Being asked to write for the newsletter is one of the most difficult and confronting times of my life. Where do you begin, what do you talk about, every loss is so individual so driven by hurt and sorrow. So why write? Our daughter lost her partner Adam some two and a half years ago, the most harrowing time of her life and ours. And as I write tears fill my eyes with thoughts of our daughter but more for Adam and his family, especially his parents. Images remain, the loss imprinted in the mind. The grief and pain intense, so how must our daughter feel. The trauma etched in her mind, how does she cope? The changes in our life momentous. Supposedly old close friends gone and new friends made. I have changed. I listen more talk less. I relate better. I care better. And I remember. They say time heals – this is meaningless. It is learning to cope, to be able to enjoy time without feeling guilty, to find ways to allow the first smile, to allow people back into your life.
Thank you to LBS and BTS for their help and support. Adam lost his life in southern NSW. Support systems were almost non-existent. Police station closed, social services 45 mins away, the small hospital over-worked and unable to provide help. Getting back to Adelaide we got in touch with Living Beyond Suicide (LBS). Meeting at home arranged, the three of us apprehensive at talking with someone else, nerves so raw. But the understanding of the LBS people, their listening, their support finally allowed us to release some of the terrible burden. A few more in- home meetings and then a referral to BTS. Our daughter attended most months, my wife every couple of months, being able to talk with persons bereaved through suicide comforting, easing the loneliness. I handled things in my own way thinking I had control of my emotions, my thoughts.
Roughly 10 months ago a friend of ours asked my wife if we would be interested in volunteering with BTS either on the committee or as support volunteers. Initially I was reticent – I was OK!!! But I went with my wife to a committee meeting, BTS needed help and maybe I could be a committee member – I was still OK. And then I went to a monthly meeting to see what happened – and my emotions opened up. To sit amongst those who had someone suicide was one of the hardest things I have ever been to, but I was one of them. I sat and listened and cried. Cried for them, for me, my wife, my daughter, for Adam. I have a much deeper understanding of the grief and emotions that my wife and daughter have experienced over the last two and half years.
They say that writing a journal is helping. Well writing this was so personal, so emotional, so difficult – but it has helped.
After Adam died late each evening I would walk down to the beach look up at the stars (for one of those stars was him) and scream, at the world, at him, at what he had done. I still look up at the stars and occasionally scream but have also learnt to occasionally smile. Thank you to all the people that we have met on this incredibly difficult journey, you have all made a difference.
Everybody bereaved through suicide travels a very personal path, one that I can never understand. But through organizations like BTS and LBS we can find that life does change, that those initial days of solitude and despair can ever so slowly be replaced with days of peace and friendship. Do not lock yourself away, whilst your loss is unique there are people out there who have a deep understanding of how you feel. I can now listen to people talk of their loss and have some understanding of their grief and maybe provide them with a listening post and a little support on their personal journey.
Take time to care for yourself and may each day brighten,
Tim – BTS Member