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Surviving Suicide – Part 20

June 29, 2010


Have really been doing a lot of thinking, sometimes it’s my downfall, about all that transpired and why it transpired and what part I had to play in it. I really feel so strongly that everything happens for a reason, and usually I’m able to let go of the “why”, but it’s resurfaced again lately while doing this blog. I feel so strongly that I am supposed to do this, the telling of my story, yet I can’t figure out how it will help others and more importantly, what I can take from it to help others.

It is helping me heal, so that’s a positive, but I’d so love to know clearly what path I’m to take, how to get out of my own way and discover a way to combine my experience, sharing it with others and being able to come up with some service or product that helps propel those stuck move on. I have a lot faith that something will come to me, and for now – I just have to trust this process and myself.

December 2000 – Rob’s last month:

I left off previously on December 20th, when the shotgun was finally out of my house for good. On December 21st I’ve noted that Rob was over to the house, was in really bad shape and that we called the Suicide Prevention Hotline and had two counsellors over. I was so hopeful they’d be able to have some answers, to know the right things to say to stop Rob from focusing on taking his life, that they’d have a recommendation. We sat in the living room awaiting their arrival and when they arrived and I opened the door, I was quite surprised at just how young they were.

I invited them both in, we introduced ourselves, I gave them a brief explanation of what had been going on as Rob wasn’t in much shape to talk. I filled them in on his previous attempt at the beginning of December, how he’d spent quite a few days in the institution and how upon release, he’d more or less just focused on how he wanted to die.

They spoke in very soft voices, and they spoke to Rob as if he was a child, not being capable of understanding normal adult conversation. There was one male and one female counselor. Both communicated this way. They were asking several questions, Rob was doing his best to answer, but I could see he was getting frustrated and it didn’t seem to be going anywhere or doing any good.

I’m a take charge kind of person and after watching what was occurring, I realized this wasn’t helping. I could see Rob’s body language, his facial expressions, and that he was getting almost irritated. When I realized what they were doing wasn’t helping, wasn’t anything new that hadn’t already been discussed to death with other doctors, social workers, myself – I jumped in.

I began asking questions that I wanted answered, questions that Rob had asked me and was finding that they didn’t really have answers. I knew in my mind that I’d taken control of the intervention, and that this wasn’t at all what I’d been expecting and I had that sinking feeling it was not going to help at all.

At one point I got irritated with their whispery, soft baby voices and couldn’t help myself and told them Rob was highly intelligent, that they were talking to him like he was a baby unable to comprehend conversation and that they should just talk in normal voices. I remembered thinking, do they teach them to speak like that in training, to all use that same soft tone?

Rob really wasn’t wanting this intervention, but when I suggested it, that it might just help, he had agreed. I felt bad I’d even suggested it and at one point asked Rob if he felt this was helping at all and he replied no.

At that point I thanked them for coming out but that it wasn’t helping and wasn’t going anywhere so let’s just call it a day. They asked Rob whether he wanted them to stay or go and he told them to go. I was thinking instead that I would get Rob to see my family doctor and see if she couldn’t prescribe some antidepressants to at least combat what was going on chemically within him.

Keep in mind this was just days before Christmas, a very bad time of year for anyone suffering from depression and mental illness and especially if suicidal. Most places were also on skeletal staff, so fortunately my doctor arranged to see Rob the next day even though he wasn’t a patient of hers.

Rob was pretty much a basketcase at this point, I sure didn’t have the heart to tell him to leave the house, so instead I made him dinner, and talked a lot with him. He spent the night once again in the guest bedroom, and although I wasn’t comfortable with it, I just somehow knew it would be okay and that he couldn’t take being sent away again.

On December 22nd Rob went to see my doctor at 2:45pm. I told him to call me once he was finished, that he needed to be perfectly open and upfront about everything that was going on, so that she could help him the best she could. She prescribed some antidepressants and also gave him a very low dosage sleeping pill and gave him only 10 of those so he couldn’t take them all at once and not wake up.

I had to head to our shop for a bit and had my son with me because school was closed for Christmas Holidays. Rob wanted to come to the house, but I had to tell him I wasn’t comfortable with that as I wasn’t home. That broke my heart too, but I did what was right for my son and I.

I’ve noted that I saw Rob about 2pm the following day on December 23rd and that he looked just awful. Rob had said that he was going to come to his sister’s house for Christmas Eve for our son’s sake. I wondered how he’d manage, but he told my son and I thought that he’d keep his word. I think my son was looking forward to seeing his Dad, he’d not seen much of him.

I’ve noted that at 7pm on December 23rd that I accused Rob of being in my house again, no other notes and all I can recall now why I thought that, was that I noticed the garage side door was unlocked and it was ALWAYS locked. Rob denied it, but so much had gone down that I didn’t believe him. That was the very last time I ever spoke to Rob.

Looking back on my few notes I do have, made me realize that our final conversation had been an accusation, not a nice ending at all.

December 24th I got up and dreaded having to get ready to go to my sis-in-law’s place and be with my in-laws under the circumstances. I did it only for my son, got us ready and drove the almost 1 hour drive to get to her place in the late afternoon. I had not called Rob to see whether he was still planning to go, whether he wanted to go up in the same car, because quite honestly I didn’t want to and was still mad thinking he’d been able to unlock the side garage door and get into the house while I was not there.

As I’ve said before, this whole experience was just one giant rollercoaster of emotions. One minute up, the next plummeting down, sometimes this would happen several times in one day. I learned to seize the up or okay times and be productive.

We arrived at my sis-in-law’s around 3 or 4pm, everyone from Rob’s family was there. My mother and father-in-law, my sis-in-law, even my brother-in-law who I had never gotten along with and was more or less the black sheep of the family was there with his son, my nephew, who is exactly one year younger than my son to the day. My other sis-in-law was there too. I really had to psyche myself up for seeing them all, they asked me whether Rob was coming? I said I don’t know, that he’d told my son and I yesterday that he would, but haven’t spoken to him today. Turns out Rob had spoken to them too and said he’d be there.

As I mentioned previously, my in-laws were German and always celebrated on Christmas Eve. It was usually a high stress time but this time, for some strange reason, everyone was on their best behaviour and got along beautifully. My son got to play with his cousin who he’d not seen in a long time and even though my father-in-law had recently had a stroke, he was doing really well too.

My mother-in-law tried calling Rob several times and I could see she was very concerned. We all opened gifts, then sat down to a lovely dinner and a place setting was there for Rob. We toasted Christmas and my mother-in-law said a special toast for Rob hoping he was okay.

My son and I left after dinner, as we drove home he was in very good spirits, said he’d had fun and it dawned on me, that even with all these horrible events that had taken place in the past month, that it had been one of the nicest Christmases I could ever remember with them. It made me a little sad to think that Rob had missed it. We got home not too late and I put my son to bed, thought about calling Rob, but then decided not to as I was upset he’d not kept his word and shown up for my son. I was just too emotionally exhausted as well. Poured myself into bed and called it a night.

Got up Christmas morning, had my son’s stocking and gifts out for him and he was very excited as he tore into things. After opening his presents, I suggested to my son that he should maybe call his Dad to wish him a Merry Christmas. My son told me “he could call too!” I realized then that my son was quite upset that Rob had not come last night, so I just told him “your Dad is really sick right now, why don’t you be the bigger of the two and just call him, I know it would make him very happy.” My son did call, but only got the answering machine and left a brief message for his Dad.

I was very emotional at this point and started to cry saying to my son, “How awful is this, it’s Christmas morning and I don’t even know if your Dad is alive or not!” I also thought, but didn’t say anything, that Rob had taken off with the girlfriend and couldn’t be bothered even for his son to be there. I regretted saying what I had to my son, but we both had breakfast and got ready to join my family for Christmas Day at my brother’s place. I sure wasn’t feeling much like company, but we got ready, had a really nice time with my family and got through the day. All were concerned Rob had not shown up, but we too made a little toast that he was okay.

I had been calling my girlfriend who had been the one who told me about Rob’s affairs as they lived on the boat beside ours. I was asking if she’d seen Rob at all. She said no, Rob’s car was there in the parking lot, that it hadn’t moved and was covered in snow. My first thought was that he’d gotten back together with the girlfriend, had taken off together for Christmas and hadn’t the decency to let anyone know.

I first called her Christmas Day before going to my family, I called later that night too. At this point I too had left a few messages for Rob, but had not heard back. I was worried, scared and mad all at the same time. I was pretty much burned out.
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Hollywood permalink
    June 29, 2010 8:19 pm

    Hi again Barb,

    After reading your latest post, you stated if you were helping anyone, but that it was at least helping to cleanse you. Well, I think you are helping people, first that someone saying they want to kill themselves is there way of reaching out for help.

    The classes we had in Suidide prevention thaught whether right or wrong I don’t know to this day, but was to approach the person with a tough love approach, that they were being selfish, that afterwards their problems were over, but their loved ones have to continue on with their lives blaming themselves and wondering what they might have done to prevent this.

    Have you given any thought to taking Psychology courses were you might find out the correct Clinical approaches to this problem, I’ll ask our Major Mike if there is anything in the DSM IV for better diagnosing suicide, he’s one quarter away from his Masters Degree.

    I hope my comments are of some help to you, if they are not let me know and I’ll try to cut back, but I do find your Blog very interesting and it may be of help to us in our Addictions Treatment Program.

  2. June 29, 2010 8:46 pm

    Hey Dan,

    I appreciate your comments, it’s always helpful to get feedback. I guess I was doing the “tough love” approach most times, but as I realized how terribly fragile he was becoming, I really did keep harsh remarks to a minimum as I saw no purpose in kicking someone when they’re down.

    I focused instead on trying to find one thing, anything, that would keep him from taking his life. He told me he kept seeing our son’s face when he’d attempted before and that had been what stopped him, so I told him that was good and to keep remembering that. Unfortunately, in the end, even that wasn’t enough.

    I did tell Rob the devastation he would leave behind, how it would just about kill his parents, his family, my family, me and my son, but I believe the pain just got so bad, that his concern for anyone was forgotten and he just became consumed with the thoughts raging in his head and for whatever reason, felt this was the only way out.

    Don’t know whether I’d be interested in Psychology courses at this point, but it’s something to ponder on. I know what I’ve done to cope, heal and move on and that’s more of what I’m thinking to share in a course but haven’t quite gotten a handle on it just yet. Keep hoping something will jump right out at me and clobber me over the head with what exactly to do, but so far it ain’t happening! lol!

    I’m glad you’re finding my blog interesting and it would be such a wonderful bonus if something came out of this for your group as well.

  3. June 29, 2010 10:08 pm

    I cannot even imagine the fear you felt going through all of that.

    • June 29, 2010 10:50 pm

      Hi cancergirl730,

      So glad you took the time to comment! There was quite a bit of fear, but things progressed at such an alarming rate that I really didn’t have time to let fear factor in. I was just on overload trying to stay afloat and stay one step ahead. I’d always been pretty good at putting out fires, but this was one I just couldn’t.

      Hope all is well with you, I’m holding the space for everything to work out for you.

      Take care, Barb

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