Suicide: It Never Lets Go

Love Never Lets Go

Merry Christmas, Dylan. Oh that smile–

The pain of suicide never lets go. 
Dying Inside. Holding my breath. Pain on the inhale. Pain in the exhale. Sharp pierce of pain. Heart pain. Constant. Mighty. Rhythmic. The rhythm now of my life, my lifeblood stifled, plugged, narrowed, struggling, constricted by this undertow of grieving.
I’d like to think I’ve made “progress,” though in the end, I’m not sure what this even means. Progress towards what exactly? Learning to live again–altered, twisted beyond anything, anyone I recognize, more open, more raw, more vulnerable, deeply compassionate, growing accustomed to this constant rhythm of ebb and flow of grieving in my life? It doesn’t go away. Suicide never goes away, never lets go, never the release, never the tapering down, never the stillness of an ocean calmed. 
In the beginning, June 25, 2012, I felt hurled, swept violently out to sea, lost, alone, screaming in jet black darkness, screaming for my child, my son, my only child, Dylan. A Tsunami, all-encompassing, all-embracing, its open jaws consuming all of my life–my child of 20 years, myself as I’d known her, my relationships with all of my community, my future bright and brimming with hopes and dreams for a son accepted to Ohio University on a full academic scholarship in their Journalism School. Digital media. Class of 2014. Graduation. His first job. His career launch. A steady girlfriend becoming his be-all, end-all, the settling down–my son gone, my future gone, my past obliterated in violence and a single breath.
Have I come along? Still, after 3 years and 2 months, I still think of my son every day–always on rising, always in the falling asleep, always in a moment where I pause, always in my errands and outings, always when I see a film, a movie, listen to music, drive my car, prepare my meals, cook foods I cooked that Dylan loved and adored. I still can’t steam broccoli, his favorite vegetable. I love it, but I can’t cook it–there’s just too much pain.
I can smile now, sort of, kind of, for awhile, enough to get by. I know how to turn a conversation away from myself. I know how to bring a smile to others. I’ve learned the art of small talk because it takes the focus off the pain, because this way I don’t let others in to where I’m still raw and bleeding.
Holidays? I don’t have holidays anymore. They are all loaded and heavy and weighted and belong to  a life I will never live again. I have learned to sort of, kind of, move through them, but I find myself playing a game I cannot win. Avoidance, mostly, just sheer, plain avoidance.
I avoid all stores with holiday displays, do my shopping online, sometimes don’t participate at all in the holiday, pull out of attending church, tuck away, don’t listen to the radio, don’t watch TV–read, I read voraciously. It is a separate life. Lonely. It is a lonely life.
And so it is I’d love to bring hope and healing here, but just for today, just for right now, I am utterly down, depressed, solemn, sad, overwhelmed, confused, exhausted, full of physical and emotional pain. Overdone, I am just overdone. 
Open heart surgery. I am facing open heart surgery in the next few weeks, to no one’s surprise, I suppose, because what is losing your only child to suicide if not the consumption of the grieving of the heart? My heart has been interminably broken since January 2012, Dylan’s first sucide attempt near my birthday, the first hospital, the first psych ward, the only time I remember hearing him say upon awakening from his overdose, “This is the best day of my life because I’m alive.” I remember his laughing and smiling easily with a high school friend who visited him. And I remember the sullenness and moodiness, sitting watching Dylan eating ice cream and putting his head down and forward into his hands, pulling at his now chip-chopped hair, tugging, rubbing his hands on his jeans, anxious, nervous, changed, forever changed–I just didn’t know it.
Then one suicide attempt after another in each month thereafter–February, March, April, May, my life now always the reliving of these hell-on-earth months. Broken. Abruptly stopped. The interruption and disfiguring and disassembling of my life. The stripping away. The barrenness. This life now of chronic pain where I practice mindfulness and radical acceptance and distraction, tons and tons of distraction, just to move through my days.
For three-plus years, I’ve lived in the brutal ripping open of my insides, and so it is, my heart is sick. A birth defect, mine, not prone to ever give me problems in this lifetime of mine, but sick because of grieving, the chronic ticking away of every moment laced with my body’s stress response, the endless releasing of cortisol, the altering of my physical make-up, the way I look, talk, eat, sleep, move, think, the rhythm, ultimately, altering the rhythm and health of my heart.
But in the end, it has been three years and remarkably enough, through a faith garnered not so much by my own doing, but my infinite belief that our beautiful human spirit continues somewhere, somehow, perhaps even alongside our own, I’ve learned to keep on keeping on in a way that sustains and even some days, brings my smile. 
August 2015. My smile has been hard earned. I am a weary traveler, but I am learning to keep on keeping on.

By Beth Brown

Rememberer of dreams. Whisperer of gardens green.
At the whim of "Most Beloved" and a hot cup of tea.
I live life between, straddled here now and then,
My continuity through writing--
Pen dripping ink, mind swirling confused,
Love lingering still, and Most Beloved's purring soothes.

Blogger at "Gardens at Effingham" (where cats do the talking) and "My Forever Son" (where a mother's heart runs deep after losing her son to suicide)
Musician. Writer. Literary Connoisseur.
At the whim of a calico cat and a strong cup of tea.

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