My Grand Mother Suicide…
I remember when my Gran’ Ma suicide like if it happened yesterday, while it happened 35 years ago. I was 17 years old at the time and my Gran’ Ma was 64. She hang herself in the staircase leading to the bedroom. She put on her most beautiful outfit and full makeup. I remember her face, she finally looked so happy, she had a big smile like she was finally free from all her demons. She looked 45.
She always said she didn’t want to bother her family anymore and that sometimes it would be time to go and sit next to Jesus. We knew she was suffering from depression but we as a family had no clue she was thinking suicide. Depression is a nasty thing. So many people suffer from depression. Too many people underestimate the impact depression can have when untreated.
At the time, she looked healthy and mostly happy. She had some anger and rages – I experienced it a few times along my moments with her – but nothing out of control. It was a shock to all the family and specially my Mum who was very close to her. My poor Mum had such a hard time to cope with the suicide because I think she felt she didn’t do enough to help her Mum. My Mum still feels guilty to this day and she cant talk about her Mum without melting down.
I am a 52 year old man with 3 healthy sweet kids and a fabulous wife and still even after 35 years I think about my Gran’ Ma every week and it always bring tears in my eyes… I miss her.
It’s sad. Every Suicide story only brings sad feelings and uncertainty especially if the victim is someone close to us, a role model and someone we depend upon. I cannot pretend to understand how you felt or exactly what you went through, but I believe it was a very unpleasant experience that took you time and a lot of handwork to recover from. I’m not talking about full recovery – no body recovers from losing a loved one (even if it wasn’t suicide), some say – its like – learning to live with an amputation. It’s a mark of history that neither fades nor dies-out. It can’t be forgotten. The only thing we learn through hard work is how to minimize the effects of such experience to our lives.
Reading through how you’ve lived to adulthood, and how you’ve managed to have and live with such a very successful family only indicates that you have managed to deal with those complex feelings and though you cannot forget the tragedy, you have learned that life is uncertain, we don’t always get the answers we seek, and in most instances, it can catch you off guard. By now you know that there’s nothing you probably could do then and as much as the event was breath-taking, you know deep down that your grand’ Ma – despite her mysterious unexplained challenges and reasons that led her to commit suicide – abandoning her beloved ones wasn’t one of her intentions; and that as any parent or mother naturally is, she loved you deep down, more than she could utter. This gave and should always give you strength to always move forward.
However, I’d like to address a different person under this story – someone who has just recently lost their loved one and is greatly being affected by the experience thereof:
When a death is shocking and disturbing it generates frightening thoughts, images, and feelings a child or bereaved may want desperately to avoid. In the case of a suicide, the bereaved may have feelings toward or about their parent or other loved one that they feel are unacceptable, that they want to deny. So they try to block them out, by not talking or thinking about the person they’ve lost, who they may feel has betrayed them, or rejected them. But to grieve in a healthy way, it’s necessary to think about the person you’ve lost, and allow yourself to feel sadness and pain. Bereaved families need to be able to remember the person they’ve lost as a loving person despite his or her flaws.
Even more than an accidental death, a suicide generates horror, anger, shame, confusion, and guilt—all feelings that a person can experience as overwhelming. The biggest risk to a bereaved’s emotional health is not being able, or encouraged, to express these feelings, and get an understanding of what happened that he or she can live with. When a mother who has been depressed commits suicide, for instance, we want that understanding to be that she suffered from a mental illness, a disorder in her brain that caused her death, despite the efforts of those who loved her to save her.
Ensure to seek support from professionals especially when your grief lasts forever and starts to interfere so much with your day today work. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that children who are under 18 when their parents commit suicide are three times as likely as children with living parents to later commit suicide themselves. This highlights the vital importance of receiving support through the grieving period. Not only will experts treat the trauma of sudden loved-one loss, but they will also try to break the suicide cycle in your family. Feel free to seek help, your life greatly depends on it.
Closing, I request Olivier (if that’s OK with you) to share a few pointers on how you managed to move forward and turn-out relatively successful compared to so many who end-up committing suicide themselves or doing much worse later in their lives due to such tragedies. How can a 15 -20 year old child continue to move forward when they lose for instance, a parent to suicide. Thank you.
A few years ago, I had a friend, she could become possessed by spirits (I don’t know where they originated from) but at that moment when she’s possessed, something else would take full control over her actions. I had only known her for a short time and seemed like a very nice girl. One night, at her Aunt’s, she woke up in the middle of the night “Report’s her Aunt”, grabs a rope, and hangs herself in the garage. It was weeping and gnashing of teeth all morning, but she had gone. I barely knew a lot about her but this shocked me so much, I’ve never forgotten that experience. A young energetic girl with a possibly bright future ended up dead by suicide. Ever since then, I learned two things: Never under-estimate Mental Illness no matter what kind it is, and cherish your life as much as you can while you still live. On a sad note, I’m sorry Olivier about what you went through, though on the other hand I’m motivated seeing how you managed to work through all the challenges that came by the experience. You are a living hope that no matter how hard a suicide experience can turn-out, we can still work hard through it and succeed in life. Keep being the symbol of hope, and thank you!
Moderator and OkidaCharles, thank you so very much for your nice comments and thoughts. Your answers are making a tremendous positive difference in people’s lives. This world is very lucky to have nice people like you both. You two are truly uplifting and inspirational. Best regards.
You’re most welcome, its a humbling experience to be able to share advice and guidance through this world’s unfortunate and troubling experiences. We wish you and everyone affected in this similar manner a personal self-motivated success in life. It is possible with continued perseverance, and sharing!
Olivier, I can understand the feeling, the sleepless nights, the unanswered questions that never go away. When my closest guardian, passed away in this same manner, I never was the same. Growing to where I am today was only miraculous. I am an adult now but I still pray for courage to be able to tell the story some day. Thanks for the information and motivation in this article, its inspiring.