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What it’s like to live life with a deceased suicide family member.

First things first although commonalities exist amongst people who have experienced a certain type of loss, individual grief is unique to the person experiencing it and their relationship with the person who died.  Although we can talk in averages and generalities, no article, grief theory, or set of symptoms will ever perfectly sum up your grief experience. Further, although you might be able to relate to aspects of another person’s grief (and vice versa), no one can completely understand how anyone else feels. With this in mind, we recommend you learn what you can from your commonalities with other grievers but take differences with a grain of salt.

Well, where do I start between 2018- 2019 I’ve experienced some of the hardest

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Shaun & Mellissa click me!

challenges to date throughout this year. I feel incredibly vulnerable and I know for sure my brother Michael does too! For this year alone he has lost first a daughter and 10 months later he’s lost a son both in a way, the same way to “mental health issues”. So yes there’s been a level of rawness and hopelessness throughout that I’ve not experienced before and seeing your brother go through so much is a pain like no other, it’s like you can feel every ounce of his pain it really has been like being in a horror movie that you can’t wake up from… and yes, its pain that no parent should ever have to go through. Mellissa and Shaun were their names both having left this earth plane leaving three beautiful children each behind.

Growing up was very strange for us younger siblings as we were the same age as our
nephews and nieces but it was a good strange because we got to grow up together, like a little team of best friends we were more like brothers and sisters more than us being aunt and uncles which is what we were meant to be, we would just tell people we were cousins in the earlier days. We went on so many missions and adventures and have so many good memories together, yes it was a friendship that created a tight bond and those bonds will never be broken and love will never get lost… life now is certainly not going to be the same without them, we were meant to grow old together. Yes, I’m crying and wiping my eyes as I write this… They were some of the nicest people you could have ever met so it’s very hard to understand WHY? and yes why is it always the best people

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Nephew & Niece’s with their Father

we never get the chance to say goodbye to properly or that have to just leave too early… Their absence will certainly be felt and they will be missed dearly every day.

I think cousins, nephews, and nieces are in a good position to do that because they’re one step removed from siblings anyway. I saw it written once that nobody understands your crazy family like cousins do, and I do think there’s some truth in that. I’ve not talked much about this before but I to have lost babies one would have been 22 anther 20 and another 18 now and that alone was heart-wrenching, but this is a different level of grief and I believe that there are many levels of grief but depending on each person affected everyone is different!.

I’ve also lost my mother to MND “motor nurone disease “another one of the worst diseases to ever have to watch in a loved one there’s just so much pain and suffering. We’ve also lost our father to ” coronary heart disease” and “prostate cancer” and lost many aunts and uncles and all our grandparents.

How can we talk about suicide…?

Although there are many fine points to this conversation, I simply want to impress the following upon you… When referring to an individual’s death from suicide…

Don’t say… “She committed suicide.”  Do say… “he’s killed himself” or “She died by suicide”

I know most of you are used to saying, “committed suicide” and you certainly aren’t alone. Many people in our society have yet to get this memo, but now you have. Please, the time has come for us to choose language around suicide that does not condemn or stigmatise the person who has died or those who love them and are left behind.

There are other traumatic loss risk factors associated with suicide such as feelings of blame, witnessing death, and finding the body.  Deaths that are also potentially traumatic events can result in the compounding and intertwining of trauma and grief responses. These may manifest as the following.

  • Recurrent intrusive thoughts about the death
  • Shattered assumptions about the world, oneself, and others
  • Fear and avoidance of grief and trauma emotions, thoughts, memories, etc.
  • Feelings of guilt and blame

When grieving a suicide death, one may experience…

The search for answers:

In the wake of death, people often seek to construct a meaningful narrative that helps them to find peace and understanding of what happened. So, it’s common to ask questions like “what if?”, “why?”, and “what’s the point?” Until the question of “why” can be answered, grieving family and friends may continue to search and ruminate.

After a suicide death, as with any other type of death, the bereaved may seek to make40104085_10214932548741074_8054645890117271552_n sense of what happened.  However, in this instance, they may find that many of their questions are either unanswerable or they lead to distressing conclusions (whether these conclusions are true or not). It is not uncommon for themes of personal blame to arise as the person questions their role in their loved one’s suicide and what they could have done to prevent their death. Unfortunately, the bereaved may vastly overestimate their own role and the role of others (i.e. what family and friends did or didn’t do), as opposed to blaming things like mental illness which is quite often present and to blame.

Whether rational or not, grieving family and friends may struggle with distressing thoughts like…

  • I never really knew him I mean really knew him.
  • She didn’t feel comfortable confiding in me what did I do wrong.
  • Oh no, he was in intense pain!
  • I’m to blame. I should have done more to prevent his death.
  • I’m to blame. I pushed him into the decision to kill himself.
  • She didn’t love me enough to live.
  • My family members are to blame.
  • It was his fault, or it was her fault.
  • Family Conflict

Family can be an incredible source of comfort and healing after a death…for some.  For others, family can be a source of distressing conflict and misunderstanding after a death. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death, things like complicated family dynamics, shifting roles, and different coping styles can test and challenge a family. After a suicide death, additional conflict may emerge because…

  • The deceased’s mental illness and suicidal behaviour created disruption and placed strain on the family as a whole.
  • Family members disagree about how they want to acknowledge the death publicly.
  • Family members disagree about how they want to discuss death privately within the family.
  • Different family members come up with different explanations for why their loved one killed him- or herself
  • Blame

Feelings of rejection and abandonment:

Evidence has shown that suicidally bereaved individuals experience higher levels of rejection compared with other bereaved groups. In grief, feelings of guilt, blame, regret, and rejection can be logical, but they can also defy all logic and reason. So even when it’s evident that the suicide was not an act of intentional abandonment, it still may feel that way to the people who grieve the death.

The truth of what it’s like being on the receiving end after they’ve left!

So here it is…This is the truth of being a bereaved parent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent “what it’s like to live life with a deceased suicide family member that you love very dearly because some people “just can’t fathom it”… Well, let me do my best to explain it in a way that can be understood…

It’s being dead but still being able to breathe, barely.

It’s like having your entire world thrown into a blender and mixed up to a liquid. Having your heart and lungs ripped out of your body so violently and never put back. Leaving a hole in your chest that will never heal and seeps pain, tears, anger, hate, and regret.

It’s like living in a dream that you can never wake up from, except it’s a fucking nightmare. A lifelong fucking nightmare.

It’s like having a large glass jar filled with happiness and you drop it on the ground and all the happiness blows away in the wind to never return.

It’s like having a million people around hugging and loving you but you still feel completely images (3)alone. Going from having people to talk with to having not one person message or call anymore because they don’t know what to say to you … at all, about anything…

It’s standing in the kitchen cooking food for the ones still here and crying so hard you can’t see yourself burning the food.

Some days it’s falling to the floor, screaming so hard that no sound comes out and you run out of breath but don’t stop screaming until you are hyperventilating and dizzy.

It’s a million little demons battling one single tiny angel in your brain, testing to see if you’re strong enough or not to survive this.

It’s like always trying to convince yourself that people want you around even though you feel like you’re just a placement for convenience in this world and in people’s lives.

Honestly. It’s like knowing that you’re going to die eventually and embracing it with open arms like a long-lost friend.

It’s like you holding on with everything you have and feel it all melt away.

No, it doesn’t get better. It doesn’t get easier. You just learn to live, to survive.”

The pain is just past on and I believe you have to watch it from the other side when you get there so it just won’t help.

Fear of grief reactions:

After death mourners often feel as though they are going crazy, and, as noted, those who have experienced a traumatic loss often experience intensified and prolonged grief/trauma reactions.

Relief:

It is common for a person to feel relieved after a loved one dies when the loved one had been living in pain and suffering. For those who die from illness, the relief comes from

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knowing they are no longer in physical pain.  And when a person dies from something like suicide or overdose, the relief may come from a place of knowing that their loved one is no longer struggling with emotional (and sometimes physical) pain.

Another reason someone might feel relief is if the loved one’s suicidal behaviour (or other types of behaviour) had put a strain on their family or other types of relationships. This doesn’t mean that the person grieving the loss wouldn’t trade their relief to have their loved one back for just one moment, or that they don’t also feel intense pain and sadness. It just means that relief is one feeling in their big, messy, hurricane of grief.

Feelings of isolation, stigma and/or shame:

Sadly, there is a stigma attached to mental illness and suicide.  Others can’t imagine the mental and emotional pain that would cause a person to kill themselves and so they might make assumptions or judge the deceased’s actions, calling them weak or selfish or who knows what else.

This being the case, it’s no wonder that many people choose not to open up about their loved one’s death.  Stigmatised losses may also be referred to as disenfranchised losses.  The following are just a few potential causes for isolation, stigma, and shame following a suicide death:

Isolation and shame may result in the family’s decision to keep the suicide a secret. Feeling unable to acknowledge the truth, those grieving the loss may feel as though they have to lie or live in silence.

  • Shame may result from thoughts of personal blame and responsibility.
  • Shame may result from the belief that one can’t control or manage their own grief reactions.
  • Isolation and shame may result from a lack of social support or because others don’t acknowledge the death.
  • Shame, isolation, and stigma may be felt in response to messages from media and broader society about suicide
  • Isolation may result from perceived rejection and thoughts of worthlessness.

In this day and age with the way things are now this stigmatising just has to stop and people really need to look at things differently, because from what I can see with the numbers of suicides, the mental health and the anxiety in the world rising so high theirs a bit of a chain reaction going on here!

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Shaun was already struggling with “mental health “ but losing his sister, it became too unbearable for him to acknowledge the truth of it and he was finding it hard to deal with.  Because of how soon it was between Mellissa losing her life and now suddenly Shaun. We the family are trying so hard to collect donations from anyone willing to help towards Shaun’s funeral costs. At the moment it’s impossible for Mom and Dad to pay for two in one year. I’m going to be putting a link in right “here for Shaun” Help raise funds for this unfortunate sad loss of yet another one of the family members. It was very unexpected and a complete shock to the family and we would very much appreciate any help that is possible… Just £1 each could help us to reach our goal and help us give Shaun the send-off  he deserves thank you to everyone for your help xx

As you know Melissa passed last year well, we managed to raise £2000 towards Melissa’s three children’s first Christmas without her and we’d like to thank everyone again that donated as it certainly made a big difference although it will never be the same without their mother thank you.xxx

In the meantime every day find time to talk with someone you don’t know. Listen to their story. Do it in person. Learn from them. Be your brother’s keeper, your sister’s shelter. When a neighbour is in need or a thirsty young mind is denied the challenges and opportunities to grow and flourish, or a sister or brother is crushed by a purposefully flawed criminal justice system that rewards winning rather than justice, find a way to do something about it now.

If you have a teacher or mentor who made a great or even small impact on your life, tell them. Call them, write to them, let them know what a wonderful impact they had on you. Life is too short not to validate the ones who have changed our lives in a profound way. Then there will be no regrets when they pass on because you already told them what was in your heart, and your life will be richer for it in ways that you never dreamed. It’s not about being perfect.

Young people need to know that the things that make you successful at school, like following rules, working the hardest and being perfect, are not what will make you happy outside of school. Follow your instincts, experiment, try things out, talk to people “way out of your professional league,” and keep dreaming big dreams. There is always a way out no matter how bad it seems — that job, that career path, that relationship — trust yourself enough to let it go if it is making you question your self-worth or it isn’t what you want to be remembered for. God bless you all and please take care of you and your loved ones.💚°*”˜.•°*”˜♥ ˜”*°•.˜”*°💚

 

Copyright © 2019  Joanne Wellington All Rights Reserved.

 

If you are grieving a loved one’s death from suicide you may find these resources helpful:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/suicide

https://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/Bereavement.asp

https://www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/myself/feeling-unwell/i-am-experiencing-bereavement-or-loss

https://papyrus-uk.org/dont-avoid-me-just-ask-me/

https://www.thelisteningear.org.uk/facing-grief/bereaved-by-suicide/

#grief #loss #parenting #grieving parents #bereaved#

Letting Go Of Your Past

Sometimes we spend a chunk of our lives looking back on what was. We are stuck remembering and holding onto something that is no more. We reflect on old issues, remembering things that have happened and moments that have passed. Why do we do this; why is it so important to us that it, in a way, consumes us? What benefit is there from spending so much time reflecting and remembering? Sometimes it seems like our mind wanders there on its own, without our consent. We could be busy, occupied with something else, and all of a sudden we are thinking of our past and once again drawn into a moment that is gone. Why do we do this? Because we haven’t let go of what was, and because we do not fully understand it.

Let-Your-PastWe hold onto moments that have affected us, moments that were hard for us or emotionally difficult, and we also hold onto what we don’t understand. Think about it, how often do you spend time remembering the great moments, the moments where all went well and everything was great? Those memories are wonderful and they should be the ones to pop up so that we can feel good and be happy. But no, this is not what we do, for we understand those moments, nothing confuses us, and therefore they are rarely looked at. We look at the ones we don’t understand because our mind is trying to figure them out. Why was it so hard, why did it hurt us so much, what could I have done differently? Why did I do what I did, or why did someone else do that to me? All these questions are being run through our memories because we are trying to understand and make sense of what happened to us. We may not get the answers, but we continue to try and we fixate on certain moments.

Do you ever find yourself reflecting on the same event over and over? One moment that was hard for you and emotionally trying? You are either trying to make sense of that moment or you haven’t chosen to let it go. For if we understand it and we still replay it over, then we are choosing to be stuck with it. You can look at it in two ways, either you are choosing to hold onto something that no longer exists because you want to or because you don’t understand it. There is one way to solve both of these problems. It is acceptance; it is that pure and that simple. If you want to be at peace with your past, accept it completely. Accept that you don’t understand it and probably never will, and then be okay with that by accepting the idea that you cannot solve it.

By accepting our past, we in turn let it go; we can let go of the moments that hurt us and we still hold onto. By accepting that it did happen, we let it go. We try to avoid this kind of acceptance, we really do, that is why we spend so much time in our past. Acceptance holds a lot of power; it not only releases, but it sends us into a much more clear and open place, one without fear, worry, or hindrances of any kind. By accepting, we are not only setting ourselves free, but we are opening ourselves up. Think about all the space you could have in your mind and in your heart if it were not filled by those trying memories. Think about how much more peaceful you could feel without that one memory that keeps bugging you. By eliminating those trying and hurtful memories, we are allowing ourselves to move on and live life in the present. Accept and be free.

 – About the Author:

Find your true self, and learn how to truly be in the moment at Answers in Writing.

Adam Benedetto and Zoe Young are both dedicated to enabling others to reach their full potential in life, to help others release what is holding them back, and to find their true selves. Through years of experience and development, both have sought out the answers we all need to find peace, understand ourselves, and reach enlightenment.

Our Wandering Minds….

How To Stay Present When Your Mind Wanders

eyeOur mind seems to wander on its own, seeming to escape our abilities to tame it. How do we go about harnessing our thoughts and controlling our mind so that we can be present? This is a very good question and one that many have tried to answer. But there is no one answer, for it really comes down to you, not the path others have taken. Very often our own patterns of thought are stuck on a very personal cycle, repeating in patterns only known to us. And this is the essential component in releasing your thoughts and calming your mind. What one thinks about, what often comes to mind when you are not paying attention, is the key. You will find it is usually the same subject matter, if not the same thought occurring over and over again. These thoughts tell you what you are concerned about, or rather what you tend to focus on in life.

We create our thoughts, maybe not on purpose, but we are giving ourselves something to think about. When we let our mind wander like this, we tend to create stress and worry. We create a bigger issue in our minds than what really exists. Even if we are not aware of what we are doing, subconsciously we are manifesting stress and worry because we are focusing too much on one thing. We respond to this, that is why we may feel tense or worried without knowing why.

We can learn from our thoughts by seeing what concerns us when we are not paying attention. What do you think about when you are not really focused? What issues come up, and what keeps replaying over and over in your mind? Now this could be something you need to deal with internally by letting go of it, in order to quiet your mind. It may also just show you what you think is important. But do you really believe it is important? Maybe these are old thoughts that you feel don’t concern you anymore. Perhaps you can release them now that you understand why you have them. The real question is do you believe them, the concerns you mind plays with and struggles with?

Sometimes we are aware of what is really important in life and yet our mind will concern itself with what it wants. Once you pull yourself back and take an objective look at what your thought cycle is, you can understand it better. Just by looking at our thoughts we can stop the pattern and let it go. Understanding yourself a little better and seeing your thoughts as patterns helps release their importance because subconsciously we may believe them, pay attention to them, and even become overworked by them. Not only do we become distracted from the moment, but we also lose sight of what is important and real.

Do we believe our scattered thoughts, do we pay attention to them, do we let them rule our subconscious? Or do we objectively see what the issue is and release the cycle ourselves. It is not about breaking the cycle so much as it is about understanding it and then releasing it. So the next time you are not paying attention to your thoughts check in and see what they are about. Continue to do this, noticing if they are repetitive and what the main issue seems to be. Next find the connection it really has to you. Is it old, new, or part of something you have always had to deal with? Is it something that needs to be dealt with, or is it something you simply no longer need to think about? When we consciously release our thoughts, they will filter out of our subconscious. We can even quiet our mind and let it relax. When we take away our issues, our mind can slip into a more relaxed state, and we become relaxed as well. You will feel more at ease and even feel less worried in life. Instead of fighting your thoughts, speculate on their origins, question your attachments to that issue, and then let them go.

~J.W~

Responsibility and Blame

What is the difference between responsibility and blame? The most basic answer to that question is judgment; when you blame you judge. According to Merriam Webster, responsibility is defined as the quality or state of being responsible as a: moral, legal, or mental accountability. Blame, however, is defined by finding fault with someone or something.  The most obvious difference when examining these definitions is judgment. If someone blames you for something, they have found fault with something that you have done or some decision that you made. If you are to blame then something you have said or done has caused an adverse or undesired outcome.

blameI, like millions of other people, grew up in a less than ideal environment. That environment hindered my growth and development during that time. That environment helped shape me into the person that I have become today.  I could blame all my problems and bad decisions on my childhood.  I could blame all of life’s woes on my parents; convince myself, as well as others, they are terrible people or at least terrible parents. However, any such ascertain would not only be unrealistic, it would be a lie. The truth is my parents did the best they could with the information they had available to them at the time. My parents will always be my greatest teachers. My parents may have made some decisions I wish they wouldn’t have, but to blame them takes away any personal responsibility. I used to blame all my hardships on my mother, especially, and I can assure you it never did me any good.  My mother always says, “that was then and this is now” and she is right; choosing to forgive all involved and take responsibility for my part in the dysfunction helped significantly. I allowed myself to learn very valuable lessons and move on with my life and even become a better person. There is payoff in the pain; being the victim and blaming others only allows you to feel helpless, and feeling this way allows for you not to make the necessary changes that will improve your quality of life.  I do realize that not everyone had a “bad” childhood but everyone has adversity that must be overcome at some point in his or her life.

Taking responsibility allows us to learn from our history and personal experiences, where as blame is just a judgment that keeps you stuck in your own personal emotional hell. Blame is a judgment that prevents us from learning from our experiences and moving on in a healthy way that is beneficial for all involved. The economy is not in chaos because of one person’s greedy decision. Our way of life has not fundamentally changed because one powerful man or woman said it should. Our current dire circumstances are a direct result of everyone’s decisions. We have corrupt politicians but they work for us and we elected them into office. We have created many of the problems that we are facing, and now is the time to take responsibility and shift into a new way of relating to each other, shifting into the next paradigm.  Stop pointing your finger with blame because every time you do there are usually three more fingers pointing back at you.  The big book tells addicts that they have “stinking thinking” and it is that thinking that got them into trouble in the first place.  Shift from blame to responsibility and help yourself and the rest of us began the healing process together. Change your language and perception and you will see the world change right before your eyes.

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–    About the Author:

My name is LG Fuller and I am an aspiring author. I have always had a passion for writing and this is my attempt to turn my passion into a profession. I would love any feedback so please comment and or follow me on twitter at LGFuller07@twitter

The Answer to Your Prayers

Have you ever prayed for something and wished for it and worked hard to get it but it just doesn’t come? We have all been in this place where we want something so badly we can almost taste it and it’s not here. We wonder ‘why?’ and often think, “Why me?” or “Why NOT me?” It is frustrating and emotional. We can feel angry and disappointed. There are expectations that if we envision what we want and do the work, then we should be able to have it right? That is, after all, what the law of attraction teaches us.

answers to your prayersWhen you really want something and you are going after it with much attention, action and drive, it is challenging when the result doesn’t happen fast enough for you or when it doesn’t happen at all. You start to question everything including your resolve and the actions you are taking, if you are going in the right direction. It is not an easy place to be!

It has been said that prayers are answered in one of three ways and I quite agree:
1. Yes! You can have it!
2. No, it’s not time yet.
3. No, there is something better in store for you.

The first answer, “Yes” is usually quite easy to manage. It’s what you want and you are ready for it so you celebrate your success and are quite grateful. (You DO celebrate and count acknowledge your gratitude, don’t you?)

But what happens when the answer is “No”? Either we have to wait, which is something we humans generally don’t like to do or we are not getting it at all and we have to look for something else. Either way, we are frustrated!

When Time is the Problem
Most people have a hard time with ‘patience’. We don’t understand why we can’t just have what we want when we want it especially since we think we are ready for it.

This is a challenge because of our relationship with time. I admit I am not immune here. I don’t like to wait for things, although I have improved over the years. As we get older, our relationship with time changes; we understand it better – that doesn’t mean we like it; we just learn that the universe has its own timetable and things don’t always happen when we want them to.
I don’t know about you, but I still want what I want when I want it! I have learned, however, to recognize this feeling of pushing my will on the universe and accept ‘All good things in good time’. If it is meant for me to have it or enjoy it, I will; just not right now. There is nothing I need to do, nothing I need to change. I simply need to be with ‘what is’ and not worry or concern myself with things I do not yet have.

If this is, in fact, the answer to your goals, dreams and prayers, but it is not yet the right time, then the work to be done here is to focus on getting ready. There is something that you still need to learn, do, develop or plan in order to be prepared for what is coming. The universe is preparing; so should you.

When There is Something Else in Store
This response is the hardest to handle. It requires trust that the universe knows better than you what is best for you. It is forcing you to have faith that something better is coming and you might not have a clue as to what that is.

Trust. Have faith. Continue to do the work to prepare yourself for what you believe you want. And focus on what you do have control over – YOU. Focus your energies on being your best and on developing yourself. Enjoy the here and now and make the most of it as opposed to being so focused on the future and what might be coming.
“Waiting” is never easy. I never liked the word “patience” which is another word for “waiting”. Patience implies that you are not happy with the present but rather focused on and wishing for some ideal future.

When does later ever come? If you cannot be happy with what you have, how will you ever know happiness?

I struggle here as well. It is not easy to want something and work toward it while staying focused on what you have but that is exactly what you need to do – always. If not, then you lose the present moment and all its glory to our passion over a projected future that is a fantasy. You lose the present to an illusion of what might be ‘someday’. ‘Someday’ may never come.

Happiness, contentment and joy can only be experienced in the here and now; it cannot be projected into the future.

When the answer to your prayers is ‘yes’, enjoy it. Revel in it. Be grateful and appreciative of it. This means that your vision for yourself was in complete alignment with what was meant for you.
When you do not get what you want, enjoy what you have while at the same time continuing to work toward what you want you. Trust that you will enjoy all you desire – when it is time.

About the author

Julie Donley has worked in psychiatric nursing since 1993 and founded her company, Nurturing Your Success, in 2001 to assist people in achieving their goals and working through change. She is the author of several books including Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? and The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance. Learn more at http://www.NurturingYourSuccess.com. Contact Julie at Julie@NurturingYourSuccess.com to have her speak at your next meeting or conference.

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