|by Chaplain Doyle / firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR ALL OF US who have lost a friend or family Loved-One because of health issues, disease, accident or suicide, over time, the pain begins to subside a little at a time. However, it never completely goes away.
Grief has no time-limit. There is no earthly law or spiritual requirement that we must "Get Over It."
THE TIME DOES NEED TO COME when we can begin moving forward in life even if only one step at a time; go to work, the grocery store, take the kids to school, wash clothes, have coffee with a friend. etc. Over time, the intense shock of their passing begins to turn into continued memories of their beloved presence.
SLOWLY, THE CEMETERY BECOMES A MEMORY GARDEN
In Pastoral ministry for years and then as a Hospital Emergency Room, ER and Intensive Care, ICU Chaplain, like most ministers, I have been with families in their deepest hours of grief.
Over the years, the heartbreaking time we spent at the Cemetery and the horrible sense of loss, begins to form into a Memory Garden for us. When we visit, memories of our Loved One pours in. Not in every case, but often, the bad memories seem to fade and the good ones begin to rise to the surface of our memory of them.
Sometimes with several different ones on a shift, I have sat at the bedside of patients who attempted suicide and to their surprise, survived. And yet, trying to understand the emotional depths of why some attempt it, and others facing far more difficult situations in life do not, is as yet nearly unfathomable.
Though we want very much to understand the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of it all, we are often left grasping for answers. A hopeful line from an old Gospel song comes to mind. After listing temptations, grief, troubles and trials we go through, it says, "We'll Understand It, All By and By." (Famed singer Russ Taft sings at the 2-minute mark).
In years past, it was believed that people who commit suicide were somehow mentally destabilized. In some cases, that is true. However, in recent years, Mental Health advocates have begun to lean toward those who commit suicide as being "Rational" in their reasoning and planning.
FOR WE WHO LOVE THEM, that makes it even more difficult. We can understand if someone cracks under the pressures of life, but we struggle deeply with any possibility that they may have been rational.
Indeed, there are probably cases of someone just "Flying off the handle" and hurting themselves. Even so, there is often long-term planning as to how, when and where. Many labor long over the choice of words for the note they leave behind. They make certain to leave the note where it can be easily found.
To his surprise, one of the more than 1,500 who have leaped off the SF Golden Gate Bridge since it opened Thursday, May 27, 1937, did survive. He later shared about driving more than a thousand miles to get to the bridge. He then drove across the bridge both ways numerous times.
Parking his car in a safe place, he walked to the center of the bridge, which is 4.5 miles long, and leaped off.
GRIEF ON STEROIDS
Whatever the reason and whether the person was rational or not, for we who loved them, it is devastating. Was it a case that they couldn't handle the pressures of life, or just did not want to?
MOST OF US have had relatives, friends or associates who took their own life. One of my favorite Uncles shot himself. A Pastor friend ran a hose from his car tailpipe into the car. They found him sitting in the car with a note in his lap. The 600 who attended the Pentecostal church he pastored, were totally shocked.
His note read, "I'm tired and want to go home to be with Jesus."
O MY GRACIOUS! Whether intentionally killing ones self is a highway to heaven or not, has been debated for at least 5,000 years. Regardless the answer, we weep, hurt, grieve, groan, mourn and sometimes ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
As their initial shock lessens some, I try to help families move beyond the tragic suicide moment and remember the larger mosaic of their Loved Ones life. Their presence in our life was a wonderful, positive influence. Without the richness of their presence...
THE ABSENCE OF YOUR PRESENCE
Their smiles, laughter, times of fellowship and fun together, ENRICHED life and made it even more enjoyable. The moment they hurt themselves is heartbreaking, but memory of them is still vivid and vibrant. They were a blessing to our life. Their memory still is.
If you are hurting from the loss of a friend or Loved-One by suicide, we are fellow travelers in the healing process. By "Healing Process," I do not mean forgetting. Trying to forget is fruitless. We simply cannot do it. Why would we want to forget someone we loved and who loved us?
Healing has begun when we can remember them without that tragic moment of a few seconds, overwhelming the continuing preciousness of our memory of them.
News & Views is a feature of the World News Network and the Actscelerate discussion Board.
2/5/22 4:03 pm