This post deals with suicide grief and contains triggers. I know my last post was also about grief, and I try to avoid doing multiple posts in a row because it’s such a heavy topic – but it’s hitting me hard this year and permeating all the corners of my mind.
As many of you know, December 1st was the anniversary of my mother’s suicide. It’s hard to get a description of what grief feels like, because you are trying to describe the indescribable. The words we have are inadequate, but we try anyway. Following is a quote about being a survivor of suicide, and what that feels like. The last couple paragraphs speak to me. When I came across it at the time, it was a relief to know that others have felt this way. So I’m sharing it here. I have often described grief as a hot coal sitting heavily in the center of my chest, burning me alive from the inside out. Hurting so bad it’s hard to breathe.
“You know, you don’t really ever contemplate the meaning of gone before something like suicide.
Loss is not always just loss. Pain is not always just pain. Anger is not always just anger.
For me, these are things I don’t actually feel anymore. They are just a part of me. They just exist.
I don’t feel the brick on my chest or the lump in my throat. I don’t feel the sad and the hurt. I suppose I feel certain things, but not these. I think the most accurate way to describe it is that something was there and it no longer is. It’s like I’m one of those anatomy models in your high school science classroom. Someone, the one, has come and taken away all the vital parts. It looks familiar, you can sort of recognize it but it just isn’t right.
My best friend once told me about love. She said ‘The hot, fire-y, bodice-ripping love is intense. It comes on strong but you can’t stoke a fire like that. It burns too hot, uses up all the fuel and goes out. Lasting love is more like this ember. It’s reached the core and is steady and strong. Yes, you have to maintain it but it will sustain you.’ A steady warmth at your core.
When you left, that ember morphed and took on a life of its own. Now I’m burnt, from somewhere near the bottom of my chin down my throat and over my chest; it spread out across my shoulders and stopped right above my belly button. All I feel I can do is stand there with my arms out and display this massive charred raw wound I’m left with. Naked, vulnerable and wounded. I breathe heavy. I stand there not showing anything, no pain or hurt is detectable on my face. Wanting more than anything for you to be standing there, in front of me to witness. Selfish…maybe…probably. It’s how I feel. I hate being the girl you left behind.
I had a link in here, but this draft has been in my folder for a long time and the original source can no longer be found, it was taken down by the hosting site.
It takes time, but we do heal in our way. You don’t get over it, you get through it. These kind of emotional scars, you do carry them with you for a lifetime. You will always feel this loss, but instead of letting it go you sort of expand to make room for it. You adjust to it’s weight. And someday, it won’t hurt quite so bad. I’m still waiting for that someday.
And that’s okay.