Saturday, September 5, 2015

Suicide is NOT okay

My sister in law, my husbands only sibling, killed herself a couple of weeks ago. They were very close. I wrote a three page blog post about it, talking about the background that led up to it, my interpretation of the situation, and the mess that was left in the wake of it. It was very therapeutic for me to write it, but I have decided not to post it. It doesn't really matter what happened before or my interpretation of it. None of that really explains anything anyway.

They say that there are 5 stages of grief/loss/death. With suicide, denial and bargaining are automatically off the table. There is no denying it - it's done and it's permanent. Bargaining - no amount of bargaining will change anything or bring her back. Which leaves anger. Oh yeah, I've been very angry the last couple weeks. This situation devastated my husband. We had to move because the idea of her never coming over for dinner again was more than my husband could take. I was angry with her before this happened as I watched the downward spiral train-wreck that was her life play out before my eyes and there was nothing I could say or do to change anything. I was even more angry with her after the fact because she knew my husband would be the one to find her and that was not a deterrent. I was angry about several other things that I'm not going to go into here. When I wasn't angry, I felt nothing. Not one thing. Not sympathy, not empathy, not any of the feelings you would normally think you should feel. I actually thought at one point that maybe my conscious was seared with a hot iron, that I was physically incapable of feeling anything about her. Anger or nothing - that is what I felt.

Yesterday was the first time I felt sad. Really, really sad. I was sad for my husband, I was sad for her and I was sad for myself and I've cried about it several times since. The next stage on the list is depression. Depression is such a stupid word I don't know why they use it on the list because it really is not accurate. Depression is a blanket medical term that could be any number of things. The true words should be sadness and regret. Depression, whatever, I mean I'm not depressed. I'm sad and I have feelings of guilt and regret, why isn't it okay to just call it what it really is? Grief. Mourning, loss, devastation, anything but depression. I guess there is no point in getting hung up on semantics - yet that word really does bug me. But I believe that you cannot get to the final stage until you first have a really really good cry. Or possibly more than one.

The final stage is acceptance. I'm not quite sure if I am there yet. We have plans for sometime next week to go to her grave for the first time and put some nice plastic flowers there. That is what my husband wants and I will support him in what he needs for his 5 stages of grief. Acceptance or no, we both agree, that what she did is NOT okay. It's not okay and it will never BE okay. But that doesn't stop us from still loving her and missing her, and going on with our lives.


Alice said...

I'm so sorry Linda. I can't imagine what you're going through.

wendyworn said...

Thank you Alice

Doug B said...

Suicide is so difficult on those left behind. My thoughts are with you and your husband and everyone touched by this.

wendyworn said...

Thank you Doug. I've known people who have killed themselves, but this was the first time in my life that someone I was close to killed themselves. If someone gets killed suddenly in a car crash or whatever, then you can grieve properly and remember the good times. But when someone kills themselves, a self-murder, then you are left at some level blaming yourself, if there was something you could have done differently, said something, been nicer, etc. I think the hardest thing for me personally was the fact that my sister in law and I were not getting along before this happened. could I have been nicer to her, yes. Could I have let her erratic behavior slide more, yes. Could I as a christian have loved her more, yes. Yet, it doesn't really matter now. It is what it is. But going forward, I will be more careful to be more loving, especially with difficult people.