Monday, February 15, 2010

Ways I Can Tell That Surviving a Child's Suicide Makes Different Demands

Much of the time I can hardly bear the things that most people apparently find comforting, reassuring, or joyful:

1. Assurances of God's presence in times of turmoil.

2. Assurances about resurrection, how we will be all be reunited, etc., regardless of theology of same.

3. Assurances that light can be found in the dark.

4. Valentine's renewal of wedding vows.

5. Weddings, new babies, anything that reminds me that the young man I love found himself on a path that precluded that all we had hoped for and dreamed of for him.

6. Actually, now that I think of it, confirmation or assurance of just about anything at all.

I think I get it. The completely destructive, upside-down-and-inside-out nature of a child's death by suicide simply eradicates all familiar terrain and brings into question absolutely everything.

Sometimes I feel like I spend almost all of my time crossing very thin ice ~ the exceptions being the times when I crash through into very deep and icy water.

I am glad ~ really ~ that other people find comfort in all those things that usually offer it to one degree or another. But seriously ~ please don't assume that your experience or conviction is applicable to mine.

(Yeah, it's been a rough few days.)


karen gerstenberger said...

I'm so sorry.
As usual, I appreciate your honesty. This sense that you describe (feeling so differently about things that others commonly accept) is why I am still hesitant to join a community of faith. I feel as if I live in a different country, or a different era.

Magdalene6127 said...

I'm grateful you know you can be honest here.


I'm so sorry.

Gabriele said...

No need to apologise if it has been a bad week. I still have bad days and its been a lot longer for me and I am over apologising for them.

And I still get VERY angry when some one tells me that sadness is the other side of joy, Yeah right. Or that I have gained wisdom .... or compassion or whatever. Frankly would forgo it all to still have my beautiful boy ...

For what they are worth, my night prayers will be for you.

Lisa :-] said...

I think we can assume that as you seem to be doing "better" (whatever that might mean...continuing to live?) people will now feel safer sharing these little bits of "wisdom" with you.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

artandsoul said...

Well said indeed.

I work with families of alcoholics. Many of them have lost a child to the destructive disease. This is a faint but steady voice I hear there.

We can but share our own experiences, and have no idea really if those are comforting or even make sense to others.

The amazing thing to me is that your sharing - while describing something so very particular - transcends comfort or even sense and simply sheds a bright light.

I may have to squint, but I would not dim the light for anything.

I hope you will always be so courageous in stating aloud for others to hear what you feel so deeply in your heart.


Presbyterian Gal said...

I so understand what you mean. I feel all those things about the slow death and ripping apart of my admittedly abusive marriage.

((((((GG))))))) for you dear.

Karen said...

I know what you are saying is true. Your experience is at least a step beyond. I am so sorry for your loss, for all the hurt and pain, for the lack of comfort and consolation. My own comfort is mostly what you described a few posts ago when you mentioned preaching ahead of where you are. I am just trying to look ahead to another day, and that's probably the best we can do for now.
Hugs dear GG.

Carol said...

And I apologize if anything I've said has evoked these responses in you.

Mompriest said...

I recently listened to someone (who shall go unnamed) preach a sermon on suffering and heard the standard comment, said almost glibly, about God being present in the suffering...but really I don't know why that statment is supposed to be comforting or assuring.

If God's presence in my suffering is really there, but unknown, unperceived, by me, and ultimately seems to make no difference in my suffering...then what value is that? Hope for things unseen? Sigh...

Why not just say...part of suffering is that even in the depth of that darkness we feel even more lost because so often even God seems to be gone?

It may be true that God is not gone, just lost to us in our suffering. But so what? Lost is lost.

I hope I never again preach a (unintentionally glib) sermon about suffering and the "comfort of presence of God"...I really hope I am able to articulate the darkness and find some authentic hope inspite of it.

Gannet Girl said...

MP, I have felt berated (not intentionally, but by well-meaning and oblivious people), that there is something wrong with me, etc. I have no idea why we don't just say: it seems that God is gone. I don't know why it is so threatening to those who have not had the experience.

LOLOL word verification: Barth. Perhaps he has something to say about this.

Daisy said...


Makes sense to me.


artandsoul said...

GG - reading through the comments and the conversation I find myself also amazed that there is such a resistance to the phrase "God is gone."

As we humans struggle to verbalize our experience that seems to sum it up sometimes. Succinctly and true.

I know I have felt that severe, dark, vacuum of "God is dead.' I did. I felt that way. I didn't "believe" it or even think it. It was in my bones and my blood (and the tears and the snot).

That was almost three years ago. I don't necessarily feel that way today. But there is no reason and no comfort in me going back to re-frame that experience.

In fact, I find Good Friday to be far more accessible and "comforting" now because of it. Yes. God died. I see it happen again and again every year.

And I have experienced that myself.

And I have been the witness for others who also have been there.

Like Carol, I also extend my apologies if there is anything I have ever said that came through as a glib comfort offering.

I think what I'm trying to do (or what I am drawn to) is the more elemental sharing of common ground... not so much as comfort to you or to me.

Just as a marker. Or beacon. Or something.

Thinking of you ...


Daisy said...

GG, I just now, had a chance to read all the comments and noticed where my comment landed right after yours. I was actually talking about your post when I made that comment. Sounded weird to read it right after yours. I can understand the berated feeling as I sometimes get that impression from people who don't really understand anyone who's struggle on almost any level, never mind dealing with life-changing kinds of crushing circumstances.

In fact, anyone who's messing with people's long-established paradigms becomes somewhat suspect, I suppose. They do not want any illusions shattered. And then again, perhaps I'm just really tired...

Daisy said...

By "illusions", I'm talking about "rules to live by" including rules regarding God. Okay, I'm gonna shut up now. Kind of feel like I don't have both oars in the water in terms of communicating....

Weeping said...

I have read and read your posts and I am learning a lot from your blog and processing of grief.


P.S. Word verification (I kid you knot!) "undead"