Facing Facts

Last week a tragedy occurred. One of my co-workers committed suicide. Fortunatley for all of us it didn't happen at work. But still it was very impacting. Counselors were brought in. We all questioned ourselves...what could we have done...why didn't we see this coming...what could be so bad in a person's life that would cause them to kill themselves? It was a very quiet, introspective week. I, having experienced the affects of a family member who committed suicide, felt immediate empathy for his family. I know what they are feeling. I know they blame themselves. I know with time they will heal. My prayer is for healing to come quickly. I wrote an essay a number of years ago regarding my brothers death. Actually; it was for a class I took. Anyway; I am putting it on my blog in its original state. Maybe it will help someone in their own recovery.

Many families experience grief and heartache. My family is no exception. One of the tragedies that we have seen was the suicide of a brother. We grew up with a stepfather who was an alcoholic and was also abusive, both physically and verbally. My half brother John began to take on those characteristics. Fearing that he was becoming like his father, John took his own life. The impact of his suicide is still with us today.
It has been ten years since my brother killed himself. Most of the family has yet to come to terms with that fact. My mother, for example, still maintains the belief that he had gone camping and took a wrong turn(he drove off a cliff on Mount Lemon). She refuses to acknowledge the note he had left which stated his intentions. For her, it is easier to deny the truth rather than face reality.
Soon after his death, John's sister(my half sister) distanced herself from the rest of the family both emotionally and physically. She blamed the family for his suicide and then moved halfway across the United States. She now lives somewhere in Kansas, is married and has a child. Her goal, according to my mother, is to live happily ever after.
For me, it took several years to accept the fact that John was dead. I thought I had seen him several times at the grocery store, the Post Office, and on the street. We had a special relationship. He was my little brother and although we had different fathers we were very much alike. I went through a lot of pain and anger because of his actions. In the last year I have been able to face the facts, deal with that pain and anger and forgive him. It really has been a time of healing for me.
Nearly everyone experiences problems or loses in life. Some people can deal with this better than others. Suicide was my brother's way of escaping. Even though it has been several years since his death, most of the family continues to feel the after-affects.

3 Response to "Facing Facts"

  1. Beth says:
    May 12, 2007 at 8:35 AM

    Thanks for sharing about your coworker and also your brother and how it affected your family. I have known two people who committed suicide. Both were Christians, and it comforts me to know that they are with the Lord. The first one I thought was a natural death, and found out accidentally a year or more later when talking with someone who thought I knew, that he had committed suicide. Had I known at the time it would have been a lot more difficult. The second one we knew right away was a suicide – an Iraqi refugee estranged from his family. Sharon took it very hard, feeling that she could have done something to prevent it. I am either way more callous than her, or glad for him that he is with Jesus – probably both. In my family, we lost a daughter/sibling (my sister) to leukemia at the age of 23. She was diagnosed in April of 1980 and died three months later. She never went into remission, a fact that was kept from me. Possibly it was a fact that was never accepted; my mother also used denial as a way to cope. I suffered from a lot of guilt that I did not spend more time with her in the last few months of her life (I was at school 3 hours away), but I did not know that she was not in remission and was dying. She was supposed to get a bone marrow transplant (my other sister was a match) and I thought she could recover. You really don’t expect a 23 year old who is perfectly healthy to die three months later, particularly when you are 20 years old. About 12 years later I took the class “Grief, Loss, Death, and Dying” at Fuller Seminary which resulted in a deep depression – I could not finish the class. Realizing that I had unresolved grief, I got counseling and was finally able to forgive myself.

  2. Mary Lee says:
    May 14, 2007 at 3:04 PM

    thanks for responding Beth. I did say it was a hard issue. there is always lots of guilt and anger and often denial about such things. I am glad that you were able to get the help you needed for your situation

  3. Mary Lee says:
    September 7, 2008 at 8:57 AM
    This comment has been removed by the author.