SUICIDE- When it Happens Twice
Living through the death of a close friend who committed suicide is no easy task. Six months in, and I am still saddled with memories both good and bad. Fifty years had accumulated without my having had to suffer the shock and awe that accompanies a suicide and it was only natural to hope I would never have to experience such pain again. . . but now I have!
A short time ago, I received word that my younger cousin (my second cousin actually) committed suicide and his body was found in his cab along with a hand gun and a note to his mother.
I am back to handling heart break and grief in the only way that comforts me. I am attempting to cleanse my system of this awful agony by giving my pain a voice of its own. I need it to know I'm not ignoring it or the power it is exerting on me right now. Perhaps voluntarily giving it the attention it is determined to have will quite it enough for me to diffuse it through my soul a little more gradually.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - With Help Comes Hope
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers
Suicide can be accomplished in any number of ways. Suicide by prescription drug overdose is a common choice for many depressed ones who see no light at the end of their tunnel.Suicide by the use of a gun is another much more violent means to end an unhappy existence.
Spread just six months apart, the death of my good friend and the death of my young cousin has my mind swirling and my heart fragmented in pieces as I grief the bitter end of two very sweet people.
I don't have the answers for all the questions running through my mind but having experienced these feelings before I do know what to expect and how to move forward. At such times having any kind of coping skills is what gets us survivors through it all, one minute at a time.
Why Suicide and Other Tough Questions
Of course the question that comes up the most often has to be why suicide? That thin line between being very depressed and wishing it could all end to actually taking the steps to bring a life to an end is so irreversible. Logically our minds race to understand why.
Why a handgun? Why would such a handsome, 21 year old, use a gun to bring his life to an end. Why such a violent choice? Is it symbolic of something . . one final message he wanted us to receive? Or was just one final message to himself?
By all outward appearances my young cousin had a life worth living; at least it appeared he had picked out a life he thought he wanted to live. A very handsome and intelligent kid with good health a loving family and a son he adored, yet it appears he systematically and purposely put his affairs in order planning out every detail before he pulled the trigger. Evidently he thought it through and made the necessary phone calls and left the final text messages before he wrote a farewell letter to his mom assuring her his suicide was not her fought.
Why could he not have put that type of planning and thought into getting help from professionals so that he would not succumb to his sense of hopelessness? Did he really imagine his mother would be happy he thought to make sure she had his car keys as one of his final acts of love for her? Did he decide he had caused too much trouble and everyone, including his son, would be better off without him in their lives? I asked similar questions just six months ago. I know there are no logical answers.
I try to imagine what it is like for a mother to ask such questions about her first born, her eldest child and I know I cannot come close to understanding her pain.
What I Wish
If I had the power I would love to be able to gather everyone together who either exhibits signs of untreated depression or who expresses feelings of wanting to end their suffering by any means necessary. I'd gather them together and have them helped until they finally felt their pain was at a manageable level.
It seems suicide is the ultimate solution to being pain free. Emotional pain is so invisible and can be so misleading if outward appearances seem "normal". Someone could be slowly dying inside until they come to the conclusion it is time for the outside body to match their true inner person. Such a visible sign can come too late once the suicide attempt becomes an act of suicide. I think my poor cousin masked his emotions too well. I wish he would have given living just one more fully committed try. I wish my dear friend had done the same
What I Can Do
I am handling this feeling of powerlessness by talking about my feelings, thinking about my cousin who is now making funeral arrangements for her dear son and trying to think of little ways to help my family through the first suicide we have ever faced together. I called my cousin just to tell her I love her and am thinking about her. I told her about my friend who died six months ago and let her know that she had someone capable of understanding her feelings if she wanted to talk later on. She was too shocked to really hear me, so I plan to repeat the offer as the days march on.
For a reason totally foreign to me, my cousin's mother has a thing for my spaghetti. I wish I could say it is a very special recipe that I slave over for hours, but it is not even close to being unique. Still, since I know she likes it, I'm going to make it for her once I know her appetite has returned.
My cousin left his younger sister totally perplexed and broken hearted as well. I will try to find a way to connect with her in the coming days as well.
As for the rest of my family, only time will tell how all his aunts, uncles, and other relatives will deal with all the implications of his suicide. Perhaps having already travelled this road will allow me to be of help if in no other way than as a compassionate listener.
Just between you and me though . . this is a little much to handle, again!