Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sad Weathering - Suicide and Practising Compassion


Photo:  fr.treklens.com/gallery/photo

Suicide.  It's a harsh, ragged, ugly word.  It conjures equally dark, despairing mental images, and finally, it inflicts a quality of pain on those left living that is difficult to quantify.

My family is weathering such an event. It is very fresh, having happened this past weekend.  One of my cousins took her own life.  I will not go into further detail, as I want to respect my family and her beloved memory.  What I want to talk about today is all of the emotion that swirls around this verboten word, verboten act.

Judgment is almost instantaneous when you hear the word "suicide".

  • "Oh, they must've been very weak."  
  • "Suicide is the coward's way out."  
  • "Why didn't they ask for help?"
  • "They're in a better place."  
  • "I'll pray for them, because they're going to burn in hell eternally."
I think most of these are understandable thoughts, human ones. And they are very common to hear after a suicide death, I am learning.  But I will tell you, from my own very raw emotional state, they are unnecessary and they're cruel to speak to anyone who is weathering the fallout out of suicide.  We who are left behind to pick up the pieces do not need to defend the actions of our loved one We do not need to come up with logical answers as to why that loved one made that final decision. No one but that person can answer what thoughts went through their mind that tipped their hand in those final moments.  We need for you to be there for us in support, love and care.  Sadly, this is rarely what people think to offer, or they feel that any of the above comments are somehow going to offer solace.  They do not do that. What gives solace to each of us will differ, but just know that words of judgment are not appropriate or helpful when a family is coping with a suicide death.

In my opinion, anyone who commits suicide is far from weak.  Nor are they cowardly.  Consider the amount of bravery it takes to make that final motion that ends your life - could anyone honestly imagine that a weak person is capable of such a thing?  I think it takes a huge amount of bravery, but I'm sure many will strongly disagree with me.  Weakness is certainly evident when anyone is in such a distressed and despairing state of mind that death appears to be their only viable option, but that is not a weakness of character.  It is a state of mental illness that should engender compassion and understanding, rather than strident jumps to condemnation and judgement.

Why didn't they ask for help?  Good question.  It is one that will torment those left behind for many years, perhaps for the rest of their natural lives.  Perhaps that person DID ask for help, and no one listened, or the plea wasn't recognized as such....those being asked simply didn't realize the enormity of the request.  We all get busy with our daily existence and we brush aside seemingly surface level conversations that later, after a death has occurred, suddenly clarify and show us the depth of pain that loved one was in.  So, we turn that judgment and condemnation inward and the pain is compounded daily, like the interest rate on a bank loan.

Depression is not one dimensional, and it is simplistic to suggest that it can be doctored up and resolved if the person suffering a depression episode just talks to someone. It is different for every person who experiences clinical depression as to how it manifests, but there are some commonalities. 

I can say with a fair degree of confidence that most people suffering a depression cycle who have taken that final step to commit suicide have gone through multiple rounds of therapy, have talked and talked with friends, family and pastors, preachers and spiritual advisors, have put in earnest work on themselves, have taken prescription medications and tried holistic therapies. They've reached out during those initial scary first, second, third and more attempts to take their lives, and if they were lucky to reach out to the right person and they were willing to be talked down off the proverbial suicide ledge, they're still living today. With depression, the reality is that it is usually a repetitive cycle these people experience and it is a grueling, grinding experience that eventually wears them down.  
A mindset that has nothing to do with clear, mentally healthy logic sets in where they convince themselves that the world will be fine, and their loved ones will be better off without them.  
Yes, they know that people will grieve, but they are convinced that this final act of taking their life is truly for the best, and they're doing the world and their loved ones a favor.  The skewed mindset that takes over makes this train of thought sound just convincing enough to that worn down, tired spirit that that terrible final decision is enacted. 

The reality is that if someone you love is set in their mind on taking their life, not much any of us can say or do will have much of an effect other than to delay the inevitable. 
  • Most likely, that loved one has attempted suicide more than once in the past, or they've given a lot of thought to it, or they're dropping hints in conversation that they're contemplating it, and the hints are so minute and purposely veiled that people don't recognize the warning flag. 
  • Most likely, they've cried wolf repeatedly to the point that those close to them become inured to that one final time that they're really serious.  OR, another truth is that they've exhausted those close to them with repeated suicide attempts and those people have run out of ideas to help, support to offer, energy to pour into that bottomless pit of despair that no one but that individual can heal. 
  • There isn't any blueprint for how someone approaches suicide or makes that final choice, but if there is any truth to accept, it is that most likely, nothing any of us might have said or done could have stopped that person from their actions. And because of this, no one should EVER be made to feel guilty because their loved one took their own life!!  

They're in a better place.  Perhaps they are, given that anyone who contemplates suicide is in an obviously dark, despairing emotional and mental space.  I will tell you that hearing "they're in a better place" is not what I want(ed) to hear in those first few hours.  I was blessed to be able to call someone close to me and equally blessed that that person came to my side immediately and stayed with me through the majority of that first awful day.  He didn't offer platitudes, judgments or any of the above comments I've listed.  He was simply there for me.  Allowing me to cry, allowing me to process through the wildly swinging pendulum of emotions, and simply being there for and with me.  That was what I needed.  A familiar face, simple companionship, sincere care and friendship, and the space to process the rawness of grief.  Other people might find comfort in platitudes and surface level statements; I do not mean to throw out my own harsh judgments when I know that every person who utters such platitudes is truly doing and saying the only things they know.  I am sharing here what worked best for me.

I'm not going to dignify the "they're going to burn in hell eternally" comment beyond simply saying shame on anyone who is thoughtless enough to utter such a statement to someone who has just lost a loved one to suicide.  Yes, I heard this statement this week, more than once, and I found it to be the most incredibly ugly,  unnecessary, rude thing I've ever heard in my life.  Please, exercise common sense, people. No one deserves to have to hear such a thing about someone they loved. Prayers are most certainly appreciated, but comments about eternal damnation?  Absolutely not.

Most of us have heard of the five stages of grief:  

1.     Denial
2.     Anger
3.     Bargaining
4.     Depression
5.     Acceptance

Several years ago, I wrote about this whole thing, the grief process, and how it tends to manifest around High Holy Days, how suicides and deaths increase around Christmas and Easter and other Holy Days. (Holiday Stages, 12/21/2009 Healing Morning)  In that article, I discussed the fact that those five stages of grief don't necessarily neatly process for us one single time and get tied up in a pretty bow to be tucked away and never felt again.  In fact, grief is never neat and pretty.  It is jagged and raw and ugly, and has no semblance of logic to it.  Nor do those stages of grief hit us only once.  They revisit in varying degrees over the coming years.  I am well aware of this fact, so I know I will be dealing with ebbs and flows of my own grief process for a while....probably for years.  Right now, I cannot imagine ever reaching a stage of acceptance where I will not miss my cousin with a sense of urgency and bewilderment.

Suicide creates its own well of pain, simply because it is a conscious act, a choice, that most view with the aforementioned condemnation and judgment.  I am certainly not going to suggest it is a good choice, or a rational one.  But I will say that for those left behind to pick up the pieces, understanding and compassion towards the whole situation is the kindest thing anyone can offer.  That means understanding and compassion for the ones left behind AND for the person who committed suicide. 

Suicide also engenders a lot of silence.  People are uncertain what to say when death by suicide occurs.  So, they quite often fall back on awkward silences or those harsh judgments mentioned above. If you can't bring yourself to understand why that person made that choice, and really, none of us can truly understand such a thing, then I would hope you can be capable of extending your heart in a compassionate manner.  Do your level best to keep your judgments to yourself, because they do not belong in the midst of those who are grieving.

My personal thoughts are not of anger towards my family member who took her own life.  Yes, I feel anger, but more towards the whole mess.  I feel anger that she will no longer be here to experience the beauty of our family and the beauty of life.  But more importantly, I am saddened beyond words to express that she's gone.  She's gone forever from our family, that familiar presence that I have always known to be there.  A beautiful, vibrant, talented life was cut short.  She's not here any longer, and I miss her already.  I will miss her for the rest of my life, and I'll have to put conscious effort into learning to live without her.  We are tasked with that chore when any loved one passes, but suicide makes the loss sharper, simply because it wasn't Destiny at work.  It was choice at work.  And it didn't have to happen.  It did happen, though, and my family is left with learning to live without her.  What I feel towards my cousin is love, and what I will always feel for her is love. Compassion. Sadness. A true wish that she had made a different choice. An obvious desire that she hadn't done this and I still had her here with me.  But abiding love is the mainstay.

I am experiencing a flood of memories of this cousin.  Childhood memories, all of us growing up together, and she being our role model.  Bright, happy, beautiful. In the coming weeks, we will have a memorial service during our yearly family reunion. I will be delivering the eulogy for my cousin.  And my own conscious choice is to celebrate her life, rather than dwell on the final dark moments that led to how her life ended.  There is much to put into words, this process of celebrating a life.  Right now, I am not certain how I will accomplish it.  Eventually, the words will flow as they always do, and I will have pages of words to speak in her memory.  The speaking part....that is where I am still unsure how I will do it.  How I will get through it.  Will I choke up?  Break down in tears and be unable to continue?  I hope not, as I staunchly insist that although suicide ended her life, that word does not define the beautiful person she was.

In the wee hours of the night after she left us, I finally calmed enough to check my Facebook page.  The following quote from the Persian poet-philosopher, Rumi, is what resonated strongly for me:

Although I may try to describe Love,
When I experience it, I am speechless.

No words can ever truly capture the essence of that person we each loved, nor can they give voice to the depth of love we feel for them, nor can they express the acute pain we feel when they leave us in an untimely manner.  Perhaps now, words aren't necessary any longer.  Simply remembering her loving Soul, her smile, her laughter, her simple enjoyment of life, her talent, the sound of her voice, the way it felt to hug her, the way she brightened the room, these are enough.

To any who read this who have experienced personal loss of a loved one to suicide, my thoughts, love, and prayers for healing and compassion go out to you. 

53 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Anna. This was a tough one to write and took me several days to even have the presence of mind to string words together. I appreciate you visiting, reading and leaving your love. <3

      - Dawn

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  2. Oh Dawn, what can I say except I love you and will pray for your family that grace will see you through this dark hour. I know that you’ll bring light and lots of love to the eulogy. Remember her beauty, talent, all the unique and lovely facets of her being that you cherish most.
    Sending you a hug from here to there.

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    1. Debra, thank you for being your beautiful, loving self. This is the worst thing I think I've ever felt in my adult life. We've obviously lost loved ones over the years, sometimes unexpectedly, but never to suicide. It goes beyond what words can convey, the pain that we feel as a result, but I did what I always do when I'm troubled...I attempted to write it out. I don't know that I succeeded completely, but it was a step towards healing. The eulogy - that's still ahead of me and I have yet to figure out how to start. I hope to do what you've said here, bring light and love to her memory. Thank you for the hug and your friendship, my darling girl. I love you. <3

      - Dawn

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  3. Dawn, I'm holding you and your family in love and prayer, and my heart aches for your loss. May God surround you all with His comfort and peace and perfect love.
    Blessings always,
    Martha

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    1. Martha, thank you for your beautiful words and emotions. Your prayers are so appreciated, along with the love communicated. I speak for my whole family as well - we need prayer now, and we are thankful to you. Much, much love to you.

      - Dawn

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  4. Dawn,
    I'm so sorry for your loss. Suicide can be very confusing to those who were the closest to that person. So many questions go unanswered.

    Not too long ago my family experienced two suicides within a year. Both young men found by close family members. It shook us all to the core. Many people don't know how to handle suicide, their religion teaches them that it is wrong so they say hurtful things. I feel bad for them really, for having to fear their God in such a way.

    This was a bold and loving post Dawnie. I'm here with you in thought and soul. Sending love and prayer.

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    1. Leah, thank you for your solid friendship and support. It's been a very trying several days. I cannot imagine the pain you felt, going through this same experience twice in the space of one year. My heart and prayers go out to your whole family.

      Thank you for confirming this was the right thing to do, writing this post. I admit that it was a bit more blunt and aggressive than people are accustomed to reading from me, but sometimes it's necessary to be bold. This situation called for it, because I'm certain I'm not the only person to hear these negative thoughts expressed. Suicide is isolating for everyone involved, so I hope what I've shared here will make a difference.

      Thank you again for your friendship, prayers and love, honey. They mean the world to me and I love you. <3

      - Dawnie

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  5. Since hearing of the sad news of your cousin's death, I have not stopped praying for you and your family.

    I have been in your seat several times when it comes to being one of the family members left behind. I can say that I know how you and your loved ones are feeling and the thoughts that flood you mind.

    The conclusion I have come to is that no one, not one person actually knows what a person experiences those last moments, those last few seconds before they have made the decision to end their life of pain. I also believe the "unseen" world is far more real that the "seen" world. There again, I embrace the belief that so much takes place that our minds can not comprehend once they have left their physical body and enter into that spiritual body. The one thing I do know without a shadow of a doubt is God IS LOVE.

    Loving You
    Janie

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    1. Janie, I agree with you - the unseen world is far more real than our seen world. I know that my cousin is well now, surrounded by love and clarity to heal her and lift her up and impart balance. I selfishly wish that she was still here with us, and perhaps that's wrong of me, given how tormented she was at the end. I just miss her and I always will, until I see her again.

      For now, your words, love and friendship have given me some much needed moments of peace and rest. Thank you for the constant prayers and support, sister. I say this from my own heart and from my family. I love you. <3

      - Dawnie

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  6. This was beautifully written, Dawnie. I understand the discomfort some may feel in not knowing what to say (hell, I was kind of like that), but I can't imagine even saying any of those things (especially the last one) to somebody who is grieving for something like this.

    I've been sending lots of virtual hugs and support to you since I first heard about this. They're on a never-ending stream.

    Well-done, my friend. I hope this post helps somebody.

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    1. Dave, your friendship, hugs, support and love mean so much. I understand the discomfort and sense of awkwardness that people feel about suicide, but I am like you. I can't imagine ever being thoughtless enough to say any of the things I've heard this week. I just would never utter such thoughts. We're all different, though, and writing this post was my attempt to get the frustration out of my heart. It helped me somewhat, the writing of it and the response from all of you has helped as well. I echo your thoughts that I hope writing it will help others in similar circumstances.

      I love you, honey. <3

      - Dawnie

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  7. Yes... this... all we need is love.

    In these times, it is best just to reach out with arms and hearts and leave the words until later, after the shock of it all.

    Love you, praying for you.

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    1. Marticus, thank you. Would that everyone embraced your same thoughts, in the same fashion, with the same generous and loving spirit. That you are doing this means more than I can tell you. I don't know when the shock will wear off, but right now it's still very painful. Being embraced with love matters and I thank you, from my heart. If we're fortunate, we have a small group of true, solid friends and family we can turn to in times such as these. I am imminently blessed.

      I love you dearly, honey, and I thank you, along with my whole family, for the prayers. Thank you for being one of those solid friends. <3

      - Dawn

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  8. Dawn, my dear friend, I am so sorry you and your family are going through this painful time. It is hard to come up with words of comfort when a loved one dies and especially so in this manner. Please know that I will pray that you will have the strength you need and the welcoming arms and ears to rest upon when you need them as well.

    This makes my heart so sad as two other young, talented women I knew in passing recently chose this same path and it scares me. We ladies are so strong for others at times, but we need a soft place to fall too. I need to further reflect on this and how I can be better in my own life to be there when people need me. Life is hectic, but we need each other more than ever these days.

    I will be here for you Dawn, if you ever want to talk, just give me a ring. Prayers, hugs and healing mamita.

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    1. Tameka, thank you. I may give you a call in the coming days. Right now I'm still having a hard time talking without falling into tears. That is slowly subsiding, but it is still happening.

      You're right, we as women are strong for others, but we do need that soft place to fall. I'm beyond blessed with how many reached out to me when they got word of this sad happening in my family. People are still reaching out, and it warms my heart and is helping to melt the frozen areas.

      Don't be scared, sister. We're strong and we're still here for a reason. Thank you for holding my hand and loving me. Your prayers and healing energy are appreciated by my whole family. I love you. <3

      - Dawnie

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  9. Also, I forgot to say that this post was one of the most honest and heartfelt pieces of writing I've ever read in regard to suicide. I know this wasn't easy for you to write, but everything you said was from the heart and very educational. Sometimes we say the wrong things out of ignorance and just plain rudeness and it's always good to see another perspective. I think a lot of people will be helped by this post. I'm sorry you had to write it at all, but you honor your cousin when you give of your heart and knowledge this way.

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    1. Tameka, thank you for taking time for this second comment! No, this one wasn't easy and I honestly wasn't sure if I should post it. I wrote it in the very early, very raw stages of grief, and felt it might be a bit too harsh and in-your-face with the energy. I wrestled with whether to post it, and ultimately, I'm glad I did publish. Your words that I honor my cousin by sharing this article give me affirmation that it was the right choice.

      I've said in the past days since she left us that I can't make any choice that will bring her back. All I can control is my own choices and decisions, and my words. I did that here and I truly hope this one will make an impact and have people stopping to think before they speak. I hope it will also help others who are going through similar circumstances.

      I repeat that I love you, dear girl. You are one of my blessings. <3

      - Dawnie

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  10. Dawn,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my brother to suicide in 1998 and although so much time has passed, the pain is still acute. After he took his life I also heard the "he will burn in hell" comments from some of my more religious friends. At the time it made me so angry. I was so raw with emotion that I had no way to put their ignorance in context.

    You have written such a powerful piece here. I write a lot about mental health and suicide for my own blog and serve on the board for the Arizona chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It is my way of turning an awful circumstance into an agent of change.

    Thank you for your touching post.

    Riki
    http://missriki.com

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    1. Riki, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother and what your family had to weather with his suicide. I'm also sad that you had to hear the "burn in hell" comments from others. That is the most horrible thing to have to hear and deal with.

      Given that you have experienced suicide of a family member, and that you serve on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Arizona, your comments about this article are even more appreciated. I am happy to hear that you feel what I shared is and will be helpful to others going through this same experience.

      Blessings to you,

      Dawn

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    2. Btw, Riki, I have visited your blog in return and I cannot find an option to leave a comment. I apologize and will continue to search for that; it may be that you don't have Comments enabled.

      - Dawn

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  11. Well, you know I know a little bit about this, Dawnie. My uncle killed himself and I found him just last November. I never felt compelled to need to defend him, because as terrible as what he did hurt I didn't feel like he did anything wrong. Whatever was in his head was no different than the cancer that inhabited my husband's body, or the fault in my father's heart that took his life. I'd even challenge each and every person to say none of us life a life that is less than suicidal at times. Are you a diabetic who still eats sugar, then you are killing yourself. Are you obese and still eat fast food...it's a slow way, it is passive aggressive, but it's no different, not really.

    We who are left behind will never know why. If we did, if we could get in their heads would we be as strong as they were, and strong enough to live as long as they did with it?

    There is no more shame in this than there is dying from anything else.

    You know you have my thoughts and prayers, Dawnie. And it isn't your cousin's soul I pray for, she has found healing, love, and peace. It is ours who sometimes with our big brains and small hearts cannot seem to just love.

    Namaste, my sister-friend... <3

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    1. Tinker, thank you for your thoughts, prayers, friendship, sisterhood and love. I know you understand this more than most would, given what you've experienced in your own life.

      I don't blame my cousin for what she did either, nor do I think it makes sense for anyone to do such a thing. The only shame occurs when people are thoughtless, rude and judgmental, but I've already addressed those issues.

      I know she is fine, Tinker. I continue to feel her presence each day and I know she's communicating to me as best as she's able right now that she's okay. I will be okay, eventually, as well. I'm not there yet and it will take a while, but I will get there.

      Namaste', Tinker. I love you with my whole heart. <3

      - Dawnie

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  12. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Dawn during this difficult time. ♥

    The problem is that many people do not understand and because of this, they are very quick to judge and wrongly so. I can also tell you that in most cases, the family is the last to know of what the loved one is contemplating.

    I can totally relate of what your cousin may have been going through and I will share a personal story with you once your heart allows. For now my friend, take care and if there's anything I can do for you, please just ask. Love and hugs. ♥

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    1. Derek, I am so sorry to know you've experienced something similar. Thank you, my friend, for reaching out and offering condolences. That's the most appreciated thing you can offer right now - your friendship and understanding. I will be able to talk in the near future, and will be open to hearing your story.

      Thank you for holding my hand right now, Derek. Love and hugs in return. <3

      - Dawn

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  13. hi dawn,
    you may not know me, but i should tell u i feel that u and ur blog post were god sent.
    even i had crossed a stage like this .. with someone in the immediate circle of my family . and even the thought of it is still depressing after 7 years....
    i totally agree when u write that it takes great courage for them to go through with their decision....
    lemme know if i can be of any help....
    ... everytime i thought about putting it down in words, i've been scared that it'll hurt more... but now u've given me the courage....
    keep writing...
    god bless...

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    1. Hello Megs. You are one of the reasons I wrote this post. I thought, if my own experience could reach out to others who have gone through this and make some small difference, it would be worth writing it all out. I've found when I am hurting the most, writing it all out is cathartic, and usually that writing will speak to others in similar circumstances.

      I am not surprised that you still feel pain seven years later. I am in the very first week following my cousin's death and I cannot fathom it ever ceasing to hurt.

      I will keep writing, I promise you. Your words here are encouraging and affirming to me that what I do does occasionally make a difference in the world. For your own loss, I send you love, prayers, healing and encouragement in return. I hope to connect with you again.

      Blessings to you, honey.

      - Dawn

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  14. My heart continues to go out to you and your family. I agree with you one hundred percent that judgement has no place during a time of such tragic loss for loved ones. And truly, sometimes the best gift, the best offer of condolences one can give another is simply to be present during their grief, simply to be there.

    So sorry once again. You expressed yourself and this type of situation so beautifully and well in this post. I think this is a post everyone should read because at one point or another, sadly enough, we will come to know someone who has committed suicide or know someone who is affected by this in their own family or due to a friend who has made that choice. It is helpful to know some of the points you raise, from your own experiences and insights, in this post.

    When I was almost too young to remember, my cousin committed suicide. He was 18 years old. Even till this day , whenever a memory that includes him is brought to life by some family member retelling it tears fill the eyes of those telling and listening to it. Suicide is so very tragic..but we should never judge..we never know what someone is experiencing, thinking , feeling..nor should we feel guilty about not "preventing" them.."should have , could have, would have's" will just drain one emotionally.

    Many blessings and abundant peace and love.

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    1. Jessica, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your own family's experience with suicide. You're right, eventually everyone will have a brush with this very tragic experience.

      I've said many times over the years that I have been blogging, when I am a bit nervous to publish and article because I'm unsure how it will be received and perceived, that is a strong indicator that I've written something worthwhile. Those are the articles that tend to receive the most response. This is one of those articles. I wasn't sure if what I had written would come across as aggressive and unpleasant, because I did write it in the fresh wave of grief. Sometimes fresh grief brings clarity, though, and I managed to write something that is proving helpful to many. That was my goal.

      For you and your family, I send love, prayers for continued healing and peace regarding your cousin. It may have been many years ago that he chose to leave you, but as you've indicated, the wounds never truly heal. Thank you in return for your condolences, blessings and love for my family.

      Much love to you,

      Dawn

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  15. Thank you so very much for sharing each and all of this. People need to know and hear and see what happens to those who are left when one takes their life. I am one who was left and those are the exact questions, comments, feelings that I have experienced. It has been 21 years ago, yet it was yesterday. I live with the grief, the exposed heart for this dear one who had enough, he thought. There are no real answers, but loving them never stops and the personal tragedy is carried. But my life goes on and is made new every morning. I have a life in the Name if Jesus, my Christ. I just loved him like a brother (although he was not a blood brother) and a friend, and I still do.
    Thank you again, for sharing this with so many.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    1. Linda, I'm so sorry you lost someone you loved to suicide. I knew writing this would garner many people who have experienced it, but it still makes me hurt for each of you. It is something I would wish that no one ever have to go through.

      I am not surprised that you still feel pain and grief, 21 years later. It's that type of wound, I think, one that never truly heals because of the senselessness of it all. I am also sad to hear you heard many of the same negative comments I've heard; you would like to think people have progressed in 21 years, but perhaps suicide just brings out the worst in many.

      My prayers and love go out to you and I appreciate you taking time to visit, read and share your thoughts and experiences. I think with each comment in this thread, it provides more of a sense of community for others who may visit, and perhaps help them to feel not so alone.

      Blessings to you,

      Dawn

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  16. Dawn,
    Your post is a true tribute to those left behind and to your cousin because you realize the impact cannot be minimized by words or even emotions but simply will hold its place in time. I pray God gives you blessings in place of grief and hope in place of bewilderment. God bless. Your words have said it all.

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    1. Kathy, thank you. Above all else, I wanted to write something that would clearly communicate how much I love my cousin. No matter what decisions she made, I love her. It makes me happy to know that this resonated for you.

      I so appreciate your prayers and kindness for my family and I know that in time, we will all be well. Changed forever, but we will move forward and remember her in love. To you, dear one, blessings in return.

      - Dawn

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  17. I completely agree with you Dawn, people who commit suicide are far from weak...sad for your loss. Hugs, love and prayers.

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    1. Janu, thank you. This is such a sensitive topic, and everyone has their own opinions about it. When you experience it firsthand, you see a much wider range of those opinions. Thank you for your hugs, love and prayers.

      Namaste',

      Dawn

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  18. I am sorry for your loss. Suicide took my great-uncle's life but, the mental torment that many who attempt or commit suicide has been in my life and the lives of many around me. I am far too familiar with it. As far as suddenly losing someone you love, I can relate... I've lived it more than I care to remember. The universe knows how much I have written about losing a loved one and the feelings and emotions involved. And I am far from done writing about it.

    You are absolutely right in everything you say. People are jerks, plain and simple...they are so stuck in their own world they have no idea that one day it can/will happen to them and someone will say those exact words to them and it will hurt them terribly. It will shake their beliefs to the core and they will be forever scarred by those words that they too said so willingly and hurtfully.

    Don't worry about choking up or not being able to finish your eulogy to your cousin. Let the tears flow, it hurts to lose someone and it's not disrespectful to her life if you cry for your sudden loss. xoxo

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    1. Jenni, thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I'm sorry for the losses you and your family have suffered. These types of genetic tendencies can tear a family apart, sadly - the predisposition to depression and/or mental illness.

      I appreciate your advice about finishing the eulogy for my cousin. When the day of the memorial service gets here, I know that all I can do is my best effort. If I cry in the middle of it, that's what will happen. My biggest goal is to celebrate what made her beautiful, because there was a lot of that.

      Much love to you, honey. <3

      - Dawn

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  19. Hi
    My deepest sympathies to you and your family and her friends etc.

    You are absolutely right to take one's life takes a lot of strength as the body wants to live. I was highly suicidal, but at my lowest point an Angel came to me and that was to trigger my revival.

    When one is that low - nothing matters anymore as you are in so much pain. I have written about my experiences at www.theSarayiahpost.com to try and help others. My article about the Angel is "I Believe In Angels."

    I just want you to know that they are at peace now.

    Love
    Isaac Sarayiah

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    1. Isaac, thank you for sharing your own experiences and thoughts. I think if anyone has experienced a true level of depression, it is much easier to be sympathetic and empathetic to those who do take that final step. The mindset that that level of depression engenders is unique & difficult for anyone who hasn't experienced it to understand.

      I'm happy to know that you experienced an event that stayed your hand and that you're still with us. I wrote this post for the same reason you mentioned; with the intention to reach out to others who are going through this type of experience. I look forward to visiting your website in return

      Namaste',

      Dawn

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    2. P.S. Issaac, I visited your blog and attempted to post a comment, but was unable to sign in/register with that blogging platform. My apologies; I did want you to know I visited and read through a couple of your most recent posts.

      - Dawn

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    3. Hi Dawn
      What issues did you get as others have registered without a problem? All I can say is retry and make sure you are following the steps correctly.

      If you have a problem I can be contacted via the contact me page on my blog www.theSarayiahpost.com.

      Isaac
      xx

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  20. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Sending you my hugs and a lot of love today. I haven’t experienced losing a relative this way, though I’ve experienced the death of a relative by an unexpected crime, which we felt he didn’t deserve at all. During such times, we who are left also die a little bit inside and grieve for that part that is lost with the ones we loved. What has given me comfort is that though we have lost that part of ourselves, we are also able to hold on to that part which our departed loved ones forever left in our hearts.

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    1. Joyce, thank you for sharing your own thoughts and experiences. I send you blessings and compassion for the loss of your loved one to a moment of crime. It is timely that you have commented on this post; we are saying goodbye to my cousin this Saturday at a memorial we have planned to coincide with our yearly family reunion. I agree with you that we do hold those loved ones in our hearts eternally. Our hearts will always remember them, and that eventually brings peace and acceptance. It is my intention to celebrate my cousin's life this weekend.

      I send you love and hugs in return & thank you so much for taking time to add your energy to this thread.

      Namaste',
      Dawn

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  21. It must have been so difficult for you to share something like this with us. Maybe the ones who left us, were in so deep a pain that they could never even believe that theirs was a situation that could be handled or addressed by someone they trusted. Such a harsh sad truth of our lives.. :(

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    1. Bhavya, oddly, this post wasn't difficult to write. It poured out in about fifteen minutes, borne out of frustrations with all the negative comments I had been hearing. I thought that if I was feeling that frustrated, this had to be a common occurrence for others who have experienced a suicide death, and I felt it needed to be addressed. Since I first wrote this piece, it has been picked up by several Suicide Prevention chapters here in the U.S. and I have received feedback that it has been helpful. That was my goal, and I'm glad that it continues to offer some wisdom. Thank you so much for visiting!

      - Dawn

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  22. I agree with you. People who take their own life is so courageous. And they had the courage to end it up with a second, but the hard reality hit us, the onlookers, when we think that we just couldn't do anything for them.

    Hugs and prays to you dear!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, hugs and prayers! I don't know your first name, so I apologize for that lack of address here. Suicide will never truly make sense to any of us left behind. It's a horrible thing for anyone to weather. My efforts here were to address the lack of logic that people outside the immediate situation tend to apply without thinking. You chose the best and kindest approach with your comment - you offered kindness and understanding word, and gentle wishes. That, in my opinion, is the best and most loving thing we can do in situations like these.

      Blessings back to you,

      - Dawn

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  23. Dear Dawn, I am extremely thankful to you for this post. People say that committing suicide is the easiest way out from all the pain and worries. But in my view, one certainly takes this drastic step when there is no turning back from the pain, dejection or unknown complexes.

    The point which you have highlighted"
    Why didn't they ask for help?" has hit home and makes me wonder, Is it difficult to understand the signals? What does one do when it is difficult to ask for help?

    I know i have many queries whirling in my mind. I am very sorry for your loss and wish you find the peace and the quietude to deal with the loss.

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    1. Sunita, thank you so much! It has been a little more than a year since we lost this family member to suicide. I've gone through a lot of the First Year Anniversary moments and am doing pretty well. The truth of it is that it will never stop hurting and most of it will never make sense completely.

      Regarding the question of "why didn't they ask for help?", I guess it varies per individual story. And there are so many thoughts to offer up. Vanity, insecurity, pride, fear....well, ALL of it is fear-based, if we look closely enough. People who are that depressed and emotionally compromised aren't thinking logically, and everything they are feeling becomes a huge, insurmountable task. They feel ignored, marginalized, forgotten...just completely alone. And they apply a very twisted logic to convince themselves the world would be a better place without them. In that process, they begin to give up and stop asking for help. It's sad beyond belief.

      I appreciate your loving words, and I wish you peace and blessings in return.

      - Dawn

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  24. Hugs dear. I shall refrain from commenting but can only say that may you and your family get the strength to cope with her death and I am sure she will always be with u. I too hate people being judgemental.

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    1. Thank you, Vishal. Our family is doing well these days; it's been a bit longer than one full year since this loss happened. I hope that all of us are finding ways to deal with the loss in a positive manner. It can be challenging, even years later, unexpectedly, but that's the nature of loss and grieving. Thank you for the hugs!

      - Dawn

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  25. My hugs to you, Dawn, and I was in tears.. You have expressed the pain of those left behind so well, but more importantly, you have offered dignity to the one who left.
    I salute you.
    This is how it is, and this is how it should be. Let us respect their decision, and pray for their souls, rather than judging them and making such uncouth and uncivil comments.

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    1. I apologize that I don't know your first name to address you; I wasn't able to find anything on your blog about that.

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts on this topic! I appreciate your comment that I offered dignity to my cousin. That was my goal - to find a way to stop the ugly judgments and behaviors and replace them with positive ones.

      I appreciated your article on suicide, also. You gave voice to what I am expressing here, that there is a different, rational and kind manner of responding. I hope that more people embrace that mindset.

      - Dawn

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