Sometimes the pain is hard to bear.
I’m very tired tonight.
This blog is for me. I share it for other survivors to read and hopefully interact with it. I have to remind myself of that… That I shouldn’t hold back because everyone that knows me will worry about me.
Friends sometimes say things that seem insensitive. I’ve been learning to forbear. I’ve been learning to be more realistic. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many loving people. How can they always know what the right (“right?” According to whom? Me apparently) thing to say is and more importantly what not to say? Their only child is not dead. How could they know? And even if their child was dead how could they know? The world does not revolve around me. Everyone is different. Everyone. They have their lens they view the world through. I have mine. Mine is no more right than theirs is wrong. So how do we get along? How do I respond? I can think of plenty of partial scripture verses that help answer that. I’m too tired to search for them in order to make them complete but I can let You lovingly challenge me nonetheless…
Let us regard others as more important than ourselves.
Banging (or is it clanging?) cymbals… All those gifts that mean nothing without love.
Jesus washing the disciples feet.
Bear one another’s burdens.
Encourage one another, forgive one another, serve one another… Lots of “one another’s.”
God told Job to pray for his lame ass friends. (Perhaps to keep his heart from becoming bitter towards them?)
I want to be free from all these rules I live by and I expect others to live by. The rules are an ongoing dialogue all on their own pinging around in my mind. Sometimes I’m not even aware of them until one is broken. It’s been like this to varying degrees for as long as I can remember. A new layer of complexity was added when Drey died. Now there’s the frequent dialogue that assesses if I’m grieving “right” or if my friends are supporting me “properly.” “How could they say something so insensitive. Don’t they know how they’re making ME feel?!”
I am so eager to pass moral judgement on every decision, action or comment. Why is everything always right or wrong? How sweet it’d be to just embrace some things simply as they are without giving them a pass or fail grade.
My friend was not deliberately trying to be hurtful. And I am not “wrong” for being hurt.
Sometimes it’s hard when someone complains about their “hard life” to me. But other times when someone complains – confides – I’m grateful that I’m being treated like a friend and not a fragile basket case. I didn’t realize until recently why I react inconsistently…
If you have not acknowledged the death of my son just shut up about your “hard life.” How’s that for brutal honesty? I’m not talking about people who didn’t even know me when my son took his life. I’m saying there are people who were part of my life that simply never acknowledged it. Recently I got an email from someone – who had never said a word about Drey – about what a hard time they’re having because they’re going through a divorce. Divorce sucks big time. And it is very painful. But honestly if you didn’t have 5 minutes to call, text (or god forbid you actually show up at the funeral!) then don’t reach out to me about your hard life. That probably sounds rough. Maybe I’m bitter. I don’t know. How bout if I’d at least get a “I never reached out when Drey died because I didn’t know what to say but I thought of you often” before the whining about your “hard life” starts?
Grief sucks. I truly get that it’s awkward to reach out to someone who’s facing the unimaginable. I am confident I said insensitive things to grieving people before 8.8.12. And in all fairness there may have been times I didn’t reach out at all. We say, “what could I possibly say that would be helpful?” And “they have others that are closer to them “handling” this situation so I don’t need to be there.” But let’s not kid ourselves – these justifications we tell ourselves are simply self-protection and have nothing to do with the bereaved parent who’s curled up in a ball in the corner of the kitchen sobbing. More realistically my pre-8.8.12 thoughts were, “What if the person cries the whole time I’m there? What if I don’t know when to leave? I just can’t see my happy go lucky friend in that emotional state. I don’t want to see them because I’ll feel completely helpless.”
I’m grateful for the comfort-level I now have with being with grieving people. It’s one blessing that’s come out of this wreckage. I am also grateful beyond words for all the support I received especially in those first several months. Including from a few people that hardly knew me – Jan, Deanna, Trish, WS folks! That made a huge impression on me! I treasure the ways God redeems this tragedy on this side of heaven.
And for those folks that have yet to acknowledge Drey’s death and choose to reach out now to share their “hard life” circumstances with me? Kiss my ass. (Can you see the light of Christ shining from me? Ugh… I’m a work in progress! Praise God for His mercy!).
I had lunch today with Father Leo Connelly. Father Leo delivers death notifications with the Sheriff’s department – including in the case of suicides. As our work continues towards launching a first responder LOSS team I’ve met a lot of people I never imagined I would.
Father Leo had a lot of good information. I learned more about how Law Enforcement is structured, other agencies I may want to connect with and about different scenarios he’s been in. Most importantly I learned to expect we’ll need to “prove ourselves” so to speak as valuable at a crime scene. Father Leo talked about the ministry of presence and how important it is. But that’s hard to understand unless you’ve lived through a tragic death of a loved one. There are no words to make it better. None. But knowing someone is there with you – some times perhaps just sitting silently – is impactful beyond words. Especially when the person sitting with you is also a survivor of suicide loss. Just small comments Father Leo said… like how sometimes when he goes to a scene he is initially an unwelcomed intruder that surely just told the family a bad joke rather than the truth. But by the end of his time there he is no longer an unwelcomed stranger. Most of the time he never knows if his presence was valuable in some small way. But that doesn’t keep him from moving forward in serving others in this way. What an important ministry. Through meeting people like Father Leo I’m becoming more equipped – and learning how to equip others – to be part of a LOSS team.
I feel God’s hand in this. I can’t explain it but I do sense it… It’s not moving along in my preferred time table (we would’ve launched the LOSS team and hindsighted what’s working & what’s not by now – and you can bet the “what’s not working” part of the list would’ve been way longer!) I’m confident it has been God’s timing. I hope as people read this and other blogs about the LOSS team that they’re praying about it… that God would continue to open doors to these important Postvention efforts. I know this is my personal journey and my personal passion. Not everyone carries the same depth of concern for complete strangers that have lost someone to suicide that I do. We are all shaped by our own personal circumstances and experiences. I hope I can be a diligent prayer warrior for my family and friends as they pursue God and as they pursue the good works He’s given them to do.
And for anyone reading this that knows me fairly well… Yes, I successfully enjoyed a meal and conversation with Father Leo without any colorful language 🙂