Monday, June 10, 2013

We Lose More than Our Future . . .

“When you lose a child, you lose your future.” Yes, of course, suicide survivors lose that sweetness of projecting our child’s life into the future: the joy they would have brought to our lives with their friends and romances and accomplishments and adventures; the life cycle celebrations we would have treasured; the new people they would have brought into our families to love; the chance to live vicariously through them as their lives expanded and ours contracted; our comfort in old age. We lose the possibility of passing some of who we are on to the next generation—our little hold on immortality. 

When we lose a child before they have had a chance to mature, we lose out on seeing them become their adult selves and find their place (or varied places) in the world. We lose out on the culmination of our parenting, which was to launch them as independent, adult beings ready to enjoy and engage in life. Their act aborts the launch, implies they did not feel equipped or inclined for the journey, thus calling our parenting into question.

And so, while grappling with the enormity of this truth, we lose our present as well. We lose our grounding in the things we loved or believed or thought we understood. We lose entire weeks, maybe months, while our bodies and psyches absorb the shock of suicide. And we lose the present of the little moments of daily life we shared with our child, all the small things we took for granted but would give anything to recapture now.

And we lose the past, with family memories overshadowed by a violent, unnecessary death. How can we look at pictures of happier times when all we can think of is how it was never meant to lead to this? Maybe eventually we can face the past without bitterness and be grateful for the years we had with our child. So far, I find it hard to be grateful because I cannot accept that there will be no more years with my child.

We are suspended in time, without the future, present or past we thought we had.

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