Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Piece From My Journal

This was written a couple of days after the first anniversary of R's death. A memorial service was given, which felt just like another funeral.
 
"I spent the entire service crying on Saturday. I felt like a freak of nature, it just wouldn’t stop. My son hasn’t seen me cry once yet, except for the funeral. But now he has. He looked at me so curiously and put a little finger to my cheek, let a tear roll onto it and said, 'I catched a tear Mommy' in the sweetest little voice. He was trying to help me with my crying."


Monday, January 12, 2015

Undignified

It's been a while.
I thought for sure I would feel compelled to blog over the holidays, but I was sick most of the time, so I wasn't compelled to do much of anything. I went to the cemetery, drove by our old house. Thought about Christmas's we spent there, and the last one we spent there together. Those are good memories now. Not as painful as they used to be.

I'm about to call someone out. Believe me, this is ALL part of the process of grief and the aftermath of suicide. Please note: I am Christian woman, but I also believe God invented swear words for us to have an outlet. Shit is about to get real.

This is what I came across this morning, which motivated me to write...I logged in to R's Facebook account because I have read that if you don't log in every so often, your page will be shut down. I don't want that to happen to his page because I know he still has many visitors, and I want people to be able to go there, just as I do. I looked at his list of friends and saw one named, "Sarah Elizabeth". This is the strange girl who tattooed a copy of my husband's tattoo, my husband's initial's and my son's initial's just below her breast, a few days after he died.

I thought she meant well, watching my son for me while I was making funeral plans. But I was wrong. She was trying to insert herself into my role. She had to make herself part of "the drama" so that she could feel important. But the thing is, she wasn't important. After R died, she had the nerve to call herself his best friend (to my face)- which was a direct insult to me and my marriage. What kind of person does that? Answer: a narcissist. She thought herself more important to my husband than I was, despite only having known him for a year and a half. Imagine: your husband just died unexpectedly and this one cries to you about how she lost "her best friend." Excuse me?

Her former name on Facebook was Sarah Spicer. But, when I reported her for having pictures of my son on her FB page without my permission, I guess she had to come up with a new page. Let it be known that this is a sick woman who wanted to be in my shoes. She still has photos of my son on her new Facebook page. In fact one of the album's names is "BENJI- Love of my life." Excuse me? No, you cannot have my son- because he's MY son. 

Her photo album

I'm fairly sure she is anonymously following my blog.

She never will have the chance to be more important than I was to R. He called me his best friend. He chose me. I was his wife. We had a beautiful child together. We will always have a bond, even though he is not physically here; and no one can take that away from my son and I.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Birthday Flowers

The past couple of weeks has been stressful. I have read that loved ones who have passed on may try to get in touch with you around your Birthday. In the last two weeks I have experienced tugging on my shirt while laying in bed (no one else in the room), and R has come to visit me in my dreams at least twice. He walked up to me from no where, kissed me like we were old friends, and then we sat down in plush chairs across from each other and chatted. It felt so real. I had another dream of the same type, where we talked. There was no distress in the dream, just peacefulness. That makes me think that he is trying to tell me he is comfortable and ok where he is.

After waking from those dreams, I was reminded of his tradition of sending me flowers each birthday and valentine's day. It was a very sweet gesture that I loved. What girl doesn't love pretty flowers? That is a special memory; one of the good ones. It's made me miss him. I don't like to admit it, because I feel like it would hurt my fiancé's feelings, but this is my honest forum. It's perfectly normal for me to miss him. Sometimes I feel like I have moved on. I have moved on, but I will never be "moved on." The hard reality is that it just doesn't go away. It's here forever and I have to get used to living with it. It's been two years- that may seem like a long time, but it doesn't feel that way.

I've been feeling a bit depressed the last couple of weeks, too, and there are several things going on in my daily life that would bring stress to any normal person. But, I had an epiphany the other day that part of my irritability may be due to my upcoming birthday (today). This is my third birthday since he died. I am turning 38, the age R was when he killed himself. I cannot imagine not living beyond this year to the next. He was so young; I still can't believe this happened. How could he end his life so young?

I have done a lot of reading about After Death Communication (ADC) and it doesn't feel far-fetched to me. However, it has been said that to experience it, you have to have an open mind to the concept.
After Death Communication Project

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Waves

I'm trying to figure out how to put into words what I have been through tonight, today, the last week, the last month... It's all tied together.

My son and I moved into a house with my fiancé last month. Last month happens to be the anniversary of you-know-what. So naturally this would screw up any plans I have to be normal. I thought I could trick myself. I think that's called Denial. I refused to think that any emotional state I was going through had anything to do with R's death. I have been a mess. I have been angry as hell. I don't like the surprise factor. Tonight I sat on the floor of my son's bedroom, waiting for him to fall asleep. I tend to meditate when doing this; except tonight I started to think about R, and the tears just came flowing out from the deep. I felt afraid that I was going to lose him somehow. Or that he was going to leave me all over again. I've been arguing a lot with my fiancé and think that what I am really afraid of is that HE is going to leave me, too. Am I trying to make it so? Am I so used to grieving, that I am afraid to let it all go and move on?  I spoke to R in my mind, and I felt that he spoke back to me, "go to him," And in my mind I said back "okay," as a child would do while crying, snot running down my face. So I did. And what a small miracle happened- we calmly talked things out.

Lesson learned- stop being so damned angry, Sarah.
It's hard. There is a lot to be angry about.
I am dealing with the loss of Nursing School. I don't get to finish unless I start all over again at a lower level. Who wants to do that after 4 years of hard work? The problem is that I cannot handle the intensity right now. It's a very difficult thing for me to accept that I will not be able to finish something that I wanted so badly. I cannot ignore my son to go stick my nose in books. He needs me and I need him.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let's Talk About It: On Robin Williams' Death

When I found out how he killed himself last evening it was like a kick in the gut. Why? Here come all of the questions that happen with suicide. What happened? Why? Was there a note explaining? On and on...

It seems like the entire world is sad today, the day after. I have been sad thinking about how much personal agony Robin must have been in. I just cannot get over it.  I am shocked. However, my faith is strong. I know that through this God will make something positive for the greater good. I say Thank you, Robin for your joy. We never wanted to you leave us this way. But out of this something good will come, I promise.

 This is horribly tragic and is so similar to my husband's death, that it automatically takes me back there. R killed himself on a Monday, too Same manner. August 6, only 5 days earlier is the anniversary of R's death. Every time August 11th comes around, I will be thinking of Robin Williams and his family, too. I am heartbroken for his kids, just like I am for mine. Left Behind are his family and friends, and a massive audience. Today is Tuesday, and I still vividly remember what I was doing on August 7, 2012. I went to see R's body in the medical examiner's office, because I had not been at the hospital the night before where he was declared dead.  I had to feel his skin and know that he was gone. It just all felt like a bad dream. Then my family drove me over to the funeral home where I had to plan. I picked out a casket, flowers, a "package." R and I had never talked about what he would want in the way of a memorial; so I did the best I could. I tried to pick what I thought he would like. Do you want to have a viewing? Do you want to have a funeral? On separate days? When? What time? How long? Where? What do you want to have happen during the service? Who do you want to Eulogize? There were so many questions to answer and decisions to make it seemed nearly impossible to get through it all. It was extremely difficult to do all that while in shock.

Suicide is a complicated kind of grief and I hate that anyone else has to live with it. I am trying to reach as many people as I can so that we can support each other. We don't ask for mental illness ,just like people don't ask for cancer. Over the last ten years there has been a big hoo0-rah for patients fighting cancer and survivors, which is awesome. How about mental illness? Let's do the same. Let's have a big push to de-stigmatize and support each other. All kinds of ideas are zipping through my mind right now. Fundraisers. There are some great organizations out there for the prevention of Suicide. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

And for friends and families left behind: Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors

If you feel that you are in crisis, in danger of hurting yourself, you can call or even CHAT ONLINE with a counselor on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline



Sunday, July 20, 2014

That time of year

How was I to know you only had two weeks and three days more of your life? I'm still mad at you. It was a stupid impulsive thing you did. You might as well have done it right in front of us, for the ripple effect it has had. I've been under a tremendous amount of stress the last 2 years. How could you just give up like that? You were an athlete- athletes don't give up damnit! Your anniversary is on a Wednesday. Thanks for pre-occupying my brain space in advance. August 6 will never be the same again. It will be a day we struggle through every year. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Panic

I never thought this would happen to me. I thought I was on too much anti-depressant medication. But it's true. You can still have a panic attack while on plenty of medication... Here's how it happened to me: 

Before resolving an argument we (my fiancé and I) go to dinner with my son and my parents. Behind the wheel I am steaming while keeping a straight face (I'm German, it's what we do). From the back seat my son is chatting on and asking questions he may or may not get answers to. I take my time getting out of the car because I don't want to look my fiancé in the face. My head is swirling. I sit gingerly at the orange-topped pizza joint table. "What would you like to drink?" says the waitress expectantly. I look at her blankly- "water," is all I can eek out. Don't make me talk. I can't speak right now. My stomach is twisting and turning. I try my best to interact with my son. But I am so trapped in my thoughts, my weak smile is a pathetic attempt. The drinks and the plates come. I can't eat. They go to the pizza buffet together and I sit blankly, my insides revving up swirling faster and faster. I feel like everyone is staring at me. They come back to the table and not long after, tears roll down my hot cheeks. I must leave. This is so embarrassing. I don't want my son to see me this way. I go outside and around the corner of the building because I know that people won't be staring me in the face as they walk in the door to the restaurant over there. I am numb and yet I feel like I am going to explode. I feel the need to shake the living hell out of my hands to get this feeling out. But it won't come out. I'm breathing heavily, I can't catch my breath. And then I realize: this is exactly how I felt the evening that R died. I felt panicked and paralyzed. I didn't know what to do. My head was swirling with too many thoughts at once. I remember my stomach like a brick for days after, and wringing my hands. I cried and cried, feeling mad at myself for having a breakdown during dinner. But I didn't know at the time that I was having a panic attack and I couldn't help these physical reactions. The parallel makes total sense to me now: We argue (R and I used to a lot), I get anxious because I don't like to argue, I come home to a life changing surprise (R has killed himself), deep down I am afraid this will happen again. So I take some Ativan that the doctor has given me to keep on hand, I notice at almost the exact time we arrived home that day to find him dead. It takes a good half hour to start working on me. Enough so that I can eat a little. Even so, suddenly I break down again. Crying- just not able to stop it. The kind where you cannot breathe. I would have wept openly if I had not been in a restaurant. I pulled and tugged at my shirt as if it was suffocating me. Deep breaths. I need deep breaths, but I am afraid of what kind of guttural sound will come out of me if I try to do that. I don't know what's wrong with me!!! Thank God my fiancé recognized what was happening and came to my side to help me.

With that behind me- now my questions are: why haven't I had one of these before? It's been almost 2 years since R died. Why was this the first time? And I thought I had made more progress than this? Does this mean I have regressed? Will this keep happening to me over and over again now? Is this normal for someone who has experienced what I have?

The 2 year anniversary is coming up. I am wondering what to do. Last year there was a "life celebration" in his honor, but for me it was like going through the funeral all over again. I am glad I don't have to do that again. We will do something to honor his life. I just have to think of how to do it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Finding Things

Remember those boxes that I had? Yep. Still have them. Still not unpacked. 

Most of them are on our bottom floor which doubles as a playroom for my son and the cats. A couple of weeks ago I started looking through one as he was playing. I came across the framed portrait of our son that R left his note on. I was rifling through the box and when I saw what it was, I froze. I didn't even want to touch it. I stopped and stared at it for a while feeling sick to my stomach. Here come the flashbacks: walking into the sunny playroom, why is the big Elmo doll on the floor with our son's picture leaning on it? What is this note? 
"I'm sorry.
 I love you, B. 
Love, Daddy."
What the hell does that mean? 
I thought for sure he was off on a bike ride or sitting in the garage getting high. No. He was hanging in my garage with his Black Belt from Judo, that he worked so hard for, tightened around his neck. 

Tell me: what do I do with this picture and frame? Throw the whole thing away? Take the picture out and throw the frame away? Only problem is I know whenever I see that picture, no matter what frame it's in, I will be brought back to that moment. Every single thing in those boxes has a memory attached to it and the thought of going through all those items is daunting. I usually end up putting things back into the box and closing it. 

Last night I happened to be looking through another box. What's in this box? I can tell what room in our charming little house it was packed from by looking at the things that are in it. The living room. Photo albums. I see the small album from the bed & breakfast we stayed at on our honeymoon. I start flipping through the pictures and suddenly he is there, staring me right in the face. Whoa. There he is. Alive. With color in his face. And happy. Now he's dead. The last time I saw him he was laying in a casket looking sunken and sallow. You had a whole life ahead of you, why did you do that? My stomach turning, I close it and put it back in the box. 

I want to go through all of these boxes and be done with it. Just like my grief. I want to be done with it. The thing is, this will never go away. I just learn how to live on with it. BUT, the boxes and all the things that are in them CAN go away. And when I figure out what to do with them it will be a big burden off my back. I have to be kind to myself. Cut myself some slack. Nothing ever has to be done before I am ready to deal with it.