Real thoughts and real conversation about the seduction of suicide following a child’s death.
You may recognize more than one of these internal scripts:
- I have failed my child.
- I can’t live without seeing my child’s face.
- I can’t live in a world where my child is a statistic now.
- No one needs me now. My life has lost purpose.
- My future – as a mother, as a father, as a step-parent, as a grandparent – died with my child.
- I have regrets for things not said/done/realized before the death.
- I should have prevented it.
- I am alone. Other people grieve, but cannot share MY grief or make it less. They do not understand the depths of my grief.
- My energy is gone. My will to live is gone. All around me, I see and feel the sadness and emptiness.
- The world failed me. God failed me.
- I am only living now for my other (children, spouse, partner, family, friends, profession). I am no longer living a life worth living for me.
- I failed my child. (It usually begins and ends with this).
This dialogue around the question “why live?” is the best I can manage.
I am alone.
You are not alone. You are there and I am physically in another space and time, but we are together now, and I am reaching out to you.
I want to die. My soul was lost alongside my child’s physical existence.
Your death will not mediate another death. It will, however, contribute to the grief already in the world. Please reconsider.
The rest of the world is not my concern right now. The absence of my child in my life is my focus and reality.
Time is a dimension. Is there is a psychic energy that outlives death, in another dimension? If so, the possibility of eternity takes new meaning. You may have eternity to be with your child in your future. You also may have a purpose and meaning for your life and journey in the here and now.
I don’t believe that. Even if I want to, my pain prevents me from hoping for anything now. I hoped and expected to be buried before my child.
We all hoped and expected that. And there are many of us here now, with you in spirit and in pain, but still present to be here with you. We are asking you to step back from the edge for today. For this morning, this afternoon, this evening. Whatever time brings you to the edge now. Please step back.
I can’t do this. I can’t bear this any longer.
You can. It is a choice for you. No one can think clearly from a position of pain. We respond, instead, reflexively. This hurts – make it stop. You need time to grieve between the loss and scarring. The suffering, misery, heartache, sorrow, anguish and nothingness will diminish, but that is too far ahead for you to see now. So focus on this minute. Step back from the edge and chose to live this minute and you can do it. You can. Choose it.
My child is dead. I can’t believe it. I can’t process it. I can’t accept it.
What you feel is the finality of a door slamming shut. It stuns, shocks and bewilders. The door is death. I see the death, too, like a door in a door frame. Turn the door it its frame sideways. What is on the other side of the door? Nothingness? Happiness? Reunion? What are you seeking?
Anything would be better than this. Even nothingness.
Step back from the edge. If you lack faith, you are seeking it, even if it is only a questioning about what lies on the other side of the door. Here is a beautiful expression of my faith: When you come to the edge of all the light you have known and are about to step out into the darkness, faith is knowing one of two things will happen… there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly (Richard Bach).
This moves me toward the Footprints in the Sand assurance: A person is walking on a beach with God; they leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them. [Says Wikipedia:] “Looking back, the tracks are stated to represent various stages of this person’s life. At some points the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the character’s life. When the person questions God about this, believing that God must have abandoned his follower during those times, God gives the explanation: ‘During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you’.
If you can’t find faith in a higher authority right now, can you find the ground to stand on, the permission to be carried, or the wings to fly above this misery without abandoning yourself and your next purpose? It sounds easy and patronizing, even borderline intrusive to ask you, but I know it is hard. I ask you sincerely to try.
I don’t know….
You don’t know. Step back from the edge. You can. Choose to step back and if you have nowhere else to put your trust, put it in those of us who continue to do this day after day. We are here and we have scars, but we have love and light in our lives again, too. If not healing, we promise you scarring. And we keep our children’s memory alive and their presence real in the world with every breath we take. Please. Step back from the edge.
Contact the author for permission to link or post; copyright 2009: Jody Glynn Patrick