POS-FFOS Retreat - Columbia, Tennessee 2007 era

About Complex Adjustment after Suicide:

I am constantly reminded of the dilemmas that so many face and especially those permanent ones.  I realize that personal difficulties are unavoidable and ubiquitous.  But, sometimes these pitfalls just snuff the light out of life. At best, this leaves victims living in the shadows.

All the while, our educational, social and political forums keep telling us that we are all created equal. Deep inside, I believe, most of us reject those themes.  But, then we continue to masquerade around in some quasi equality state.  To get on to the next day, we are left to adjust our expectations or pretend (at some level,) that we are okay with all of this.  Emotions need some level of true balance – for us to achieve PEACE.

I have personally found that pretending is grueling work. I have practiced the art of pretending for over seven decades and I am still not good at it.  I have watched folks, that have been deeply hurt, but their outward persona does not reveal what they are like inside. Some that hurt do a better job of masking their situation. Some will (for whatever reasons) spend their lifetime nursing wounds that they cannot get to heal. The emotional scars (triggered by endless things) that do heal retain the power to remind us that the past was real.

I suppose we have all learned to perform for one reason or other.  We start this process as children.  I remember playing cowboys and Indians when I was small.  Contemporary children play firemen, policemen, doctors or other professionals.  The influence of television and movies, was probably where I learned the cowboys and Indians roles.  Back when I was a kid, we had limited avenues to learn and few props to pretend with. So, are we really created equal?  I don’t think so but we still act and play the games. We carry on life (at some level) in “performance mode.”

For me, when the period of formal and informal education rolled around, things changed dramatically. By junior high I had begun to perfect my “I am cool” image.  I had to put a LOT more effort into my act . . . not being created equal.  Continuing with this train of thought, why do some folks come out of the womb beautiful and more polished than the majority of us?  It is the way things turn out.  I had to accept being ordinary, which is much easier now that I am old.

Scatted within the sequence of growing up are all sorts of good and “not so” good experiences. Unfortunately, it is during these growing up years, when neglect and abuse can take their toll on our esteem.  Beyond the mechanics of the class room, our teachers and other role models can either inspired us or in some cases produce irreparable damage.

We tend to get caught up in scandals (like the Penn State situation a couple years ago.) The reality is those same experiences happened . . . sometimes within families we know.  These issues seldom come to light, at least not initially. Critical things we don’t understand are typically not discussed. What does come to light over time is the irreparable damage they cause.  Sometime the damage is intentional and other times collateral. For some it takes decades as we have recently witnessed in the Penn State situation.  SAD stuff.

As survivors of suicide, we are driven by the human spirit with the need to explain the unexplainable. We each face a dilemma with explaining ourselves, let alone the loved one we lost.

I was a fortunate kid to have role models who inspired me.  None of them are famous and if I shared their names, you would have never heard of them.  They were only “famous” in my eyes.  I had admirable parents, grandparents, other relatives and teachers in school, and church.  None would be considered even “near perfect.”

Yet in all this, there is “always hope.”  Hope that we will find someone to share with, care with, help us heal and encourage us to get up and Keep On, Keeping On.

douglas – a rewrite from a Sunday morning 24 July 2012

About Complex Adjustments After Suicide - edited V1

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27 November 2016 - Extention:

To Move or Stay?”
I am not persuaded that moving or staying provides any significant relief.
Over the long haul, if you are anything like me, you can convince yourself – and express it openly – that things are a certain way. Then time passes and you encounter endless situations that will coincide or conflict with your previous positions. It is important to keep this in mind, when you listen to someone else. What they tell you today may change significantly the next time you see them.
Finding lasting peace requires some serious thought, which you are incapable of following the loss of a loved one.
I have known survivors that never returned to their home after the event. And I have listened to some of them and been convinced –under the circumstance – that I would have done the same thing.
For me – my wife took her life in our garage, at home. I cannot explain why, but I was able to separate the garage from the house in my mind. I did not use the garage for a long time, but then winter arrived (about 8 month later) and I began to park the car inside again.
As time moved along I began to think about it less and less. Sorta thinking I was passed that crisis.
Then coming home one night I was in the midst of a serious phone conversation. I hit the open button, drove inside – and since it was cold – closed the door and continued to talk.
My garage door opener has a light on it that says on for a period – designed to allow time to get out and get inside. Well, the conversation was still progressing when the light went out. I would learn that I had in-fact not passed that crisis as I thought. Knowing that, I never sat in the car after the door closed again.
Over the next five years, I began to think along the lines that I could NEVER leave this place – and, again, I cannot explain why, exactly. So I began to fix the place up to live out my retirement years “at home.
The grandchildren 350 miles away came along and I realized I would never really know them if I stayed – I would only know about them. So I moved. For that fact alone, moving was good for me.
It is not all good. I moved away from neighbors and friends that I had shared life with for over 3 decades. My experience is that I will not be able to rebuild that here. I don’t have enough life left.
But along the way, I have found PEACE and I am approaching the 18 year marker.
Blessings, dJ –unedited – 27 November 2016