Our loved ones that we have lost by suicide had a tunnel vision of hopelessness and helplessness. They were ambivalent to the thought of dying but still wished they could find resolution to the conflicts in their mind. Many of our loved ones followed the same pattern they had in their entire lives, not asking for help. Many of our loved ones felt death before dishonor was true.
We continue to ask questions and analyze not only their lives but every conversation we had with them and every relationship they had with others. Sometimes we think we have found the one key piece that can shed light, and other times we just continue to fumble for answers and never truly understand due to the confusion, numbness, pain, and overwhelming sense of guilt.
How can we connect the two tunnels that are laid side by side, our grief and our loved one’s pain. How will we ever be able to come to any resolve in our minds? How will we be able to live a day-to-day life without so many questions and tears?
I am sitting here asking these questions, probably for the 5th or 6th time today. Wondering why and beating myself up for smiling or laughing or enjoying a moment. It is not at the front of my mind ALL the time, it has become more of a subconscious activity that just happens. Yes, it just happens without me even knowing at times that I am doing it. I am multi-tasking my grief into my daily brain operations. I have taken on the duty of continually pushing my questions and analysis through a rigid, high magnification process. This has become part of MY grieving process.
For me, my son’s tunnel of pain has intersected with my tunnel of grief. His pain has transferred to his family and to me. We now hold his conflicts in our hands and try to find new resolutions that will work. We take on his life where he left off and incorporate everything about him within ourselves and our lives. We do go to parties, movies, shows, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, etc…. We do laugh and smile. And, we do think of our loved one in each action, reaction, thought, and breath. But, the tunnels became one and are widening at the opening to the sunshine of the day.
Survival is attainable but connecting the pieces is confusing. When our loved one dies by suicide, we take on our own sadness and our loved one’s sadness as well. Our processes are different and our situations are unique. Our grief is different and unique for each of us. Our triggers in our daily lives are different and unique.
Hollow out a place, in your tunnel of grief, and let your loved one in — the good, the bad, the everything. You are changing from this loss and needing to find yourself again. Carry the love you have for whom you have lost on this journey. Carry pieces of your loved one in your new experiences.
I am finding myself able to start enjoying things that my son and I enjoyed together again. Not fully and not at the level I would like to be at, but it is a start. I can go to a few places and know that I will have triggers, but I put these triggers to good memories and a feeling of warmth and smiles.
I will not be healed and I will not get over this loss in my life but I will continue to practice at being able to live with Fred’s memory tucked close in my heart and my pockets. I will practice at teaching other’s all the wonderful things about my son, in action and reaction, not necessarily in words.
I will keep trying and I will fail at times and start over. But, I will keep trying and I hope you will too.
~Leslie Beery, The Surviving Project
Painting by Jason Whitehead and available at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tunnels-jason-whitehead.html