This is an edited excerpt of something I posted in a support group earlier today (did I mention I found not one, but two! I actually like recently? It’s been an intense couple of weeks since we started working on the video with Eli.):
The meaning that everyone struggles to find is so much more elusive after a suicide. I had a really hard time with this as a kid due to some poorly spoken family members from my mom’s family saying some things to me after my father’s suicide. Things that as an adult, I’ve realized are horrible to say to other adults, forget about children. With Dan, it’s more complicated than that, because being the oldest in a single parent home, and then after mom died (cancer), I had a pretty heavy hand in raising him. Since his death I struggle with feeling like I let him down and how things aren’t supposed to be this way. To put it simply: I’ve spent the better part of two years walking around like an empty shell, just wasting time like that.
I work on it this way: I reread my eulogy for him a lot and try to focus on him instead of what I think my responsibilities in the situation should have been. I try to remember that this was about his pain being too great and that way depression has of shrinking down everything until you feel that you are nothing and you can see no farther than that. I try to remember that his doing so well before is not an insult or an indicator of my failings, but another of depression’s tricks: the manic period where actions happen faster and larger. It’s hard. I read and reread Reb Anderson, who I find incredibly comforting, especially his essay “Not By Ourselves.” I breathe my mantra, still so new that it doesn’t quite fit right, oh, but how I want it to fit : “Be here. Be present. Be loving.”
And I try to just let myself be in the moment, if only for a moment.
Bit by bit, I’m starting to notice things I enjoy again. They’re so, so small right now - the third sip in a cup of tea, the smell of the first few drops of hot water hitting coffee grounds, the curve of a smile on a face I love, one stroke among thousands in a painting or sketch. Some days I almost laugh as much as I used to. I even, while also small, found something that REALLY mattered to me:
Don’t let the dog out the front door; she will run forever and none of us want to chase her right now.
As they say, Life has a way of sneaking up on you (and remembering back, it did that the first time I fell in love with it, too.). So, I think we are not marking time here in the limbo of grief forever, but only until Life comes and sweeps us off our feet again.