red barn

the dastardly deed

trigger warning: this post contains discussion on one of the most common triggers faced by people who struggle with depression. if you might be triggered, i would suggest you read the sign in the wicked witch of the west’s forest, “i’d turn back if i were you.”

my cousin’s grandson passed away last week. doing the math, i knew he must of been somewhere about upper teens. additionally, the hush hush nature of his passing got me to wondering, someone that age dies for an accident or, like valdemort in harry potter, the act that shall not be discussed.
i did some web searching and found about 10 different obits. of course, they don’t discuss the cause of death. i did find one facebook discussion that discusses his premature passing; he leaped from a high school building.
i now face the decision on what to put in sympathy cards. i could put in the safe, “i feel great sorrow for your loss. you are in my thoughts and prayers.” the other part of me considers it responsibility that those of us left behind not to afraid of talk about the unmentionable act. okay, not the specifics but in general.
some people might not want to discuss it because it might drive someone near the edge over the edge. i say it might take someone near the edge, rattle them just enough, that they take a deep breath and take a step back. the headlines of follow-up acts happen far to frequently. but, again, the headline, “student decides to live after friend’s suicide”, just isn’t sexy and doesn’t sell papers.
let’s face the truth; he didn’t die from suicide, he died from depression or from what ever demons he faced. he faced depression and depression didn’t blink. we who are left behind must understand they likely could not preform a single act or a multitude of acts that would have made a difference. depression represents a formidable foe and deep depression makes it that much harder to defeat.
i also recognize the sensitivity i need to show in a situation like this. i recognize the buckets full of guilt that people will be feeling. they likely won’t hear the message that it’s not their fault because guilt holds hands over their ears and won’t let the message through. hearing a message different from i could have made a difference might be too hard to hear and therefore cause even greater pain.
so, i again find myself in a damned if i do, damned if i don’t, situation.  care to comment? i would much appreciate that.

9 thoughts on “the dastardly deed

    1. bipolarsojourner Post author

      yeah, i am coming to that conclusion, too. i find that unfortunate. i also find that limiting, analogous to talking at a whisper as opposed to using a megaphone. yet, by using a megaphone in an inappropriate manner, some people would be likely to say, turn the efeing thing down.

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  3. dangermouse92

    My eldest son did not tell me if the conversation he had held with Jaie only 24hrs earlier, until the next night when we were scrambling with the police to save Jaie from his illness. When I asked him why he didn’t let me know that Jaie had spoke of killing himself, deons response was “Jaie asked me not to tell you mum.” And I got it. And I meant it when I said to my eldest boy “Well bub, you were damned if you did and damned if you didn’t.” That he was doing what he thought was best for his little brother. The tragedy of this is now my beautiful, intelligent eldest son is burdened with
    A. This discussion
    B. The nightmare phone calls and police visit only 24hrs later.
    C. Having to help select his little brothers burial outfit and say goodbye to not just his little brother, but his best friend.
    And I beg the universe to be kind to my living son and protect him.
    I think hiding things causes more issues long term. I know it has for us. But the intent to do harm by speaking is not there.
    And I know that if Deon had spoken to me about that first conversation he’d had with Jaie, there would’ve been no intent of harming Jaie. Only concern and love. Exactly the same reasons why Deon didn’t tell me. Out of concern and love for his little brother.
    If things are done for the right reasons, then how can another person blame you for anything bad?

    1. bipolarsojourner Post author

      dangermouse92, please take it easy on yourself.

      unfortunately, knowing a day or week before might not have made a difference and could have made things worse. i don’t mean to slight you in away way; support sometimes doesn’t work as people hope. let me explain what I have discovered about support.

      there are two primary types of support. the first is solution based support. that means supporters try to solve the problems of the people they are supporting. the second is acknowledgment based support where supporters acknowledge the person they are trying to support. the supporter lets the person they are supporting know that they are okay with who they are and where they are.

      a good amount of time, support gets crossed; someone wanting acknowledgment gets solutions and someone wanting solutions gets acknowledgment. when a cross happens, the person, at best, feels unsupported, and worst, frustrated. the person seeking support and not getting it, wonders if his damned problem will ever get solved. the person wanting acknowledgment and not getting it feels unheard and even more broken because they wanted a message that they are okay with who and where they are and they didn’t get it.

      so, please understand that knowing a day, a week, a month or even a year in advance offers no guarantee of desired support getting met. and the wrong type of support can and most likely happens with a breakdown in communication. explicit requests for type of support go unmade, and types of support desired get incorrectly read. support goes unmet through no one’s fault or everyone’s fault. no matter, it happens. and the supported one feels more alone than before.

      so, jaie likely wasn’t in touch with his needs and couldn’t express them in such a way that those around him could understand. with that in mind, and the fact you couldn’t read his mind, at least not that I don’t know of, it would be difficult to offer the support he needed.

      if i told you to solve a partial diffy-q, you’d probably look at me and go, “huh?” that’s because you never took upper division math classes. how would anyone expect you to even know how to start?

      unfortunately, the same thing happens with support. we are never taught how to do it. we muddle along trying to do the best we can. face it, support ends up to be like partial diffy-q’s. since we never learned about how to support, why be surprised when we don’t do it perfectly? hell, even the most knowledgable supporters still can’t do it perfectly.

      i hope in a similar way that you would grant yourself grace for not being able to solve partial diffy-q’s, you would grant yourself grace for being less than perfect supporting your son. the situation had too many variables and too many unknowns, making the problems unsolvable.

    2. robertmgoldstein

      This is a terrible trauma; Deon followed the bro code.

      Kids can’t conceive of death or suicide…in childhood and adolescence the mind is turned toward the future and the future for most young minds is full of hope and eternal youth.

      Many of us don’t understand until we enter our thirties that the aging that happened to our parents and grandparents will happen to us, and thus our youthful narcissism dies and we
      enter the next phase of young adulthood, knowing that we will age but not quite ready to
      accept that we can and will die.

      Survivors of a loved one’s suicide must cope with a double whammy…

      When a loved one dies in an accident or from a protracted illness the grieving process usually does not include feelings of complicity. Some caregivers find that they have to deal with guilt over feeling relived that its over.

      Your Son used his best judgement…if he is to survive this he must know that he did his best.

      You have my heartfelt condolences.


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