The Aftermath of Suicide – A Personal Story
When someone close to you takes their own life, no one talks about how it’ll impact you long-term. Society has this bad habit of keeping suicides quiet. The family and friends of the individual more often than not, don’t speak out about the how and why of their loved one’s suicide. As a whole, we need to bring more awareness to the growth of suicide rates. According to one source, there is an average of 130 suicides per day in the U.S.
The Reality of the Aftermath of Suicide
In attendance of the recent funeral for a high school friend, I experienced something I have never before experienced. The twin sister of the deceased read a portion of his suicide note. The church grew silent as she spoke the words of her now dead brother. Hearing the words he wrote brought a sense of peace to his friends and family. Knowing that he believed ending his own life would bring him the peace that he so desperately wanted; influenced the process of grief for me. Being able to hear his reasons for why he felt it was his only way out helped to release the sense of animosity I was feeling.
Before the funeral began, I watched as his father knelt down at his son’s casket and cried so loud it echoed through the church. I then imagined that it was my own mom knelling next to my casket. I couldn’t bear the thought of how my loved ones would go on without me. Throughout the 26 years of my life, I have lost four people to suicide. As an individual that has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts/attempts, I know the feelings of despair. But taking your own life leaves one hell of a mess for the people who are still living.
I want to share my favorite poem in hopes that it will save your life the way that it saved mine.
The Morning After I Killed Myself by Meggie Royer
The morning after I killed myself, I woke up. I made myself breakfast in bed. I added salt and pepper to my eggs and used my toast for a cheese and bacon sandwich. I squeezed a grapefruit into a juice glass. I scraped the ashes from the frying pan and rinsed the butter off the counter. I washed the dishes and folded the towels.
The morning after I killed myself, I fell in love. Not with the boy down the street or the middle school principal. Not with the everyday jogger or the grocer who always left the avocados out of the bag. I fell in love with my mother and the way she sat on the floor of my room holding each rock from my collection in her palms until they grew dark with sweat. I fell in love with my father down at the river as he placed my note into a bottle and sent it into the current. With my brother who once believed in unicorns but who now sat in his desk at school trying desperately to believe I still existed.
The morning after I killed myself, I walked the dog. I watched the way her tail twitched when a bird flew by or how her pace quickened at the sight of a cat. I saw the empty space in her eyes when she reached a stick and turned around to greet me so we could play catch but saw nothing but sky in my place. I stood by as strangers stroked her muzzle and she wilted beneath their touch like she did once for mine. The morning after I killed myself, I went back to the neighbors’ yard where I left my footprints in concrete as a two year old and examined how they were already fading. I picked a few daylilies and pulled a few weeds and watched the elderly woman through her window as she read the paper with the news of my death. I saw her husband spit tobacco into the kitchen sink and bring her her daily medication.
The morning after I killed myself, I watched the sun come up. Each orange tree opened like a hand and the kid down the street pointed out a single red cloud to his mother. The morning after I killed myself, I went back to that body in the morgue and tried to talk some sense into her. I told her about the avocados and the stepping stones, the river and her parents. I told her about the sunsets and the dog and the beach. The morning after I killed myself, I tried to unkill myself, but couldn’t finish what I started. -Meggie Royer