to day until we meet with them again. Sending you lots of hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Road2Joy

      Thank you for sharing this with me. I had such a difficult time reading your comments because I couldn’t see the words through my tears especially when you were talking about your mother. Please wrap your arms tightly around your Momma and tell her that this hug is from me because I too know and share her pain. God bless you and your family.

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  5. Sunshine

    This is beautiful momma! Your story will touch so many for years to come. I love you so much. Sabrina would be so proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Dela

    It hits us in the deepest parts of ourselves; the yearning is palpable. Such a beautiful expression of love and heartbreak. I send hugs and strength for peace and for all the times you need to let that love come pouring from your soul. Blessings my friend, through this day and all the days to come… ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Road2Joy

      Thank you Dela. Your hugs are greatly appreciated. This one was for sure the most difficult one to write because it’s the first time I allowed myself to say the words suicide to anyone except family and close friends. Blessings to you.

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