The 6th Anniversary of Mat’s Death: Grieving A Suicide (or any death) Takes Time

The 6th anniversary of my brother in law’s death to suicide is this week.

As the week unfolds I am reminded what I need most during pressing times like these is to move slower.
Breathe deeper.
To give myself time to process the grief that wraps itself around you and clinches tight.

IMG_4739

Losing someone tragically, without warning, provides no time for the slow process of letting someone go.

Before we lost Mat, death was, for me, found most often at the end of an elderly person’s life.

Death at an old age seems natural in a way.
The body decays as we age and at a certain point our souls can’t continue on in a decomposing body.

When a 32 year old man who seemed to be thriving in so many ways is declared dead, to say it’s a tough pill to swallow is the same as saying Niagara Falls is just like that tiny creek in your backyard.

IMG_5996 IMG_5973 IMG_3794 IMG_5621

Between “go to the pool so the swim lessons will be worth it” and  “putting up jars of peaches, tomatoes, and figs that occupy my kitchen table”…there seems little time this week to work in grieving.

I am easily overwhelmed when my to-do list stretches longer than “play at the house today”.

When I add ‘grieve for a loved one’ the list aches my soul.

IMG_5563 IMG_5549 IMG_6087 IMG_5527

Relationships are forged over time and grieving works the same way.

We must permit ourselves time to grieve.

Time to process the sadness.
Time to process what was that will never be again.

My friend Amy who lost her mother in a tragic car accident a few years prior to Mat’s death told me…
time will never be the same for you.

Your reference point for the rest of your life will be “post this date”.

She was right.

Even now, six years later, I chronicle events in my head with Mat’s death as the marker of them all.

IMG_4732 IMG_6051 IMG_5580 IMG_3831

It took me two years post Mat’s death before I would be able to write in a journal again.

Me, the girl who’d been journaling since pre teenage years. But to write it down meant I was committing it to reality.

When all I wanted to do was turn back time and have more time and alter reality.

In six years we’ve come so far. {There’s an entire book that could be written here in what happens in being a suicide survivor. That’s actually what they call the family members and friends who’ve lost someone to suicide. Crazy isn’t it? Usually being a survivor of “something” means you actually had the atrocity done to you. But picking up the pieces of a torn up broken into rags life is the atrocity that’s been done, the war wrecked reality you have to wade yourself through.}

IMG_3978

For me, losing someone tragically seems to magnify the loss.

The anniversary seems more poignant, more reminiscent.

And that’s where I find myself today, this week.

Simply needing time.
Time to be slow.
Time to acknowledge what was lost.

Reminding myself that the tomatoes desperate to be canned will be just fine if they end up being frozen instead.
Recollecting it’s okay if my children don’t perfect their swimming skills this summer.
Repeating the mantra to make time for myself so I can be a patient, compassionate, and caring mom and wife.

{There is so much more I could write & say on the subject of grieving a suicide. To sum it all up, you just feel a heavy aching in your heart that this is now reality. I even feel weird posting this. I didn’t write it to have condolences. I am just sharing because it’s what is on my heart and I want to be authentic. Plus, maybe it will encourage someone out there who is grieving a loss. And whether that loss is from a tragic death or from watching a loved one slowly slip away year after year – grieving is all the same…healing from loss requires time to experience and journey through grief.}

Love,

jessica

Share this article!

Comments

  1. Gorgeous words and photos around such a devastating and heartbreaking subject. Thank you for baring your soul before us. I love this line: “But to write it down meant I was committing it to reality” Such a powerful sentence. Hugs Jessica.

  2. Beautifully written. Thank you.

  3. Don Malcom says:

    Thank you Jessica , such a gift that is gone . So much fun seeing the pictures and remembering him . We just found a couple pictures a month or so ago of Matt here in Cozad when I was a much younger man . Love you guys .

  4. Jane Goodman says:

    Thank you for sharing your pain, experience, and wisdom. I understand what you wrote about life being divided into before and after. Your words are beautiful even through your tragic loss.

  5. Seanna Morgan says:

    Amy is a good friend of mine. She sent me your blog post this morning, as I am spending what should be my brother’s 31st birthday without him. His first bday spent in Heaven, rejoicing with the Jesus and the Angels. With three young ones, the weight seems almost unbearable when I do not make time to grieve. This post was so perfect for me, on this empty day. Blessings to you…. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Seanna, my heart is praying for you today. I understand how hard it is and especially having three little ones – it is difficult to find time to grieve. I will say a prayer that you can find quiet moments here & there today and in the days to come to process your loss. And I’ll pray God comforts you as only He can.

  6. Your authenticity teaches me. Love you.

Speak Your Mind

*