Don't grieve alone; 14,000 members and growing
Kevin, as my late husband always said, you can pick your friends but you can't pick your relatives. I know what you are going through. How will I behave when those who have been so uncaring go through something like this...? I'm mean enough to give them all the compassion they gave me....NONE. Maybe I'll treat them as I would have liked to be treated. All I know is that nothing will ever be the same or hit me with this unbearable grief . I lost the one person I could always count on, who loved me unconditionally and who with his dying breath loved me.
You. You are the one being selfish. I have never posted or replied publicly to anyone on this website, but I feel like my unique perspective will help you. Or hurt you, I don't know, and I don't feel like waiting for reply to a friend request to get this out. I am not trying to offend, I just really want you to hear someone else's point of view. Well, mine anyways :)
I joined this site when my husband of eight years (together for eleven) died in November. He killed himself. We loved each other like crazy and had a bond I don't think any couple could rival, but he just had so much emotional pain he couldn't go on. It had nothing to do with me and I believe that. Usually, at least. A lot of the time I can make my peace with what he did because I know what drove him to do it. I get that his sorrow ran so deep that I couldn't help him and I can actually forgive him for what he did.
Until I think about my stepdaughter. She was fifteen when it happened in November and is sixteen now. When I think about the lasting effects this will have on her I want to scream at him. How could he have done this to HER??? I will get over being alone and quite possibly never trusting another guy (I just turned 38 btw, "whole life ahead of me" and all the other crap), but she won't get over this. This has changed her life and the way she views men forever. She knew how in love we were. One of the first things she said to me afterwards was "but he loved you so much". She doesn't get it. I don't either, but I am finding ways to cope. BUT THIS IS HER DAD. She doesn't understand why SHE wasn't worth sticking around for. If my dad killed himself, dude, I can't even think of I would deal with that. It may sounds messed up, but for me it would be even more mind-effing.
There's a John Mayer song that says it well...
I've also thought about following in his footsteps, but then I think of the family who loves me. I would never do that to my parents, brother, niece, or most importantly, the little girl who just lost her father. She would take it quite personally, as would your child, I suspect. She understands that you are in pain, but I don't know if she'd understand you bailing on her. So to answer your question Kevin, I think that if you do that to your own child, you are the selfish one. I get not wanting to live, I wouldn't be sad if I died of natural causes in my sleep tonight either, but maybe DON'T TELL YOUR KID THAT (adult or not). That's the last thing she needs to hear.
Again, I don't mean to offend. I just wanted you hear the perspective of someone who has been on the surviving side of suicide. Regardless of how much pain you are in, hers will be 1000 times worse. I promise.
I really hope the best for you. It sucks, I know. But you have other people for live for and I hope you can focus on that. And I hope I don't sound like a self-righteous B...My best to you and your daughter.
Stephanie, me thinks you missed the mark. Kevin's daughter is in the Navy. She is not a ten year old. I am going to support his admissions as I do believe the two of them can carry on an honest, adult conversation including the pain of the feelings which his daughter needs to integrate and carry forward and enter into her own intimate relationship at some point with a lot more thought and caring that she might otherwise have done. Her father has changed. She needs to know how.
It's time we all stop covering up the real pain. We must talk about how we feel. The notion that we can't feel this way about the person we chose to spend our life with and meant it, and then are destroyed when they are ripped from us is a very important discussion this society needs to have. Children, adults, psychologists, counselors etc. But we must have it. In fact, the problem lies in that we have not been honest and discussed the wreckage.
We have built way too many firewalls trying to obscure the pain that some suffer. We need to accept the pain. In fact, I have come to believe, just like you said, that for some "their sorrow runs so deep, we can't help them". So taking the word selfish too literally only upsets the grieving even more. We don't always chose the right words when we are in the depths of devastation.
And I will defend Kevin in the way he tried valiantly in his pain to handle his grown daughter. I think she knows full well what he was saying. Of course she didn't want him talking like that. No one wants to hear it whether they are 20 or 80 but I believe she needs to hear it. At her age she will begin to understand the compassion and empathy we need to develop at large to better help those who suffer due to trauma, mental health, loss, anxiety etc. We have swept these issues under the rug for way too long. Labeled them, written a prescription and sent them packing. We need to talk about grief in all its manifestations and Kevin's decision to talk to a young woman (his daughter) who chose to join the Navy gives me reason to believe she is now old enough to learn about the truth.
And yes, Kevin, we chose our beloved. No blood ties, no reason other than we felt a deep, abiding, loving, intimate, unwavering, unconditional connection that was expressed in embedding ourselves in each other and then it was ripped from us leaving us trying to deal with everyone else who was on the outside orbit of that oneness. There are 7 billion other people we could try to live for but that one was the reflection of ourselves we saw in their eyes. That mirror is now gone. No other mirror will ever be that one. We need to talk about that in the most honest way we can. It is only that way that others will ever understand what that kind of oneness means. In one way it can only strengthen the bonds we might still be able to make. Because anyone we cannot be honest with requires the kind of energy we no longer have. Its what death does. It changes us forever into another person. Renewing bonds with others based on the new person is only done by others getting to know your new truth. If its meant to survive, it will.
I hear you Kevin. It pisses me off how I feel like I'm supposed to live for everyone else except myself. At the end of the day, what is everyone else doing? Living their own fucking lives, not mine. They're not looking at a phone wishing for a name to pop up, sitting in the house of silence, or whatever else glaring to the fact our love is no longer physically here. The person that gave us life. A living nightmare.
Your daughter getting automatically upset I imagine would feel invalidating and taking away your power. That's how it felt for me. Because I think, what about me?? Why don't I and my feelings matter?
For her that was probably her fear, but ultimately her love for you, talking. It sounds like she is very uncomfortable, probably scared, with even the thought of losing you too and not able to carry you for a moment in your grief. So many people, family or otherwise, can't begin to understand how we feel until they've actually been in our shoes.
So really, I don't think anyone is being selfish? You're completely gutted and she is scared. To find the bridge that links those two worlds sometimes cannot be found. Helpful or not helpful, my two cents.
Well said Mr. Bailey. The love of a spouse was a sacred choice. I am going through the motions of living. There is so much busy work to do when someone dies unexpectedly. Keep posting. I find comfort in your words.