“Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars.”
Today marks the 5th anniversary of my Mother’s death via suicide in 2012. This day comes and goes every year and every year I feel a bit different. So how do I feel this year? 5 years have passed and everyone told me that “time heals the pain…” but does it really?
In previous years I would sit down and write my Mom a letter telling her all that she had missed. However, this year I didn’t compose a letter. Why? I think because I finally realized that I was writing these letters because I felt like she was coming back. I wasn’t writing these letters to move on or heal. Yes, getting my thoughts and feelings out on paper were helpful. However, I was holding onto hope of her returning and that was detrimental to my healing.
Throughout the years I have tried therapy and many other methods to heal the pain I carried from losing my Mother. I think each method helped yet the thing that I believed really has helped the most is time, forgiveness, patience with myself and patience with the grieving process. There were days (and still are days) that I get angry for getting sad and for not “getting over” the grief I feel. However, it is a process…a slow and painful one but one that will last a lifetime. I have learned that in order for me to remember my Mother I need to know that there will always be a little bit of pain associated with her death. It is still painful but no longer as crippling as it once was.
The things I have noticed this year have been rather poignant. This year I have found it more difficult to recall my Mother’s voice, her laugh, what she smelled like. There are even days that her face seems blurry in my recollection of her. It sounds sad, doesn’t it? It did for me until I realized the memories of her that are still crystal clear in my mind. These are her acts of service, kindness, and love for others. The example of selflessness she left for her children is one I can only hope to leave to my children.
I have found that 5 years on I have grown as a person in ways I don’t think I could have if my Mother was still alive. I feel that I have become more independent, grateful for each day with the people I love. I have put less importance on material things and more importance on the relationships I have. My husband, children and I have always been incredibly close but over the past five years, we have grown even closer as a family. I have seen my relationship with my siblings become stronger. We have become better at communicating and holding onto each other a bit tighter when we part.
I have become more thankful for the little things in life. Seeing my dog look at me with his big glassy eyes, eating delicious food and watching each milestone my children make. While each milestone is bittersweet, I try to remember that my Mom is aware and proud.
Most importantly this year I have learned to be patient and love myself. Watching my Mom struggle with love for herself was something very difficult to watch. Growing up I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I questioned friend’s actions and feelings for me. I never felt good enough. Later I learned that this had to do with my own struggle with depression and anxiety. Not being afraid to publically speak about my own struggle with mental illness has helped me greatly in dealing with my depression and anxiety. After losing my Mother I made it of high importance to speak more openly about Mental Health. That is the only way we can end the stigma attached to it. This is something I know my Mom would be proud of.
In the past five years, I have learned that losing someone to suicide doesn’t mean you won’t ever be happy again. That you won’t ever laugh or find joy in life. There will be days you think you can’t keep living. It is normal to feel guilt and to have days where you can’t get out of bed, can’t function and feel your life has no meaning. Please hold on…I promise that you will grow and become a stronger person than you thought possible because of your loss.
I leave with you one of my favorite poems entitled, “We Remember Them”
by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer
At the rising sun and at its going down; We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them.
For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.
Suicide is permanent.
Pain is not.
You’ll be okay.
Suicide leaves so many loved ones behind wondering what they could have done. It leaves so many questions, so much heartache, and pain. If you are hurting please know you are NOT alone. It is worth it to keep going.
Please call this suicide hotline if you are ever in need of help or just need someone to talk to 1-800-273-8255