I started this blog to document and tell my story. I had no idea where it would lead me. I learned many things about myself and what the last six years of my life cost me. The emotional upheaval, the mental anguish and the spiritual doubts. I just knew I had to not only write it down as a journal for my benefit but I had to make it public which forced me to be more honest than my nature allowed for.
During the writing of these posts I have learned that I am no longer playing the Survivor. I no longer blame myself or let guilt grind me into the ground. Most of all grief who had become my best friend and constant companion was no longer welcome in my life.
In my last post Moving On (Leaving Grief Behind) I declared myself grief free. From there I was able to move on and start living my life in a way that I had not experienced for many years. I came out the other end of a very dark tunnel a different and hopefully a better person. I had to accept that there was no going back to the way things were before Aaron’s suicide nor do I want to.
After my last post I felt I had nothing more to say so I closed up shop without saying goodbye to my new friends out there in cyberspace. I know it was rude of me not to at least put a postscript to my blog thanking all that came into my life and helped make my transition from a grieving parent to a man who at the age of sixty-six is starting life all over again.
What I hadn’t understood until a few days ago was that the reason I could now move on is because I am healed.
The loss of my son caused me to develop some nasty mental, emotional and spiritual diseases. I once thought that It was my cross I had to carry around with me including all the baggage associated with losing a loved one to suicide.
In the beginning I understood there is a natural grieving process that I am sure varies from person to person and the time given for this process also varies. Although and I say this from my personal experience only, that the natural grieving process had an end to it. I allowed myself to continue to grieve longer than I should have therefore causing me either to be addicted to grief and guilt or self inflicting myself with the same.
In retrospect I can see the thin veil between the two. I could have shaved off quite a few years of all the anguish that grief and guilt caused me if I would have been able to see where one ended and the other began.
I felt an obligation to my son to continue to keep his memory alive, to continue to grieve because that was expected of me. I fed my guilt and anger longer than they needed to be kept alive and unfortunately by allowing myself to continue with the grieving process I tricked myself into believing it was my cross to bear for the rest of my life.
I still have Aaron’s three by five photo sitting on my desk that has been here for the past six plus years staring at me as I write this post.
I look at him now with no feeling of grief, no guilt, not even feeling guilty that I don’t feel guilt, no anger, no emotional turmoil. I don’t miss him any more than I miss my son who lives in Switzerland that I have only seen once in the past ten years and that was at Aaron’s memorial.
I have accepted that Aaron is in a better place, at least I hope he is and if he isn’t all the grieving and guilt will not make one iota of difference. Most of all I believe if Aaron had a say he would have told me long ago; “dad, I love you but for God’s sake and the sake of my brothers, sisters and mum, could you please tone down all the crying and carrying on. I’m ok, I made a mistake but I am learning over on the other side. And between me and you, everything is going to work out for you and our family. And most of all dad, you need to get on with your life too.”
When I stopped writing for five weeks I also stopped reading blogs. I stopped being concerned about others who were suffering the same turmoil as myself. That was a mistake I want to rectify. I want to continue to read those who are brave enough to put their feelings on paper and share it with the world. You are brave and my hope is that each of you who have suffered the loss of a loved one through suicide will also be fully healed and able to move on with your life.
I can see you shaking your head. You don’t know how it is possible, you can barely make it through the next hour. You hurt too much and you vow you will never let your loved one’s memory be erased. You are in the process of building a shrine in your heart if not in a physical or practical way. You have started a blog so you will never forget. You want to keep him or her alive forever.
Or, ‘rather let it be healed’. (The Bible)