Whether you knew the deceased or not, suicide is most often a blow to our humanness because living is the essence of our being and it seems unfathomable that anyone could/would actually commit to the final act.
I have personally been struck with two suicides of people close to me and regardless of how one reconciles the act or how one chooses to move on, the everlasting question of “WHY?” never goes away. It may fade from your daily consciousness but along the way it can punch your gut like it just happened and you are back to the beginning of grieving, mourning and asking “WHY?”
This past week with the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, it’s hard not to feel the moment when it was announced that Robin Williams killed himself. Once again, it was being in the unbelievable zone that maybe you didn’t hear correctly, the way I felt when I heard Michael Jackson was dead. You are almost sure someone got it wrong. How could that be when these people gave so much, seemed to get back so much from adoring fans, while living exciting, lavish, travel-filled life-styles? From our vantage-point, they had it all, soooooooooooooooooooooo
WHY? WHY? WHY?
And the unsatisfying answer is very simple—we will never know for sure. So we need to stop asking “WHY?”
There some answers the universe never wants us to know:
-What really happened to Amelia Earhart?
-Who really was behind the murder of JFK?
-Where is missing Malaysia plane MH370?
And for me personally:
-Why were my parents killed by a drunk driver when they were 38 years old, leaving three children orphaned?
-Why did my husband of almost two decades, with three children, put a gun to his head and kill himself?
-Why did a vibrant, intelligent young man, who was like my fourth child, walk along a beach and pull the trigger on himself?
Even with notes left, explanations to suicides are not adequate enough to satisfy our WHYS and broken hearts.
I have reconciled that I will never know why:
-Someone would get in a car drunk, with a pregnant wife and drive.
-After living with a man for almost 20 years, I never had a clue he was capable of killing himself.
-A young man in his prime with a loving wife and successful career ahead of him would choose to die.
But the unspoken dialogue about suicide is so painful to approach because it transfers the center of the new reality to the survivors and the excruciating truth that:
The survivors have to live with the consequences while we wish the dead to Rest in Peace.
This is puzzling to me.
The details after a suicide are beyond stressful and difficult, between burial—that often includes various opinions from family members—who is next of kin, wills, finances, debts, properties, distribution of personal belongings, more finances, executors, lawyers, business partners and the list can be endless! And, from personal experience, it can take years to have an estate settled and if contested, more time and outrageous amounts of money. Your life can be consumed with details and stress you never signed up for.
And yet, we can never know the demons, the overwhelming pain, and most often, the guilt, of others. It is not unusual for survivors to dwell on the last moments of the deceased’s life. “If only I…” so many ask themselves, feeling like they could have stopped the suicide. BUT PLEASE remember and never forget one thing, above all else: IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!
The cost to the survivors never ends, especially to children who suffer the decisions of their parents: IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT! Suicide is a selfish act. It’s aftermath leaves a void that is often never fulfilled. Too many pay the price, suffer and long for answers, let alone, enduring a love lost. And often, no amount of counseling/therapy can take the pain and void away.
SUICIDE…WHY? We many never know for sure.
As a Baby Boomer Bubbe who still feels 18 but has four grand kids to prove this is the 21 Century, Sandra writes to leave a legacy for the next generations. Her belief that these precious kids need to know their cultural and family’s past in order for them to live their future is all the muse she needs!
She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Cross Cultural studies, has written a family history, personal memoir and is completing her first novel.
Her grandmother’s journey to America and life is her source for her deep belief and love for Judaism.