Monday, November 26, 2012

Thank you, dear friend...

I wise friend once wrote:
When you changed, I was not surprised. I was surprised at how little I had changed in the interim. A hard cog refusing to yield to the fluid nature of blood, and steam, and other like things. And so with time, you rounded out my hard edges; made a path of least resistance to call home. Thank you for making a water mill of my heart, a cracked dam of my stubborn mind, a river rushing to the open arms of your ocean. I am changed, a stone worn through with the persistent drip of your presence.
...and I owe her a debt of gratitude and honor her words today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A moment

 It's a big, bad world full of twists and turns and people have a way of blinking and missing the moment... the moment that could have changed everything.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Perhaps

It's not always about me. I wish I could save you from all this...take you away from it, if even for a moment. I do not fear death...only failing in that endeavor. I feel I have despite best efforts. I am truly sorry.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Challenges

Choosing not to be brave enough to tackle the challenges in your life may end up hurting you, and will definitely end up hurting you in the long run when we refuse to even attempt to take those risks. Sometimes the best way to learn is from our own past experiences, and if we have no eye opening experiences that we committed in the past, chances are we are going to encounter future instances and challenges in our lives that we will have to learn from one day.

When, if ever, will I ever learn?


Surviving or ignoring?

Somewhat recently I became acquainted with a new term: suicide survivor.  I found the term suicide survivor confusing. But with a little research I realized that the term didn't refer to one who attempted suicide and survived; rather, it refer to the loved ones left behind.

Though it's taken awhile to gather some thoughts on the subject, I finally have some words to share. So to those suicide survivors who have wanted to know how I put my life back together and I learned to live again, this is for you.
Suicide Survivor
  • It's been said that time heals all wounds.
That may be true in matters of love. But the suicide of a loved one is a unique monster. The scars remain long after the person had died. Anger, feelings of betrayal, and malingering questions can last a lifetime.

It's been seven and a half years since she killed herself. The memories of that day are just as vivid as the moment they happened. Memories of that day will never fade. That is probably for the best.

After she died, I labeled myself a loaner.

I was no longer Chris. I wasn't a brother, a son, or a friend. I was a  loaner – a victim of her suicide. And for a long time, I thought I'd never be anything more than someone whose best friend had died when he was 23.

Looking back I see the loaner label hindered my ability to grow emotionally. And I started thinking that everyone else viewed me as a loaner instead of Chris.

When I started dating again, I worried that the women I dated would only be able to see me as a loaner. I never thought that someone out there would be able to see the positive things about me.

But someone did.

As my relationship with Traffic Light Girl become more intense, I realized a choice needed to be made. I could continue to think of myself as a loaner/looser or I could become Chris again.

I chose to become Chris.

And with that choice came emotional growth, a wonderful relationship, and a more positive outlook on life.
  • So what does that have to do with being a suicide survivor?Labeling yourself a suicide survivor is will stunt your spiritual and emotional growth just as much as labeling myself a widower did.

You're not a suicide survivor. You're a friend, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a husband or wife, a mother or father. Think of yourself as James or Betty – whatever your name is. Think of yourself as anything other than a suicide survivor.

You didn't become a suicide survivor by choice.

So don't let the unfortunate actions of others define who you are. Don't let their bad decisions stop you from living your life. I nearly did.

Before she took her own life, I never knew anyone who had killed themselves. Suicide was one of those things I thought was something reserved for depressed teenagers, the businessmen who had lost everything and couldn't live with the debt they had incurred, or those who were severely mentally ill.

Occasionally I heard stories about a friend of a friend of a friend who had committed suicide. These stories always seemed to be told in hushed tones as if to indicate they were never to be repeated. But in reality, the whispered conversations only emphasized to me suicide wasn't something ever to be discussed.

It wasn't until she died that I really understood why the someone's sucidie, was discussed in quiet way: no one really knows why a person would take his or her own life.

In the weeks or months that followed her death, I saw that very question in the eyes of family and friends: Why had she killed herself? Their sad expressions pleaded for an answer that I didn't have.

Years later and to this day, I still don't know she killed herself.

And I probably never will.

It was difficult to learn to be okay with not knowing answers I desperately sought. When bad things happen, we want some justification for our lives being upended. For months I pondered her family history of mental illness or the incredible stress she was under in the weeks leading up to her death.

I soon learned that thinking about the reasons for her suicide were pointless.

Why?

The truth won't change what happened. Agonizing over the past would not bring her back from the dead.

Instead thinking about questions that could never be answered in this life, I started thinking about what I could learn from the experience and turn a negative into a positive.
Do the same. Don't dwell on what you don't know. Concentrate on your blessings and lessons learned.

Those who have lost a loved one to suicide always seem to have the same question: Where was my anger? Was I not upset that she killed herself?

The answer is yes, I was angry. Very angry.

The reason my anger doesn't appear in that here or in my daily life is because I couldn't write when I was angry. But that doesn't mean the anger wasn't there.

I never knew what it was like to truly hate someone like I hated her in the months following her death. I was mad that she killed herself and furious that she shortened the time we had together.

The anger was so intense that she was blamed for anything that went wrong in my life.

Bad day at work? I blamed my dead girlfriend.

Car problems? I blamed my dead girlfriend.

The Patriots lost a football game? I blamed my girlfriend.

My anger was so bad that I couldn't even write about it. Every time I tried to write about her suicide, I found myself typing out some drivel that I ended up deleting.

So for nine months I hid the manner of her death from the readers of my blog just so I could write a coherent sentence.

At some point, however, I realized just how unproductive all that anger toward her was.

And once I could put the anger aside, I found my outlook on life improved. I found a richness to living I hadn't noticed before. That new-found richness to living comes and goes on a daily basis, but I am sure others have found it easier to cope with than myself.

I'm not saying anger is a bad thing. I think anger toward someone who has killed themselves is beneficial. It's a natural emotion and part of the healing process.

But prolonged anger will eat at your soul and consume your life.

So be angry at the person who took their own life. Scream your hatred into a mirror. Dance on their grave if it will make you feel better.

Then -  GET - OVER -  IT.

Clear your soul.

Move on.

Let's go back to the beginning. The part where I mentioned it was for the best that memories of her suicide are still a vivid part of my memories. Those memories remind me how short life is and how fortunate I am to be blessed with someone new and a life that I hope to spend with her.

The memories remind me to live every day to the fullest, to take nothing for granted and let those whom I love know how much I love them.

So to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, I'll say this: go and live your life. You live in a beautiful world that offers endless possibilities.

Don't wallow in misery, sorrow and anger. Embrace life and choose to live. That's all you can do.