Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Club that Wants no Members

I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go...

Today I attended the memorial service of a young member of my congregation who chose to end his life. Matthew (all names have been changed to protect privacy) had battled demons and his parents thought all that was behind him and he was doing well and had so much to live for. He was just 32.

His mother, becomes the FIFTH mother in my personal circle of friends and acquaintances to loose a young adult child to suicide. Counting me, that makes six that I know of personally. Of the six, four were children who had been adopted, but that is likely a result of my involvement in the adoption community and so many of my friends and acquaintances being touched by adoption, although adoption is known to be a risk factor for suicide.

Suicide is misunderstood and needlessly riddled with shame, complicating the grief process for survivors.

Recently, I shared with a widower that I had lost my daughter when she was just 27. He asked if it was illness or an accident, since I suppose those are the two common distinctions that divide the widow/widower community. I stopped and thought. Which neat little categorical box did suicide belong in? The answer was plain: neither. What the man was really seeking to know was whether my loss had been sudden or more anticipated and in some cases a welcome relief of suffering.  In that sense, suicide is both.  It is most often the end of a long battle with depression, diagnosed, known, or not, and yet it is a sudden and very unexpected end in almost all cases. The person is there and fine one day and gone the next.

While survivors of suicide share the unanticipated shock of the event with those whose loved ones are killed in fatal crashes or victims of fatal crimes, the question of blame is fare more difficult to navigate.

Often - in suicide, unlike any other death - the answer of who to blame is the victim or his survivors.

The most recent loss by suicide prior to Matthew's was a friend from the "Y" who lost her daughter in November, just before Thanksgiving. Paulette's daughter left two children. Some of Paulette's family are old school Catholic and she had to deal with their unkind judgmental comments such as the fate of her daughter's soul and her daughter being called 'selsifh' for taking her life.

At today's memorial service one of the subjects addressed by my Unitarian minister was the fact that we need to celebrate the BRAVERY of people who chose to end their lives for their COURAGE in dealing with their demons as long as they did! I wished Paulette had been there to hear that! And I wish all the ignorant people who suggested otherwise could understand it.

I and the three other mothers who twice lost our children - lost them twice to ignorance and judgement. First we were labeled "unfit" to parent them, told others were more deserving, then burdened with SHAME for having done so. And, then, we lost them in a manner that is again filled with societal ignorance, judgment and shame.

There was no shame in their births or their deaths! My daughter and the other three were born as a result of LOVE and died as a result of PAIN. No shame in any of that!!!

They say our loved ones who die are not gone because they live on in our love for them and in our memories of them....

But some of us have few or even no memories at all of our loved ones, because they were taken from us twice.

Miss Me, But Let Me Go

Author Unknown

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free!
Miss me a little - but not for long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go.
For this journey that we all must take
And each must go alone;
It's all a part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me, but let me go.

No comments:

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget