Friday, August 17, 2007

Who We Leave Behind

I spent a very stressful day Tuesday. Huddled under an umbrella in the scorching heat. Watching the faces of family members. Seeing their tears. Telling myself, just a few short years ago, that could have been my mom sitting there instead of my aunt. What was I doing? Where was I at? I was in a cemetery. Attending my cousins funeral.

He committed suicide.

I have written several posts about suicide and my own attempt. So why did I not talk about this sooner? What prompted me to speak up now?

First it hit way too close to home. I had to sort through alot of my own emotions. I needed to get my self in a comfortable place. For someone who has a history of suicidal ideations, the death of someone close, by suicide, can trigger their mind. Send them back to that deep dark place. Even someone who has become much stronger can be pulled under.

From outward appearances only, my cousin was very happy man. He had his own business. He owned his own home. He was intelligent. He had four wonderful kids and four gorgeous grand kids. He was surrounded by many friends. He was active in his community. He had dealt with and beaten drug and alcohol addiction. He had much to live for. So why did he give up?

Inside he was in turmoil. He had battled mental illness since his early teens. He was bombarded from his own mind with thoughts and voices telling him others were out to get him and to take his own life for nearly forty years. Schizo-effective disorder was only one of his diagnoses, Bipolar was another. He had spent considerable time in and out of hospitals. Had tried numerous medications. According to the note left---he was just tired.

At his funeral they played a Vince Gill song---Go Rest High On That Mountain:

I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

It brought so many feelings flooding back. I remembered that deep dark despair. I could feel his pain. When you reach that point---you are thinking of no one but yourself. Your mind can not comprehend the effect your passing will have on those around you. Jon at Living With a Purple Dog, had a link to a very powerful article that made me take a step back. To try and shake free of those awful bleak thoughts. Read it here:

Life Sentence

If I would ever find myself back in that "place". I will remember the look on my aunt's face and think of my own mom. I will remember his children breaking down and think of my own son. I will remember his sister having to be taken away and sedated and think of my own siblings. And I will remember the words written from this mother to her daughter.

For you see, it's not all about us. Although we are in pain at the time and just want the hurting to stop. It MUST be about--- who we leave behind......


kathyj333 said...

The death of someone you love is one of the hardest things to get through--I say get through because you never get over it. My husband died almost two years ago. To me, the wound is still fresh. He did not commit suicide; he had a heart attack.But the suddeness of his death completely blind-sided me. Some days the pain is unbearable.

Sparky's Girl said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I lost an uncle to suicide. Of all the funerals I've attended, his was the hardest.

AS somone who also deals with depression and used to have suicidal thoughts, I understand what you are saying here. Somewhere in the deep dark recesses of your mind, you fight demons that no one else will ever completely understand. My children and husband have been my saving grace through my darkest days. The thought of them finding "Mommy" or not having me to care for them has helped me tremendously in the past. Thankfully I seem to have, for the last few years anyhow, put those demons behind me.

Very touching post Bama. (((HUGS))) to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear this terrible news. It's just awful. And you are very courageous and brave to share that with your readers. I always learn something whenever I visit your blog.
Hope each day gets better for you and the family.

Jon said...

I'm so sorry for you and your family.