What follows is a therapeutic exercise in the form of a personal letter. It is the most personal post on my blog. It’s my hope that by putting word to paper and digitally scattering those words in the winds of the internet, I will release pain and perhaps someone else will benefit in some way.
A personal Letter… in the wake of a suicide.
Not many people get to know me completely. It’s difficult for me, so I reserve it for those I consider genuine, kind, trustworthy, and with who I form a deep connection; whether it’s family, friends or a love. You and I bonded quickly and came to know each-other very well. Even though our temperaments were different we complimented one another.
You always underestimated yourself and your abilities. Had you been more confident you could have put your education to work for you and been a success in your field. I know your insecurities were deeply rooted in your upbringing and they carried over into your adulthood. That is why I encouraged you stand up for yourself, have faith in your abilities, and in your own uniqueness.
I learned many things from you over the years, but most of all I learned the value of patience, self-control, and how to be more creative and carefree. I think we took from each-other those traits we needed to amplify in ourselves. I became more patient, calm and understanding. You became more forthright, confident, and proud to be who you were. We developed a symbiotic relationship that worked for many years, each of us compromising for what we needed.
Ultimately, we became the best of friends and the one person that the other could always rely upon; or so I thought, until the day you decided you’d had enough. On that day you ended your life and forever scared mine with trauma. Your decision became my damnation.
You knew my personality; how I analyzed things, searched for meaning, and had to have answers. I would need to know why; yet you left me with only more questions and no ability to ever have them answered.
Without clear meaning and without answers my mind leapt between reasons, suppositions, and self examination. The Universe has yet to reveal its, or your, secrets to me. I can now accept that it never will. Through the hurt, anguish, and grief, I’ve journeyed within myself and learned more about the core of who I am in the three years since your death than I had in the decades before. Spiritually I blossomed while mentally I withered.
I don’t know if you gave conscious thought to the fact that I would be the one to find you. I like to think you didn’t plan to inflict the trauma of that experience on me as it wasn’t in your nature to be cruel. However, the fact remains that I am haunted by the vision of what my eyes saw and I hate that it is my last visual memory of you. I look at your picture sometimes to ease that pain, replace that vision, and to remind me of the smiling, caring, and thoughtful man you were.
As time passed I was like a prize fighter rising up from the mat only to be knocked out by one final blow. My mother’s death was that knock out punch for me. I’ve been trying to get up again ever since.
This year, your birthday and the anniversary of your death weigh heavily on me. I think it’s because last year I was so focused on attending to my mom’s affairs, running on adrenaline just to survive, that I did not properly grieve.
I think of you and the many fond memories from our years together. You are in my heart and in my very being, for I am forever changed by our time together. I miss you R, but yes, I still wonder why, and I am still haunted by that night.
Every day is now a battle for me; a battle to manage the illnesses that manifested from the trauma, loss, and events of the last four or five years of my life. Some of the traits you admired in me like determination, persistence, and even stubbornness, have been the back bone of my survival. When I feel low or sorry for myself, I remember that I am a surviver. Your struggle is over but mine is still on-going. Sometimes, when things are bad, I have to scream, cry, and shout, often with anger, that your solution will never be my solution.
I have family and friends to help me through, even if its long distance and even if it’s simply just by knowing they are there if I need them. Most of all I have T, who’s gone above and beyond to support me in every way. You would have liked each-other. You have a few things in common. It’s too bad circumstance will prevent you ever meeting.
I write these passages as part of my therapy. I have forgiven you for a while now, but as you can see there remains part of me that is still mad at you; not only for the trauma you caused, but for leaving me alone.
I am sorry you felt your only course of action was to end your life and that you couldn’t reach out to someone. I guess you didn’t realize how much you were loved by so many, or maybe it just wasn’t enough. Most of all, even after three years of therapy, I am sorry I could not save you. Intellectually I know I am not at fault and wouldn’t have been able to save you, but my heart still cries that I couldn’t.
I hope you at least found the escape to peace that you sought and needed. You are, and will always be, in my heart surrounded by love.