Yesterday evening as I was cooking dinner, I had my iPad charging on the bench alongside my workspace. Whilst waiting for the vegetables to finish cooking, I flicked onto FB where I found a post from the Breakfast Team at my favourite radio station with the shocking news that the husband of one of the announcers had committed suicide. Also mentioned was that he had been suffering depression for some time.
I don’t know this woman personally however I have listened to her for a large number of years. Prior to being on this station, she was with another station and I listened to her there also. Over the years she has shared her life with her listeners. We have shared in her joy at the birth of her boys and laughed as she recounted conversations between her and her husband over numerous every day issues.
Last year I had the privilege of meeting her and author Frances Whiting in a small group that shared high tea and discussed Frances’ book “Walking on Trampolines”. As two of the characters in Frances’ book suffered depression, this was one of our topics of discussion. I was able to participate knowing what depression is and what it does. I too have considered suicide as way out of the pain. I too have watched as loved ones struggle with this horrid mental illness.
As I said, I do not know this woman but I have met her. And the news of her husband’s death rocked me to the core.
I sympathise and empathise with her.
Losing anyone you love is difficult. I have lost many in my life in sudden and tragic circumstances. Losing someone you love to suicide (after depression) can only be equally tragic. I can imagine how I would feel if my son had been successful in his own attempt at ending his life a few weeks ago.
This morning as I was meditating, I felt that I had to blog about this.
So I have written an open letter to anyone who is grieving after the loss of someone to suicide and depression.
My heart goes out to you at this time as you struggle to understand what has happened. No doubt there is a raw and gaping wound in your own heart that you feel will never be healed. I am not going to tell you that it will heal completely because no wound inflicted like this ever really heals. There will be scarring and that scarring will still cause pain at times. Usually when you least expect it.
As you go through the motions of life each day, your heart will hold back until it is ready to join life once again. It has suffered and will not easily trust or love for some time yet as it fears breaking once more.
Be gentle with yourself.
You will find that as the days go on, you will begin to live a different kind of life. It will never the be the same as it was before, so don’t expect it to be so or be disappointed that things have changed so much. You will begin to live a ‘new kind of normal’. It will not the be same ‘normal’ as others but will be what works for you.
Be accepting of this.
You are probably wondering what you could have done to stop your loved one leaving this life. This is normal.
But please, please don’t castigate yourself. It is not your fault. It is not anyone’s fault except that of depression.
Be forgiving of yourself.
So many ‘what ifs’ are probably coursing through your brain. But ‘what ifs’ won’t bring your love back. ‘What ifs’ serve only to drag you down so please don’t engage with those thoughts.
Be at peace within yourself.
As you struggle to understand, please know that the one you love more than likely did this because of how much they loved you. The lies fed by depression are insidious and ugly. Depression tells a person that they are not enough for this life and those that they love will be far better off without them.
Depression intensifies any feelings of guilt associated with even minor events or situations. These feelings of guilt are then magnified out of proportion by a mind that is ill.
Depression robs a person of joy; real deep and meaningful joy.
You may have seen your loved one laughing or smiling. Depression doesn’t completely stop a person from living life when in the company of others but it sneaks back and sits at their feet when they are alone with their thoughts.
It robs a person of seeing the beauty in life by hiding it under an impenetrable black cloud.
Depression is a thief and a liar.
Please know that if the person you loved wasn’t suffering so much, they would never have left you. They just couldn’t see the sunlight that was right there behind those seemingly insurmountable black clouds.
Be angry at depression but don’t be angry with your loved one.
At this time, you may have many of these same feelings as you deal with this loss.
Know that these feelings will pass although it doesn’t feel like they will right now.
Over the coming days you may find yourself alternating between deep sadness and anger. This too is normal. Let your emotions run free. Do what you need to do to get through this time in your life.
Be comfortable with expressing your emotions.
Please know that you are surrounded by people who love and care for you. Reach out to them. Hug them and be comforted by this love. Hold fast to the knowledge that you were also deeply loved by the person you have lost.
Be comforted by the love that is around you.
On the day that you arise and see the sun a little brighter than it was the day before, know that healing is taking place.
Life will never be the same as it was before but like a butterfly, you will emerge from this cocoon of sadness as a stronger and more beautiful being.
Be strong. Be beautiful.
Be at peace.