Eight months ago I pledged in my blog to keep the promises of The Suicide Survivors Affirmation. It has been just about nine months now since my husband Martin’s suicide. I cannot say that every single day I was able to keep these promises. However, I can say that I have overall kept my promises. And yes it has been incredibly difficult.
Martin and I used to agree the best way to get things done often enough is do a little at a time, consistently. And that seems to be just what I’ve been able to handle over time. And the first year is by far the most difficult. For me thus far, the holidays were excruciatingly painful and somewhat overwhelming. But I’ve made it through. As Winston Churchill said, “If you think you’re going through Hell, keep on going.” True … indeed.
I am stronger today than eight or nine months ago by far. Yet I still have much to do to heal – and now I know, I will. It will take much time. But I am resending my original post as food for thought and to show that with much patience, kindness to oneself, counseling, support, family and friends we can make a difference in our lives even through extreme tragedy.
Posted eight months ago:
You know that I’ve had some very rough days, culminating in sheer and very real exhaustion. I’ve lost nearly 10 pounds in 14 days. Pain, sadness, not hungry or feeling sick when I eat, tears and the emotional roller coaster of it all takes a horrendous toll on your body it seems.
Today I read something that ‘finally’ struck enough of a chord to give me a goal. I’m not saying all is well in my world or that I can now focus on anything I put my mind to. On the contrary, it will be very difficult to achieve even this one goal – but I’m going to hold myself to commit to this one thing — for now.
I’m going to copy below for you but know that in this same manual for survivors, it is said that for most, it takes a year to get over the toughest parts and a year or two more to truly feel ready to live again. So if you all can muster a whole lot of understanding and patience with me, I’d be most grateful for mine is a slow and arduous journey no matter how you look at it. I was told recently, last night, to be kind to myself. This manual also speaks of being kind to myself. It’s hard to do that and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps because of the pain I cannot imagine any reason for kindness, but I must.
So here is the affirmation below (written by someone else). I just hope I can be strong enough to uphold my commitment to this.
So I give thanks to everyone – I do love you. Without you I absolutely could not make it through this!
The Suicide Survivor’s Affirmation
Someone I loved very much has ended their own life. I will never truly know
all that was happening in their mind that brought them to that tragic choice.
However, there are things of which I can be reasonably certain…
— If they were here, even they could not fully explain their mindset or
answer all of my questions.
— In their state of mind, they could not have fully comprehended the
reality of their own death.
— They could not have fully appreciated the devastating
impact their suicide would have on the people in their life.
As such, by their last act, they made their most tragic mistake, unknowingly
creating unparalleled pain in the hearts of those whom they most loved.
The person I lost is beyond my help now in every way but one:
I can help them by working to ease the pain they have caused
and by not allowing their most enduring legacy to be one of
tragedy. They benefit from this help whether or not I perceive them as
welcoming it, in the same way that we help the aggressor whenever we nurse
his victim—by minimizing the damage he has caused.
As a result, each and every day, I can help the person I lost by…
- …enjoying life.
…smiling and laughing.
…not dwelling in feelings of sadness or remorse.
…taking new steps in life toward positive new horizons.
…helping those who feel their loss to do the same.
…and, in short, not letting their mistake continue to create
sorrow, neither in the world around me, nor in myself.
I’ll try to picture my lost loved one asking me to do this every day – to please help undo the damage they caused in whatever little ways possible.
And I promise that I will.