2/18/17 – “dust off” for repost? “Out of the Shadows” -likely move to new page

~No human has more clarity about the scourge of suicide than the survivors who are outliving their loved one who died by this shocking, dreaded killer of our young~

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Suicide is NOT shameful, but society has been saturated for generations with the belief that somehow suicide is shameful and it is reluctant to give up this stinky thinking even in the face of indisputable truth. “The shaming of suicide” in my humble opinion, is a product of society mores and historical traditions, festered by the daily use of the word to provoke emotion. It is society’s intent to pack a punch with this inflammatory word, and the media is hugely guilty when they jam their rhetoric full of phrases like: political suicide, financial suicide, sports suicide, etc.

I will attempt to speak particularly to the heart of those of us who are outliving a child, and worst of all, from a death of suicide. But hopefully, all of us who mourn will take away something. And to each of you, I am so sorry for your pain.

Is there anyone who does not like chocolate? If you happen to prefer, let’s say, bananas, then I know this won’t “appeal” to you, although I happen to think a banana dipped in chocolate makes a nice treat. Please stay with me here. I haven’t “gone bananas” but I want to see if a comparison can be made. You decide.

Chocolate is fragrant and silky smooth and beguiles the senses. Place a piece of milk chocolate on your tongue, let it melt, and then describe the experience. It’s rich and flavorful and screams, “more” does it not? Far too often I reach for chocolate every time I feel bad. It may not be wise to feed the pain, but chocolate helps me forget the problem for a few delicious seconds before it settles permanently on my hips (sigh). And the reason it’s not “hip, hip, hooray” is because of the volume of fat and sugar that goes into that divine piece of chocolate to make it the sensual experience that it is.

I suspect I have swallowed shame just as easily as I have swallowed chocolate. In my young and developing years, I was criticized for my “flats” ~ flat this and flat that (on my body). It was totally humiliating when my mother, just trying to help, would say to the clerk, “Do you have anything to fit my daughter? She has flat feet.” It sounded to my heart like she had been handed a megaphone and everyone in the entire store heard her. I wanted to crawl under a display, or better yet, drop through the floor. Perhaps even back then, chocolate was my friend, smoothing out the frayed edges shame spawned in my heart.

Is it possible that shame hides in suicide like sugar hides in chocolate? I read the lines and between the lines on social media grief sites. Some mention shame directly, but many more don’t say the word, but I think I know what they mean. When people tell us to “move on” is it because they are tired of thinking about the cause of death? Does it make them feel uncomfortable? Some attend church and it’s in this intended “safe haven” where they might feel shame after some saint speaks some thoughtless words within earshot. I could go on and on, but you know what I mean. And if you personally have felt shamed by others, I am so sorry for the extra pain inflicted on your already shattered heart.

file2491298389219Darkness breeds lies and shame so let’s bring this bad boy out in the open. Let’s treat it like the dirty cockroach it is and shine the light on the darkness of shame, scattering and zapping it’s lies like scurrying insects. May I suggest that we don’t have to hide. We have done nothing shameful. Our child or other loved one did nothing shameful. They died. It should be just as acceptable to tell our cause of death, as if it were by any other cause. There is no difference in my opinion. It’s time to tell the world to back off or spread the truth. Give us some breathing room and we will tell you what it’s like to lose someone to suicide. Their lives are worth talking openly about and others to respectfully listen.

I hope I did not sour your love affair with chocolate by comparing it to shame. But shame is slick, slimy, scummy, and can stick like glue, but it’s also as smooth as chocolate the way it coats the tongue of someone appalled by the way your child died and “shares the shame” with their gossipy friends. Think about it and let’s spread the truth.

Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. Proverbs 12:19, NLT

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “2/18/17 – “dust off” for repost? “Out of the Shadows” -likely move to new page

  1. Yes, the “shame” of suicide lingers in our society. What really irks me to no end is the cavalier way it’s treated in a lot of pop culture like sitcoms. While I like “Two & A Half Men” they are probably the worst offenders, pretending to shoot or hang themselves. I emailed a local publication over their cover of a woman with a water pistol to her head, proclaiming summer’s start. No reply at all. I find it thoughtless & disgusting as well as ignorant.

    • You are so right. I maintain that if those who display such shameful behavior lost a loved one to suicide, they would no longer find this funny. Keep writing even if no response. Over time, hopefully there will be a change. It is hard enough for us survivors without having to be bombarded by what the media thinks is funny.

  2. The shame, the guilt the horrible aching in my heart the constant need to explain why?!?! Was it depression? Then why didn’t I know my son was depressed?. Where was I? Why didn’t I see the signs??!? Love can’t stop it. He knew I loved him! He loved me! He just hurt and I had know idea how much! Why was I out of town? Not here when my baby needed me most!? I hate this life living without my only son, my daughter has a big load being my only living in this world child. More guilt.

    • Thank you for perusing the dusty shelves full of published blogs until you found one that resonated in your heart. I feel your pain. I know the shame too which is why I attempted to write about it. It hangs overhead. It lingers after we walk away after explaining yet again. It’s not easy and I am so sorry for the loss of your only son. I’m left with an only child too. It’s hard for him too. He and his brother were very close. So how did we miss the important signs too? We are simply human. We don’t have knowledge about the future of our children’s lives. I knew my son had sadness, but I didn’t realize how low he had gotten until he told me. Then I was worried and we talked and I hoped he would do better, but alas….

      Yes, we love our children unconditionally through thick and thin. But we also teach them how to grow up and fly free. Mine was on his own and we were happy for him. Once out of the home, we don’t get to “take their pulse” as often, but I’ve also had one living in the basement coming and going at all hours, living essentially on his own, making his own decisions and not wanting parental input. Such is the life of growing up children. Give me toddlers any day!

      If I can say one thing: please drop the guilt from your daily vocabulary. It serves no earthly good. It escalates the pain you already feel in your broken heart and it does not help going forward, does it? You did the best you could. And if you had known better, you/me would have done better. And why can’t we spot depression? Depression hides. Depression holds down a full time job. Depression is a movie star. Depression raises a family and puts food on the table. Depression does not bleed nor does it wear a cast. The brain is a complex organ with much we do not yet know and maybe never will. The shame and fear of being found out and perhaps fired from a job we love may keep our depressed children silent.

      Please write again. If you prefer, you may write me at my private email: impossiblejoy@yahoo.com. I guess I feel it is more confidential. Perhaps ongoing conversations together might help us both. Blessings, Gracie

    • Your story sounds just like mine, my youngest daughter committed suicide in 2014 and we have so many emotions. Guilt, whys and what ifs.
      Sister is also the only one left. everything is on her shoulder now, all the responsibility of aging parents, settling her estate as been an extra trauma.
      We wonder when is it going to get better, a life long journey of questions and grief.
      The shame isn’t there for me in comparison to the life long grief of not having my daughter.

      • Well said, Peggy Sue. I have been writing about losing my son for almost five years now and I still search for just the right words to express the sorrow. I am convinced there are none, but I reach out to help another coming along behind me, and there are always more. I am so sorry for your loss and the responsibility of being an only child, just like our younger son. I wish I could speak to sibling pain, but I cannot. All I can do is speak of my mother pain in words that attempt to express the moans and groans we all feel. I have been on my grief journey 11 years ~ seems impossible ~ but I can say that the pain has shifted to a place of acceptance where it is not so stabbing. Our pain tends to change in intensity as time goes on. Thank you for expressing your feelings so well. Please write again if you would like to chat further. I will give you my private email address just in case: impossiblejoy@yahoo.com. Blessings, Gracie

  3. God Bless you Gracie. It has been almost 8 years since my son- best friend died from untreated bi-polar and can I ever relate to alot of what you said hugs

    • I am so sorry for your precious loss, Krys. How difficult it is to separate ourselves from our child! I know he’s not coming back, but over the years the pain remains. Time has softened the edges somewhat and I am grateful, but it is a blessing to meet others like you. Thanks so much for your comment! I hope to hear from you often. Explore the archives and hopefully other stories will be meaningful as well. Blessings, Gracie

    • You say that emphatically so I assume you have lost someone dear to you to suicide and I am so sorry for your loss. Yes, I agree. It was my experience. Looking back I can now see with almost 20/20 the steps leading my son from lifelong depression to the final end. I ache to reverse and deal with the depression most severely but I cannot and neither can you. Depression is the silent and slow killer. It is not easy to treat at least in my case. It is considered shameful at least if you reveal that you suffer from depression in a job interview, trust me, you won’t get the job. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you stop by again. I appreciate your views. Blessings, Gracie

    • Hello, Amanda. Thank you for stopping by. It is good to meet a new friend while sitting here on a park bench and getting acquainted. May I assume that suicide has touched your life? If yes, I am so sorry for your pain. Survivors aren’t sissies! It takes all that is within to breathe in and out and take steps forward even if baby steps. You agree with this post. It is not easy to write about the underpinnings of suicide. How can one be certain? But I have seen the looks, lost friends back into the woodwork, have family who refused to attend the final service, etc. Whatever has been your experience I am so sorry for your pain. If you ever want to share your story with me, please do. If you want a more private setting, you may write to me at my ministry email: impossiblejoy@yahoo.com. Blessings, Gracie

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