If a mother can be only as happy as her unhappiest child, the unhappiest of mothers are those whose children have died- particularly when the death was intentional. For them, time seems doubly out of joint. It never feels right to survive a child and particularly one who has deliberately chosen to die.
How to live with the gaping hole? How to stop the self blaming? How to understand this most mysterious of actions? How to get thru the day?
…As my search for “normal” continues, here’s my “Short List” for surviving suicide:
1) Stay tethered and anchored to reality: Meditation, prayer, a nature walk, yoga.
2) Beware of guilt: It is hopelessness looking for a home. Make it a brief visit.
3) Have a plan: Let your heart be your guide. Do what feel right for you and those you care about.
4) Support: Take time for solitude and grieving but don’t isolate. Build a support system. Seek professional help if needed.
5) Pick and choose your battles: You don’t have to engage in every battle you are invited to.
6) Give yourself and your loved ones permission to smile again: “There is not much laughter in medicine but there is much medicine in laughter.
I’m not a parent, so I know I can’t imagine the love parents have for their children, much less the pain involved in losing one to suicide. If I, as best friend, feel guilty for not seeing it, for not saving him, how can I tell his parents not to feel guilty? I know I shouldn’t carry the guilt around, and I know they shouldn’t either. But that’s much easier said than done, and I can’t do anything for them but offer an ear, and answers to any questions they ask that I know the answers to. And share articles like this. I hope they help, even a little, for any parent who’s lost a child. At the very least, I hope they help with a sense of camaraderie, of community.
We are card-carrying members of a club in which we never sought membership.
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