A Sunday Lunch Session @ Helen's Assisted Living Care Apartment
A Typical SOS Group Summary:
Last night was a small session, five counting me, gathered in the Library as has been our custom. We were nearing the start of year four for this survivor group.
Everyone arrives with questions, some urgent and others abiding just below our awareness.
The others are plans consciously and permanently tucked away, the ones that we are unable to express.
In the early aftermath of suicide, the questions seem unbounded. As time moves along, if we are diligent in working through the emotional debris, the list can dwindle away to those unanswerable few.
Over the years I have come to have a huge respect for those that share their struggles with various aspects of what has happened to them; before, surrounding the suicide and the endless trail of situations that follow.
Last night was no exception.
Expectations about how life will be in the aftermath are such a challenge to formulate since whatever dreams we might have harbored beforehand are now lost. There is that ambient level of pain ready to boil over the in the soul it simmers in. We all feel it.
It is mandatory to change our expectations otherwise we lock ourselves away into a permanent state of disappointment. It is as though, in an instant, we are required to stop all that we have worked and dreamed of and start anew. That was an easy sentence to roll out into a couple dozen words. Yet, not a thought that one is willing to entertain, (should we have a choice in this matter.) In the end, we are not offered a choice.
None-the-less, it is necessary to rediscover a new “ME.” You can no longer be who you once were. That “me” vanished in that instant.
While suicide of a loved one represents the pinnacle of despair I have experienced, I see tragic examples all around me. The media constantly feeds us a stream of examples. Like soldiers coming home dead or disfigured physically in ways that are visible. Then those, like us, emotional disfigured and that cannot be seen. Soldiers are required to discover a "NEW ME,” as well.
I am emotionally disfigured and the only one that can see it in old photographs. Others, unaware of suicide probably just think I have “an attitude.” The suicide instantly transformed me into a stoic character on the outside. However; on the inside, I vigorously struggle . . . not to be.
In whatever manner, you have to assess this for yourself. Only you can decide if you are going to move ahead with life. It is a huge effort to discover an approach and it takes a lot of stamina to continue the pursuit. If you don’t, the default is choosing to “stay stuck,” right where you are. No one can budge you from your position, really. This is a choice that only “YOU” can make. It cannot be made and then administered to you.
Moving ahead is about three things:
First, settling as many of the residual issues (failures, regrets) surrounding the suicide (from the past) and this is a painful but necessary process.
Second, adjusting, as best you are able, your attitude about the present situation.
[Note: There are others in painful situations, similar to us, yet others that endure more painful circumstances.]
Third, is watching out for situations you are yet to encounter. This is the essence of the role we jointly share in a Survivor of Suicide support groups.
This is all HARD work. I was personally helped by others with strong seasoned oversight. I really, I don’t think I would have ever even started the reconstruction task any other way?
AND . . . I have never known anyone doing any one of these things well, on their own.
This was written after an SOS session that concluded the YEAR 2011. The message is still the same. I hope you are moving ahead.
blessings aa, douglas