Parents of Suicides (POS) - Friends and Families of Suicides (FFOS)

Internet community founded on October 9, 1998

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P o S    F F o S

Parents of Suicides Internet Community

Parents of Suicides is an international e-mail group and part of the POS – FFOS Internet Community established on October 9, 1998. The group is managed and moderated by volunteers, mothers and fathers in the group who give their time and hearts to help.

The mission of POS is to offer understanding, support, information and hope to bereaved parents. (This group is exclusively for birth parents or parents who legally adopted their children.)

Send an email to Karyl Chastain Beal at to ask for an application to join POS.

How has being in POS helped you?

From Diane RS, Mom of Laura & Aaron

     In a heartbeat........POS has made me feel normal in a very abnormal world.
My grief is so encompassing, I often cannot see beyond it. My husband would love for me to be thin and sexy again, like I was BEFORE. My friends would like to see a smile and joy on my face again, like I did BEFORE. Some friends would like to share all the brain storming we use to do to make this a better world to live in. But again, that was BEFORE.
     Other family members miss the Diane from BEFORE. Who is this person they ask. We have known her all our lives, but she is now a stranger.
Now, the only thing I want to improve in this world, is better care for our sick children who are suffering from this horrible disease, depression. Even world hunger is no longer on my radar screen. Nobody "knows" Diane anymore. She is gone and will never be back in her previous/comfortable capacity.
     But.....I am accepted and understood here at POS. I am not hiding. I have not dropped out of the world. I still love and care for my family........I just don't have the energy to be the happy, productive, optimistic, kick ass, let's look at this in a different way, of my past life with family and friends. They miss me.     

     They want me back. But I cannot come back. Instead, I have all of you, who everyday post something that I am feeling. You say it in beautiful ways. We connect, and for a few minutes, I feel normal. Thank you all for the gift of POS.

From Diane P, Pete's Mom

     When my son died I was in a huge fog. I wrote to him and about him. I talked to him and about him until I am sure that I repeated myself to the same people a million times just trying to keep him near. People who knew him of course were the most supportive and reinforced to me what a good and kind person he was and what a good mother I was to him and so it wasn't until after the fog started to lift from my soul that I began to see that many people I had confessed the greatest loss in my life to, (several having lost children of their own, one to an asthma attack and another lost an adult child to an accidental drowning) did not seem to want to include me in their grief sharing process.
     I began to see that while as a parent we all shared the despaired feelings of not being able to protect and save our child, MINE and actually purposefully ended his life and they lost theirs by just wasn't the same.
     I was just not up to a personal one on one suicide support group. I needed to reach out and touch someone who could identify with the estranged comfort that we get from those who simply will not hold parents of suicide in the same privleged category as any other kind of cause of death when I needed it.
     I searched sites on line for what seems like forever before I stumbled across Parents of Suicides. I was able to begin healing for real after I became a member. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I listened and listened and listened. I felt safe telling the story of my sons life as I was able to read the stories of other parents loss. I felt terribly humbled by what other parents and endured and eventually I became one of the comforters more than the one needing the comfort. POS gave me the tools... the space...the time to come to terms with all aspects of life and death.
     I am still grieving and still learning how. I am still healing and still learning how. Even tho I am no longer involved in POS on a daily basis I will always feel connected to parents who have lost their child to suicide because the stigma that goes with it is unique and one can only truly feel understood by another parent of suicide.

From Binnie, Mom of Keely

     I tell EVERYONE that POS is a life-saver. Many people have said to me how glad they are that I found POS - they are aware that they don't know how to help me and are very relieved that POS does.

POS - validated any and every emotion I have felt on this journey
POS - gave me perspective on my grief, that I am not alone and that there are other's who have suffered even more
POS - has probably saved my marriage - my husband loves the stories I share and the information we get helps us understand each other's grieving 'style'.
POS - gives me wonderful factual information about depression, bipolar disorder, grief stages, coping etc. that I would find NO WHERE ELSE!
POS - alleviates the dreadful sense of isolation
POS - My husband says to relay that the daily access to sharing is critical and that it is so important the POS can be tailored to your needs (digest, special notice).

From Norma, Mom of Terri

     When my daughter took her life, I felt alone with no one to really be there to comfort me as they had never experienced this kind of tragedy for themselves. I found myself alone with my feelings, like I was the only person on earth dealing with such a horrible happening.
     Once I found POS that all changed. Writing to others who were going through the same experience made me realize all of my feelings were normal for such a situation. I could cry, relate my feelings, my experiences with people who were or had been through the same as myself & my family.
     As anyone knows who has gone through a suicide, be it a child, spouse, friend, lover---support is the only thing that truly helps you heal. No judgements from anyone ever.
     Will I ever truly get over losing my daughter. No I don't believe so. But as time passed, I began to live again. Through my tears I could see light at the end of the tunnel
     What would I have done had it not been for the internet support group POS, I shutter to think. I truly believed it saved my life. I would recommend a group for suicide survivors without hesitation.

From Pam, Mom of Jason

     My name is Pam and I lost my son to suicide July of 2004, he was 19 years old. I found parents of suicide about 5 months after my son died. It was so helpful to find others who had lost a child in this way. So many people in our society are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide and will often kind of freak out when you begin talking about the suicide of your child.
     But sometimes you need to talk about it, you need to sort out the sometimes gruesome details, sometimes you just need to talk with someone who knows the devastation that goes along with losing a child to suicide. Even those who have lost a child in other ways, do not grasp the isolation that a survivor of suicide often feels.
     The reaction of society is often different when the loss is suicide opposed to an accident or a physical illness. I know this first hand. 8 months after my son's death, I lost 2 of my daughters in a car accident.
     There is a different reaction when I say my daughters died in a car accident and when I saw my son died by suicide, people become very uncomfortable.
     POS has been a great blessing to me, it has allowed me to speak freely about my son and my daughters (even though their death was not suicide, the group graciously allows me to include them in conversations of death) and have always been there to support me.
     We are very much a family. And although in addition to my POS family, I am blessed with a great support system of my family, friends and community, there are many who are not as fortunate and do not have a close source of support, for those people the group brings on a whole new level of necessity.
     There is pretty much always someone there 24/7, in times of crisis, someone is there to listen and someone will respond within a very short time. There are those who have been on this terrible journey longer then others that will help to guide the new comers, to give them hope and comfort

From Lois, Mom of Bryan


P =  Positive input from group members,(parents who understand the facets of grief associated with the loss of a child at any age due to suicide)

O=Outstanding love, and compassion.  What you won't find from family and friends, because they don't know what to say, fear makes outsiders run from us, Fear of not knowing the right words. Fear because they don't feel what we feel.  Pos members do, they know everything, every up and down that we go through, in the span of our grief. Days, months, and years, someone here at Pos understands the emotion that a person is feeling.

S= Substantial information , articles from doctors, poems, literate information to help us better educate others about the effect of mental illness, depression, signs, and no signs.  In Pos it's a saving Grace unit. a unit composed of parents from around the world, that all understand the word suicide, and the effects it has on the family, the melt down it causes in our stablility as people.  We are not who we once were, nor shall we ever be.

From Faye, Mom of Lisa

Dear Friend,
     Karyl has told us that you would like a word of commendation from POS
members. I am more than happy to oblige. I have been a member for many years and have made some wonderful friends. Initially, I received all messages, but eventually I chose to just get Karyl's "Special Notices." I can keep up with everything that is going on that way and not have the large number of posts to deal with.
     Losing a loved one to suicide is different from other ways. Many of us have found that we were sort of "looked down on" or even "blamed" in some way for the death. The vast majority of people out there simply do not understand suicide. They didn't do it to hurt us and they didn't even want to hurt themselves. They just became hopeless for some reason and saw no way to go forward. They didn't want to die, they just wanted to end their suffering and pain.
     The brain is an organ of the body, just like the heart or kidneys or liver.
Anything can go wrong with any of these organs. The brain is no different.
     People in POS/FFOS know this and can comfort each other without placing
blame. Our loved ones ARE in heaven -- of that we have no doubt. Suicides DO go to Heaven. Lifelong friendships are forged between people who are seeking answers and finding them.
     We have two opportunities a year to meet each other. Karyl has a big,
rambling log house in Tennessee and she invites any who will come every spring and fall to a retreat. It is incredible to meet the people you have become so close to online. And Karyl and her DH, Ron, are fantastic hosts and conduct the retreats in a manner that all would approve of. .
     I hope you will decide to join us.

From Kristi, Mom of Chris
     I joined POS after searching the internet on suicide, around November 2001, shortly after my son Chris died on Oct. 29, 2001. I recently met with a woman whose son died 9 months ago and encouraged her to check out POS. My reasons were there is only one thing you want to do after losing someone to suicide is be among others who know how you feel. I said POS was my life saver. 

     I could write anything about my son or how I felt that day and I would receive an outpouring of encouragement from other members. I spent countless hours on the POS email and felt at home. I could post my sons story and photos of him and share him with others.

I made some connections with members who have become very good friends to me now. Even though it has been almost 6 years since Chris died I still look forward to Karyl’s messages that come through even though I am no longer an active member. I really do miss it and have thought about joining again. I feel I could help others now at this point in my journey. I really do not know what I would have done without POS.

From Rebecca, Jenny's Mom

POS was so helpful to me especially in the beginning. I was still in shock when I joined about 3-4 months after I lost Jenny. I needed an outlet for my emotions. I would sit and type with tears streaming down my face but at least I felt that I could share about my feelings with others who understood. And when new people would join I was able to post to them and comfort them in their time of need. It was a win win situation for me and I don't think I would have come through those early months without the help of POS.

One of the comforts of POS was connecting with mom's who shared similarities with my situation. A lost daughter, maybe the age, maybe the personality of my Jenny something that made me feel closer to them. And also I connected with mom's who lost son's that reminded me of my own son who struggled for the last 4 years with his own demons after the loss of his beloved sister.

I encourage anyone who has lost a child by suicide to join POS and at least experience the warmth and comfort that the group has to offer. For some it may not be what works for them but without trying you will never know.

From Phyllis, mom of Pete

     POS was instrumental during those first days of having to sort it all out, why Pete died, how do I go on . All the questions we have were answered with caring and unbiased messages. The first retreat I went to was very overwhelming and it was all too raw for me to continue to participate and that is how it was for me and me only.
     The best part about POS is that after all this time, nearly 4 years since Pete took his life, all of his friends have moved on and have lives of their own. One of my biggest fears is that Pete will be forgotten and become only a memory of a past life. POS helps me keep his memory alive by their candle sites every year and when his birthday and memorial dates come along, I get emails of support to get through those days. No one forgets me and no one forgets Pete. That is what POS is about.

From Pat, Mom of Jason
     POS is the best thing that I found to help me work through my grief. I went to a support group at a local church where the suicides were parents, spouses, siblings and children.
     It was not that helpful because we were all grieving differently. The death of a child is like no other. It is not the same as coming to this group where we are ALL grieving over the loss of our precious child.
     And no one condemns you or points fingers at you. You can post your true feelings and pour your heart out. Whatever stage you are at someone will come to your aid. You need hugs? Someone will give you (((((((((Hugs))))))))).
     You can say anything you need to say, just bare your soul. Everyone understands. Karyl and the others that make this site possible are the greatest. They do a lot of work in memory of their child and ours.
     I have made a couple of friends that I keep in touch with through this site. One is in South Africa and one is in Pennsylvania. The one from PA and I keep in touch regularly and she is actually moving here. And people from all over the world that are members of POS will come to your aid when you need them.

From Lee of Australia. Mom of Jed

What this group means to me???? I find it has allowed me to tell my story and know someone is always listening. I have mentioned to quite a few people now that I have joined this wonderful group of parents and tell them how much their support helps me cope. It will be good to get together at a retreat someday ...... maybe October next year. I love having this group accessible any time of the day or night. When I start pouring my heart out here I just keep going till it feels a whole lot better. I cry, I sob, I scream, but most of all I feel the love and support. This group is a big part of my life now. Thank you

From Marcia, Mom of Doug

I joined POS in December, 1999. I had lost my 22 year old son, Doug, to
suicide that June. Living in NY, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to
a grief counselor several times a week, and in-person support groups.
However, the in-person support groups were not just for parents whose
children died by suicide. That is a totally different loss than someone who
lost a parent, or a child by other means.

I met a woman at one of these support groups- we were the only parents there. She told me about POS. Even after I found an in-person support group just for parents who lost children to suicide, I found that once a week or once a month meetings did not fulfill my needs. I was in such pain, and feeling so alone, as if I was on a different planet than everyone else.

POS gave me support 24/7. The members understood how I was
feeling on holidays, my son's birthday and memorial dates (which they
remembered and acknowledged when my family did not). They stand in my shoes.

I did not feel alone on another planet. I especially appreciated the special
events and projects- candle website for the holidays, making Karyl a
butterfly quilt, the memorial wall, the butterfly tree with our childrens'
photos, the memorial quilt, the balloon launch on New Years eve 2000 (a
night I had been dreading became meaningful), the cookbooks, memorial books.

Karyl opens her house at retreat time- I met many members in
person, who have become my closest friends, my sisters. I have traveled to
South Africa (going again this March) and New Zealand, and other states,
plan to visit Australia, enjoying the amazing hospitality of POS members.
These are places I would probably never have visited. Too far away. POS has
made the world smaller for me, through my friendships. Many have come to NY.

We can be ourselves, not put on our outside masks. We watch out for each
other, know when one of our members is in a bad place, and try to encourage
and lift them up. We help each other along this painful path. We are never
alone with POS. We can say what we want on a bad day, and no one judges.

POS has really been my lifeline. I sincerely believe I would not be functioning as well as I am if I had not found POS. For years, I was at the computer all the time. I don't have that kind of time now, but I know POS will always be there for me.