Delight in the Remaining Sunlight


 

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you will see.”   Winston Churchill

 

Devoted to learning as much as possible, I continue putting pieces to the puzzle together of Martin, my late husband’s death.  I realize that I will never know the whole story, however, I’m learning there is so much I didn’t know that Martin kept to himself.  Though the farther forward I wish to go, truth is the farther back I must search. 

He was a quiet, inward-thinking man – very much an introvert in many ways.  He kept his pain to himself, only seldom speaking of it.  For instance, in a recent email to someone close to him in his past – the early years – I’ve had a startling discovery.  At first it felt painful for me … though upon a good deal of contemplation I appreciate why he may have preferred not to speak of it to me.  Sadness, remorse, embarrassment, inability to relive that pain are all reasons which come to my mind.  And I’m okay with his privacy for this issue.  Perhaps he felt I would think less of him, or be angered by it.  For the record, I am neither. 

It’s sad that we place so much energy on holding something back like this.  And unfortunately, Martin and I did not have much time to talk about all these things.  We were together for such a short time before his demise … there wasn’t time really.  I find that reasoning quite prominent in so many things.  Like the plans we were making for travel, and the strategies of what to do next with our lives together.  And this too may have factored into his stress level in the end for reasons none of us understand really. 

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.” ~ François de la Rochefoucauld

 

We all go through ups and downs in our mood.  Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments.  Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.  

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom.  However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all—instead, they feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.

Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep and have fun.  Those feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting with little, if any, relief.  

I reiterate these symptoms in optimism to keep in the forefront those things which depressed people have in common.  Thus with our help, with our communication with them, perhaps we will be able to rally around our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers – whomever we know —  in order for them to get help.  I know that after my tragedy of losing my beloved husband, I am healing, still, and it is only after eight months that I am enjoying seeing more of the light.   

Birds sing after a storm.  Why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?”  ~Rose Kennedy

 

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Out of Darkness: Sharing The Light


 

 All those who have likely seen all the ads, including the preview of the new Oprah Winfrey cable network OWN, raise your hand(s).   Really, how could most of us miss it with all of the hubbub?  It does look innovative and exciting and I probably will watch. 

Which brings me to my point.  Tonight I watched previews for OWN.  I observed preview of upcoming shows with Ryan & Tatum O’Neal and their broken father-daughter relationship.  I listened about the upset of Naomi and Wynona’s mother-daughter damaged relationship and their musical relationship breakdown.  And I heard Shania Twain say she lost her voice and her confidence as well as her much publicized marital breakup.   And one individual’s words really struck me: Lady Sarah Ferguson and how she feels “broken.”  

That has me reflecting upon my own life and why I feel broken.  As a survivor from a spouse who completed suicide, I have been working at healing over the past eight months.  Grieving the death of a loved one, especially by suicide, is undoubtedly one of the hardest things we may ever endure as humans. 

 

Strong feelings of sadness and loneliness commonly occur following a loved one’s death.  Other painful feelings like fear, anxiety, guilt, resentment, anger and shame are also common.   Keep in mind that each person grieves in their own way and at their own pace.  There is no set timeline for healing.  Questions and thoughts plague us such as, “Why couldn’t I see the signs?” and, “Why didn’t he talk to me about his feelings and the depression he experienced? 

Truth is that I still feel broken, yet I have come a long way in eight months.  I’m at a place where I can now see  through the darkness of the forest and am trying to reach the light beyond.  Realizing I will never be the same again, I maintain a special goal – to help others who may endure, or already have endured similar pain trying to come out of their darkness.  “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”   Eleanor Roosevelt  

Here are some staggering facts for you to digest.

  • A person dies by suicide ~every 15 minutes in the U.S.
  • ~ 90% of all who die by suicide have a diagnosable, treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (17 million), cancer (12 million) and HIV/AIDS (1 million).
  • Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses.  Between 80 – 90% of people with depression respond positively to treatment.  But first, depression has to be recognized. 

Studies indicate that the best way to prevent suicide is through early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses. 

A common thread for the majority of us survivors is:  What do I do now?  Although it may seem difficult, maintaining contact with other people is especially important during the stress-filled months after a loved one’s suicide.  Even if you impress upon other’s that you do not have the strength currently to contact them, ask them to please contact you consistently. 

Anniversaries, birthdays and holidays are especially difficult, so you might want to think about whether to continue old traditions or create some new ones.  You likely will experience waves of sadness; these are a normal part of the grieving process. 

Most important be kind to yourself.  When you feel ready, begin to go on with your life.  Eventually starting to enjoy life again is not a betrayal of your loved one, but rather a sign that you have begun to heal.  “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”     Carl Jung

By reading the messages and stats contained herein, you may begin to come out of the darkness and heal.  By sharing these messages, you just may be able to share the light with others so we may all begin to heal the brokenness!