Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Not to Say?

Well, oddly enough, writing a bit more.

I have been thinking about my experiences in dealing with other people after Cyndie's suicide.

First thing, I know you all mean well (however, see below), but about the worst thing to say to me was, 'I know how you feel'. Really, the love of your life killed herself while you were in a combat zone? You lost your future in a rush and without any warning? Your heart was tossed on a bonfire? You cried for weeks and had to literally force yourself not to commit suicide for about a month?

No, you do not know how I felt or how I feel. I will not know how someone feels who undergoes almost exactly the same thing as I did. We are too different. I was much better with phrases like, "I cannot imagine what you are going through". You know what? When I heard that, I would actually listen and respond with something like, 'If you have experienced loss at all, you do understand some.", and then I would smile, and then I could talk.

No, you do not know how I feel, how I felt. However, if you are normal and of adult age, you probably have lost someone you love. Loss is loss, pain is pain, and even puppies cry over puppy love. I think what is different with suicide is the time it takes to accept the loss. There is an huge amount of anger to go along with the pain of loss that we all feel. There is a lot of guilt to get through, the "what did I do wrong?" questions that plague the late night and pre-dawn darkness.

One thing I did not want to hear is your story of loss. Sorry, it did not make it better. Now I can talk to someone about their own loss, but in the three-five months after it happened, I just did not give a damn about your loss.

I also did not want your prayers. I appreciated the idea, and most casual friends/internet friends did not know I am an atheist. However, when someone says they do not want to pray with you, take the fucking hint!

A special sub-group of the above. More times than I thought possible, I have had religious people tell me they pray for me and are sorry my wife went to hell. I have been good up to this point, but the next person who says that is going to be crippled, possibly for life. I have plenty of frequent flyer miles, so will be glad to hunt you down if you post such a comment here. I am not fucking kidding.

Rambling, rambling. Maybe this is the best way to deal with this. Certainly not a coherent blog.
You, y'all, the big other, ordinary people, everyone in the world - you do not know how I feel. I hope you never do. Ordinary loss is bad enough. Suicide sucks the soul out of the survivors. Suicide is the most selfish act I know. I do not mean medical suicide by a terminal patient, that is seldom a surprise. What I mean is going from looking forward to a life together, finally retired, working just enough to have money to have fun, finally being together except for four months a year and only two months at a time, finally getting to love you as much as I want to, finally thinking things are going to be OK. And having that all taken away in a flash. No, you do not know how that feels unless it has happened to you, and even then you do not know how I feel.

Enough for the day.

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