Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Same Discussion ......

...... same passion.

I had a discussion this past weekend that I've had several times before.
It's a discussion that I am so passionate about ...... that it brings tears every single time it occurs.

All it takes is four words.
Four words that set me off quicker than most any other words can (unless they're negative words about my children).
The words?
"Suicide is so selfish."

That's all it takes to make me whip my head around and set the record straight.

The first thing I instantly know about a person who utters those words is this:

None.  They have never, ever experienced anything close to real depression.  They have never grieved the loss of half of their selves, of the person they loved most in the world, of the future as they imagined it.
They've never grieved hard.  For a spouse, a child ...... for anyone.

Because once you've grieved that kind of loss ...... you know those four words are nothing but a judgmental, ignorant lie.

Here is what I believe.
No ...... here is what I know.
From experience.
The person who uses suicide to end his/her life (for the majority ... I realize that there are always exceptions) is NOT making a choice based on selfishness.  In fact, I don't believe that it's actually a choice for that person.

That's difficult to understand unless you have experienced such deep, deep, painful depression.
It's a depression that causes so much pain that the person thinks they cannot take one more minute of it. Every breath brings pain.  There is no future ahead of them ..... only very cold, very dark blackness.  Darker than the deepest cave.

Not only is the pain (emotional and physical many times) too much to endure, but there is a sure knowledge that every single loved one would be so much better off if they no longer had to deal with this depressed, hopeless, future-less person.
When someone is that depressed, this thought is more than a thought.  It's a fact.
So the act of taking one's own life not only ends their pain (and they believe it's the ONLY way to stop the pain), it also ends the "suffering" that everyone else is going through by being around them.  Suicide, as seen by this person, is a way to put everyone in a much better place.  It's not selfish at all ...... it's the most selfless act they can think of.  No longer will other people have to be "dragged down" with him/her.  Everyone ...... every single person (yes, even their child/ren) will be so much happier, and have a better chance for a happier future, if they don't have to take care of a depressed person with no hope and no future ...... and nothing to give.

When those thoughts come to someone, the act of suicide is no longer a choice.  In the majority of cases, suicide is not planned.
It occurs because of where that person is, down in the bottom of that cave, and because something happens which causes them to just "snap".  Something as ordinary as cleaning out a linen closet that's covered in dust because the house is being re-modeled.  One look at how much dust there actually is can make a depressed, widowed person's mind just snap, and that snap brings the sudden, certain knowledge that they can't take anything else.  Not for one more second.  From that point it's like their actions are on "automatic".  There is no choice.  There is just the knowledge that this HAS to stop. And there is only way one to make it stop.  It's like the mind can now only focus on this one thing and it forces the body to follow along.  It sometimes is almost like this person becomes a robot and follows the brain's command, no questions asked.  No thought of questioning it.  Just following it and stopping the pain.
That's all.

I know that in my "before" ...... I was one of those ignorant people.  I didn't understand what depression actually was ...... what it could do to someone.  I just thought all you had to do was "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" and move forward.
I am ashamed of the "before me" for such thoughts.
But I had no experience with depression ...... or death, really.

And then ...... I did.
My life, as I knew it, ended.  In less than 24 hours my "before" turned into my "after".
And soon after than ...... I was no longer ignorant.
I understood ...... all too well.

So now I am passionate about helping others understand.
Others who've had no experience, lucky them.
I don't believe that everyone needs to experience this hell-on-earth kind of grief to understand.
They just need people like me ...... like you.
They need people like us to explain it to them.
To tell them exactly what I've written here.
To set the record straight.

I will continue to be passionate about this topic.
And most likely ...... I'll continue to cry when I passionately talk to someone about it.
But I'm ok with that.
Because the record does indeed need to be set straight.

I hope others will join me ...... in having the same discussion.
With the same passion.


  1. Wow, words well spoken!! I have a dear friend who's husband thought the world would be a better place too. I will definitely share your post with her and hopefully she'll share with her adult children. Thank you and from this day forward I'll set the record straight too!

    1. Thank you, Cherri. And thank you for sharing it your friend. She can use it for her kids, post it on her FB (and theirs) so that well-meaning people who have no clue, might just start to get one.
      All they need is to hear the truth. Unfortunately, most of the people who could speak for themselves and tell their truth, are no longer with us. So I try to speak for them whenever I can. I try to speak to the ones left behind.
      But more importantly, I try to speak to those who are set things straight.
      And most of all, the VERY most of all ...... I try to speak TO the ones who haven't snapped ...... yet. To let them know though they feel all alone, they truly aren't.
      And that this level of pain will not last. To promise them that, and promise them that I can believe it for them. I can KNOW it for them.
      I just want to give them a glimpse of hope, however small, just enough of a glimmer that they can focus on it, grab it, and keep breathing ...... waiting for the next glimpse.
      It's there. They just have to keep breathing.

  2. Janine - thank you so much for this post. I cried as I read it - to know that there are others that feel the way I do and can relate. My husband died of cancer a year ago and right now I am thinking it would be so much easier not to be here and (hopefully) to be with him. Just not sure if there is ANY reason for being here, when I really look at my life. I will go through your other comments to see how you coped.

    1. Anon --
      I know where you are and I know how lonely you feel in that very, very dark place. I wish that I could physically reach out to you and just hold you for a long time.
      But I can't.
      All I can do is this: Promise you that it WILL get lighter. Slowly, but surely, this horrible road will start to become a bit smoother. It's a long road and the change doesn't happen over night. It's like time passing, you can't see it pass, you just sometimes look up and realize that so much of it has.
      During the times you don't believe that, can't believe that, please trust me. Trust me enough to believe what I say. Or, as I've told many others, even if you can't do that, let me believe it for you. You WILL NOT ALWAYS FEEL THIS WAY. I promise. I will believe it for you until you have the strength to believe it yourself.
      And then there's this: it's not true that everyone else will be better without you. In fact, some of those people will be seriously hurt, probably for the rest of their lives, if you leave.
      Please email me ..... I can talk to you more about this and what helped me. I answer every email.
      You are not alone.
      Keep breathing.
      One breath at a time.

  3. Janine, what a beautiful post! Having dealt with depression even before losing my husband, I know the those thoughts of "everyone would be better off without me". After I lost my husband suddenly I wanted to die, but with two kids depending on me, I couldn't go through with any plan.

    You are so right in telling everyone that "You will not always feel this way." I am 3.5 years out and life is slowly coming back.

    Thank you, Janine!

    1. Thank you, Anon.
      Thank you for letting me know that I'm not alone in having experienced this. It's definitely not a time in my life that I like to go back and reflect upon, but having gone through it, I cannot just sit back and let remarks like that go un-responded-to. Even though I have never been asked for my opinion when those words have been uttered, I have always given it.
      And I know that I have opened the eyes of at least a couple of people. I'm grateful for the opportunity to "set the record straight", and to give hope to those who are there now.
      Hope, even the smallest piece of it, is huge. And can make the difference between life and death.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

  4. You opened my eyes, I'm sorry to say I was one of those people who only saw the "after" effect on those left behind. You truly opened my eyes. I will never say those words again and if I encounter anyone who does, I will help them see the light also.

    Thank you

    1. My dear Anon,
      Thank you ...... from the bottom of my heart. While we have all said and done things in our "before", or in our present, all we can do is learn from those things. I don't know what brought you to our blog, but I'm thankful that you came, and grateful that you were brave enough to comment.
      I'm thankful that my words helped you understand ...... and even more, made you want to help others understand.
      That's huge.
      And that's all I could ask.
      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing with me/us.

  5. FANFREAKINTABULOUS JANINE! So eloquently spoken, so needed. I will share with those who don't get you say, lucky them but they need to "get it" to stop judging others for something they know nothing about. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, my lovely friend. :)
      You're very kind, as always. Thank you for commenting and thank you even more for sharing this.
      I believe with all of my heart that this is a message that needs to become common knowledge.
      Thank you for helping me with that mission.
      I love you.

  6. Janine, thank you for this. I am weeping. I was there, in the hole. I just wanted the pain to end. Everyone said you'll feel better, but try saying that to someone who is undergoing the mental equivalent of burning alive and it will never stop. I was screaming out loud for a little compassion, I just wanted people to know how much it hurt, and I would get yelled at. I got yelled at on widowed village by suicide widows. I wasn't trying to hurt anyone , I was just hurting. I got a lot of help. A therapist and a psychiatrist for the antidepressants. They both gave me their personal cell phones so I could call them 24/7 if I was out of control. It's better now, I wish I could say that I don't go to "that" place anymore, but it still feels like a way out, if the pain is too great again. I feel like I raised my children to adulthood and lived my vows until death did we part, so I don't really owe anybody anything. You are one of the few people do come out and actually say you understand the feeling.

    1. Oh, Paula ......
      I am so sorry that you, too, were in that deep dark place. I'm thankful that you're "better", but completely understand how you could sometimes still "go there".
      You've raised your children, which is huge, and you've fulfilled your vows, which is the best thing anyone can say about their marriage.
      And no, you don't "owe" anyone anything. But I truly hope that, while you may "go there" every now and then ...... it's a very short visit and not a long stay.
      Yes, your children are now adults. But they have experienced a huge loss long before they should have. You know what grief can do to a person. Though it's hard to take in sometimes, I have to say this: Your children have already gone through the biggest loss of their lives. If they were to lose you in this way, the harm could be irreparable. We can't see that when we're down in that very deep, very dark cave. So please see it now and tuck it away. It's normal to continue to visit that cave ...... but only to visit it. I'd love to tell you that I never, ever go there now. But that wouldn't be true. I do sometimes visit it, but now I have the strength to turn around and leave it, knowing that it will not draw me that deeply in again.
      At least I pray that it won't.
      You are loved. You are valued. More than you think you are. More than you are told. That's the nature of being a parent. You know that.
      Please don't go back in that cave, thinking you don't matter.
      Because you do.
      Very, very much.
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your experience. Thank you for letting me, and so many others, know that we are not alone.
      There are plenty of people behind you on this road, looking at how much further you are ...... and knowing that if you are there, there is hope that they will get there.
      Much love and peace to you, Paula.
      And please feel free to email me any time.

  7. As a person who suffers from depression... People do not have NO IDEA what it is like to even think about taking your life. The pain so bad, that dying is much better than to wake up and have to deal with all of this crap in life. The black room with no light. You watch life and the people in it around you go about their lives, and you know 100% sure that everyone and everything will be better without you.

    No it is not a bad freaking day, it is a bad life!

    So people need to get a clue, before they judge.

    1. Lynn,
      Thank you so much for validating my words and my feelings. Thank you for letting me know that I'm not alone in this. By being courageous enough to comment you have also let many others know that they, too, are not alone.
      All of us need to get the word out ...... "to set the record straight".
      Thank you for being passionate about this ...... and willing to help others understand.

  8. Thank you for such an honest truthful post. Most people don't understand and we didn't CHOOSE TO BE DEPRESSED. I wish my son understood. Unfortunately I don't think he would even get it if I printed it out and handed it to him. I never knew such pain until they died (mother, then 7 months later husband). Thank again from the bottom of your heart the words everyone should read.

    1. Lisa,
      Thank you so much for reminding everyone that we, indeed, did NOT choose to be depressed. It never entered my mind that I'd ever experience depression at that level. Or need medication in order to stay alive because of it.
      I'm sorry that your son doesn't get it. I would hazard a guess that most children don't. They've lost one parent ...... so they need the other parent to be strong.
      They sometimes can't let themselves see that we are not. The world as they knew it has shifted, broken, and left them feeling lonely and very, very different from their friends. Sometimes overnight. It's mostly a selfish period of life .... the time between birth and full adulthood. They need to believe that we're ok, that their world hasn't completely disappeared, even if it has.
      I believe that one day, though the timing is impossible to predict and is different for everyone, he will understand.
      Until then, I hope you can find peace in the knowledge that there are many of us who do understand ...... and are here for you.
      You are not alone.
      Thank you for your kind words ...... they mean very much to me ...... and to many others.

  9. Janine,
    THANK YOU! For putting into words what I believe. My husband committed suicide 3 years ago and he stated in his letter he left for me that he knew this was a selfish act but couldn't go on another minute. I have never felt this kind of pain or depression. Since his death though I have read numerous books, articles and spoken to professionals to try to understand how someone could get to this place of no longer being able to be in this life because of how much it hurts. My boys and I are dedicated to educating others about depression but most importantly about how much it hurts those they love instead of helping them not have to deal with the depression of their loved one. Again I thank you for your words but most importantly what you do each day to help other widows/ widowers.

    1. Lisa,
      I don't have the words to express my gratefulness for your comment. All I can say is thank you. Very, very much.
      I am so very sorry that your husband was in that much pain. And sorry that he couldn't find the help he so desperately needed. That is what has to change. The taboo that is placed on the topic of depression has GOT to be deleted. A chemical imbalance in the brain is NO different than one anywhere else in the body. We easily accept the fact that some of us need meds to fight hereditary (or not) cholesterol, or insulin for diabetes. Medication for depression is NO different. At all.
      An imbalance is an imbalance. Period.
      I'm grateful that, even in the pain and grief you are experiencing, you and your sons are passionate about setting the record straight.
      We need millions of people to help us in this mission. Millions to come out of the dark and tell the truth of their experience ..... and the experience of their loved ones.
      I know that you wish your husband had known what the consequences of his action would bring ...... that he could've seen the truth. But I hope you know, and can accept, that he truly thought he was doing the best thing for all of you.
      No, that doesn't help the people left behind. Not in the ways that they need help. But I do hope that it helps those people know that this last desperate act, was not in any way a selfish thing. It was the only thing he knew to do.
      And THAT is why we need to get the word out. That is the "knowledge" that we need to change ...... before it becomes an action. Depression needs to be seen for what it is ...... a chemical imbalance. Not for what it isn't ...... a crazy, embarrassing, taboo disease.
      I believe that the more we talk about it, the more we "set the record straight", the more "open" this topic becomes. And the more recognizable it becomes.
      So those who experience being in that deep, dark cave ...... will know that they are not alone ...... and more importantly, that they are "normal". Imbalanced, yes. Abnormal, no.
      Once we know that we are not "abnormal", it's easier to seek help to become "balanced".
      Thank you for helping me, and many others, make that understood.

  10. beautiful post Janine. I admit I felt differently in my "before" as well. Even having suffered from depression most of my teen and adult life, I had never contemplated taking my own life until my "after". Grief has certainly caused a major change in my depression, and there have been many times - including very recently - that I have considered that the people around me would be better off without me. I am happy to see depression discussed on several posts here lately. I have been ridiculed several times on widow sites for "giving in" and taking antidepressants and for "masking" my grief. Depression and suicide are both topics that need much more understanding - and many more people willing to talk about them and bring awareness. Thank you.

  11. Janine,
    Thank you also. I have had depression for most of my life but only treated for the last decade or so. My new husband had the same problem and 10 weeks ago he took his own life. He begged me to let him go and I did. I now understand the agony he had faced for such a huge part of his life. I tried to take my life shortly after his death - because why would I want to be here without him , my soulmate? I know he did not do this from selfish means - not in a gazillion years!!!! I am not being selfish either. But I read somewhere to imagine being in the middle of a field with the storm clouds rolling in. Thunder,lightning, pummelling rain is hammering you everywhere. Hail stones are pelting you and the sounds, sights, smells, sensations etc are engulfing you. So how hard would it be amidst all that, to know that 500 metres above those clouds it is a beautiful sunny day? My guess is that even the weather man would get it wrong. That is how it feels when suicide takes over you. My Darling left me 2 days before our 6 month wedding anniversary and was only 35 and he is NOT a selfish person. He is the most generous, big hearted person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I miss him like that storm every second of every day but am trusting you and others who tell me it will day. Thank you for understanding. S x

  12. just reading this now, and its beautiful. There have been moments, flickers ... in my "after" ... where I didnt think I could possibly go on one more second. The pain is just too much. But I did. Because Im too cowardly to acively take steps to end things. I just cant ever take it that far, so I just sit with the pain. But this post is beautiful and so important. THank you.

  13. Exactly! I know so many people who have echoed those same words (you just have to get over it, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, etc, and that it's selfish). You're so right - those people have no clue. I've lost friends over this, sadly. But I hope to be the kind of friend who can empathize with people should I ever encounter someone in this position! Thanks for sharing bravely, as always!

  14. This was painful to read.

    I lost my husband to suicide on 10/22/12. I have gone thru the gamut of feelings that come with losing the person that you thought would be with you until one of you died a death that was *normal*....sickness, an accident, a heart attack, etc. All the acceptable forms of separation from who you chose as a soul mate. But how does one reconcile a suicide? Ever? Your soul mate *chooses* to leave you. Chooses to leave your children. Chooses to make you a single mother. To help you? Really? How does one whittle down to that conclusion? Depression? I get it. Depression is bad. Depression is real. Depression kills.

    I live with what depression did everyday since 10/22/12. So do my children. Dad was sick. Dad was crazy. Dad was out of his mind. Dad was depressed. Depression and I have come to know each other quite well.

    Was Dad selfish? Yes. Dad was. Because Dad was a smart man. Dad knew what the difference was between right and wrong. Dad heard mom say, here and there, over some news clip, or an acquaintance who made suicide a discussion again - how can anyone ever leave their family like that? And dad would sit and listen to me lament about someone elses confusing choice, and never offer a word. He contemplated his death for over a year. I know because I found it on his computer over the next agonizing months that we all had to learn how to live without him. We had to learn to live with his death, a death that no matter how many times you twist it around, like a rubics cube, it was a death that didn't have to happen. I have an autopsy report that proves it.

    Selfish? A strong word. But to level out to the living the additional burden that their loved one was suffering so immeasurably that they killed themselves to save those left behind, is to saddle the living with additional guilt, suffocating sorrow, and a lifetime of regret. Regret that we weren't smart enough to see it coming. Regret that we weren't quick enough to stop it from happening. Regret that we trusted who we loved to see life thru.

    I have been blessed with a support group of strong, smart family and friends. I've heard it said that my husband was selfish, I've heard it asked "What the hell was he thinking?". I know he wasn't thinking about us. He had no room in his hurting brain to think about us. No vacant corner to gather his thoughts...if he asked for help, it wasn't from us. If he was offered help, he turned away from it. He was focused on dying.

    It's easy to take on the burden of a loved one's suicide. We are human. We think we can save everyone from themselves. But we cannot. We do our best. We who are surviving a suicide of a loved one will most definitely call them "selfish". We are mad. We are hurt. We could have helped, if we had known. We are who they made us...we respected that they respected life. We trusted, we opened up our chests and layed our hearts down. So "selfish" is a word that crosses my mind when I think about how my husband pointedly planned on leaving me and his children forever.

    Strangely, I am not angry now.. I just have a sense of how smart my husband was, how well he knew me, how thoroughly he understood how something like that would be something I would never understand, and how much it would hurt me, rattle my cage for the rest of my life. He knew. That makes him selfish.

    But I'm not angry. Thinking that there was an element of selfishness that encompassed his last act, it's nothing more than a fact in my life now, a fact surrounding the act that had a curtain come down on it like a wall of cement.

    It's done. And I get to say he was selfish. I am living. I am human. I'm doing the best that I can. Just like he thought he was.

    But he was wrong.

    1. Yes, he was, and you have every right in the world to say it and feel it. I was trying to put into words what was missing in this thread, and your post is it. Thank you for sharing yourself in this way...

    2. Anon and DJ,
      I'm so very sorry that reading this post brought you pain. That was not my intent.
      Yes, he was wrong. And you do have every right to see it how you see it, and to feel what you feel.
      As I said in the original post, there are always exceptions. And no matter what he was thinking, no matter what he felt, or thought, or planned ...... you are the one left behind to deal with that last act.
      My post was not intended to make the survivors feel "guilty" because they didn't, or couldn't, help their loved one. It wasn't written to make anyone feel bad because they "didn't see it coming". I don't believe that there's much one can do when someone makes that final decision.
      My goal in writing this post was to let people know that depression can, and does, take possession of a person so completely that he/she cannot see any other way to stop the pain. It's not a pain that anyone causes, it's not a pain that a loved one or a friend can fix ...... not on their own. There's no one to blame except the person who died. And I can understand why there would be blame.
      There is no finger pointing, at least not by me.
      My goal is also to bring the topic of depression out in the open, and to bring its victims, ALL of them, out of the shadow of shame and guilt.
      Depression affects everyone in a family, even if only one person has it. There are many views of depression. I have not experienced it from your perspective. I can only write about my own personal perspective ...... what I felt, thought and experienced. I know that I am not alone in my perspective, just as I know that you are not alone in yours.
      I'm so very sorry that your husband left you behind to deal with the aftermath. I can only imagine what that is like.
      Thank you for sharing your experience and feelings about this. Thank you for coming forward with your honest thoughts.

  15. You are so welcome, DJ. Peace to you, to all of us, who are dealing with the sadness, the emptiness, the profound sorrow that never leaves..we are all doing just the best that we can.

  16. I don't want to take away the pain anyone feels who has lost a loved one to suicide. I live with it myself; my dad took his own life when I was 5. But I think the point of Janine's post was missed a bit. She never said that those of us left behind should feel guilty because we couldn't help, or feel regret. I believe her point was that quite often, a severely depressed person is not in their right mind, and that depression can make a person do things they ordinarily wouldn't do. Her words help me enormously. My dad didn't leave my mom, my sister, and me because he was selfish. He did it because depression warped his brain into thinking it was actually better for us if he was gone. Believing his act to be selfish trivializes the pain he was in, and makes those left behind feel like we just weren't "enough" to keep him alive. So my mom and I (I forwarded her Janine's post) would like to let Janine know how much we appreciate her words, and for letting the world know the kind of pain that someone has to be in to end their own life.

  17. Anon, I so agree, and thank you SO MUCH for saying what I felt after reading the last few comments to Janine's amazing post but felt too emotional to reply to. I lost my husband to suicide (we have one child, age 8). My goodness, how he suffered. After his death, all of these people came out of the woodwork with their "your husband was so selfish to do this to you and Kevin, and what about his parents?!" comments, but my parents-in-law and I never ever felt that way. They knew that J. was despondent, not in his right mind. Honestly, if you had to choose someone on this planet who was the LEAST selfish, the most loving, sensitive, and kind, it would be my beloved husband. He died because he simply didn't know what else to do with the immense pain he was in. He did NOT die because he was selfish. Yes, those of us left behind suffer, but really, do we suffer to the extent of someone who takes their own life?

    Thanks for letting me share,

    Elena G.

  18. Thank you, BOTH of you Anon commenters.
    I'm glad that this post helped you.
    Thank you very much for sharing.

  19. My husband drove himself to a nearby secluded sewage treatment plant and proceeded to rig up his car so that he could fill it with carbon monoxide. He smoked a couple of cigarettes, drank enough beer to make himself intoxicated, and washed down a couple of benadryl to help him go to sleep. He then opened up the car door, got in the front seat, layed it back, folded his hands across his chest, and died.

    I have visited that place almost everyday shortly after his death. It is a most horrible place, even if a death had not occurred there, one would never just take your dog out there for a nice stroll. One can smell the stench waifting from the cess pools even before you round the corner of the dead end road it sits on.

    For my husband to have chosen that spot as meticulously as I know he did, was the exclamation point to the end of his life: "I feel like shit" "I am a burden to everyone" "I do not feel good". I knew it the minute I found out where he died. I have cried a million tears there.

    As I said before, I *get that*. If there is anyone else on this Earth that gets it any better than I do that my husband felt horrible, then bring them to me. We can cry a million tears together.

    Having said all of that, however, does not in any way erase the fact that I also feel he was selfish. Selfish to not ask for help. Selfish to keep his plan a secret. Selfish to make the life changing decision that he did without bringing in another opinion for contemplation.

    Selfish because he knew, deep deep down, that no one would have let him go, and he wanted to go. Selfish because he thought, once again, that he knew better than we did what was good for us. We would have fought and broken laws to keep him alive. He knew that. I would have had him admitted to a hospital. He wouldn't have gone. I would have kept watch over him 24 hours a day. He would have made me go to work. In short, we would have done whatever it took, but he wasn't going to give us the chance.

    So, yes, my husband was selfish. He was sick. He was depressed. But that doesn't exempt him from being selfish.

    Again, this is my experience with the suicide that I am being forced to deal with. This does not mean that it has to be anyone elses experience. Which in the end, was my point: No one can say to anyone else, with any kind of certainty, what brings someone to the brink of wanting to kill themselves. We always want answers, but the ones that have the real answers are dead. What I am left with is what I know of my husband. What anyone else is left with is what they know of their own loved one. To me, that is the end of each of our stories.

    What we all do have in common, however, is that we have loved irrevocably. Even in the face of feeling heartsick, angry, guilty, depressed, lonely, tearful, desperate, or just plain tired from all of the saddness - we still deeply love these people that left us in this fashion.

    We deserve a pat on the back, all of us, for surviving and for loving. No one is wrong about that. Personally, I feel a deep connection to anyone that has experienced a suicide of their loved one. It matters not to me how you reconcile that death. You are still here, you are still alive, and as I've said before: we are all doing the best that we can.

    Peace, Michele D.