Started Monday, January 6, 2020
Jesus. I thought I was ok. But as I got in to my car this morning to head to work, my playlist I’d been listening to on the treadmill started to autoplay the next song. Cemetery Gates by Pantera. Hit me like a ton of bricks.
This is my first personal experience with suicide. And I’m a processor. When things matter, I think on them before reacting. When they’re trivial, I fly off every handle. This is me processing. And trying to make sense of irreversible tragedy.
In hindsight, I recognize upon hearing the news I didn’t react the way years ago I assumed I would on the topic of suicide. Being angry and ranting about selfishness…never occurred to me. I remember being super-vocal about that in my past. The immaturity…I thought I knew everything back then. Guess I’ve grown. Or something. In hearing the words? Just deep, untouchable grief and confusing disbelief before my self-protective walls went up. The response not necessarily over the act that took his life (which is ultimately devastating), but piercing grief over sensing what must have been his last thoughts, the tears, the fear/shame/regret, the overwhelming helplessness that one of the brightest stars certainly in my galaxy lived through in those final moments. I can’t even begin to comprehend his thoughts and feelings over the past many years. When my mind goes there, I try to think of his Beyonce Crazy in Love dance. Even when a smile appears, a little chunk of my heart is certainly gone forever.
While I’m constantly reminded of my friend who lost his battle with mental illness over the weekend, Cemetery Gates reminds me of his wife, a friend I’ve known so long that, despite not having been in close proximity for awhile now, I feel her. I know her. I’ll never not know her. Inside and out. She’s so strong. Stronger than she thinks. And she’s suffering. God bless you for loving him. God bless you for being his support, for supporting each other. God bless you for being you.
I have no advice. This is a different experience, one of which I have no frame of reference. And even if I did, it’s always still different, right?
- Thank you to the sufferers of mental illness and depression that hang in there as long as you can
- Thank you to the loves and caregivers of those dealt the too oft terminal hand of mental illness
- Thank you to those who are here long after and advocate for support and services for the future of mental illness, based on the past
- Thank you for sharing your stories – everyone
I also have apologies.
- I’m sorry I judged too blindly in the past – that was ignorance
- I’m sorry I wasn’t there – I’m working on being more present
- I’m sorry I didn’t help – if I even remotely could have
- I’m sorry I didn’t try harder – on everything
- I’m sorry – this isn’t about me
I also have hope.
- I hope for peace – for all involved, including my heavenly friend and all that love him
- I hope for empathy
- I hope for understanding
- I hope for a future with more support
- I hope if help is needed that it’s found
- I hope for coping, for the bee girl
You think you know someone. Never assume there’s no unfathomable suffering beneath the surface. Before you make flippant comments about healthcare, mental illness, burdens on society and struggle – stop. There are invisible battles that we never see. Be grateful. Be kind. Be present. RIP.
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Chat Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Please pray or send thoughts of support and strength just into the world.