grief and loss
For loved ones left behind, suicide is not painless. It leaves you holding your heart in your hand, vibrating with emotion and reeling with questions. The ground has given way and you are free-falling through space. Here are seven things you need to know after losing a loved one to suicide; they can help you re-find your feet and piece together your broken heart.
My first husband passed away suddenly at the age of 39 and in 60 seconds, I became a widow with a 12-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I never intended to remarry but time and divine intervention had other plans for me. I remarried. This brought with it a myriad of important things we needed to discuss and consider.
It's hard to imagine there is life beyond your exploded heart. How can you possibly merge back into the cacophony of dailiness and demands when your life has been captured by grief? The hollowness, the memories, the break-downs, the images, the gut-wrenches, the what-ifs have kneed you into a tight, dark corner. You can, and will, get out, but it cannot be rushed. Here's how.
Nothing feels safe. Nothing feels right. And there is the "who-cares-anymore" well of depression. You are in a place you never imagined, much less prepared for: you are in hell. Dealing with this anguish and sorrow is a rocky, uneven road. Eventually, you manage to put one foot in front of the other, even if you have been robotic and numb.
Though assisted death is now officially legal in our fair country, we have yet to formalize a national framework and the debate over the specifics of the regulations seem to omit the most critical voice -- that of the individuals and families who have and continue to be subject to archaic mindsets that deny certain patients the right to end their own life, and control their own destiny. It is imperative we hear these voices -- and so here is mine.
Parenting a child after the loss of a child is a daily struggle. You do your best to cherish every second, because who knows better than you how fleeting it can be? While your head is cherishing away, your heart is heavy with the feeling of abandoning your lost child's memory by being happy.
A friend and I took him for one last walk down to the beach he loved. For an hour, he ran free, met a few other dogs, rolled around in the snow (and on a dead fish), and then let us know he'd had enough. Just before 4 p.m., my husband and I put him in the car for one last ride.
The holidays are a joyful time of celebration and coming together with friends and family. But for families who have lost a loved one, the holidays can be especially difficult. Old memories and traditions offer reminders of loved ones no longer there. Families who have lost babies can find the holidays particularly bittersweet.
It can be really hard to take care of yourself when you or someone you love is sick or in crisis, when you feel like life is spinning out of control. I've been there and I'm hoping that by sharing my experience and what helped me, it might help someone else.
Find ways to honour those you miss. Look at old photos and tell stories of any loved ones you have lost. Honour the expectations that you may have had for relationships, life and even your vision of the season, as they are a part of our story. Let a lost loved one remain alive in you, and be an active part of your experience.