I had a major setback this week. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t as bad as the first week, but it was frightening. All of the despair just raged its way right back in my face, my mind and my heart and sucked the hope right out of me.
Alan Wolfelt, a grief… specialist? calls them grief bursts. This was a grief volcano.
i broke things. Lots of things. Hit myself. (Not the cats, although they did scatter.)
i was tired of being sad, being here…
If anyone says they have not had dark thoughts after their loved one took their own life, i believe they are most likely in denial.
The first week was terrible and full of those thoughts. i didn’t sleep. i didn’t eat. i didn’t smile. i didn’t want to live. i was disappointed every time i woke up…why the eff did i wake up. Why did i wake up?
i don’t recall how I made it through those days. i forgot how to breathe. i remember standing on the deck, looking at our garden, and i wasn’t breathing. i nearly passed out.
i hated those flowers.
People stayed overnight with me for the first two weeks, as i needed to be watched. i needed to be supervised, because i was drifting away from the present, away from this world.
If you have recently lost someone to suicide, be aware of this. It’s normal and only makes sense, right? How else can you talk to them, unless you join them.
Just remember how much hurt you are experiencing over their departure. Don’t hurt anyone else.
Reach out and talk, cry, run like a maniac, yell, howl, break things…. but stay.
I think it was about 2 weeks after John left that i knew i was staying. i told people i no longer needed them to sleep over or watch over me. i needed to be alone, to cry freely. To reassure people i was truly sticking around, i checked in with friends in the morning, and was checked in on often as well, but i got our home back. ‘My’ home, now, sadly.
The questions still remain, though; what could i have done? Why didn’t he reach out to me? How could he leave me, his wife? How will i go on? Why don’t i get to grow old with him? Did regret float into his thoughts as he was drifting away? Did he think of me… Will i one day be myself again?
The answer to the last one is No. there are 2 of me now. Before and after.
And if you’ve lost someone like this, be aware and accept, that there’s a you before and there’s a you after. But you will never be the person you were before suicide entered your life. There is hope for a new normal, a new OK. but that is all it will be: a “New Normal” and hope. Make the most of the new you.
The challenges, aside from the confusion, the questions, the non stop “what ifs” you have as a suicide survivor, are living with the images of your loved ones’ last moments. They don’t leave you. You will ache for them forever. At least I think you will. I haven’t stopped aching, and it’s been 9 months. No one else in my group has stopped aching. I can honestly say, i think that ache remains with some level of intensity forever. With those thoughts and that ache, the sleeping and eating challenges occasionally return in full force. I lost a lot of weight the first weeks (11kg, 24lbs or so) and my body went through physical hardships associated with this rapid weight loss and the lack of sleep. Headaches, peeling nails, and i lost a tooth. I had major gastric issues. Oddly, I couldn’t sleep and eating just plain sucked, which were easy cures for my problems. I took multivitamins (thanks, mom) and that helped until i could stomach food and water again. I eventually had to take medications for sleep. Thankfully, i didn’t rely on these, but boy, were they good. I’m eating now, and i can sleep fairly well unassisted. That’s good.
I recall being numb that i made it through the first week. I was also shocked that i was still standing, that even though i didn’t want to be here, I was.
I cannot pinpoint the moment that I knew I had to live, for John, but it was a mix of emotions. Yell. Cry. Hide. Heal. Don’t heal. Hate. Love… but somewhere inside of me, I was shocked to hear a voice saying “stay” and it was a truthful voice. It was genuine. I was just as shocked at how low my spirits fell this week, as I’d been ‘keeping it together’ for a bit. I’m disappointed at how I lost control.
The ache was determined to remind me it was still here.
Maybe heartache is love that has nowhere to go. It hurts when it’s trapped in the heart and it wants to be released. That’s why we hurt when we lose someone, because our love has nowhere to go. And that is a terrible hurt. Especially when that love was going to a kind and beautiful person who loved you back with all of his wonderful, loving heart. My heart misses that heart so much, I ache.