Once again, I find myself talking about loss. A couple of days ago, a member of our family was a victim of suicide. I have been torn about the thought of suicide for a long time, with the original thought of it is a “selfish” act. How could you hurt your family like that? I’m not sure where this stems from? I guess I heard those two terms coincide frequently in my early years? Regardless, my thought process regarding suicide has taken a sharp turn. When we as humans suffer, it is a natural response to “end” the suffering. Family and friends left behind can’t possibly understand the incredibly, horrible, (insert every synonym of miserable here) sad place where their entire existence resides.
I have experienced an aunt who lost her husband, a neighbor that lost her son, widow friends who have lost their husbands, and a handful of other friends of friends or family of family. Now, I am the closest I have ever been, personally. Kyle’s cousin, Mike, took his own life on Tuesday. I immediately try to make sense of it—but nothing seems reasonable about leaving your wife and 3 children behind. As in any situation involving loss, there is no cure. Grief is terminal. Grief sucks.
I spoke to Kyle’s aunt Lindsay recently and have been reflecting on that conversation ever since. Mike, her son, had a big heart. He wasn’t a bad person. His problems stemmed from depression and anxiety, to which he treated with an addiction. Before you start to judge, let me remind you that we all have addictions. Some are good for us, some, not so much. Just like we all have different personalities, some people struggle with making choices that make them feel better, or help an already existing mental illness or struggle. I remember Mike calling me, randomly, after I lost Kyle, just to check in on me and the kids.
I know depression. I know anxiety. I was very aware of these before I became a widow myself—granted, losing Kyle in the blink of an eye was like pouring gasoline onto an already lit fire. How does one put that fire out?! It is burning so strong and the effects are hard to ignore—and if ignored, just like a fire, it is dangerous. The combination of seeing my physician, regularly attending counseling, and a physical fitness routine was my cocktail of choice.
I’m not saying that Mike ignored his symptoms. I’m not going to make any assumption of what could have been done differently. My goal is to maybe try to make a teeny bit of sense out of a horrible scenario; hoping, in turn, to encourage people to address their anxiety, depression and various other struggles.
Stop living in denial about life and death. Quit occupying your mind with thoughts to distract yourself from the real problem. Before you come up with your next judgement about “they had a choice”, challenge yourself. Life is about choices, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds.
In Memory of Mikey Deatherage.