If Only, If Only...
If only, if only...two simple words. But if you have lost a loved one to suicide, those two words, "if only" - are a turbulent tornado that torture us and torment us relentlessly and endlessly.
If only he talked to me, if only she called me, if only I stayed home, if only I called to say hello, if only I invited her out to lunch, if only I stopped by his apartment.
If only, if only...two words that leave us trapped to a past we cannot change and cannot escape. Every death needs someone to blame and those two words, if only, eventually lead us to find fault within ourselves and to blame ourselves. But it is not our fault, we are not to blame. There is no fault, no blame.
Suicide is death by sadness - caused by the dark demons of depression and despair. And after these demons create endless battles within the mind, a person becomes detached from life - and suicide become a sanctuary from the pain and suffering.
If only life wasn't so cruel, if only lif…
Words That Hit Home
A sentence written by Kathryn Schulz in the New Yorker that captured my life. "No matter how beautifully your life is arranged, no matter how lovingly you tend to it, it will not stay that way forever."
There was a time when my life was beautifully lived under a rainbow, surrounded by bright blue skies - embraced with tender and caring love, full of gleeful joy and happiness. A future that was bright and full of promises and dreams, shared and tended to with desire and affection.
Then, sudden suicide, a devastating death and all was gone, all was lost. Life forever changed, never the same again.
All The Time
All the time, all the time...when suicide suddenly enters our life with the loss of a loved one, our mind is trapped in a moment of time - that we constantly think about all the time.
We are overwhelmed with sadness and sorrow - we cry and cry, tears that never dry. We have trouble focusing, thinking clearly and have sleepless nights because we are lost in thought of that moment in time - all the time.
We try to clear our minds of that heartbreaking moment but are never successful - we are scarred and wounded, doing our best to cope with the grief, loss and anger within us. We try to live with what has happened, to return to a sense of normalcy - but our mind keeps taking us back to that moment in time - all the time, to the one we love and miss, all the time.
And without even realizing it, we can dwell on that moment for hours, even days. We struggle with how people can go on with their lives so easily, as we are entangled in the past moment that is forever in the prese…
The Last Time
The last time! The memory! We remember the last time we saw our loved one, dear friend, before we got the devastating news that our loved one, dear friend, had died - a suicide.
The memory, the image, of the last time is crystal clear - it can never be erased, will never fade nor disappear. It's a memory that can bring tears to our eyes one day and make us smile, even laugh, on another day - and there are days when the memory makes us scream in anguish and frustration, maybe even hateful anger.
One of the unusual aspects of this memory is that when we least expect it, it can capture our complete consciousness for hours at a time, even for days - we are surrounded by that memory, that image.
A brief snapshot of my memories: I see my grandfather early in the morning and tell him I'll see him after school. I never see him again. On a Sunday morning, I have breakfast with my college girlfriend and she is full of happiness. I never see her again.
Our memories of the …
The Shadow
The shadow! If you have lost a loved one to suicide, the sad, sinister shadow of suicide becomes part of your life.
This shadow first darkened my life when I was 11 years old. On a Thursday morning, I told my grandfather I would see him after school. He said, "I'll see you later." I never saw him again.
The last night my college girlfriend and I spent together, we finalized plans to take a summer school class in Yeats' poetry at the University of North Carolina. She kissed me and whispered, "Tom, I love you." The next day she killed herself.
They may have passed away, but I see them in my dreams. I took their deaths as personal affronts and it took me decades to answer this question: Why did they do this to me? And the answer is, they didn't.
A suicidal mind is overwhelmed by the demons of depression and despair - that create an inner suffering that is unbearable. Thus, they are completely unaware of the consequences of how death will affect…
Sadness and Sorrow of Suicide
The stifling sadness and sorrow has been part of  my life since I was a little kid. I have lost loved ones to suicide - childhood friends, high school and college classmates, neighbors and acquaintances.
At times it feels as though I have been cursed, trapped in some sort of sadistic spell with so many suicides in my life.
And I have also been inflicted with depression and despair, deep and dark - that resulted in a very serious suicide attempt. There is no medical reason why I survived - and I had no Plan B - surviving was not part of my plan.
But after my recovery and as some form of mental clarity return to my mind - I started writing newspaper articles on the sadness of suicide and the suicide epidemic. I wanted to do what I could to prevent suicide and help those who lost a loved one to suicide.
That is why I posted the journal I wrote daily leading up to my attempt and maintained afterwards, on this site - as well as the articles and brief essays. …
Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance
It's Memorial Day Weekend, the start of summer and most importantly, a day of remembrance. They'll be parades throughout the country, colorful floats and marching bands, soldiers and sailors in perfect step - and when the Honor Guard passes, veterans watching will come to attention and salute.
And on the sacred solemnity of Memorial Day, we'll remember the men and women who died for our country on distant shores and lands. Poppies in buttonholes in remembrance of Flanders Field as the band plays the last post and chorus - a reminder of Yeats' words, "many a son and daughter lies, far from customary skies."
We should also remember and say a prayer for our young men and women who survived wars in faraway lands, only to come home and die by suicide.
And our hearts and souls are touched with tears and sadness as we remember our dear loved ones who died so unexpectedly by suicide. Although their deaths devastated us, caused us e…