With the recent passing of model Ruslana Korshunova, the discussion of depression and suicide surface once again.
For some reason I feel as though we are hearing about more depression and suicide than ever before and I am feeling there's a lot of knocking at depressions door and no one seems to be home. While we don't have much progress beyond diagnosis and medication, I for one am not letting go of the possibility of a breakthrough, because along with so many other survivors, I need to believe we can find our way to the other side.
This has been "that week" for me as a survivor of suicide. July 3rd marks the anniversary of my boyfriend Phineas' suicide. When I hear about someone else losing a loved one to any form of depression that results in suicide, my hearts feels a range of things; from immediate compassion and frustration, to disappointment in our health care system and society and sure, go ahead and toss in some anger. But for the most part, I mostly feel heavy. No matter how many years pass, when I hear or read the word suicide, it's as if I am brought back to the immediate moment I learned what that word truly meant. The word alone is comparable to a scent that brings direct and immediate flash of memories at the speed of light.
For some reason, today I don't have a desire to dive into the whole discussion about why or whether it was in fact suicide or what level of depression Ruslana might had experienced, or the reported notes on her computer or any of those very possible truths about her or anyone else.
The truth is, there are so many unknowns surrounding depression and suicide and I don't think that will ever really change, but what has changed is the ever expanding and unplanned, yet deeply connected community of survivors; friends, families, spouses, loved ones who have walked through the word and all it brings with it.
July 3. For the past five years this date has been like a tattoo in my being. It is just there, sure it's less of a giant today then in years past -- today, it no longer feels like a humungous, solid, black and white, five-ton billboard taking up residence in my heart, but it is definitely in there. I guess now it's more like 16-point font on a piece of cardboard versus the billboard. Regardless of it's symbolic size, it will forever be marked in me no matter how many years pass, who I love, what I achieve, where I am or how old I grow to be. Suicide is just that way. It marks you, brands you in a deep place and you are part of that evidence for life and there is no erasing any of it. It's one of those forever things.
Numbers, dates, times, anniversaries. These are all enemies to those who have walked though suicide, yet it is also the markers of honor and memory.
It's been six years this week, and really this is not such a noted anniversary in the big picture, it isn't the first week, year, or his birthday or our anniversary, or the hour I received the call or any of those poignant moments. I realized today, the number of years he has been gone now officially surpasses the amount of years we were together and this for some reason feels deeply something. And I have a slight panic and anxious feeling about that, but I know it will pass. I'm not going to pull it apart and try to figure it out, some things don't have a clear answer and today I'm at peace with the unanswered. That alone is a gift.
With most deaths you have to open and walk through a door filled with a myriad of complicated feelings and with suicide it's like walking through fifty doors that are jammed, locked or won't open and when they do, it's pretty much empty on the other side. A continuous maze of uncertainty with no real defined end. It's a living and breathing comma.
If suicide were a color it would not be pink, it would be yes, you guessed it, dark grey. Its many unanswered questions are partnered with a splash of anger, sprinkle of frustration and a drizzle of sadness. It really is the purest example of lack of any hope I have ever experienced. The word hope is nowhere to be found in the experience of suicide. I recall hating hearing "hope" the first few days, as well hearing " I'm sorry " and also, "I can't believe he killed himself."
There is no perfect response or thing to say, and that is okay too. It comes with the territory
I like to believe Phineas chose July 3rd that it wasn't accidental or coincidental at all. I think he may have even tried to wait it out to July 4th, because, for one, as a Mexican/ Irish American he was born into the responsibility of loving a great party or any holiday for that manner. An opportunity to praise the religion of Guinness Beer. Amen. And beyond that, it was Independence Day and a week later, my birthday.
I have always said July 3rd was his independence day, his long waited day of freedom. Freedom from his demons, fears, disease of depression and all of the darkness he felt inside.
He knew all too well about how much I loved to celebrate my birthday and he found a certified way for me never to forget him. It's so very him to find a way to be sure he was "around," brushing dates and celebrating with me.
In the beginning I was somewhat paralyzed at the close proximity of my birthday and his suicide, two opposing dates, death and birth. I couldn't quite understand how I was supposed to transition from one to the other, yet today I feel this week is now this incredibly nurturing time when I feel that someone is watching over me reminding me that no matter what extraordinary things I did or did not accomplish the past year, I made it through and I am here now and that is far beyond enough.
He was such a bright light, he was my bright light. When this holiday weekend rolls around each year, my body knows three weeks out it's coming around the bend, and it is as though my inner time clock kicks in and slows down. I am gently reminded to take a deep breath and honor this beautiful, wonderful, whimsical, compassionate and warm soul who has taught me so much not only about love, loss, honor and grace, but also about possibilities and strength as to who I am and what I will be about, always.
In his poem "A Servant To Servants" Robert Frost wrote "the best way out is always through" and sure, through lasts for some time, but sometimes it doesn't.
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