Supper with Sandy to agonize over what had happened:
About: Ranting and Venting
I have read so many books regarding suicide. In doing so, I have picked up things that I can no longer recall where they came from. This is unfair to the original author, i.e. not being able to quote exactly what was written and who said it. In other words I am saying articles on this site have come from other folks. Very little is original.
To refresh my mind on survivor issues, I tend to follow selective survivor sites. Not on a daily basis but from time to time. For me, it helps to stay in touch with a wide range of concerns that re-occur in the survivor community. One such site is a Face Book page “Families Dealing w/ Suicide, The Next Chapter” managed out of Bristol, England. I don’t recall who invited me. FDWS is a closed group and the admins do an excellent job of policing it. Reading various posts, as I doing a hit and miss mode, I am frequently reminded of the frustrations many. High on this list is the fact that they are not understood. I have certainly felt that way often as well. To be fair, sometimes I cannot express to myself how I feel. I consistently have used two words . . . abandon and disconnected.
It was a challenge (to end all challenges) to fit back into the routine and friendships I had before Rebecca ended her life. It seemed everyone expected me to return to my ole self but that could never happen. In the years that followed I began to realize there were many things I can no longer say. I realize that I became overwrought with concerns about what others think of me, my family and on and on.
There are so many unknowns in the arena of suicide. I still (after 16 years) find it difficult to use her name and suicide in the same sentence. I have settled on “she took her life.” Is there really a difference, well there is to me and in time it will probably be that way for you as well. I began to migrate to actions, and expressions I was comfortable with.
There is little doubt that some expressions used in public posts will aggravate and anger some . . . that is inevitable. It just comes with the territory, so there is risk involved.
What I planned in this article was to address how some feel bad or angered over their pretending they are okay. There is that propensity to want to scream or pound a fist. I was motivated to pretend (primarily to keep from getting into a discussion I did not want to talk about.) I can only reason that I wanted to dampen the wonderment others have about me. I wanted to be able to fit back into the flow of ever day routines. One phrase out of some expressed it this way . . . it went something like this . . . “I am afraid to tell them about myself. I reasoned that they may not like what I say and then reject me. Unfortunately I can be no other way.” So true in the early days. I began a period of introspection and must admit I do in ways live two lives now. To the community of folks I have routine dealings with I feel compelled to be calm and settled. After all these years I have perfected my performance, with that role. I have been told by a couple of my close friends that my demeanor tells a different story. They will say things like you seldom smile. Frankly, I am not able to recall how I was before all this happened. It is not worth the effort to research that concern because it is immaterial now. I am not longer that person.
Some posts will express the need to “vent or rant.” I have no doubt that I felt that way much of the time in the early years. Like is frequently stated . . . I really did not find the typical, age old, clichés helpful in the least. To be told encouraging words like “you are not over this yet?“ or “it is time to move on.” That tended to aggravate me.
If you let some of these attitudes prevail, they will lead to permanent unhappiness and bitterness.
For me I found peace through forgiveness. After much introspection, I started the process of forgiving Rebecca for the pain she had branded each of us in the family with. Over months and months of wrestling with the whole forgiveness issue I finally penned a forgiveness letter. For years, I would take it out and read it over and over and make a few minor modifications. I have not looked at it in probably five or six years now and seldom even think about the letter. Now all these years later, I tend to anguish over all the events and times she has missed out on. I no longer question her actions, because I have accepted I can never know all that went into her decision to escape. I know that part of that decision was over my inability to meet some of her needs. “Not being able to meet emotional needs” is a huge disappointment as a spouse. I cannot change any of that and I am sorry for burdens I added to her load. I cannot help but wish I could roll the clock back, but again, I accept that is not possible.
Forgiveness is a process. Like all coping skills, forgiveness does not come instantaneously. Most survivors need help with this but will not seek any. It is though we think we can fix ourselves. The rumination can wear you out, as some of you know.
My personal experience has been that I can share my frustrations more effectively with other survivors. Outsiders would never be able to come into this space we occupy. To continue to expect our friends to understand us . . . is to insure confusion becomes permanent and you will be isolated.
So do I still rant and vent? Someone other than me would have to make that judgment. I personally do not think I rant, or feel the need to. Posting on sites like FDWS I consider my venting (or maybe better . . . a form of sharing.) In my heart, I hope it helps someone else regain some balance in the After Era.