Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You Are Not Alone

I did not write this, but I felt every word.  If you are a suicide survivor, you can most likely relate to this.  If you know someone who is a suicide survivor, this will give you some insight into their pain and grief.  You may want to pass it on to them.  

My Journey of Loss

Losing a loved one to suicide is the most painful, gut wrenching experience anyone can ever go through.
You look around and wonder how everyone is carrying on with life as normal when it feels like the world has stopped turning. Not only have you suddenly and unexpectedly lost someone you loved and cherished, you must also come to grips with the fact that their death was a deliberate choice that they made, even though they knew it would hurt you.

This realization rips you in two – you are grieving the loss of your beloved while simultaneously battling feelings of intense anger and betrayal. “Why?” is a question that plays on repeat over and over in your head and nothing in the note or their final words or actions can answer it. So you vacillate between blaming yourself, while desperately trying to believe the well-meaning people who tell you that there was nothing you could have done. For a moment that thought gives you peace, but the “should have, could have, would have” is just around the corner waiting to take its hold on you.

You replay every single moment of their life, trying to pinpoint the moment when they made the decision to end it. Trying to understand how you couldn’t have seen the pain that lived behind their eyes and smile. Trying to understand WHY they didn’t reach out for help. Desperately trying to understand how your deep and unending love was not enough to make them want to live.

The sudden, bitter anger that you feel confuses you. You’ve been taught that when people die, you should feel sadness and grief, not anger. But this isn’t like any other death. This person chose to leave you knowing they would take a huge part of your heart with them.

You scream: WHY did they do this, knowing how much it was going to hurt me?! Why didn’t they ask me for help? Why wasn’t my love enough?! Where was God when this was happening?!

And the next minute you feel deep, immeasurable sorrow for how sad and lonely they must have been to have taken such drastic action. And you can’t help but wonder if you had given them more love, reassurance, and support, if that would have made a difference…if there was anything you could have done to make them choose to live.
In between bouts of anger and sadness, you miss the person you loved – their laugh, their smile, every single thing about them. You want them back so desperately, you bargain with God that you’d give up anything for just one more second, one more “I love you,” one more hug. The desperation you feel is unlike anything you’ve ever known.

It’s a viscous cycle that plays on repeat for days, weeks and months on end. You feel that it’s never going to stop, that you will surely lose your mind with the roller coaster of grief you are on. Sometimes you even wonder if your life is worth living without your loved one.

As time crawls by, the edges of your emotions slowly start to soften. The sadness isn’t so strong, the anger isn’t so bitter, the grief not so palpable. You still ask yourself, “Why?” each and every day, but it isn’t so desperate and frantic. One day, you catch yourself laughing and wonder where that small bubble of happiness came from. It seems impossible that you could experience any joy when your heart is still hurting so much. You feel guilty experiencing any happiness at all when your loved one is gone.

Just when you think the worst is over, the holidays, their birthday or the anniversary of their death comes along, knocking the wind out of you. A few weeks before the anniversary, something imperceptibly shifts inside of you. Sadness, tension, and anger slowly bubble to the surface, where freshly scabbed wounds rip open. You remember exactly how you felt the day they passed away as if it were yesterday. It feels as though you are starting the grief process all over again.

You wonder if other people remember your loved one and think of them on this day that has so much magnitude for you. If they don’t, you wonder how they could possibly forget something so important. You feel as though the whole world should acknowledge this day and grieve along with you.

As the years go by, your grief slowly subsides, leaving with it a hallow ache. Never a day goes by when you don’t think about your beloved and pray they would come to you in a dream and explain why they decided to end their life. You look for signs of your loved one everywhere you go – a butterfly landing on your shoulder, a song on the radio, a star shining brightly in the midnight sky – anything to give you just a glimpse of their beautiful soul.

And in this deep, aching loss, you are forever changed.

 I do not believe that Dude understood the magnitude of his decision.  He never intended to hurt any of us, but was trying to end his own pain.  He wants us to carry on and live life with the zest he did when he was healthy.  Tuck his gorgeous smile in your heart and "keep on....we're gonna make it.....I know we're gonna make it...." 
Steven Curtis Chapman -- Long Way Home

This a throwback from over a decade ago, but remains one of my favorites.
I'm still formulating my thoughts on the terror in Boston.  Right now, I have no words except a verse that has helped me through the grief of Dude's suicide and other heartbreaking events, including yesterday's tragedy and today's anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.  He comforts those who are crushed in spirit." 
Psalm 34:18


  1. Almost 22 years since my brother's suicide and this is so true. Chris D.

    1. Isn't it! So sorry about your brother. It is pain nobody should ever have to feel.


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