Tuesday, 13 August 2013

One year later

A year ago today the phone rang with the call that would rip my world from its axis. A lot has happened in that year. I've been to a hospital mortuary to formally identify my brother's body, spoken to a policeman about the needles found in his car, been to a travellers site and hugged the addicts who were his friends, watched his coffin disappear from view, gone on holiday two days after his funeral, seen my youngest daughter start school, held my 98 year old grandfather's hand as he slipped from life, helped organise his funeral, learned about steel framed houses, moved house, mourned the death of my 18 year old cat, had a routine mammogram as three generations of my family died of breast cancer (still waiting for the results).
I've also grown even closer to my other brother, made new friends, both in real life and online, been deeply touched by the kind words of both friends and strangers - the internet may be a dark place of bullies and trolls but there are also many thoughtful and decent people using it too. I've sat on the floor of my shower and sobbed, cried more tears than I thought was possible, read books that have changed my life, laughed, loved, danced and sung.
 I will always have a gaping wound - time doesn't heal everything but it becomes easier to bear. It's a year on and I'm still here.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Almost a year...

It's almost a year now since Simon took his life. I've been having dreams about him again, although now at least I'm talking to him rather than seeing his body. When I was thinking about updating this blog yesterday I was intending to just talk about my feelings and specifically my anger. Reading back through my old blogposts I was struck by how I avoided mentioning how angry I was with him. I think I felt by admitting it I was letting him down and not accepting his right to decide to take his life.
But now I am ready to say I was angry with him, I still am angry a bit. What about MY rights? And the rights of my dad and other brother? We deserve the right not to be grieving over the loss of a brother and son through suicide, to not be forever wondering if there was something we could have done, shouldn't have said, if we'd only done this or noticed that...
I've decided now it's ok to be angry, his actions ripped our lives apart and I love him and forgive him but he's not the one dealing with the aftermath, we are and our feelings are just as valid now as his were then. So I'm accepting my anger as part of my grief, not all of it but a part that needs to be recognised as much as the sorrow, confusion, loss and numbness.
I don't want this post to be just about anger though, the sun is shining and I'm sitting in my garden typing this - it's a good day! So this post is also about making new friends, friends who understand. I post on Twitter a lot and have had a few conversations with people who have lost a loved one through suicide. After Simon died I remember trawling the internet for mentions of him (I even joined a forum he posted on) but also I looked for people who had been through it. I found very little UK based and so when I do connect with others it means a lot. I was really pleased therefore when David Hurst followed me on Twitter. David's best friend Tim killed himself and as a result David has written *relentlessly me* A memoir of a best friend's suicide. I haven't read it yet as I have three other books on the go but it's downloaded and I'm looking forward to reading it soon. If we can keep the memories of Simon and Tim (and all the other people who kill themselves) alive through talking and sharing and make new friends then something good has come from all this, hasn't it?
If you want to talk to me on Twitter then it would be lovely to hear from you. I don't talk much about suicide because my life is about so much more but neither do I shy away from talking about it or about depression or mental illness. The more of us who talk and who challenge the stigma the better.