Advice on Grief


I’ve blogged about the loss of my late boyfriend, Brian, a lot. But, I haven’t really addressed what it’s like, personally, going through something this life changing in a lot of detail.

Or, if I did, I don’t remember being as this specific about how it affects someone on a daily basis.

This whole suicide grief thing is new to me. I’ve never been through anything like this in my entire life.

Thank GOD for that. I don’t think I could handle it more than once. I don’t know how anyone could, yet people do.

Let me just start by saying it’s a thing you have to deal with, every day, and sometimes many times a day. At first, it’s a constant wave of horror, guilt, unimaginable sadness, disbelief and shock. Then, as time somehow moves along (for us it stands still) the waves start coming at different and varied intervals.

It’s going on 11 months and no…it definitely doesn’t end, here. Most people think you should be over it by now. I mean…haven’t I moved on with my love life? Yes, I have. It doesn’t matter. The pain is still there. The questions, hurt, guilt and every other emotion that is associated with this tragedy is STILL THERE.

It doesn’t go away like magic but, it does fade a little bit. 11 months isn’t really that much time and I’ll tell you that there are moments when it seems like it all happened, yesterday. It’s just that raw and fresh in my head and heart.

I hear and have read that it’s pretty much this way with everyone that has the unfortunate task of wading through this life event. It’s complex grief and often you have such a mix of emotions that it threatens to tear apart the very fabric of your sanity.

I get angry, often, with him. Then, I feel guilty. After that, there is extreme sadness. Sometimes, it’s all around the confusion of the whole mess he was in and I pick apart every minute detail of whatever I can remember during the time when he first saw his ex-girlfriend while going for an innocent walk around Granville Island… and right up until the time I last said good-bye to his very dead self, lying on his bedroom floor with a breathing tube still taped to his mouth and rope burns around his neck.

I comb through all of his texts and emails looking for answers. There are none. I try and see how it could have gotten so bad so quickly but there was no way of predicting he’d really do it after he came out of the hospital and was seemingly doing well.

Not a day goes by that I don’t tear up, my throat constricting in some awful manner making it painful to swallow and breathe. It’s usually while I’m driving to and from work. I think these are my ‘alone’ times so I allow myself to grieve.

There are few precious days where I DON’T cry. Those were busy days and it’s usually when I’m not by myself. I think we push the overflow of emotions away until we feel safe to face them.

Do you stop loving a lover because they’re dead?

The answer is no. It’s also a complicated ‘no’ because I think I’ll always be a little ‘in love’ with him and I’m okay with that. It’s the possibilities that I’ll never see, the future I’ll never realize, that I’m in love with. It’s all of the wonder in a new and budding romance that was cut very short in a violent way. All of these dreams are still with me and I play them like a short movie in my head, stopping now and then to examine every frame of: what might have been.

The -I love you’s- he will never say, the adventures we’ll never go on, the creative endeavors that we started but will never be completed…these are the things I still covet in my heart. This is our story that will never play out. This is why my tears are so many.

For everyone who has lost someone we know and loved/cared about, to suicide, we play it back in our heads over and over and over. We don’t ‘get on with life’ in the same way. We can’t. It’s simply impossible.

We learn to live with the pain and the questions. We deal with the guilt and the lost years with them we will never see in this life. All of us will suffer through it until it is our time to leave this world.

In years to come, I hope that Brian isn’t on my mind all day long, every day. And if he is, I hope that it’s in a very different way. I hope to heal from this.

When do we heal? That’s an individual thing and there simply is no time limit. It will happen if and when it does. It’s as simple as that.

If I mention Brian’s name to family, it’s in passing and very infrequent. I can tell they’re tired of hearing about it. It’s only my very good friends and those who were involved and knew him that I still talk about ‘stuff’, with.

Those that are deep in suicide grief often deal with this; people simply don’t understand and the fact that this is soooooo taboo doesn’t help us. No one wants to talk about it. The worst is when they say hurtful things. This doesn’t help us and in fact, calling someone who completed suicide ‘selfish’, is not only callus but incredibly insensitive.

If you know someone who is going through any kind of grief – give them as much time as they require. It may take a lifetime so be prepared for that. Be kind and gentle. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything; listen instead. Most times that’s all we’re looking for.

Talk to your loved ones about depression, mental health and what suicide is. It’s the misunderstandings and fear around it that make it worse. Educate yourself and then educate others. Talk to your children about death. They will be dealing with it in some form or fashion at some point and being prepared always helps.

Understand that it’s more real than you think and it takes only seconds to change your life, forever.

Understand that those left behind are struggling and are 10 x more susceptible to suicide, themselves.

As with all people suffering in grief, little things set us off. For me, it’s songs that I liked when I was with him, songs that I associated with that time and that remind me of him.

With others it may be smells, places, certain times of the year of anniversaries (birthdays) and such. I will tell you that when we’re hurting, we often live in our own little private hell that we simply can’t share with others. It’s just the way it is.

Be respectful. We don’t want to hear your empty platitudes; they are meaningless to us. We don’t want religion shoved down our throats if we’re not religious and suicide is NOT a sin. It is a choice some people choose and it doesn’t matter if you think it’s right or wrong or somewhere in-between. We don’t care about your beliefs, we only care that someone we loved died and it’s killing us a little, each day, to be without them.

It happens. It’s real and it’s devastating.

This is grief. Our hearts are broken and mending them will take one hell of a lot of love, understanding and patience.

 

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Today’s lesson is brought to you by the letter “R”.


I’m speaking of Religion.

Ohhhhhh, now I’ve instantly pissed off a bunch of people!

Funny, that. It’s even funnier that I really don’t care.

Let me quantify this with my expressed option (and it’s just that – MY opinion) as well as offer up a disclaimer.

Firstly, I am not religious. That means, I do not belong to any one organized belief system about God. My belief system is base more upon metaphysics. Now, let me define exactly what that means, because, I think a lot of folks don’t understand it.

met·a·phys·ics

ˌmedəˈfiziks/

noun

noun: metaphysics

  1. the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.

There, copied and pasted from the Internet.

Are you still with me?

I like to refer to myself as a cosmic girl. I have many beliefs and theories that resonate with me and there are some aspects of religions that gel with me, too. What I don’t practice – is one, specifically. I also spend an exorbitant amount of time researching and attempting to understand all aspects of life and after life. Seriously, I could send you about a dozen links to what I’m investigating.

Therefore, you could not call me a Christian. Nor could you call me an Atheist.

I do, however, believe in GOD – or the One Source. Or any other name you wish to call it. I also believe we, as souls, are all part of GOD. We are all connected. Each and every one of us, along with every other life form on this little blue-green planet.

We’re all in this together. We are all one – and yes, we’re individual, but all part of THE ONE.

At any rate…again, MY opinion.

I will point out that if your beliefs differ, that’s totally cool with me. I respect that and you. You can believe in whatever you like and if the Hindi faith rocks your boat, go for it! It’s your belief, your path, your heart and life. Not mine.

I don’t judge.

I do, however, resent those that do.

Oh! She’s got a point to all of this…!

Yes, yes, I do.

Something really terrible happened to me (and many others that shared his brief life) just over two months ago. The man I loved and adored left the world in a terrible, terrible way. He chose to take his life.

While the complexity of this situation is steep and almost insurmountable at this stage, it’s a simple fact. He’s gone. He’s gone and those that love him are left here to deal with how we feel. Well, I think I can speak for all of us. It’s complete devastation x about a billion. Scratch that – x about a billion to the 10th power.

Yes, it’s really, REALLY… THAT bad.

Moving on…

Those that know me and those that I’ve decided to let into my life during the past 49 years (there aren’t very many, I’m choosy) know how I feel about religion. To start preaching to me, YOUR views, especially at a time like this, is seriously disrespectful. It will make me mad.

So, now I’m mad.

I’ve decided it’s not in my best and highest good to have these people in my life. Now, more than ever, I’m standing up for what people believe in and the right to do so. And, oddly enough, this would include YOU!

I’m talking about a lot of things: sexual orientation, personal rights and personal belief structures – I could go on. If there is one thing my mother taught me, well, it’s to: live and let live.

“Each to his own!” she’s always saying.

I like that. It works for me.

As long as you’re not harming anyone else, do whatever the fuck you want.

I don’t judge.

You shouldn’t either.

It’s not up to you. It doesn’t matter if Brian was an Atheist or a Communist. He was neither, by the way, but raised Catholic. It doesn’t matter what YOU believe in. What matters…is that those that loved him are in a shitload of PAIN so intense that if you’ve never experienced it, you should get down on your knees right this moment and pray to whatever God you worship that you never, ever, ever have to go through it.

We don’t need to be told where to find the Lord/Lady. We already know where SHE/HE is and she’s/he’s NOT lost. We don’t need religious Hymns sent to us and to have you jump onto your soap box and start preaching the WORD.

WE – are not interested in YOUR beliefs.

We do, however respect them so – please respect ours.

If you don’t, you will find yourself not included in our lives from this point on. You will find we won’t communicate with you further and you will find that you no longer have us as your friend.

Yes, I’m breaking up with you. Deal with it.

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