No one knows why

Suicide, depression and grieving

Depression, Suicide-There are no answers

It seems we never are truly prepared for the sad and tragic times we will encounter in our life which will cause us great emotional pain and internal conflict leading to anxiety, depression and heartbreak. We will be influenced and affected in so many ways and that is why we need coping skills to help us deal with these unexpected life situations. We draw strength from others and from ourselves that helps us keep it together during these difficult times. In times of great sorrow we need to have a support system in place to help us communicate our feelings and express our sadness because we are vulnerable and subject to depression and overwhelming feelings of anxiety that can result in a sense of hopelessness and apathy.

There are many factors that affect one's outlook and how they approach their day and how they interact with others. It is a very real possibility that we may not always be completely honest in expressing how we truly feel and we may shy away from speaking and reaching out to someone or confronting our pain and hurt. Sometimes people get lost in their depression and find there is no way out and they may feel overwhelmed with no one to turn to or no place to go. This is a very real crisis because these people who keep these feelings bottled up without obtaining the necessary help they need may succumb to their depression and without warning may decide that life is too painful for them and the result may be devastating for them and their loved ones if the only way out is suicide.

Loneliness, isolation, peer pressure, aging, declining health and financial pressures can certainly contribute to depression and this is why it is very important to never let yourself get to the point where you feel all alone. We all need to be surrounded by family and friends and not be afraid to ask for help or a sympathetic ear to listen to us when we most need one. We all need to feel loved and accepted and it is very important that we remember this during difficult times that lead to depression and sadness.

I am not sure why but it seems to me that depression is not regarded as a legitimate illness and there seems to be a stigma associated with seeking treatment for it. Given the times we live in depression is far more common today and so many people are susceptible to it including those serving our country in time of war. It seems to be more prevalent as soldiers are away from their families for long periods of time and they are likely to experience unpleasant realities in battle. It does not matter your age or your social status. Depression can affect anyone and it can be mild which can be treated or severe which may require hospitalization, therapy and medication.

We can not step in the shoes of someone else to understand what they are feeling or what they have experienced in their lives that brought them to this low point in their life. Many people are too proud to admit they are not in control and would forego treatment that might help them get their life back. That is a very sad reality because when someone feels depressed they may not understand why but they should certainly take it seriously and not brush it off. If it is ignored and goes untreated there is a possibility the individual will seek escapes that may temporarily help them deal with their pain but they may then suffer from other problems such as drug addiction or alcohol abuse.

I've seen people in emotional and physical pain and it is very sad and disturbing. I have lived through it with family and it has certainly affected me and made me realize the fragile side of life. I have cried many tears for the loss of my mother and father who certainly deserved a better quality of life. There is not a day that goes by when I wonder if there was something else I could have said or done to ease the burden they felt. I learned a great deal from my parents and they taught me a lot about life and respecting others and doing my best in all that I do. I still remember my last visit at the hospital to see my mother not realizing that would be the very last time I would see her alive.

I knew she was very ill and that I would have to face the reality sometime of losing her but I was not prepared to lose her the very next day. I always remembered my mom as a beautiful, strong and courageous woman who always made us feel loved and protected and that is how I wish to remember her. I was depressed for quite some time when mom died and I felt like my world was forever changed and I felt she died far too young at the tender age of 50. The sad thing about losing my mother so young was she never got to see me marry or see my beautiful wife and our precious son, her grandson. I felt so sad that I could not share these wonderful joys with my mom.

My mother suffered from a chemical imbalance and she had bouts with mental illness suffering from anxiety, paranoia, schizophrenia and depression. She was prescribed several medications to help her but it seemed that the cumulative effect of all the medications affected her and most likely contributed to her premature death. We rode a roller coaster of ups and downs through the last decade of her life and it was very sad to witness it and see the toll it took on her and the family. We loved her and wanted to help her through her illness. She was so brave through it and she worked as a secretary in Manhattan which was very important to her and she was very dedicated and we were so proud of her. It is very sad to realize how much pain she was in and how we lost her. I just wished I could have helped her through it and that we could have eased her pain and suffering.

I was fortunate to have my dad in my life as a young adult and after losing mom I felt we lost a part of dad too. Dad never missed a day visiting at the hospital when mom was sick and he was always by her side. He had a hard life too and worked in a very demanding job as an ironworker. He witnessed death in his job on occasion and it was very difficult for him to deal with. He and mom raised my sisters and I to be mature and responsible and they both did their best. Dad lived for nearly 20 years after mom passed and he was very courageous and always held her memory in his mind and his heart. He never remarried and he doted on all his grandchildren.

One of the last jobs dad did before retiring was revisit the Verrazano bridge which he helped build in the early 1960's, for repainting and refurbishing work. He relayed a story to the author of the book "The Bridge" which chronicles stories and experiences of the men and women behind the building of the Verrazano bridge including a chapter about my dad and a coworker who he witnessed fall to his death. It seemed that the author wanted to add to the original writing of the book in the wake of the September 11 tragedy and he reached out to ironworkers he interviewed decades earlier including my dad. In the abridged story my dad relayed to the author his opinions on the world trade center tragedy and his experiences encountered on his 2nd tour of duty on the bridge decades later. He talked of his tribute to mom in the aftermath of her premature death. He went to the top of the tower of the bridge in an electric basket that brought him ever so slowly up to the highest point of the bridge and he took the red lead paint used for anti rusting and on the top of one of the towers he wrote the name Catherine as he held back the tears as he stared out admiring the landscape and remembering better days gone by. He really loved her and always stood by her during the good and the difficult times.

Dad was a very strong and dedicated man who worked very hard and was a wonderful husband and father. He took great care of all of us and we always felt safe, protected and loved. I have many fond memories of mom and dad and I truly cherish them both. I was so happy that our son got to spend some time with his grandfather. Dad always enjoyed spending time with all his grandchildren and he always made sure he spent time with each one. He never treated our son different despite his diagnosis of autism. He loved spending the day visiting and playing with our son. I cherish those times and so does our son.

I knew my dad was a very caring and devoted father and he would do anything for my sisters and I and our families. We were very blessed to have him in our life for as long as we did and were glad that he was able to spend many years with his grandchildren as well. Dad was also a very private person and he would never show his emotion. He was a tough ironworker with a very caring side in reaching out to help others but would never ask for help. He kept things to himself when it came to his own needs.

He went through his share of depression through the years after losing his wife which is quite understandable. He did however keep himself busy in his retirement and did a lot of babysitting for his grandchildren. Dad went through a lot in his young life and as an adult and he witnessed very difficult events on the job including the death of a close work friend on the Verrazano bridge.

It was a cool, windy morning in October of 1963. My dad was preparing for the work day and he was chatting with a fellow ironworker before starting the task of riveting. As he went to start his job he heard faint screams calling out his name that seemingly got louder and as he turned in the direction of the screams he saw his friend who he was chatting with only moments earlier hanging on for dear life. My dad rushed to grab a hold of him with his damaged hand that he injured in a work related accident six months earlier losing two fingers. He also weighed only 138 lbs while his friend weighed 240 lbs and was a big man. My dad did all he could to save him but it was futile and he felt his friend's hand slipping through and he could not pull him up. He tried and tried as he saw him slip and fall to his death. My dad almost went over too but the quick action of a fellow ironworker who jumped to secure my dad to the catwalk saved him from falling as well.

In the aftermath of the tragedy they closed the work site for 2 days to conduct their investigation. This tragedy really weighed heavily on my dad and he always felt the sense of loss and he suffered for not being able to save him. My dad became very religious and put every part of himself into his work. He also was a good listener. Dad was a quiet man who had good morals and a fine work ethic. He was a great family man and stood by mom each and every day. Dad had a difficult time after mom died and he faced every day with courage and a faith in God that helped him through the pain and isolation he felt.

I will never forget that day I found out what happened to my poor dad. It was a little more than a week after Easter and the day after the tax filing deadline in 2009 on April 16th. I had just spoke to him a couple of days earlier making sure I had his returns filed timely. He seemed in good spirits and his normal self and I remember he was anxious about the tax deadline as he usually was. I was not prepared for the news of his unexpected death and just learning that very day how he died really tore me up inside as I tried to search for answers. My brother-in-laws broke the sad news to me of dad being struck by a speeding rush hour train down the block from my sister's house and being thrown down the platform dying on impact. There is no way one can ever be prepared for such tragic news and all I could do was try my best to understand his pain and honor his memory.

Our family has suffered tragedies in the past and they took their toll on dad and the family. Obviously mom's death was a very difficult time for all of us and especially for dad. Within two months of mom's passing dad lost his close brother Donald who was around 50 years old too and he had a sad end as he lived as a paraplegic for nearly 7 years after falling on a construction site finally succumbing to his pain and suffering. It was a very sad and emotional time having lost two special people in his life. He forged on though and lived each day with a sense of courage and hope.

When we lose someone close to us it is a very difficult and emotional time but when you lose someone very close to you through suicide that is a very hard thing to come to terms with and you feel so many different feelings and emotions that seemingly overwhelm you as you try to find answers and just try to deal with the suddenness of it. You seemingly wish you could put yourself back in time to try and redo the set of circumstances and events leading up to the tragedy hopefully changing the outcome to a positive one but suddenly come to the reality that your loved one is gone. The only thing you can do is grieve and pray for them to be at peace and free from pain. Suicide is a very emotional topic and if you lose someone this way your life will be spent wondering why trying to find an explanation and feeling part to blame. As time passes you will start to slowly find your way again but your life will never be the same again and all you can do is feel compassion and love for your loved one and find it in your heart to honor and love them as you always did and pray for them as often as you can.

I have tried to suppress my feelings at times but it is not healthy and I have a special needs son who suffers from epilepsy and is on the autistic spectrum who needs my complete attention and love which I am trying my best to provide. I am very concerned for him and want him to have every chance and opportunity he is entitled to and I must be strong for both my wife and son and have a strong faith in God and hope that he will be able to overcome his challenges and strive to do his best. My wife and I always stand by him and try to always encourage and nurture him and most of all protect him.

Having been through so many emotional challenges I have come to realize the importance of writing which is very helpful and necessary. If I kept all this inside I feel I would have a break down so it's best that I communicate it in a way that hopefully will help me rid myself of the guilt I feel and ease the pain I feel for our losses. I am very active in writing about autism with the hope that it will shed some light on what it is like to raise a child on the spectrum and working to help them live full and happy lives despite their challenges. I am an advocate for my son and a silent voice in trying to find a way to effect emotion in others through my words and hopefully make a difference in getting the word out about autism. I also feel it is important to help in addressing emotionally charged issues such as depression and suicide having a direct connection to it. I recently heard on the radio of an overnight walk of 18 miles in Manhattan for suicide prevention occurring June 4th and 5th and I feel very strongly about it and I will participate and walk in honor of my dad and hopefully raise money and awareness. I will do it in tribute to my father who we love and miss very much but know in our hearts is happily reunited with his wife.

If I could offer any advice it would be to try to find inner peace and hold on to faith and always remember your loved one in a positive way and try not to focus on the sad or negative aspects surrounding their death. Grieve for them, remember them in a good light and cherish and honor them always. I find it very troubling that young kids and teens are now grappeling with depression and suicide more and more and kids that are vulnerable are being bullied to the point of suicide. It is very alarming and we have to find help for these kids to help prevent these senseless tragedies. Kids are supposed to be kids and enjoy life and have hopes and dreams. They are not supposed to suffer from depression and wish they were dead. It is a very sad testament of the times we live in and we all have to lend our support and be a calming influence in a child's life and most of all listen to them and provide a voice of reason and hope in their lives to help them through and encourage them to be strong, confident and happy and live their lives as they are meant to.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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Comments 1 comment

fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing your story and thank you for your attention focused on the importance of communication and of help from others. Alone we can not face depression. In a case of suicide we are all involved, what can we do? Maybe just some little and very important things: look inside of us, pursue our happiness, do not close our eyes and be compassionate.

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