This “letter” came to me in person first. I met with a woman who lost her young son by suicide. She wanted to tell her story and I wanted to know it. I wanted to know it because I don’t want my child to die by suicide. I don’t want ANY child or adult to die from suicide. I want to know how to talk to people who have been through such unimaginable tragedy. I want to know what I should and shouldn’t say.
I want people to know that everyone reacts differently to any situation, so how can we possibly judge a woman who has lost a child by suicide?
Suicide is an uncomfortable topic, but we need to talk about it to make it less uncomfortable. We need to educate people that suicidal thoughts are not something to bury and hide.
If you are have having feelings of suicide you need to TALK to someone. You need to reach out. Michael Landsberg said it best, talking to someone can literally save lives. Take a moment and read this letter. Take a moment to realize that everyone is dealing with something difficult.
THE WORST DAY EVER
The worst day ever has many scenarios.
The worst day ever: Me as an 11 year old girl hoping to get the part in the Christmas play as Mary. I didn’t get it.
The worst day ever: Me as a 13 year old girl and everyone is wearing a bra, everyone, except me.
The worst day ever: Me as a 17 year old teenager, getting overlooked by “that boy” because he chose someone else.
The worst day ever: Me as a 24 year old woman, getting pregnant for the first time and having a miscarriage.
The worst day ever: Me as a 40 year old woman, losing my Dad to cancer.
The worst day ever: Me as a 47 year old Mom, losing my Baby Boy to suicide.
The “worst day ever” changes as we age and grow. We learn to move on and get over it, but my last worst day ever, continues, day after day after day.
There is no getting over this worst day, EVER.
My son; He was bright and bubbly. He loved school and sports and the outdoors. He was a gentle giant. He looked out for the little ones at school and always saw the good in others. There was no sign of any problems other than the “regular” growing up issues. Yes, you should shower. Yes, you should try to write neater. Yes, you should clean your room. Yes, you should put that iPod down.
It has been explained to me that my son died from Impulsive Suicide. That means is wasn’t connected to a mental illness. It wasn’t planned. It was impulsive. He had a momentary thought and he acted on it.
That moment, that impulse changed the lives of so many, forever.
There is no handbook for this, it’s honestly just a continuous swim upstream with a raging current. Of course I wish I never had to experience this but I did. I wish I had access to more guidance of how to manage and cope. My boy’s spirit was frozen in time, but the world kept moving. The world kept spinning and so did I.
I wish a caseworker could have been assigned to our family. I wish that caseworker could have followed our family and checked in regularly during the first two months. It would have been invaluable. Communicating with one constant person would have been so much easier. The phone calls and repetition of what had happened was so draining.
There were so many mundane tasks that had to be handled: Accessing counselling and group discussions. What and where to donate and all the financial questions. These were all questions I had to find answers for within two months of losing my son. How to deal with requests for memorials? What do we want? Where do we want it? The support and kindness was incredible but it was also incredibly overwhelming to deal with.
People, yes it takes all kinds to make up our world but seriously they can drive you to the brink of collapse.
People — the good, the bad and the stupid!
People say things that are intended to be helpful, but they aren’t. I try to take what is, leave what isn’t.
There are others like me. Others who don’t even say a word but understand. These good people are the ones helping me find life after suicide.
I am getting tired of hearing the same advice and clichés, over and over again. This is advice I don’t want or need. People try to tell you how to best “fix” your broken heart. The trouble is, I don’t need fixing. I will always be broken but please recognize that I am learning how to grieve and laugh at the same time.
Statements like, “Closure,” or “Moving on,” or “Getting over it,” or “Grief comes to an end”, makes my ears hurt. Anyone who says these things hasn’t lived with this thing called grief.
People need to understand there is no fix for this. Eventually I hope to learn how to carry the weight of this pain.
I know I am the heroine of this sad story and I am the one who gets to decide how and if I will survive this. I am the one that has to survive the sleepless nights. How do I live my new life? What is my purpose? What should I do? Should I volunteer? Should I get a pet? Should I leave the area or even the province? Who are really my friends? Who is just looking for gossip? Who just wants to talk to me like I am an attraction at a freak show?
I am learning as I go. I will never get over my worst day ever but please be kind and don’t judge others, and sometimes the best comment is no comment.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts please visit:
- Suicide Prevention: Find A Crisis Centre
- International Suicide Prevention
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Safe Talk Training
If you want to know how to talk to your kids about suicide here are some references:
- The Connect Program: Talking To Children About Suicide
- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: What To Tell Children
Please share these resources with anyone in need. Thank you.