Suicide. How do we say goodbye, when we had no warning that they were leaving?
How do you say goodbye when you are expecting a tomorrow, but they only see a today.
How do you say goodbye to someone you love. How do you find the right words or message?
Suicide is often sudden. It comes with no warning. It pulls your feet out from under you.
There are times when you kick yourself after their death, because you couldn’t ‘see the signs’, or rather, you didn’t notice them. Yet you soon realise, even if you could see it coming, it would have been a shock anyway.
Suicide leaves a kind of grief that can’t really be explained.
How does your body respond, if you sleep knowing your loved one is safe, and then wake to them being gone.
Maybe all I desire myself, is to have had the chance to just tell my dad how amazing he was, one last time. The chance to let him know that I am okay and I love him so much.
Maybe I really just want to comfort and reassure him still, is that so strange?
We all die. We will all die eventually. Death is the only inevitable.
I suppose as a society, we all still find it very hard to talk about death, despite it being the one thing that we all have in common. Maybe this makes it harder for everyone to know what the right way to say ‘goodbye’ is.
Many people will get to prepare for the deaths of their loved ones. Suicide though, doesn’t always give you that option, it just happens so fast.
Though any death is never easy and is not something that can be compared as ‘better’ or ‘worse’, the pain, the grief always hurts.
We are all aware that our Grandparents, Great Aunts and Uncles could pass at any moment, we know it will happen, and we find peace in that.
The shock is the unexpected. Or maybe, the shock is that we just don’t expect to lose a loved one to suicide, or any sudden accident.
Many of us live like our loved ones are invincible to things that may cut their life unexpectedly short. After all, why would we want to imagine a life without our loved ones?
When a loved one gets very ill, while it can be traumatising to witness, there is an element that you have a chance to say goodbye and make the most of those final moments.
Sometimes those last words, can make a huge impact on the grief that we carry.
When my beautiful Granny passed, after a long battle with dementia, I was so prepared, I was able to say and do all I needed before she took her walk over the angel bridge. It was strangely therapeutic to be able to do this.
With suicide, you don’t get a final moment, a bucket list, a goodbye.
Though maybe, it would be a beautiful thing if we made sure to treat everyday as if it was our last goodbye, if we never let a day pass where love isn’t shown.
When I lost my dad, I noticed that there was plain paper and a pen on his bike, what we thought could have been his last message to us, that never got written.
I often wonder, maybe my dad couldn’t say goodbye either. Maybe it was too hard.
That’s another thing, how do you say goodbye when you want to die?
I know that when I tried to leave this world, I didn’t say anything to anyone, I just didn’t know what I wanted to say or how. I’m not sure I wanted to say goodbye.
And then I think, what would I have said to my dad? Would I have stopped him? Would that have changed anything?
But these questions only leave the wound open. Each unsolved question works as salt in an internal wound. Sometimes all these questions and “what if’s” keep us hurting for a much longer time.
I learned that we can still say goodbye. Even after they have gone.
For my mum, she wrote him a letter and put in in his coffin, in a symbolic and beautiful gesture that meant she could speak to him personally one last time.
Many friends and family of my dad will visit his grave, leave flowers and little cards. Others made a little group to talk about their memories with him.
For me, I still talk to him sometimes, not in a way that people may raise an eyebrow at me, but more to acknowledge “my dad would be proud“.
I like to think that I say my goodbyes in each success, because my success comes from him and what he taught me. If I thrive, so does he.
I even go through all the (very few) photos that I have of him, I play with his keys, or I just simply sit in my memories for a little while.
But maybe we don’t need a final goodbye, because it means there is an ending, and life would move on, and something I do not want to forget is my father.
Could it be that, I do not need to say goodbye to my father, I do not need to move on from him, because he is with me everyday.
My father is in my memories, my blood, my moral conduct and will stay with me to the very end. There is something very comforting in this.
The quote I live by, and the words that helped me, which may help you, is that: “Grief is not about moving on, it’s about adapting… But cherishing the life that was”.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to cope with your loss, you deserve to say goodbye in the ways that feel right to you. You deserve to remember and love them as you always did.