About Special Dates:
Every date marks some special event.
For my family, this would have been my wife, Rebecca's 76th Birthday. It will pass without comment, after 21 years. As a friend remarked "you wake up and find . . . it is still true."
You have to address these special days for yourself. By chance this past week, I found a balloon I liked in a local shop. I have been routinely going alone to a friend's farm to launch them. This friend has recently died, so I decided to double up the memories for this event.
On release, it was going to rise slowly into the heavens, or so I hoped. However, today the wind was gusty to the North. Instead, it raced away from my hand horizontally. Having the camera on a timed release, I did capture the takeoff, but by the time I got back to the camera, the balloon was out of sight, so I blindly snapped follow-on pictures to the North. With magnifying the photo, I can barely see it in the distant sky.
Like several previous staged events, these results could be looked on with disappointment, but I am used to this sort of thing now. I came away from the farm, pleased that I had marked this day in my memory.
I no longer feel the need to escape. Having something to do makes these anniversaries more manageable.
Speaking of the things that are bottled up inside, eases my heart, and strengthens my coping skills. Another one of those emotional exercises I have come to cherish.
As you will discover, the more time passes (from the suicide), it is natural for others, even family, to forget (or think avoidance is more comfortable.) We never envisioned this happening, but it was inevitable. Life returns to routines things, as it should for others. But it is different for us.
For a long time, I would not let myself think that folks would forget. However, the truth is, I forget other folk's losses as well. In this age of technology, there are too many things to remember.
In the initial days, I held unrealistic expectations, as though the burdens of the aftermath would dissipate. I have learned - that just made me more isolated. My coaching suggestion is to avoid setting specifics. You expose yourself to continual disappointments if you do.
I love to go to my friend's farm, with the cold winds blowing. Sometimes I stay home — either one if fine after two decades.
So memories of Rebecca still linger, and as long as I keep them to myself, I don't disrupt things for anyone else. This time will always be awkward for my family.
Like most survivors, I was ill-equipped for the emotional baggage left behind. I needed to establish some avenue to prevent the load from over-running me. The Facebook page, Families Dealing with Suicide, provides an excellent way to discharge the pressures of the moment. You will only create awkward situations in a general social setting. So, if you don't bring the subject up, you spare your public contacts those uneasy feelings.
Any audible, visual, or written reference to the suicide creates a downer mood for everyone, and, in the end, this leads to more isolation. I have come to realize how awkward this is for my relatives and friends. There is no way for them to respond that will lighten my load.
Taking one's life is counter to the natural order of things. Suicide will remain counter to our expectations and aspirations forever.
Philosophy and religious views have never been particularly helpful to me. Not that they are untrue, but I have found their shelf life is momentary at best and afford little relief.
You have undoubtedly encountered sayings like "they are in a better place," "GOD needed another angel," and "time heals all wounds." If these works for you, by all means, stay the course.
Over time I have developed a better grasp of the complexities of life. I've experienced thousands of practical lessons (formally and through example.) These encounters have mellowed my expectations. I can see clearly that expectations and goals compete with all the disappointments that living brings our way.
Combine all these elements with our genetic make-up, health conditions, and possible disorders (not to mention all the addictions,) it makes it quite impossible to understand an individual suicide.
I have finally let that "why question" rest. I was told early on, "you are never going to know." It just took me a long time to accept that reality.
So it is, walking the trail of year twenty two. I am Okay and expect things to continue to improve and allow me to help a few others. Maybe it is only one person, and that is okay.
For me, this is just objective information from an ordinary old man whose wife departed this life on mid-day Sunday, March 14th, 1999.