Your site is beautiful
I too know what it's like to lose a child.  My son Joshua died at age 17 from a seizure disorder and heart problems.  He died in his sleep  early Sunday Morning, December 31, 1995.  He was my life and it's taken a while to figure out what to do next.  I miss him so much.
Thank you for allowing me to visit your site.              Beverly

     Thank you, Beverly,  for writing to me and sharing your loss.... (our losses were just months apart).   For a long time,  I kept thinking that life would "return to normal" - and then I realized that life never does reflect anything so obscure as normal - and actually,  after Erics' death,  I seemed to establish some involuntary "road sign" which divided everything thereafter into "before and after"....   That's how different it all is now... forever divided by that abrupt change in all things....  I'm glad that your son died so peacefully.   With Eric,  I will forever be grateful that there were others in the car who were able to assure me that there was not even time for one word between that encounter and impact.   No suffering,  no time at all between having a great time with your friends on a simple ride to town and back to the dorm,  and his new eternal life.  In the blink of an eye!     Having a child who has a terminal condition must be so tragic - knowing that the parting is coming and wondering with each dawn, if it will be their last....  but is does also give the opportunity to make sure you say and do all you wish with each other beforehand.... I  have pondered that and never could decide which I would choose if I had been given the choice...   For to live each moment to the fullest without the shadows cast by such a condition - has much in its' favor as the one option....  but....  to have done a few things more,  knowing time was short - also has much in its' favor....   Glad that God made "the call" on that one for me!  Regardless of the pain - we certainly have much to be grateful for in thinking on the joy and love we shared and experienced together with our sons!   What if they had never been given to us for any time at all?    So grief yields to the joy and treasures of memories - does it not?   That is the healing and strength which comes of loving and being loved well!    Thank you again for writing to me and sharing. 
Yours because I'm His, with love, hugs and prayer, Nina

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 I just want to say, "I appreciate the works of this website.  It is absolutely beautiful   ~   Sharon Stevens    ~   Louisville, Kentucky

Thank you, Sharon,
  for writing to me and sharing your appreciation and being inspired  by your visit.
Yours because I'm His,   with love, hugs and prayer from your gypsy,  (Nina)

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Bertha Hanschke
God bless you for putting this website up for everyone, especially those who are trying to come to terms with the loss of a loved one through suicide.  We read endlessly, trying to make sense of something that only makes sense to the person who is gone from us.  And although Eric wrote his feelings - most people don't - not even a goodbye, there is still a feeling that there must be more to know.   Why this seemingly unending search, I don't know, but I know we do it.  I lost my husband Peter, in Aug. 2003, and I know that what Eric felt is surely what my husband felt.    Even though I know in my head that life had become unbearable for him, my heart says please come back - I love you so - but he made a decision and I must honor that decision because he would have wanted me to.  And I cannot do him a disservice by tramping on his memory.    His memorial site is quite beautiful if you have the time to look at it - the address is as follows:      ~  
Bertha Hanschke 

Dear Bertha;  Please forgive the long delay in responding to your e-mail.   When the anniversary of Erics' death comes around (we call it his "Eternal life birthday" - April 1, 1996),  I get rather melancholy and kind of let myself let things slide a bit as I remember those last days and events which we so enjoyed without knowing that they would be the last.   How glad I am that we were the type to cherish each day and experience as a last one...  Still though,  it is achingly painful....   Then the holidays immediately afterward are also difficult.   I'd thought that would pass,  but it doesn't....  So Easter and Mothers' day as well as April 1st kind of slow me down from my usual tempo.   Fortunately,  it is also at the time of all the perennials coming out around the yard and rock gardens and I also lose myself in them and get a renewed sense of how precious life is even though it isn't "complete" for me anymore without him.  I know that you feel that way without Peter also.  
I tried to leave a message for you in the guestbook of your website - but didn't know that there was a space limitation,  for it was cut short,  so I'm including the whole message  here for you: It is so sad to read of suicide survivors and identify with the desire for escaping the pain of circumstances in which we feel helpless and agonizing.  I first attempted suicide when I was 12.  By the time I reached 50,  I became compulsively suicidal and was hospitalized three times in the Spring and Summer of 1993. The last hospitalization lasted a month and while there and in the most excellent program "NEW LIFE", I finally came out of the delusion of helplessness and victimization.   Regardless of circumstances,  WE have the ultimate power,  and keys to live and make choices by will.   How glad I am that I never did succeed in the attempts (though I came terribly close to it).... leaving my friends and family to suffer in the aftermath of such a choice.  I read and feel the pain of survivors such as you and I wish that I could hug you all and tell you that I care and that I do truly understand what your loved one did....  and in a way,  I do... but even when I was on the brink,  I didn't want to leave such a legacy of pain - but the pain I was in was greater than any other feeling I could perceive....  like having a sound be so loud that it drowns out all others.... So all I can say here is that I am glad that you are joining together and sharing what only you can fully know... I hope that healing will come as you reach out to others to strengthen and comfort them.   I know that you already know that most everyone has come to that place of wanting to escape - how sad that not all have found the help and healing that I found in 1993.   There are even fewer places and programs now than back then!  It seems that medication is the "cure" which all offer now - and that is only a temporary success,  not a cure at all - and,  in fact,  medications can actually free the sufferer from what little inhibition they have inherently and precipitate the suicide they are taking the medication for (to prevent or alleviate the depression).   I know,  for I experienced that too. Meanwhile,  you have been given a gift of understanding and you are reaching out to others and making a difference in the world.  That is beautiful and wonderful and I,  as a fellow human being,  thank you.     ~   end of message I tried to leave in guestbook  ~

Your loss is so recent and I know how devastating all of the "firsts" without a beloved one are!   People can be impatient with you too - wanting you to "let it go" and "return to normal".  (I have no idea what "normal" is and/or,  WHO decided that "norm")    In any case,  good or bad,  we never "return" to the way we were "before"...  Life will never be the same and everything about it and ourselves - has changed forever.   Be patient with those who may treat you that way - they just don't know.  Listening is such a cherished gift when given to us....   It somehow helps to talk about it all... reminiscing and sharing how special they were....    You and Peter had a love and many loving years together....  How wonderful that he had you!    Write if you feel a desire to share more - I do care.  
Yours because I'm His, with love, prayer and best regards,  Nina

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 Alzheimers resources
Brenda S. Parris 
Brenda Sibley (married) 

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Nancy Laird  
I enjoyed my visit to your site and feel the love and pain.....I lost my youngest daughter to the act of suicide and know how much building my memorial for her helped me...I loved reading the poetry...there are several things on my daughters site she wrote herself .. from one broken hearted parent to and peace.....Nancy

Response ~ Dear Nancy & family;  Please forgive the long delay in responding to your e-mail.   When the anniversary of Erics' death comes around (we call it his "Eternal life birthday" - April 1, 1996),  I get rather melancholy and kind of let myself let things slide a bit as I remember those last days and events which we so enjoyed without knowing that they would be the last.   How glad I am that we were the type to cherish each day and experience as a last one...  Still though,  it is achingly painful....        One of my two daughters is manic-depressive and the older she gets -  the worse it manifests because although she was diagnosed and tried he medications - she would not continue on them and denies to herself and others,  just how difficult it is.    Such a life and choice harms many...   How very,  very sad it is... and yet... there is absolutely nothing that the rest of us can do for her or to convince her that she needs to.    I understand your pain in that area and realize that you have a much greater grief than just her loss and absence from your lives.    I can only imagine how terrible it would be if Jeanne ended her life in such a way....     I visited your site and both Brandi and I cried with you at some of the pages and sharing there.    It is a good thing to be willing to share such as you and  as I and others do - for it is a help and reminder of the bond in all mankind that binds us together...  We all need and benefit-by that.   I was  a bit confused at who is who in the photos..... ?    Perhaps you could add names to them sometime?    And....   who is the adorable Brandon?    I am sending you two awards in a separate e-mail.   The picture I used for it is one taken from the site where we scattered Erics' ashes,  his favorite place....   We now call it Freesoul and several others of us are planning to be scattered there too.     
Yours because I'm His,    with love, hugs and prayer from your gypsy,  (Nina)

*** I visited your site, and chose to send you the attached AWARD as recognition and appreciation of your gift to cyber-world...  Thank you for producing and maintaining such a needed place.  Please link the award to this URL if you care to, but it is not required of you at all... the gift is free and from my heart.   Link here if you choose to   ~  Eric Lee Baker Award      ~     This award is very special to me, and I had set the anniversary of Erics'death, April 1, 1997, as a goal to have it finished by... Don't know if you know of the legend of the Pegasus and the spirit of Poetry and Literature that it embodies - but that is why I created that particular sketch...  not knowing that a year later my precious Eric would be dead...  At Ferrum College,  their English award is now named after Eric.   On the night he was killed,  he was to have tutored a fellow student at the request of his English professor,  Dr John Hardt.   He made a quick trip to town on that windy, rainy night with two of his friends,  picking up some food to see him through the long night helping the student.    With the Eric Lee Baker award that Ferrum gives each year in his name,  (the award was given to Eric in 1996),  the student is given also,  a book.  How Eric would have loved that being done in his name!   I cherish it also!      And so it is that I chose my rendering of Pegasus for this award.  Eric lovedto appreciate artists!   It was the lifeblood of him to give his all in doing it -and this way - he will go on doing it as long as there is a way for me to be his ambassador in doing so!   *melancholy smile* Poetry is a baring of our souls and you have done that in your memorial.  If you choose to display this award,  would you please link it to:  Thank you again, and my best regards and appreciation to you,
Yours because I'm His, 
Your GYPSY,  (Nina)

Nancy Laird
Re: Response
thank you for the awards and the kind words about my daughters memorial site....the precious Brandon is the son of my dear friend and the lady that does the technical work for the ite....Karen and I became friends through a support group on line....Brandon took his own life at age 11....  
if you visit these 2 sites you can learn more about our work and hugs Nancy aka MamaKass

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Subject: Twas The Night Jesus Came
My name is Sandy, from Killen, Alabama.     From one christian to another, I am asking if I may pass this wonderful poem on to others, and absolutely with the authors name, Bethany Farms, included?     My Aunt privately owns her own magazine that she publishes in Arab, Alabama.  These are "free" magazines that we, personally, hand out ourselves, and some of the family places these magazines at their own place of business for customers to pick up freely. I have written many articles for her, and I have currently written one on the subject of Christmas. I ran across this poem, "Twas the night before Jesus!", and would love to include it with my article, with your permission of course. The poem reminds me of the books I've been reading, the "Left Behind" series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. My children are reading the kids series of "Left Behind". Don't Be Left Behind  !!    Our deadline is in 3 days, that's why I marked this email urgent.   Please.  And if not, I understand. I will still enjoy reading it over and over and passing your wonderful web site on to others as well.
Thank you kindly & God Bless!  Happy Holidays!     : )    Sandy

Dear Sandy,  Thank you for visiting and for writing to me.   I always appreciate hearing from visitors!  The first one is the Bethany one which as far as I know is now public domain and you may certainly use that and share.   "Twas the Night Before Jesus Came"   ~  I wrote a different one in 1997,  it is here:  “Twas The Night Jesus Came”  You may also link or copy that one to share.     These are also permitted to share:  (just in case you hadn't found them as yet:  “Who, or What Is Santa Claus?”  and:  “My God ~vs~ The Pagan God”  
Yours because I'm His,   with love, hugs and prayer from Nina

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I'm sorry about your son
My 25 year old son died on July 9, 2001. I'm not handling it well. I guess I never have. I thought I was doing better, but I find myself crying all the time again and I'm having problems concentrating. It appeared to be a suicide, but we probably will never know for sure. I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry that your son died also.   Take Care,    Linda, Mom of Ray

 Dear Linda, 
I, too,  am sorry about your son,  Ray.   Of all the ways to die or to lose a beloved,  suicide is the most difficult (in my humble opinion) of all to bear.   I know that some have agonizing illnesses or injuries and their deaths may seem, to some people, to be the worst to bear,  but in the case of suicide,   the survivor-mourners agonize over the "Why" of that choice and they take it personally,  wondering about their failure to see signs and warnings and DO something.   I've heard from so very many who share that universal self-recrimination and never quite let go.     I've had two friends in my lifetime,  commit suicide and I well understand that you never quite let go of the guilt you feel.  One friend was very depressed for some time and I would check in most every day to have a conversation and see how he was doing.   He said that he was going to do it,  and he did exactly what he said.  He simply couldn't deal with his wife leaving him for another man and couldn't face the days or nights.   His pain was totally overwhelming.   The night he shot himself,  we had talked about 90 minutes before and for a long time,  I kept thinking that I should have done something,  should have detected that there was something different about that night.   The fact was,  though,  it was like most nights of those weeks of his depression.   He was also getting counseling.   But in that moment that he made that final decision,  nothing else mattered except that he wanted to escape the pain and couldn't face another night or day.    That dear friend,  Tracy,  has been at rest for 11 years now and I still search our last hour-long conversation just before he died that night,  and I wonder if there wasn't something I should have done or said or.... So,  you see,  Linda,  I have just a tiny glimpse of that never-ending aspect of grieving a suicide.    But as a mother,  I cannot know your terrible pain.   For a mother is the caregiver, protector, nourisher of her children and if I lost one to that end - I would be overwhelmed and perhaps never let go of soul-searching, agonized guilt in thinking that I,  above all others in the childs' life,  should have known....  should have prevented...   But dear Linda, please DO try to let it go.    If there truly was anything you could have done, he would have come to you.    You did NOT fail him in any way.  It was his life and his pain and his choice.   I don't know the details of your experience,  but I feel certain that this is the case...   It certainly was the reality of Tracys' death and in the deaths of all suicides.    As for grieving, though.   Oh,  that never goes away!   There is a terrible hole in your life and nothing else will ever fill that hole - nothing.   You never forget.  You never resume your former life or return to "normal" - there is no going back because this is your new life,  changed forever by the absence.  Every holiday and everything that brings Ray to mind,  will always ache heavily.   So at some point,  you come to realize that the absence will never end and neither,  then,  will your grief end.    Grief never ends,  it has its' place in us and what does change is how often we visit or tarry in that place...  Denial of anything is a postponement or evasion of something you wish did not exist.   Once you accept this event,  you will find that you have a power to chose when and how long you will think on the pain.   Thinking of the "never again" times and events will lessen and actually stop once you learn to immediately think on precious memories of the experiences which were good and will never change - they will be your solace and spiritual healing.   After a time,  we come to switch our remembrances to the wonderful time we had with them in this world,  much more than the thoughts of "never again" (their not being with us anymore).   When you find yourself being captured by the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" brothers,  vanquish them with the warmth and precious memories of what you did have.  When I think of Erics' untimely death right at the pinnacle of his life and achievements (and the senselessness of a lazy homeowner who caused that death),  I immediately say to myself and to God,  "What a joy my son was in my life!   What wonderful times we had.  What wonderful memories which nothing can take from me!  How thankful I am that I had those 23 years with him in my life!   So I let those memories tumble into my mind like precious jewels (which they are) and delight in the "what was" instead of the "what isn't not will ever be again"  I have also been suicidal myself.   I think most people,   honest enough to admit it,  have thought about it and considered it in moments of ultra pain and weakness and desire to find peace...   I truly believe that those weak moments when someone is overwhelmed and acts on that desire to be free or find peace,   God is there and He understands what we never will!   I do not hold that any of us can know that in those last moments,  they did not repent and fall into His arms.   That is what He meant when He said "I will be with you even unto the end" (Matthew 28:20) and also  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but Godis faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
(1 Corinthians 10:13) 
God was there and if your son was His (saved),  He was there and I believe He received him in that moment.     None of us can know if the person rejected God or accepted the salvation which never ends being offered....   So I hope that you will find peace in that and know that Ray is also at peace now. As much as we love our dear children,  Gods' love is greater and more powerful nd He loves Ray and was there...  I hope you believe that. Write when you feel like it.   I care.  Here is a prayer I wrote when I was at a suicidal point in my life,   it may also be of comfort/strength/healing for you at this time?  (I pray so)  Where are you Lord?  it was a point of recovery from a lifetime of pain and desire to die,  I was healed and changed forever.   In fact,  had I not had that breakdown,  just three years before Erics' death,  I feel certain that the pain would have overwhelmed me too and I would have been another suicide statistic myself.    Here are suicide sites you may not have found on the site yet?  Just in case,  I'm including the link here:    Suicide    Please do not discount Gods' love and provision for you,  dear one,  for I believe it was He who led you to visit my site and write to me... He is reaching out and providing for you even now.    He never told us that life would be easy or that He would reconstruct everything around us to make our lives here a haven - it never will be!   His promise is to be with us (our shepherd) - and He IS!   Hope to hear from you again,  Linda.  One thing I do know is that people around us tire of,  or perhaps simply cannot deal with,  our grief rather quickly.    You are doing well to reach out and find solace and strength as you are doing.      
Yours because I'm His,  with love, hugs and prayer from Erics' Mom,  Nina

Thank you for your letter
Dear Nina,  I have to tell you that in the 3 years that I have been on this grief journey, your letter was the most comforting and consoling letter that I have ever gotten from anyone. And I have reached as far as my little arms would take me on this computer. There are no words to express how much I appreciated you writing me back in great detail the way that you did. I've seen so many sites about Mother's who write about their kids who died, but yours touched me especially because I could tell that you were hurting to the core as I have been. I could see that right away. The poem that you wrote was exactly how I have felt for the past 3 years.    I do agree with you about suicide being the worst. I didn't cope or function at all the first two years after Ray's death. I quit my job and refused to work as I was taking up a full time career as my sons *grave care taker* and official mourner day and night for!!! The $$ got bad because we've always had my income so after two years I scraped my swollen eyed self up off the floor and went back to work. I've been working for 8 months now. The past few I was really doing alot better. I mean a lot better. Sunday, I went to visit my husband's brother who is in jail. He doesn't get visits or letters from anyone but me. There is no family left and when all you have are druggies for friends, that is what happens. I pray he straightens out this time though. Anyhow, he told me some bad things about Ray being beat up before he died which we were told before and couldn't get help from the Police. But, he didn't realize that giving me details about these guys laughing about him dying etc. were going to throw me over the edge. He has no idea that for the next 3 hours I didn't hear a single word he said. I could only think about what he told me about my precious son and how was I going to process this. I feel like I'm back to square one. I can't stop crying and I need to work. I am a Realtor and I haven't been in the office in 4 days, I have clients who need me. And I can't tell them, I just have to act like everything is fine.      I am printing your letter because I'm going to read it from time to time. It's got something special to it. I can't explain it. I'm wondering if you weren't sent from Heaven. My Faith has sufferred so much from all of this. I am so mad at God. I mean, it's insane. I can't even look up to the Heaven's anymore because I am so mad at him. And I used to love him with all my heart. Ray was baptized and we prayed about everything.    I want you to see what I've gotten alot of. People just do not get it about what we've gone through. In fact, I got this letter right before I recieved yours. I must have met this guy in a Grief Chat. I have no idea.   Here you go:  "You have to do like most of us do take one day at a time.  .Granted we will never forget our sons or daughters., but we can`t dwell on the past.We all would have liked to see them grow up have children.,be around us as we get older,but thats never going to happen so all we can do is remember all the GOOD things and forget all the bad.Your not the only one who struggles we all do.Keep you head up and focous on today and tomorrow those days we can change the past is just that past."      And that's supposed to make me feel better??? Oh Gee??? You mean, that's all I have to do is forget the past??? I would have done that along time ago if it were that easy!!!

Linda.  One thing I do know is that people around us tire of,  or perhaps simply cannot deal with,  our grief rather quickly.   You are doing well to reach out and find solace and strength as you are doing.    I will be here for you if you need or want to share more.
Yours because I'm His,  with love, hugs and prayer from Erics' Mom,  Nina

Ray was my oldest of 6. All my kids are grown except two. I have an 11 and 15 year old at home. But, they just think, *Oh no, here we go again*. My husband has stuck through me and been there, but he's only human, I know he can't take much more. I cry, cry, cry,  alone, I write alone, I try to smile and hide everything. The people I work with have problems like they didn't reach their one million dollar goal, or they didn't get that mansion listing like they wanted. I just want to scream at times,   *You guys don't have a clue*!!!! 

---->I believe it was He who led you to visit my site and write to me... He is reaching out and providing for you even now.   
You might be right. I kind of do think that might have happened. I don't go on the computer except to work and last night I don't even know what got me going. I can't even remember how I found your site.  
  ---->He never told us that life would be easy or that
He would reconstruct everything around us to make our lives here a haven - it never will be!   His promise is to be with us (our shepherd) - and He IS!
That does make sense. I guess I never thought about it like that. 
My sister is very close to God and I've just shut her out completely. She doesn't *Get* my Pain and I resent her so much now. Maybe I needed to hear this from someone who understands what I am going through. Maybe that is why God geared me toward your site. I'm so sick of people saying, *God Love you, now move on*. You clearly have sufferred like I have and that was what opened the door for me to even listen to you.   
You said you were suicidal and I have been also. I never was until Ray died. From the minute I heard the words, *Raymond hung himself* I knew I was in deep trouble. That to me was the worst, below the belt thing that could have ever happened to me. I knew I'd never be the same and I have thought about suicide at least a hundred times since.   Anyhow, thank you for your response. It helped more than you will ever know.   I made so many websites for Raymond after he died. I would sit and cry on the computer for hours.    Index for Ray   and   My Dream   ~   Linda, Mom of Raymond ~ My Precious Son

Your Poem that you wrote  "Your Words"
I've been going all over your website and I just read the poem that you wrote about your son. Wow!!! That is Exactly how I feel. Only, I am so upset with God. I don't want to pray or anything. I used to love him so much, but I prayed and prayed for my son and I feel that this is what I got in return.   :o(  I am sorry. I just don't understand this whole thing.      
~   Linda, Mom of Ray

Dear Linda, Interesting that you and I both turned to the computer to use our pain to create websites.   I knew nothing of creating one  until then.  I did belong to a 50+ chatroom at the time and my cyber family was so loving and supportive!   Did you find the section of the exchanges between us at the time?  It is here
I noticed as I went through your guestbooks,  the messages seem to be cut off,  so I'm sending you here in an e-mail,  what I wrote there to you yesterday:
"Dear One,  Went through your site yesterday but was aching so much for you that I couldn't sign in!  I don't believe I've ever ~met anyone who lost THREE loved ones to suicide.   What a strength you must now have developed.  Whatever doesn't make us bitter, makes us better... so you must be "The Best".   A wonderful site. Love, hugs and prayer from me,  (Nina Baker)." 
Thank you for your appreciation of my message to you.   It was nice to hear from you again and know that I made a difference.  I felt a closeness and bond with you as I shared your pages.   You family is really beautiful....  exceptionally so,  and it is all the more difficult thinking of anyone, in the midst of all that happiness and beauty,  being able to choose to leave them or hurt them.   Haunting,  Linda,  even for me....  for Ray just doesn't have any hint of drug-abuse or depression in his eyes or body language or anywhere at all.   If someone did end his life and it wasn't suicide,  I hope that the truth will out for you....  you've had so much to bear!    I hope that you continue to be able to go back to work and be with people because you have a lot to give to others and I know that God can use you mightily to touch others and help them to heal too.    You are a deeply loving and beautiful person.  I never used a public guestbook,  but have many,  many messages and exchanges on my site with an e-mail guestbook which I chose to create in my own way and chose also,  the entries I put there.   Would you want ours to go there?  If you want to check them out,  they begin here and the table at the bottom is easy to use to go through them if you like:   Guestbook   These guestbooks are so healing and special,  I hope that you may find that to be so for you too.   So far,  there are 15 archives and I have about two volumes to catch up on posting Hope to hear from you again, Linda.    God loves you!   
Yours because I'm His,   with love, hugs and prayer from Erics' Mom,  Nina      

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