Surviving Suicide – Part 40
I belong to many suicide prevention pages on Facebook and some grief pages as well. I see much pain pouring out over death and loss and see so many grieving that I just wished I could wave my magic wand and ease all their pain and turmoil. I’ve pondered many times why we as a society deal with death and loss so poorly. I have always viewed death as part of life, it will happen to every one of us at some point, so we all know it’s inevitable. Makes me think why aren’t we then better prepared or equipped to deal with it?
So why is is that we seem so unprepared, so caught off guard, so surprised and shocked? Certain circumstances are more overwhelming than others and can catch us totally unprepared in any way. Those I clearly understand because it truly is a surprise or shock when someone apparently healthy dies suddenly. For those with prolonged illness, where it is anticipated that death will be the end result, it still somehow is different when they die, not unexpected, but still hard to deal with.
Since losing my husband to suicide just over 10 years ago now, I’ve learned that everyone handles death and grief differently. I’ve learned to respect everyone exactly where they are in that moment in their journey of grief. Some are very open discussing their loss, others absolutely silent about it. I do not pry if they don’t want to discuss it, just offer my condolences and let them know I’m there to listen should they feel so inclined. I have also learned that grief is part of the healing process, it comes to each of us differently, but needs to occur in order to move forward. Pain most often accompanies grief, so it too must be gone through to start the journey, so waving my wand if I had one, would not really be beneficial.
One page I belong to has such an amazing, healthy approach to loss and grief. Her FB fanpage is called “Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief” and says so clearly what it’s all about. Our loss or someone leaving our physical world is with us for a lifetime. Ashley Davis (Prend) Bush, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and grief counselor. She has been working with grievers for over 22 years. She has such insight and in my opinion, treats death, loss and grief in such a healthy way, acknowledging everyone as unique and in varying stages of grief. I encourage you to check out her FB page as well as her website. I’ll post her under my Resources/Links page of this blog too as it’s an extremely helpful resource.
January & February 2003 – Life Goes On!
January 10th I’ve noted my Mom had her colonoscopy. Ten days later on January 20th, the results were in and it was confirmed she had colon cancer and would require surgery on February 11th. A follow up CATSCAN was scheduled for January 27th. Not good news at all! She was scared, but took it like a trooper and I felt she’d be okay very strongly.
January 21st I had scheduled a follow up appointment with a social worker who had seen my son shortly after my late husband Rob had passed away from suicide. Once again many were telling me it wasn’t “normal” how he didn’t really react or grieve his Dad, I believe the school also felt he was depressed, his grades were falling and they felt he might have ADD (attention deficit disorder). I was told by the social worker that my son was fine, that he needed to get more outdoor activity and to restrict his computer access and assured me it was not related to Rob’s passing or ADD which so many felt he had. Gotta love self proclaimed experts!
Finally got around to notifying Workplace Safety & Insurance Board January 22nd that I needed to close both my corporate as well as personal account for my babysitter/housekeeper which had ceased as of September 2002 in both cases, so that was nice to get done.
January 23rd my buyers for the boat deal that fell through contacted my lawyer saying they were getting ready to file papers in court re getting their deposit back, but wanted to talk first. Their lawyer, now the 3rd one we’d dealt with, knew little about the deal so my lawyer informed him. 😦 Their lawyer said he’d look into it and get back to my lawyer. How on earth you’d go to file on a case you knew nothing on was beyond me and my lawyer, but my lawyer said he’d call to follow up on January 28th.
January 27th I had a meeting with my son’s school Principal as well as his Home Room teacher and Literature teacher. My son attended a private school and was in the regular class level and they now wanted to downgrade him to the Academy level. They all felt my son was depressed or had ADD, although I assured them he’d been checked out by the social worker who clearly said that was not the case. They said they’d decide by March 7th and that the Principal would have a discussion with my son about the Academy level that day. I said no, I did not want them delivering this news to my son without me present, that I would tell him myself, which I did later that day after school. My son was most upset by this stating “Academy! that’s for dummies!”. The school also thought karate would be something to get my son into as well.
I spoke to my life coach about it all as he knew my son a bit too. He suggested I encourage my son to think in a “win/win” way, not “win/lose” as he was inclined to. He also pointed out computers teach a lot and many adults still viewed them negatively thinking the children only use them for gaming. He also recommended tai chi over karate as he felt it taught more discipline, but suggested I not restrict the computer today as there was already more than enough to contend with and I might overwhelm my son with it all.
My son thought I was “freaking out!” and overreacting to his declining grades. I was frustrated and angry he wasn’t doing his homework and allowing his grades to fall as he was extremely bright, just not applying himself. I arranged a brief meeting with my life coach with both my son and I late in the day at Starbucks. My son loved their taizo chai tea and it was a relaxed atmosphere, conducive to a good chat.
My son and I both signed up for a tai chi class, thought it would be good for both of us and also to do something together. It was interesting and a lot harder than it looked. We started classes February 5th and each class was 2 hours long. There were so many positions to be learned, my son took to it far better than I and had much better balance than I did.
February 6th I got a call from Bridgestone/Firestone Head Office from their lawyer who I couldn’t stand. She said I owed a phone bill and about another $1000 for property tax. This was 6 months after vacating their premises. They still held a Letter of Credit of mine and threatened to cash it although what I owed was far less than the Letter of Credit. Pressure tactics which I despise. I turned it over to my lawyer to deal with.
February 11th my Mom had her colon surgery, everything went very well and the cancerous section was removed successfully. The surgeon felt he’d gotten everything and they’d keep a very close eye on things for a while. I was so relieved. We’d all gone up the night before, had to be up very early and all went to the next town over from hers for the surgery. We came back to my Mom’s place for a bit of a lay down as we were all exhausted, but really couldn’t sleep. Went home that day as a snowstorm whipped up, had a harrowing drive back with my brother, but felt glad Mom was okay.
February 14th (Valentine’s Day) I was doing up T4’s which are records of income for employment and are due by the end of February, so I was glad to get those done ahead of time.
February 21st I left a message for the wife of the buyers for my boat deal that had fallen through. Told her I’d like to talk briefly and had a proposition to make. Also on the 21st I had arranged a dinner party, something I never did! I had invited my life coach Peter, my brother and his partner, my sis-in-law and a girlfriend. I was nervous cooking for everyone as cooking is not my fortay, but managed okay.
It turned out to be the most dysfunctional dinner party I’d ever had! I’ve noted “Peter Dinner – DYSFUNCTIONAL!!!” and I so clearly remember it still to this day, in fact, I haven’t done one since lol! My sis-in-law didn’t care much for my girlfriend and the feeling was mutual. Another gal pal had dropped by as I was preparing things, my one girlfriend had already arrived early to help a bit and those two got along well. Then my sis-in-law arrived and she wasn’t in a very good mood and had taken a few shots verbally already at my other friend so things were getting a little heated. My friend who’d dropped by said to my sis-in-law “Now, now … don’t be yourself … be nice!” and it made us all laugh, but the message wasn’t lost either.
Then my brother and his partner arrived. All were very interested in meeting Peter as they couldn’t understand why I listened to him so much and wondered who the heck was this guy who’d entered my life unexpectedly and had now become my life coach. They were all suspicious of him and thought there was some romantic interest, which there wasn’t on either of our parts, we were just platonic friends and he was helping me think in new ways.
My one friend left before Peter arrived. Then Peter arrived, I introduced everyone to him and I began to serve a few appetizers. Everyone had a drink, Peter didn’t drink so had a soft drink and was doing very well. He knew quite a bit about each person there as I’d discussed them all with him during our life coaching sessions. He handled himself well, as did my guests. We sat down to dinner, I was very focused on getting everyone served. The wine was flowing, everyone was eating, dinner turned out fine.
As dinner progressed, things began to happen. My sis-in-law took a shot at my one gal pal saying something offensive about her Dad. My friend took great offense. Peter was seated between my sis-in-law and my girlfriend who didn’t get along, he was well aware there was some hostility between them and I remember thinking why on earth did I seat him there! He turned his back slightly on my sis-in-law to talk with my girlfriend, this was noticed and seemed to escalate my sis-in-law. No sooner did we get those two calmed down, than my brother started pouring out his heart and soul to Peter and so did his partner.
I hadn’t had much to drink, Peter had had none, the others had had too much lol! It basically turned into a personal psychology session for all of them and I sat at the head of the table thinking what a ludicrous evening this was turning out to be and felt bad for Peter. The evening came to a close thankfully. I think my sis-in-law left first as she had an hours drive ahead of her, then the others left as well as Peter. They all thanked me, they all seemed to quite like Peter and I was thankful they were all gone!
Peter called me from his car on his way home to thank me once again for a very interesting evening. I said “interesting???” is that what you call it? He laughed and said it really was and that it was finally nice to put faces to those he’d heard about and assured me it wasn’t uncomfortable for him at all. I asked him why did he think they’d all decided before ever meeting him that they didn’t like him? He said they were jealous, that he and I had become friends without them being involved and that I respected his professional opinion and was life coaching with him. I said “jealous? of me? – that just can’t be!”.
He also pointed out that although they loved and cared about me, they also wanted to keep me the way I was and had been, needing them. The fact I’d begun to change how I thought and was saying and doing things differently threatened them, that they feared they’d not be needed and that it was in their best interest to keep me where I was, stuck, broken and needy. It was all food for thought and I went to bed quite exhausted and swearing off all thoughts of ever having a dinner party again ;).