This was definitely a question that went round in my head for months, even years! In 2008 I sadly had to start asking this question, because my darling mum left the world this way. I remember it vividly, it was 2.30pm in the afternoon, i was one of the last people to see her. I told her I loved her, said her hair looked nice and kissed her goodbye. Something in my heart knew something wasn't quite right, her eyes looked dark inside, as if the light had gone. I didn’t know what I was seeing at the time, I’d never encountered anyone like this before. It wasn’t until after mum died that I realised what I saw that day. And as you can imagine it still lives with me that I wish I could of done more. But for me to heal properly, I had to forgive myself, after all, no one knew what was going on inside her mind, only her.
My dear mother had been holding a secret for years, one of which that involved a family member interfering with her, and back in the 60s these things definitely would not be discussed, and because they weren't and the matter was never dealt with, it then lead to her early death at 60 years old. Mum choose the 21st June, the Solstice to die. Saying the words die, dead, death are so final. I couldn't say those words for years, I would use "left this world" or "passed away" it felt softer, not real even. Eventually I had to be brave, I had to start using the real words. Only then did the healing start to happen. Up until that point I was floating in my denial bubble. Some people stay in this denial bubble for the rest of their lives, and some, me, choose to face things.
So, how do you get over the loss of loved one through suicide?
With shear determination, a stubbornness to survive, belief that there must be light at the end of the tunnel, and NEVER giving up on yourself! The day my mum died was the day a part of me died, and the day a part of our whole family died. So much so, my father sadly was unable to support me, my eldest brother was and still is recovering from mental illness in rehab, my middle brother was in his denial bubble and so was my twin sister, my best friend of 21 years couldn't be there for me either, her mum tried to kill herself when she was 11 and so this would of brought everything back for her, which it did...i was alone!
It took 2 years to realise I was alone. I then left a boyfriend of 5.5yrs as I needed to be with me and only me. This is where the real story begins...
I will write it all down one day, as one of the best things i did was keep a journal. On the days where I felt alone and unable to cope I would write. When I wrote i felt like I was talking to someone...me, I didn't feel alone then. Weirdly, most times when I wrote things down it wasn't relevant to the moment, but weeks later, when i was having a really low day, I would read the journal, and what I wrote a few weeks back made perfect sense to my future self. Call that weird, or call that the subconscious working its magic.
At the end of the day, I truly believe the answers ARE within us, and ARE within reach. We just need to sit quietly to hear what we are saying.
I didn't realise it back then, but the day mum died was the day I had to learn to be the parent to me.
If you have felt the impact of death by suicide, you know of someone who has or is struggling to go on then please see the links for further reading, help and support.