Someday I Will Ask, But Not Today

As a family we have over the past 7 years refrained from talking about Aaron’s death. Rarely have I had  conversations with any of my children about his passing and how it happened. If they talk about it among themselves I wouldn’t know.

As time passed each of us learned to deal with this tragedy in our own ways. I never broached the subject with my kids nor did they come for advice or a shoulder to cry on. In retrospect I wish I could have coped better, at least for the sake of my children.

At our yearly Family Day when we gathered each year near the date of his death. One year my ex-wife brought a picture of Aaron and placed it in the center of the picnic table as a reminder of why we were there. One of her older daughters  lovingly rebuffed her and told her it wasn’t necessary because we all knew why we were there. His picture remained in place that day but never showed up again.

Our conversation at these outings was never about Aaron. It didn’t have to be, he was there with us, in each of our hearts and thoughts and we all knew it.

Someday I would like to be able to talk to each one of his siblings and get their story to get a better understanding of how Aaron’s death affected them, the things that they went through, the anguish, heartbreak and their own personal grief. Did they carry any guilt blaming themselves in any way, did they harbour any hidden memories that were too difficult for them to face. What fears did they encounter the days, months and years that followed. Did his death bring them closer to their siblings and our family in general or did they drift away inwardly if not outwardly.

As I reflect on their part in this family tragedy I was encouraged when I started to think about the physical ways that each one of them wants to remember and honour their brother.

Each year many of them meet at his headstone at the local cemetery on his birthday.  I didn’t know this until my wife showed me a picture posted on Facebook of them gathered together one year. One of my boys who apparently couldn’t make it the year the photo was taken, had his own face  superimposed  in the photo and posted it himself to show that although not able to make it in person he was there in spirit.

At Aaron’s memorial we had a small photo of him printed and laminated and passed out to all who came to remember him. Each one of my kids has this photo either in their wallet or purse and even on their refrigerator in the their kitchen.

Quite a few have gone to the extreme of getting tattooed with his name or other messages on their bodies, keeping him forever remembered.

I am not a big fan of tattoos. I have none myself but I have come to terms with the fact that this day and age it seems to be ingrained in our western culture not much different to social media.

So when one of my daughters turns up at a family gathering one year with a huge tattoo on her outer thigh I was really taken by surprise and to be honest my reaction was not a great one. Then when she told me to take a closer look I saw it was a picture of Aaron permanently inked on her leg. It was her way of honoring his life.So how could I argue with that.

When my youngest child who is now eighteen told me she wanted to get a tattoo I froze. She is what is known as a “clean skin” and the last I thought would go down this road. She consoled me with the fact it would be a little one. When I asked what she was thinking of getting she proudly stated, “Aaron’s name”.  Another one of my girls has a little message on the back of her neck with Aaron’s name so anyone standing in line behind her will know that whoever this Aaron is, is very special to her.

The boys went about it in bigger ways having their memories of him emblazoned on their chest or arms.

There is a story behind each tattoo, each visit to the cemetery and their personal bigger story locked away in each of their hearts.

Their outward manifestation of their love for Aaron needs no explanation or discussion.

Someday I hope to be able to have the courage to ask what lies inside their hearts and how that fateful day affected them.

Someday I will ask, but not today.

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14 responses

  1. Stories like this is why I walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (AFSP) I am also a survivor. I have experienced the pain of being depressed. I have felt suicidal and the guilt. All of the pain…

    One of the things that I know is that the story of your son is sacred. By the sharing of the story, there is healing. There is something cathartic about all of this. Perhaps, there is a time where there is a union or reunion of spirits. But I do know that you are certainly not alone and thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments and encouragement Brent. I always appreciate the feedback and it helps to remember how many of us are out there affected by death of suicide. The upside is like you said, there is healing. I trust you have found that place of healing yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, suicide is a brutal event. Yea, one is surprised by how many that have been affected. I think the healling comes from the sharing of the story. It does not competely take away the pain. But, the telling of it might provide something that helps another survivor or sufferer. I guess it is about the other and those that need us that matter. Yea, I found some healing. Writing has helped a lot.

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  2. Writing totally healed me Brent. I started this blog with the intention just to tell my story but the healing was an added bonus. I would recommend anyone who is having a hard time getting over the grief and guilt associated with suicide to write their story. The blessing of sharing it with others brings comfort to others and oneself. We’re on the same page here.

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  3. Thanks for coming back!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Always nice to hear your voice Henri. Thanks

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  5. Sammy, you bring something universal every time you write. Reading this post touches me deeply – again – for your son, your family, for love, for pain, for loss, for healing. And today acceptance. Acceptance that each will connect in their own way. And your acceptance of those differences in loving the same person … churned something deep inside.
    And as always – whilst I cannot connect with the details of your pain and healing – I do connect better with my loved ones because of your words.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. God bless you Paul, its always good to connect with you. I think this post has helped me to see what my next phase is, to somehow find a way to understand how my children have been affected through this whole ordeal. Up until now I think I have been like a horse with blinders on who could only feel safe looking straight ahead.

    Bless you friend.

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  7. My close friend is going through the loss of her husband. She is really struggling – it happened last August. I think of you almost daily or at least every time she talks to me… I don’t know what to do for her… I know I can’t do anything. I want her to read your journey, but I haven’t brought it up… I don’t know. You always make me so happy and I think that’s sorta selfish of me………. ugh. Thank you? 🙂

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  8. Hey Jami, So sorry to hear about your friend. She may feel like she is free falling out of an airplane but without a parachute. You are probably doing enough by just listening and being a friend. You may not realize how important that is.

    Here is a link to a site specially set up for those like your friend. It really helped me when I fell onto it after six years of suffering. This site lead me to starting my blog and telling my story. http://www.allianceofhope.org/alliance-of-hope-for-suic/community-forum.html

    This site could be quite helpful for her. All you can do is point her in the right direction. Its a very slow process and could be years before she begins to fell normal again.

    Anyway, thank you for your kind words my friend and my prayers are with you Jami. I think of you often too.

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  9. Sammy, I love the way you remember your son Aaron and how, as a father, you have likewise fostered loving remembrance — whether openly or in a more quiet way. I pray that in God’s good time your tears will be turned to laughter as you not only remember his death, but celebrate his life together.

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  10. Thanks Tony I appreciate your loving thoughts.

    By the way I finished your book. Well done, I got so much out of it. Hearing your story from the view point of a man of God, a pastor put the mental health issue in a different light for me.

    When we visit the States (my wife and I) I would love to catch up with you if we happen to cross paths.

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  11. Peace to you my brother.Thank you for sharing with us.

    Much love Tom

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks Tom, God Bless..

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