S.Y.S. Series: Misha'el Elie - Losing a Son

Introducing our Suicide Prevention Week: "Share Your Story" series
Every day for Suicide Prevention Week 2020, we will share inspiring true stories from suicide survivors, grieving family members and mental health advocates. The content is directly from the source and written by the individual. We hope this series encourages others to share their story, reach out for help, or be a beacon to those in the dark. 
(Trigger warning: suicide, self harm or grief)
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Misha'el Elie's story:

This will be one of the hardest articles that I have ever had to write, so please bear with me. I just spent about an hour researching what other parents have said in my situation. I received little comfort in knowing that others are feeling the pain that my family and I are currently enduring. This is not something you would want even your worst enemy to experience.

August 24, 2019, our son Xavier William Patterson would have been 18 years old. By this day he would have changed his name to Xavier Patterson Elie. Our Young Elie. I say our son because even though I entered his life when he was just 7 years of age, I mothered him, giving him every ounce of my being since before he hit puberty. There were a lot of trials and tribulations, but at the end of it all, I recognized and accepted that he needed me and I stepped up to the call for his need. What I am unsure of is if he knew how much I needed him too.

Xavier became one of my very best friends. We could look at each other and know what the other was thinking. We literally never had to say one word to each other, that is how tight our bond was. We had secret handshakes, shared musical tastes, held deep meaningful conversations, and we always kept it real with one another. If his jump shot was bad I absolutely let him know, and if I couldn’t get the millirock down to his standard he would remind me every chance he could get. I couldn’t have been blessed with a better introduction to motherhood.

On February 7, 2019, at 5:45 pm Xavier William Patterson succumbed to the wounds of mental and physical trauma. His death by suicide would be one that impacted everyone that he had come in contact with. Even those whom he did not meet would be impacted by his story and his life. Grief has now become a word that easily rests upon my tongue. It sits in my vocabulary as a bitter reminder of what the family must endure.

The pain is at times unbearable, but yet I bear it. To lose a friend is one thing, but when that friend was someone that God allowed you to mold, shape, and pour yourself into, well that brings a different type of emptiness. Yet I am able to smile some days. How is that possible? Well, when I look back at his video messages on Marco Polo or his text messages, he always made sure to put a smile on my face. Only he could bring the same amount of joy equal to my pain.

     

I often ask myself why did I get chosen to be the last person from the family to see him alive, why did I become the person to search for him after receiving such a concerning phone call, why was I chosen to be the first to arrive on the scene, the first to identify him and the first to receive confirmation that he has passed on? What gave God the right to think I could bear all of what was given even leading up to the miscarriage one week later? I don’t have specific answers for any of those questions, but I will say that I have discovered a strength within myself that is truly of a Divine nature.

I have felt unworthy of continuing Moms In The Industry. We have our 3-year-old but after the deaths of 2 children in less than a week, I just didn’t want the reminder that I put out there. The reminder that I said I would help other mother’s. How could I when I felt helpless and unable to care for myself. However, when the silence comes and the anger settles, I think to myself why stop now. There are some mothers who have the blinds drawn and the covers over their head in hopes that this all was a horrible nightmare, and rightfully so. I am living with the pain and I still have the desire to help mothers to fight for their rights and now fight to see the light after a tragedy.

Trauma changes you. But whether I choose to believe it some days or not, I deep down inside know I still have the power to see rainbows instead of clouds. I want to help other mothers see their lives that way as well. It won’t be easy, I know I will never fully recover from the pain, but I believe that I will find better ways to cope, and that will help me function. I just want to function, I want to live and help others while doing it. Let’s do this together. It’s already dog crap when dealing with it on your own. Let’s find a way to not step in it, but instead, notice it and step over it.

For those who have had the unfortunate circumstance of experiencing some of the trauma I have experienced or knows someone who has, I hope that this open letter can bring a small portion of peace and knowing you or they are not alone.

Here are some organizations that I have found helpful in my quest of coping.

Hillview Mental Health Center, Inc.- 

Born This Way Foundation

The Friendship Bench

We have also started a foundation/ charity in honor of Xavier:

The X Factor Foundation

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Misha'el is a multi-talented woman who acts and sings but also owns the amazing organization Moms In The Industry Her life and career is truly one to feel inspired by!

 

25 comments

  • Thank you for sharing!

    Linda
  • Very important

    Chas
  • Hugs

    Morgan Maples
  • Hugs

    Morgan Maples
  • Hugs

    Morgan

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