Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Choosing Life

Something inside you changes when a loved one commits suicide. Until that point, life is just something that you do, a simple, unavoidable, unchangeable fact. But when someone embraces death as an alternative, everything changes--even more so when that person is a relative, someone close to you.

After that, you begin to doubt yourself, and your own ability not to make the same choice; after all, you think, if my friend, my husband, my brother, my parent has chosen to die, what is stopping me from doing the same? Am I strong enough to continue facing the confusion, frustration, anger, anxiety, and depression that comes along with everyday life? And if that person is a relative, you start to wonder whether suicide is in your genes, if you have inherited genetic material that will cause you to come with stressful situations in the same way. Not a day goes by when suicide is not in your mind--your loved one's suicide, and its implications for your own desire to live.

As time goes by, the direction of these thoughts shift ever so slightly, yet significantly. In the beginning, when the pain of losing your loved one in such a violent and destructive manner is still terribly raw, you don't know how you will possibly manage to continue on, living each day with such pain for years, even decades. In your anguish, you wonder about the pain your loved one must have felt in order to make such a desperate choice, and you question how you, in your despair, will possibly find the strength to avoid descending into the same irrationality. But then, as the months pass, your thought processes shift. Slowly but surely, you begin to realize that your loved one's choice is not the only one that you can make. There is another choice to be made: to live.

From that point on, each day you make the conscious decision to live, a choice of empowerment, rather than helplessness. And this choice means that you are no longer a victim of your loved one's suicide; you are now a survivor.


  1. "And this choice means that you are no longer a victim of your loved one's suicide; you are now a survivor."

    What poignant words. I can never imagine what you've been through this last year, but I love reading about your healing.