Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Suicide Survivors: Handle with Care

A friend of mine lost her father last week. She was completely devastated, but her FB messages since have reflected her feelings of being tremendously loved and supported as she and her family have made their way through the plans, visitation, and funeral. And I've thought a lot about what she's written.

I realize, looking back, that we were given the same sort of generous presence and assistance when Chicago Son died.

I was unaware of the love and care that surrounded us. Oh, I registered it all in the sense that I mostly knew who was were when, and to whom I needed to write thank-you notes.

But emotionally? I did not feel loved or supported. I did not feel the comfort or solace of community.

I felt completely alone.

I think that the shock of a child's suicide is so great that nothing can penetrate it.

For, apparently, at least a couple of years.

What I want to say, to those of you trying to support those of us who have lost children to suicide (or, perhaps, to anything):

This is why we act so weird. We survive by being encased in a tough shell that we don't even know is there. When it cracks, the pain that seeps in is so great that we just grow another layer as fast as possible.

Don't give up on us. We're wedged in there, and if we survive we'll emerge someday. We'll be different, but we will come out.


Balaphoto said...


Happy MMXI!!

Frank, Barcelona

Karen said...

So, so true, GG. Thanks for telling it like it is. The fog of grief and the hard protective shell--no one knows it but one who has been there. But everyone needs to hear it so they'll know and try to understand.
Hugs and hope, beautiful friend.

Kathryn J said...

It is hard to see someone in so much pain that it seems to have transformed their very essence AND knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can do that will help and that if you do anything it might possibly - unknowingly, unwittingly, and unintentionally - be hurtful.

Still holding you in my heart, thoughts, and prayers!