As life continues to grow into a beautiful creation that I have been honored to be a part of, I also know how fast life can come to an end. It’s end result is nothing less than a devastating blow to all who are intimately involved. Again my close circle of friends has lost a member. In our time she was and will always be remembered as a fun loving, vibrant, fiercely loving friend, to all who knew her. Her love of family and of her husband (who died just 3 years ago) was not a hidden fact, she spoke of them constantly and the glow of her pride for them was extremely evident. I can only hope and pray that her family knows how much she was loved by all of us, not just her immediate circle. With that being said, Shirley, may you rest in peace my friend, continue dancing your way into the arms of John, I know he is there waiting for you.
I understand that death is forever. There is no wishing on a magical star to bring your loved one back, there is no magic potion for that. The only gift of grief we have is the memories that creep into our hearts at the most needed of times. To believe that being with them at the most anguishing time is one that I have felt myself, personally. I have gone through the mind set that my happiness was over and the only way to feel it again was to be with my loved one, at that moment. Yes, suicide is something that I had contemplated and as I sit here breathing, listening to some music and typing on a keyboard, I thank a very dear friend for saving me when I had no worth in myself to save.
Nobody can tell you what you are feeling, how you should feel or how long that feeling should go on. They are not you. They are not living in your mind, your sorrow, your grief. They do not know what you have seen, what you have heard, what you have been through and even, what you may have done. It is not up to anyone other than yourself to come to terms with what part of your soul has been ripped away, what part of your heart has an empty space or what void in time you have yet to recover.
For whatever reason is upon us, the suicide rates are beyond imaginable. Sure, we can blame it on the easy access to the internet, too much social media, bullying not only on a personal and physical level, but with the internet widely available, cyber bullying. Perhaps it’s due to our children not having a mentality to survive a normal (what we consider) breakup with a love interest. Perhaps it’s due to the entitlement phase (getting everything without working hard and obtaining it for themselves), when something doesn’t work out immediately and in a way that it was demanded, then it’s too much to grasp and lashing out seems the only recourse. And then there is what is known as Survivors Guilt. Honestly, with the way this world is turning out, I would not want to even consider having any children, if I were at a younger age and living in the current state of events.
This next part may or may not piss off some people. I mean no disrespect in the memory of any person lost to loved ones by means of a violent act. I have a strong faith in love, of God, of my being who I am. So here goes.
When tragedy hits the mainstream, in most cases people respond with ‘God has or had a purpose’ or someone was in the wrong place at the wrong time. No, I don’t believe that. I don’t believe God has a purpose for us beyond living to the best of what we are afforded, in love, in his or her eyes. I believe that those who survive an attack were in fact, in the right place at the right time… they survived because they were not in the line of fire or whatever means was being used as a deadly and destructive device. I believe that horrible tragic events need to stop being placed at the feet of God. God doesn’t have a purpose for us to see how fast we can dodge bullets, or flee a building that has been bombed, hell, God does not look down upon us individually and mark our purpose in life to be a janitor, loan officer, teacher, student, police officer, etc… We make that decision with the path of our life that we chose to follow. Just as God does not choose who will live and who will die during a mass shooting. The scenario is, the closer to a shooter you are, the likelihood you are to die if the murderer is shooting indiscriminately. In some cases perhaps you were less than an arms length away and you survived because the shooter, in his or her evil twisted mindset, was not focused on just one person, they are trying to destroy as many lives as they can in a short period of time.
What a person goes through immediately following a senseless act of violence or something emotionally and or physically charged, is something that will never truly be understood by those who have not lived it. Yes, you can have multiple people who have been in the same scenario, but every single person is going through their own hell. Coping with death, survivors guilt, fear, everything that becomes a part of their lives is now something they are dealing with on a daily basis. Even if they appear to smile more then they cry, that is a coping mechanism, it comes with years of growing up and being told that we need to cope with our frustrations, suck it up, move on, crying is a weakness, etc….
What good comes out of suicide? It doesn’t improve what you are feeling inside, it just continues on in the lives of those you leave behind. My suicide contemplation thankfully was never more than a thought, all-be-it, one that I honestly can’t say would not have taken place if it wasn’t for Joe, but still, finding myself that upset, that depressed was something that I would not wish on my worst enemy. I had lost a child, had lost the love of my life and discovered that the love I had been living was nothing more than a lie, to him, our relationship meant nothing, it was a joke and he did nothing to hide that belief at the end of our time together. When I walked out that door for the last time, it felt like he was on a mission to make me feel as insignificant and worthless as a woman, as a person before that door closed behind me. He had finally managed to break me down, completely.
Through the years, climbing back up seemed next to impossible. But I learned through counseling and my pastor, I needed to learn how to take steps back up, trying to take a long stride up to get me to the top faster wasn’t going to happen. I needed to stop living my grief through the eyes of those around me. I needed to work through my disheveled life for my family, my children and most importantly, for me. I needed to be okay with breaking down completely, screaming, yelling, cussing, taking long walks and telling people to go away when I needed them to. I needed to learn that even in a crowd, it’s okay to feel the heartbreaking sorrow, hell, there is nothing harder that being surrounded by close friends and feeling so very much alone. Those moments made me feel guilty for tricking them into believing that I was okay, that I was handling everything… that I was moving on.
Nobody can predict a future, even the most drugged out person can overcome their addiction and prove to themselves that they are strong enough to do it. Being a survivor is not something to feel guilty about it. You weren’t chosen to survive because you were considered better then anyone else around you, circumstances beyond your control played a big part of that outcome. Surviving is not about revenge, it’s not about turning the tables on someone who has hurt you and making them feel the same way they made you feel. But if you feel as if you need to make a point, then show them how much you have overcome despite their attempts to destroy you. Show them how you found your self Love, your strength and your deep desire to live for yourself. There is no sweeter revenge then showing all who have doubted you just how successful you can be, without them.
Trust me, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t thank all the people in my life for being there for me, when I let them in. Instead of holding on to the guilt and pain, I discovered that I was not the only woman in the world going through such pain and together, we brought it out in the open, honest communication was key and now, we have an open door policy for others who are going through similar situations. The worse thing you can do is bottle up your feelings. Don’t get mad at people for not understanding your situation, they don’t understand what they don’t know. It’s up to you to help them understand it, walk them through it and perhaps, help yourself in the process. Basically, if you don’t give others a chance, you will never know if you truly can or can not find happiness again.
It’s been 15 years since my thoughts of finding what I thought was peace. Looking back now, peace wasn’t what I was looking for, I was looking for an easy out. Through communication, love and understanding and yes, patience, a lot of patience and the occasional step back or two, I have a wonderful life. I have a great man who loves me unconditionally, I have a career that values all the work that I do and a warm, loving home with two of the biggest, sassiest fur-babies ever known to man…
Don’t give up hope in your self, your life, your family. If something is weighing heavy in your heart or on your mind, please, open up, talk about it, scream about it, just anything that doesn’t include cutting yourself off to the rest of the world because you don’t want to upset those around you. Perhaps upsetting your circle of friends or family is actually what is needed, it’s what you need to do.