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Suicide: The Savage God

In his book The Savage God, A. Alvarez quotes the Russian writer Boris Pasternak, "You have no conception of the inner torture which precedes suicide."
Pain! The pervasive pain that leads a person to that moment of no return. And there is the paralyzing pain that breaks the hearts and shatters the souls of those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Between the ages of eleven and twenty-three,  I lost the two people I loved the most to suicide - my grandfather and my girlfriend. For decades their deaths consumed me as my mind raged with the solitary question, why, why, why? Why did they do this? Why did they do this to me? Never once did I think of the pain they suffered that lead to their deaths. But I was well aware of the pain their deaths caused me - decade after decade.
How can you recognize, how can you describe, pain you cannot see - the path of pain that leads to suicide? It is simply impossible unless you have followed that path of pain to i…
The Day Before
"Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away..."  Yesterday...the day before we received the tragic and devastating news that our loved one had died.
The news of the suicide strikes us like a surging shock wave, we are stunned and stumble - we are overcomed as silent screams rage within us, our eyes tear, we shiver, trapped between disbelief and the painful words we heard.
Unexpectedly our minds suddenly flash back to yesterday, as if confirm that the words we heard cannot be true - the day before when our lives were full of shared dreams and promises, love and laughter.
Maybe we had talked on the phone, gone out to dinner or to a movie. Maybe we walked along the beach or strolled through a park and enjoyed the warmth of glorious sunshine and each other.
But whatever we did on the day before, it is now a memory to behold. And now there is heart break and sadness. A loved one has died and we are lost within ourselves - knowing that our sorrow is here to stay …
When The Holiday Season Is Over
When the holiday seasons is over, January can be a cruel month, a bleak cold-hearted month. The bright rainbow colors of Christmas have faded. And the dark desolate month of January is upon us.  - a month of depression, despair and desperation. A month when sadness creeps into one's soul and lingers and festers until one starts thinking of the need to escape, to leave life behind - because January is a suicidal month.
But before you start making plans, remember these words: If you kill yourself, it steals life from the living and the dreams of those that love you. Your loved ones will suffer agonizing penetrating pain that will pierce their hearts and souls.
Your death will be so incredibly devastating that your loved ones lives will never be the same again - their wounds will never heal, their broken hearts will never mend, their tears will never end.
So STAY! If you are thinking of suicide, STAY - your family and friends need you and depend upon …
The Christmas Season
The Christmas season! It may be the most wonderful time of the year - but if you have lost a loved one to suicide, it can be a season of silent sadness and sorrow, of languishing and lamenting loneliness. And I hope and pray that we may find some light within the darkness.
Because, Christmas is...love - embracing and sharing the love of family and friends, turning tears into smiles, frowns into laughter, extending kindness to others, offering comfort to those alone, lighting a candle to melt hardened hearts and opening the door to those who have been apart.
Christmas is...a time of forgiveness. Reaching out and shaking hands with those who caused pain, opening the hearts that are distant and bringing them near, removing the burdens of those that fear.
Christmas is...the season of giving a smile and holiday greetings to a stranger and giving a helping hand to a neighbor, giving to those who need you most of all and those most in need - knowing in your heart that i…
Thanksgiving: Home & Family
O. Henry wrote, "There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American."
And it is the day we travel, near and far, to go home. Home is not just where the heart is, home is who we are as a person and a family. We are home and we have lost a loved one to suicide and it is Thanksgiving. A day to come together and celebrate - a festive day of family, friends, fun and food.
And as we gather around the dining room table, to enjoy a feast filled with joy and laughter - there is an empty seat, someone is missing. Someone we love freely, deeply and dearly is not sitting at the table - but is resting quietly within our hearts and souls.
A day of happiness is shaded in silent sadness and sorrow - and tender tears seep softly from our hearts. We may feel alone but we are surrounded, embraced, but those who love us and we love - and for this we are sincerely thankful this day.
It is Thanksgiving and we will persevere and …
Taking Pen In Hand: Writing & Seeking Solace
You have heard of the expressions, "You drive yourself crazy" and "Don't drive yourself crazy." When you have lost a loved one to suicide, as I have, your mind becomes uncontrollably overwhelmed. I was an expert, a grand master, at driving myself crazy - wandering in the present but lost in the past.
I was living in a world of mental turmoil and torture, suffering in silence, as I sought answers to questions that could never be answered and how I could have saved the woman I loved from the deadly fate she sought.
I was on a cycle of mental frenzy and overload, a roundabout and loss in search of an exit, an escape. Then one day I decided to start a journal, to write down what I was going through - being brutally honest about the devastating conflicts, the turmoil and torture and the heartbreak within me.
In time, as I saw my thoughts and feeling written on the page, I was able to recognize when my mind was about …
What Was I Thinking?
What was I thinking after all that I have lived through? When I was 11 years old, my grandfather, my best friend and hero, killed himself. I rained tears of sadness and sorrow. Twelve years later my girlfriend kissed me and whispered, "Tom, I love you." The next day she killed herself. I rained tears of sadness and sorrow.
Since then I have lost childhood friends, former classmates, neighbors and acquaintances to suicide. And I have seen their families, with broken hearts and shattered souls, rain tears of sadness and sorrow.
Yet with all my experiences of knowing the damaging and devastating effects suicide has on loved ones, decades ago I lost all desire to live and made a serious attempt to kill myself. I ended up in ICU, in a coma and on life support. My family rained tearsd of sadness and sorrow.
What was I thinking? The simple answer is, I wasn't - I just wanted to die. The most difficult answer is, leading up to my attempt I never once though…