This morning, I woke up to the song, “Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled” written by David Haas, on my mind and the words spilled forth from my mouth. This isn’t the first time the song has come to mind; it showed up on Tuesday night at the Survivors Helping Survivors support group for those who have lost someone to the completion of suicide. While I haven’t attended the group for years, last month I returned for a little extra support. The following words repeat in the song as the refrain and mean a lot to me:
Do not let your hearts be troubled, have faith in God and faith in me. I will go forth to prepare a place for you and I’ll come back to take you with me. That where I am you may also be.
The words and the song have adapted from scripture, John 14:1-14. The choir at my church introduced me and the rest of the congregation to it when they sang the song as a meditation piece. Over time my brain remembered those words and they developed a special meaning and comfort level for me. The choir sings the song at funerals as well so I had them sing it at my husband’s funeral. At Holy Hill Shrine in October 18, I found a ring bearing part of the scripture verse; it’s like it knew that I would take to it and there it was for me to purchase and wear. This year, not realizing another ring I had seen also had part of the same scripture verse, decided it too wanted to share my finger.
Today the song arrived because I lost my husband to the completion of suicide 11 years ago.
I have come a long way since that tragic and traumatic day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have things that come up for me to work through. My physician has said to the affect, “grief doesn’t fully go away; it changes” and she’s absolutely right. Sometimes you need to ask for help and that’s OK! My friend Riggs told me that “asking for help is the strongest thing you can do. Don’t forget that”. I thank him for reminding me of that.
Life doesn’t end because someone you love lost theirs. It continues, but in a different way.
For many people, the holidays aren’t very joyous, but difficult. While normal holiday stresses exist, other not so normal unseen stresses appear. For people who have lost a loved one for whatever reason, grief joins in for the holidays. With winter settling in, the gloomy and cloudy days, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and depression become part of some people’s days. They require sources that can aid them: books, friends, and support.
Do you know someone who has been or is going through a tragic situation or life event whether or not related to this journey? Do you know anyone this holiday season that would benefit from reading, “That’s All I Got! A Widow’s Journey After Suicide”?
Why not give the gift of healing this holiday season. Why not direct them to sources that may assist in their grieving. Reach out.
“As the world grieves, may more light be shed upon mental illness and the prevention and education of suicide”. -K.E.Voss
It’s been over a week since the world learned of the passing of Robin Williams. Since then we have learned the cause of his death by suicide — he hung himself and had attempted to slit his wrists. I apologize for my bluntness, but it’s not something to hide behind, it’s truth. We also know he had the beginning stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which may have caused his depression or added to it.
There’s so many questions and there may never be answers. He may not even know.
I do know, like many people who have lost someone to the completion of suicide, may have been affected by Robin’s death; I know I have. When I heard the details of how he died, I had an immediate flashback to the moment I found my husband. It sent a wave of emotions into me. Your breath is a powerful tool to calm the mind down. I had a visit scheduled to my chiropractor who doesn’t just assist with physical ailments. Talking about it and getting adjusted, which helped my emotional and mental health as well as physical, made for a better night. Seeking support from friends geared thoughts to other things. This created only a bump in the road for me that became smoother.
Others affected may not have had it as simple as I did. Reliving tragedies isn’t fun especially if you still have fresh wounds. Depending on what you witnessed, it takes a good amount of time to heal and even then the memories can resurface.
Ask anyone how they grieve and you’ll receive a different response every time. There’s no wrong or right way to mourn the loss of a loved one or friend. The best thing you can do revolves around taking time to grieve; some people don’t and that’s when moving forward turns into feeling stuck in wet cement or quicksand. It took me over two years to reach “acceptance” the final stage of the grieving process. With the proper support and grief/trauma counseling, I moved forward. I thrived.
In a recent episode of Extreme Weight Loss on ABC, the person whose life required transforming is the widow of an Army soldier who completed suicide as he dealt with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) after a deployment to Afghanistan. Their adopted son deals with PTSD after his dad ended his life. This lady never took the time to grieve for her husband. She hid her pain and turned to food as a way of coping. While I don’t know first hand how to deal with PTSD from serving in the military, I do have an understanding of what PTSD is since I received treatment for it following my husbands completion of suicide. One does not treat PTSD on their own; treatment exists and one can recover from it under the proper care, but it does take time. While you reduce the trauma, symptoms can linger for years to come. There’s much information about PTSD and while I won’t approach it more on here, I’ll do so in another post.
I’ve included the link to the episode of Extreme Weight Loss I mentioned.
It’s been a week since I stepped inside the Cudahy Family Library to donate a copy of That’s All I Got. I admit that I’m eager to see when it’s available for borrowing. I went online today to see the progress at either this library or the two purchased from the Milwaukee Public Library System for two separate libraries.