Thursday, February 20, 2014


Can we forgive ourselves? Is that really possible if you are a Christian? I believe in the Lutheran doctrine which says that God is the only one who can forgive us. R's death was a choice he made, and I know that intellectually. But there is still guilt. And what to feel guilty of if I was not the one to kill him? Lots of things: simply being alive while he is gone, what could I have done to stop him? (answer: nothing), why wasn't I able to save him when I found him? (answer: it was too late), etc...the list goes on and on. Some of these things are logical and some are not. Through all of my reading I have learned that with any kind of death there is guilt. It seems to be a criteria for the grieving process. And so what do I forgive myself of? Or what do I ask God to forgive me of? Whatever I can; for instance, anything I ever did to hurt R, not being able to help in some way, being angry at R, all kinds of things. Anger is one of the biggest issues I have. I get angry for the littlest, stupidest things and it is sometimes intrusive and inconvenient. Example: the other day I was happily walking my son into the YMCA for his swim lesson. It was twilight and a huge firetruck sat in the front entrance with it's lights flashing around. As I walked past the firetruck I was instantly transported back to that horrible evening when R decided to kill himself. When we found him it was twilight, the sky was the same color, it was damn near the same exact time of day, and after I called 911 there was a huge firetruck, ambulance and 2 police cars sitting in my front yard with the soft light of evening in the background. I sat on my front steps praying in a panic and wondering what in the hell to do with  my son at this moment. How to protect him? You cannot. You cannot protect your children from everything in the world. I think I had good instincts in keeping him with me, and explaining to him in very simple language what was happening. And back to my anger: walking past a firetruck is a simple task, right? Normally one  might wonder, what happened here? Is everyone OK? But not me. I think about how we came home and found him hanging there - and proceed to think, You son of a bitch. I can't even walk past a firetruck without thinking of what you did. How could you do that?! How could you do that to your son?! 

However, this truly is a process. And each time I am reminded of his suicide, the cut hurts a little less and a little less and I am able to move past it. Deep wounds do heal. It just takes time and care, like healing from a heart surgery. My chest was opened and worked on, and sewn back up again, but the true healing takes much longer with special care for months and months and maybe even years afterwards.

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