Sitting at my desk at work a few people are around at their desks, typically morning at Angie’s List. Phones sitting right next to me, as it usually is. I see that my husband is calling, which is not unusual when he is traveling. I knew instantly something was wrong, his voice was barley understandable. I at first thought he said that Hudson was in the hospital, so I responded as any mother would “which one I will go be with him until you can make it back” I thought he had attempted to harm himself again… then my husband uttered the most feared words a mother could hear “he is dead Jenna, Hudson is dead”.
I wish I could remember my exact words and movements, I remember bits and pieces. I remember hanging the phone up, not really sure what I said. Did I just drop the phone? I must have said something or did something because all of a sudden I was surrounded by my team of co-workers. I remember sitting in my chair demanding that people go look for my best friends, I remember them saying they aren't here yet. Someone then went and got a female co-worker (my team at the time was mostly guys), at least I think someone got her or did she hear my screams and cries? I remember my boss getting out of his weekly management meeting and instantly taking charge. I think at this point my female co-worker took my phone and made the needed phone calls to my mom and my best friend.
I remember my boss and co-worker working out how to get me the hell out of the office. I remember walking to the door with arms around me and remember looking into my co-workers eyes and thinking wow her eyes are full of hurt, worry, sadness, panic, shock… I will never forget the feeling I had while looking into her eyes… the feeling of holy shit this is happening, this is real.
I know that my boss drove my car and that a male co-worker drove me to Hudson’s mom’s house. I remember the drive and that every time a sad or slower song came on he would change the station… he finally landed on sports radio and at the time I thought he doesn’t need to worry about the radio, but looking back I am very thankful that I don’t have a song that I dread hearing because of that horribly long car ride to reality.
When I arrived at Hudson’s mom’s house it was a crime scene. You were only allowed to go to a certain point and asked questions by an officer. I remember other law enforcement employees walking by and just looking at me like they had seen a ghost. I remember how the house felt. It felt cold and dark. It felt like my son was upstairs dead. There is no other way to put it. When I walked in that house I instantly felt it.
I eventually made it back home where my daughter, nanny, mom and best friend were waiting. My mom was calling me as I was walking in and apparently my voicemail picked up. I have a voicemail of the next few moments. A voicemail that holds the screams of a mother who laid on the floor screaming because she just lost her son. When people question my role in Hudson’s life I listen to that voicemail. That voicemail reminds me that even though he wasn’t my son by blood he was still my son.
I remember I spoke to my husband a few times during all of this, I remember he was desperately trying to make it back to Indiana. Honestly, I don’t know what our conversations were like. The next hours are a blur. I know that my sister in law came with my niece, that my mother in law came. I remember having to make the phone calls to friends breaking the news, I didn’t want my husband to have to say the words to people. I thought that if he didn’t have to say the words that maybe somehow this wasn’t happening.
Looking back I remember sending the nanny home, sending my best friend to get groceries, I remember sending my mom with a bag for our other son… I remember knowing that we were not going to be ready to tell him and that sending him to her house for the next few days was best for everyone involved.
I know that at some point I packed a bag for our daughter to go to my sister in laws house. I remember wanting the house to be kid free and full of family and our friends- that way when my husband walked in the door he knew he wasn’t alone.
Looking back I wonder how certain people found out… I don’t remember calling them, did my husband? I often wonder when others found out where were they, how did they react? Part of me is thankful that I didn’t have to make those calls, hear those screams. The other part of me feels bad… I should have been the one to tell my dad and brother. I should have been the one to call my grandparents to tell them the awful news.
I desperately wish a photographer could have captured each of us finding out, I guarantee if there was a book of photos showing what suicide does to a family we could save lives. Imagine a book full of images, no words. Images that show true emotion, true shock, true sadness, true devastation… imagine an image of a mom laying on the floor screaming, imagine a dad in a hotel room by himself getting the phone call, and imagine capturing a 101 year old man sobbing while he learned his great grandson took his life.
Now to the hardest part imagine telling a five year old boy that his hero is no longer living. I desperately wish that someone would have captured him go limp in his dad’s arms while learning and understanding the news. I wish there was a picture of his little body crying and shaking on the couch while he processed this awful news. Imagine a five year laying on the couch head buried in a pillow sobbing while his mom and dad are standing there sobbing, his uncle and aunt sobbing, his grandma and grandpa sobbing… this is what suicide does.
Three months later and it truly feels like yesterday. I know Hudson is in a better place. I can't imagine all that he was up against. That is what drives Wes and I to make a difference. Everyone deserves to be loved and accepted. Everyone needs to know that suicide is something our youth is faced with every day. I will continue to post and talk about it because we have to get the word out. This is a real problem and I will not sit here quietly.