Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Suicide and Death (Not for the Faint of Heart)

"They are two completely diferent things."

I had breakfast a few days ago with a friend who also lost a 20-something son to suicide, nearly eight years ago. She said that she is trying to come to terms with the fact that the manner of her son's death has colored his view of his entire life.

"To lose a child to death is one thing. For that death to be a suicide is something else entirely."

A whole other trauma -- I completely agree. For me, the problem is not so much the manner of death. Well, of course, that is one of the problems. But, as my husband says, "NOT a choice. Why can we accept that something electrical goes haywire and someone dies of a heart attack, but we cannot accept that something chemical goes haywire and someone dies of depression?"

I can accept that. What is so troubling (among 10,000 other things) is the feeling of not having known who your child was, the realization that he was harboring a terrible pain, a pain that ultimately destroyed his life, and he did not share it. Or that he did share it but in ways that we did not see or hear. That's what colors my view backward. Now I wonder constantly: When? When did this horrific idea first occur to him? When did it become a rational solution? Was there a plan? Are we talking years? Months? Hours? Less?

Gregarious Son has been told by Someone Who Knows About These Things that most suicides happen very fast -- that it is often only a matter of minutes between decision and completion. She told him that preventative measures are notoriously unsuccessful.

Neither my breakfast friend or I can figure out anything at all about going to the upcoming suicide prevention walk. "How do you prevent something you have no idea is around the corner?" she asked. Exactly.

I think we have both had thoroughly impressed upon us with the force of a tsunami a reality having to do with complete lack of control. And we can't pretend otherwise. We can only try to live with what we have to live with: two completely separate nightmares in one.

8 comments:

Mompriest said...

in the dark place of sorrow where my heart resides these days all I can say is, love to you...

Kathryn J said...

Thinking of you and your 10,000 troubling thoughts - sending much love and offering many prayers.

Julia said...

I have a good friend whose son also died by suicide, at age 18. I would like to share the information from friend of Gregarious Son. I think it would be greatly comforting to her. it's been 15 years but I know that time only dulls the ache and does not erase it in any way.

Purple said...

The two quotes at the beginning of your post...are so very true. As you have written, the heart of the matter, is not the how...but the why. {{{{GG etal}}}}

Lisa :-] said...

It is very hard to be smacked with the reality that another person is another person, and whether it is your parent, your spouse, your child...you cannot ever know them completely, or hope to control even in a small way anything they do. This must be particularly difficult with a child...

Rev SS said...

I hate the crazy-making questions that can't be answered .. and continue to hold you in prayer.

Daisy said...

Your husband makes a valid point that I've never heard phrased that way before.

"I think we have both had thoroughly impressed upon us with the force of a tsunami a reality having to do with complete lack of control."

World-shatteringly true, GG.

Karen and Joe said...

Hugs and love to you and your whole family. How doubly painful to not know that he was depressed or to be allowed to help, which each of you would have gladly done. The knowledge that suicide is a quick and impulsive decision, is an important insight. Your son made a devastating decision without meaning to hurt you, and without realizing its impact on either his family or himself.
How deeply frustrating and disappointing for you all to be rendered powerless by his clouded choice. There is so much we don't control, and it's truly beyond heartbreaking when it comes to the loss of your precious child.
My heart hurts for you.
Karen