It’s what I want and what I have always wanted, all my life.
It’s been a hard week at my house. Between the heat of summer and grieving hard over our son and most recently, arguing over different ideas about one of our other children, it has left me exhausted once again. This week I was made aware of many things all at once. Like the anvil from the cartoons coming down on top of my head.
I wrote about operating in the moment last time and that is pretty much what I do, pretty much what my brain can handle anymore. I try not to venture too far into the future or past because it causes me to fall apart. Instead I walk on a tightrope with people. I inch from one side to the other overhead, trying not to draw any attention or make any noise. Eyebrows raise and fingers point once in a while. Staring and pointing, look at the sad lady. Look at the broken lady that disappoints those around her.
I heard this week again how I need to be over this and moved on. My only thought to that is, you carry a child, raise that child, pain over that child and celebrate with that child. You have a piece of yourself..a piece of your heart – your adult child – die by suicide, then come tell me to get on with it. Tell me how you can figure out how to continue to be a mother and wife so simply and just take care of the living and count your blessings.
My son who died was baby A of my set of twins. He has a surviving twin brother whose grief is also complicated. I cannot write from the perspective of sibling loss and Fred left 3 siblings including his twin. The entire twin situation is complex for me. I prided myself on being a mother of twins, it was a proud badge I wore and something I was so proud of myself for accomplishing. I had one child, then twins, then another child. I was a mother of 4 babies with twins in the middle. I am still a mother, not a very good one anymore but still here as three people’s mom but I guess I am not the mother of twins. That was taken away.
I thought I was doing really well up till this past week. I felt I was balancing a lot of things in my life well and producing results for people who needed me. I was feeling inspired by the website and the project I started. I was looking up and seeing a bright light to draw to. As we all know that are grieving, that can turn to absolute shit without any notice.
I found myself having to defend my website and my involvement.
I started The Surviving Project in April of this year, after the one year anniversary of my son’s death. It had been an idea building in my head while I was myself in the early weeks and months trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I read countless pleas for help and saw questions on websites that were left unanswered, going back to 2006. I saw other projects that had stopped updating their websites some time ago and even others that had a cold corporate feel to them, literally unapproachable. I thought to myself how in the world do families cope and continue after something like this? How does a mother lose a child to suicide and not want to die herself? I started to think about my experience with the psychologist in family counseling after our son’s death and how that left me feeling even more hopeless, like no one could understand. I wondered how many other people had similar experiences. At the one year mark I looked back at the previous months and noted where I felt hope and where I felt loved. I started listing things that helped me make it 12 months after a suicide in our family. I knew from reading other stories that people experienced negative and pain beyond the suicide. People were experiencing the same feelings I was with negative people and situations in their lives making the grief compound and become increasingly more difficult. People felt suicidal after the suicide just like I did. People felt as if they were going crazy, just like me.
I wondered if I could make a difference for anyone. Seriously thinking that maybe one or two people every once in a while would contact the site. I felt that by being completely open about how I was doing maybe that could help validate another person’s pain and journey, giving them some comfort just by knowing they were not alone. I started the website to mostly help myself and my family. I thought that the 5 of us could work on a project to honor Fred and bring us closer.
I talk to a lot of people each day. I try to make sure I post something new on the FB page each day and respond to any comments or questions. I try to write a blog post at least every 2 or 3 days for the actual website. I answer emails and look at Twitter a couple of times. I have each site and email account set up to notify me on the phone so that I can be responsive. When Fred died I was a mess. I reached out to several websites and to this day…I have never received a response back from any of them. It is important to me to be responsive to anyone in pain that is feeling alone. I needed it and did not get it.
I am not an expert of anything on this earth except maybe more of an example of things not to do and people not to be in many eyes. If that is the case then so be it. My writing and communications can be a memoir of a woman gone mad. I have been better about going places with my husband in recent months. Before, it was hard to get me away from the house or interacting with anyone. Especially on my own. What happens when I am in situations is hard to explain. Sometimes I think about Fred not being present but other times it is more of a panic and overwhelmed feeling of absolute sadness. The only thing that my mind can think of to relieve the pain is to run away from the situation, hide in a corner, go back to my home base. I have a few people who are understanding and realize that I am a real person. I have feelings, emotions, moods, fears, ambitions, dreams. I am in the darkest period of my life.
You will find in your own grief that you will have people come and go. People will not understand you no matter what you do. If you are too happy they will think you have not grieved, if you are too sad they will think you just need to get over it. Either way it is pretty hard to know what exactly what to do. When we are in our different phases of pain people still have expectations from us that in most cases we just cannot live up to. We disappoint people. We forget things, we are not happy enough at certain happy occasions, we even let ourselves be walked on too many times while we ourselves step lightly. We feel depression, guilt, rage and despair, sometimes all at once. We try to heal but do not know where we fit anymore. We are starting over, writing a new story and having to restart over and over when things we try just don’t work.
I keep looking for a beautiful life and I do have pieces of it in a lot of ways. I would like for the pieces to fall together and make a gorgeous picture. I might be my own worst enemy in this process and on this journey. Stopping myself and keeping myself from doing little things. But I am not ready. I can function and put the happy face on at times but I cannot keep that charade up for long. Like this week. I had been pushing myself prior, trying to be everything to everyone. Taking care of anything that people needed from me. Not the project. Family and friends. I pushed too hard and too far. The first night of my pain in this particular grief episode my husband was there for me, it was helpful to talk about Fred and to have someone hear me. I was missing my son’s hugs that he would give me. He would wrap his arms around my neck or around my shoulders and squeeze as hard as he could. He would whisper to me that he loved me, ” I love you Mom”. God I miss that, I just miss how he truly appreciated me and told me on a regular basis. Fred and I talked about computers, music, movies, tv, family, etc.. He would just call and run things by me, ask me what I thought. He would want to check with me on things before he made a decision. He came over a lot and he hugged me a lot. Monday I could not get his hugs out of my mind. I just wanted Fred to come home.
I cannot explain how it feels to lose a brother, a dad or a mom, a friend or a cousin to suicide. I can only explain how it feels to lose a child. Because I was his mother. I just don’t know what I am anymore.
Vita Pulchra Est………………..
It’s what I want and what I have always wanted, all my life.