If you haven’t figured it out yet, this blog is really just a love letter to my daughters. It’s the kind of letter that I can’t just leave on their pillow. It’s the kind of letter that’s hard to read. Plus, they are too young. It would be wrong for me to crowd their brains with my own ideas and words about their terrible loss.
But here’s why it belongs in a blog. They can’t talk about it with almost anyone. They know that other people don’t understand what they went through. They hear the word suicide thrown around throughout the day, often incorrectly and insensitively. They understand this. They know better than to try to correct people or to explain.
So, nothing happens. In our family, we talk a little, we share memories. But, sort of on purpose, not much more happens.* They don’t want to carry it around every day. They don’t understand it, and they don’t want to, yet. So these words are for their archives, for when they are ready to look back. So I can get the words out before they change or get lost. Mike was a special soul and his life deserves to be remembered.
These words are a statement about why we ALL need to talk about suicide. Not just Mike’s. These words are proof that we can talk about it and still hold our heads high, still walk with some grace through life, knowing that we don’t need to be ashamed of mental illness.
You see, everyone associated with a suicide feels pretty awful about it. First of all, we feel guilty. We should have saved them. Also, we feel hurt and angry. Does it say something about us that they were willing to leave us, that they were absolutely compelled to leave?
I can’t answer these questions for anyone else, and I am barely scratching the surface for myself. But there is one thing I know, which is that my beautiful, perfect daughters didn’t deserve any of this (none of us did). Their magical life was bombed into oblivion one humble summer’s day, and that’s that. We have to address that, and these words are a start.
This story is about serious pain. It's about realizing how hard it was to live in Mike's depressed, suicidal body and mind. It is about the rest of us feeling lost and abandoned and betrayed and stigmatized. It is about the trials of single parenting. Which is hard enough for anyone. Then add the goal of constantly distracting my kids from the biggest abandonment they also must experience. Trying not to over-compensate but also trying to be totally there for them.
The bottom line is, the bigger their community of support, the better. Speaking of which, a special shout out to all of you who are there for us every day, you know exactly who you are. And for those of you who have reached out to me because of this blog, I appreciate every one of you for listening and showing your love and maybe even sharing your own stories.
*Actually, one especially big thing did happen, and that’s Judi’s House. So much gratitude for that awesome resource. If you suffer a terrible loss but are lucky enough to live in Denver, you will know what that place is about.