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.
Every one 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 to those unanswerable few.
I respect those that share their struggles with aspects of what has happened; before, surrounding the trail of situations following the suicide.
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 abandon what we have worked and dreamed of and start anew. That was an easy sentence to roll out, Yet, not a thought one is willing to entertain, (should we have a choice in this matter.) In the end, we have no 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 feeds us a steady stream of cases; like soldiers coming home dead or disfigured physically and mental (you know the invisible things.) Then those, like us, emotionally damaged. Soldiers are required to discover a new "Me,” as well.
I realize I am emotionally disfigured. I can see it in old photographs. Others, unaware of the suicide, probably think I have an attitude. My wife's suicide instantly transformed me into a stoic character. 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 fail, the default is to “stay stuck. No one can budge you, It requires a conscious decision on your part. This is a choice only “YOU” can make. It cannot be administered on 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, begin the task of attitude adjustment to the present situation.
[Note: There are others in painful circumstances. Though we are reluctant to admit it . . . others more painful than our own.
Third, is watching out for situations you are yet to encounter. In essence, a role we jointly share in a Survivor of Suicide support groups.
All three demand significant work. Others personally helped me with robust and seasoned oversight. I really, I doubt 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 article was written after an SOS session that concluded the YEAR 2011. I have revised the text for clarification; however, the message is still the same. I hope you are moving ahead.
blessings aa, douglas