February 3, 2012

It is what it is....

I believe that most of us have a deep innate sense of compassion.  It’s a strong desire to stop the hurt.  Just today the Dalai Lama wrote, “Compassion is a marvel of human nature, a precious inner resource, and the foundation of our well-being and the harmony of our societies.”  So simple a statement, yet so powerful.  One thing that has caused me some discomfort since ‘the incident’ is that people don’t know what to say.  Because something has happened to me and to the people that I know and love….and it’s unfamiliar territory.  People dying isn’t necessarily unfamiliar.  Lots of people die every day.  The thing is that they’re usually old.  So when a young person dies, it’s so….different.  It’s different because more life is actually lost.  The younger they are…the harder it seems.  And so the death of a young person is unusually tragic and unexpected.  In my situation, I’m unfortunately faced with the fact that my loved one actually committed murder.  Murder of the self.  It adds yet another level of tragedy, and it’s something we can’t even comprehend.  Some people are so uncomfortable with it that they have literally vanished from our lives.  They have decided that the pain that Dave’s death has caused us is a greater burden than they can bear.  And that’s ok.  I’m not judging.  I remember when I was pregnant with my first child.  My best friend of many years, already a mother, tried to explain to me in words this feeling that would soon overcome me.  After a short time, she just laughed and stopped trying and said, “You’ll see….it’s not even an emotion you can put into words.”  How right she was!  The love was literally indescribable.  The feeling literally transcended words.  It seemed almost not human.  When trying to describe the feelings of grief that have gripped me in this journey, again I use that one word.  Indescribable.  And that is why I can only feel confused at some of the things that people have said in their desperation to comfort me.  More than once, (not by my therapist) I have been instructed to “schedule a time to grieve”.  I’m not making this up.  Grief is an emotion.  So is laughing.  Can you imagine if someone told you to ‘schedule a time to laugh’.  What the heck would you laugh at?  I imagine myself sitting at my desk, my iphone alarm goes off, I pick it up and look at it and the screen reminds me to “laugh.”  So I go into a room, I sit down, and try to make myself think funny thoughts?  Is that what they are suggesting?  I think it sounds rather….silly.  I don’t need a reminder to ‘grieve’ when merely touching a bottle of Crystal hot sauce can make me cry unexpectedly.  We’re fully stocked with grief and reminders to grieve, thank you.  Another suggestion to one of the kids (by a therapist, but certainly not one I pay) was to find 25 comforts to soothe them.  Really?  Like eating ice cream would lessen the sadness of your father having committed suicide.  I like to eat lobster.  I like to sit on the beach.  None of these things have a lick to do with grieving.  They do not lessen the grief.  We’ve been instructed on all manner of things we should do to achieve ‘closure’.  Ah yes, closure.  One of my all time favorite pet peeves.  You know what closure is, people?  Describe it to me.  It means something is over.  It is so over that it ceases to exist.  So much so that it never happened.  You can’t even GET closure through death, if you believe in an afterlife.  So guess what, closure is a word that mankind has made up.  And while describing a door as having closure or in fact being closed would make sense, having closure on the death of a loved one is something else entirely.  Why would you even want that?  Would you want to pretend they never existed?  My step daughter was told she would have closure if she looked at her dead father in the casket.  I was against this.  I knew full well she already had the ‘dead image’ in her mind.  She watched him die.  Now she has dead ‘n deader.  Two horrific images.  Do you think she received the gift of ‘closure’ by this viewing.  No.  She merely received another image to bring her nightmares.  Now don’t get me wrong….these suggestions are passed out by wonderful, caring, loving, well meaning people who are chocked full of compassion.  They seek happiness for me.  For me.  I’m not upset with the advice.  I’m touched by it.  I feel their love.  And I return it.  It’s just that I know it’s….not right.  I just want people to know that they shouldn’t be afraid of people’s grief.  Don’t be afraid of their cries.  If you are not afraid of laughing people, and you don’t intend to offer them suggestions on how to quit laughing, then don’t be afraid of crying people, and consider they may not need suggestions on how to end their crying.  We live and we die.  At once, it is glorious and sad.  It’s too bad we don’t get to keep that glimpse of heaven we were offered when our newborns were placed in our arms.  Oh yes, we still love them, as much and even more than we did at that moment….but as time went on….time….we tended to forget about that heavenly moment.…just how heavenly it felt.  And so it is with death.  As someone said to me, in an effort to ease my sadness and with a hint that I should just let it go…”It just is what it is”….why yes…it is!


  1. I think you understand life. Few people think of death as a part of life, but it is. Granted, people are at a loss for words UNLESS they have been where you are. Not too many people I would imagine share the suicide experience, and some drop out of view because they are afraid they will say something 'stupid'. My husband died a month ago and most people expressed their sympathy, offered to help 'any way they could' and then they went home. A few came by and visited later, but life goes on. They move on or resume their life and you are no longer 'front and center'.
    I hope you have family or friends that can be there for you. Therapists mean well but they don't have the answers. They just read a lot of books on the subject and think they do. I have read a lot of cookbooks,... but....well, you get the point. It is what it is because we are what we are.

    We're a "work in progress". Blessings girl ♥

  2. This is a truly wonderful post!

  3. My favorite line that people say at funerals and when someone passes away - "think about it this way - at least they are in a better place now"... Right... SO NOT HELPING!