In the past 2 days we have heard from 3 different people that a friend of theirs had died, two of these friends were grieving the loss of their friend through suicide. I have mixed feelings about this, and thoughts.
After Andrew died, there were a lot of people who shared with me their loss of someone they loved by suicide. When I would hear this, my heart would go out to them because I could truly relate to the pain they had felt. While this news was heartbreaking, it also felt strangely unfortunate that by sharing it with me, it made me feel better. Like I was not alone, that someone out there could also in some way empathize with the pain I felt/feel.
It has not even been 3 months since we lost Andrew, not nearly enough time for me to heal, and yet here I am now, thrust into the position of being there for someone else, experiencing the pain that I know all too well, of losing someone to suicide. They share this news with me, of losing someone dear to them, because they know out of anyone, I might be one that can vaguely understand. It is at that point, that I have an obligation, to put myself back in my own shoes, in those first early days of grief and loss and meet them in the trenches. It is not easy walking with someone through grief. You become painfully aware of this when you experience grief yourself and realize some of your dear friends do not know how to be there for you, and therefore, are not.
My heart breaks all over again, for my friends, for their friend they loss, and for their friends family. You will never know the pain someone else is feeling unless you’ve experienced it yourself. And their pain pricks at a wound of my own not yet fully healed.
I feel like I have now joined a club that no one wants to be in or gets put in by choice. It’s the “loss by suicide club”. It’s a horrible feeling. I felt so bad for the people who shared their losses with me when Andrew died, but it made me feel so seen when they did. That is one of the first tiny fractions of healing and love that begin after you lose someone, is hearing from others they lost someone in a similar way too. Now, I get to be that voice and though it pains me, is something I take very seriously.
The world still goes on. You are no longer the person being helped in your grief. Others are now experiencing pain, and you have the privilege of being there for another in that place. In our own suffering, we are also comforters. It is healing but hard. Like physical therapy, practicing all the actions of love towards someone else, that you so desperately needed at your own time of loss.