Thursday, March 08, 2018

How a city girl, gone country grieves (and raises cows): A special kind of love

 How a city girl, gone country grieves 
(and raises cows)

I met Kimberly through farming. She, like me, has been dropped into this life and is learning to love it just like me. She is a Christian, however, our pasts are nothing alike. I've asked her to share her story on my Blog over the next weeks or months or however long it takes. It is filled with much grief and loss but will hopefully make you laugh and smile and grow and grieve along with her.

Several weeks ago while at a farmer's market we were selling, I had a lady introduce herself to me. She had been following our page and learned about us through the local health icon and wanted to meet us. We had a nice chat and she moved on. We always appreciate it when folks want to make a connection with us, even if they don't necessarily buy from us.

A couple weeks after that, I received a "no name" text asking if I had some items in stock. We text back and forth that afternoon and made arrangements to "meat." When that day came, she was unable to "meat" me on our schedule and we shelved that for another day. Yesterday morning, as I'm preparing for one of my busiest delivery days, I received a text from her saying she'd like to "meat" me this weekend. She was sorry she hadn't connected sooner due to her spouse taking his own life....

My heart was in my throat. I re-read the whole message again to be sure what I read.

He had taken his own life and she'd been tied up with that.

I didn't text her back. No. I ran to the place in the house where I could call her (we have lousy cell service out here). She answered and I told her who I was. She got teary. I got teary. She said she's not sure why she went ahead and told me all that. I told her I knew why; I too am a survivor of suicide.

We wept and talked and I ministered the best I could. We connected on a totally different level. Turns out, this lady that had been texting me about her order was also the same lady that introduced herself to me weeks before. I had a face, a name and a sister all in one breath.

There is a special kind of alone that we survivors of suicide experience. It's no one's fault, it's just one of the attributes to suicide. Suicide, while more frequently discussed these days, is still a very taboo subject. I learned from an incredible resource during my early dark days some basic coping skills. And I share freely with all whom I connect in our special alone place.

The tragedy of suicide is oftentimes compounded by the abandonment of family and friends. It was hard at first, but I became very aware their abandonment had a lot more to do with them than me. I learned within the very first few weeks after my son's death just who was truly "on my team." Death alone will redefine your pocketbook, your address book and your date book; death by suicide will further thin the list of folks who remain in any capacity.

We talked a lot in that short conversation about the well-meaning remarks by folks and how truly they're unwanted. Often folks don't know what to say, so they say anything to fill that void. The truth is though we'd rather have the void; it's a place where at least there is hope you won't say anything more hurtful. This is especially true with Christians or proclaimed believers. I'm not going to debate the "unforgivable sin" issue here. I don't know how many churches teach or preach it, yet I do know that only God knows the hearts of men. And I know my story had a beautiful end, even if others don't believe it.

This sweet soul is putting to rest her spouse of 44 years this week. I put to rest my first-born child of 19 nearly 10 years ago. I know folks who are yet today grieving their loved one's suicide from many decades ago; there is no statue of limitations on grief. I'm particularly certain this is especially true with suicide.

This darling lady was also afraid she had re-opened wounds trying to connect with me. The truth is they truly never heal. Oh sure, after awhile it's not as raw. It's never completely healed though, and I'm okay with that. Not because I want to be, but because life keeps going. I have learned to believe that my tragedies and traumas are not about me at all; my survival of all things ugly are my testimony to give strength and light to others. I know this as sure as I'm breathing, especially when I get connected with others who are thrown into this circle of hell with me.

Winter is still among us; it's the darkest most dreary season and often the  frequency of suicide is at it's peak. After my experience, I was trying to get into my son's head during those last few months he battled his depression. Those last months were indeed in the winter. This season, I believe, is a time of reflection. It's the time to slow down, recuperate, re-evaluate and plan. While we're all in a hurry for flip flops and shorts, some of us cannot be more anxious! The long nights and short days are very difficult for those who are in silent battles; most of us have no idea our loved ones are fighting every day, every hour, every minute just to keep breathing. I challenge everyone who reads this to take a moment and reflect on those around you. Are they withdrawn? Are they more negative than usual? Do they need Jesus??? I know I need Jesus every hour; do they know He's there every minute?

Spring is coming; the calendar says so and the earth is physically moving in that direction. Relish what's left of these wintery days. While busy-ness is good and sunshine is better, perhaps we might overlook this opportunity to rest, reflect and recharge. Perhaps this is the time to reconnect too. Someone needs you. Someone needs to know they're not alone. Not even in that special kind of alone.

May God in His infinite mercy bring peace to all whose lives are even minutely touched by the tragedy of suicide. It's a different kind of grieving process. I encourage everyone who knows someone or is someone struggling with suicidal thoughts to seek help. I also encourage those who may be survivors or know survivors to get the book "Grieving a Suicide" by Albert Y. Hsu. I received this book shortly after my son's death and read it early on. It helped me tremendously and I pray it's a help to anyone who reads it.

Until next time, peace be with you,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! My Mom has struggled with depression since she was a very little girl. She's 85 now and I know first hand she has wished that she was dead more than once to stop the suffering. Currently she's in a good place and I'm thankful for that. I appreciate your vulnerability to share this with us. It's amazing to me how God does enable us to comfort others with the comfort we've received. Nothing is ever wasted if we keep the door open for ministry even in our pain. God bless you and your family!

Julie Edgar