This post is a follow up on my quick one last week about finding a roll of film from a loved one that has passed away…I also hand wrote this in my doctors waiting room this week, good times
I’ve read surprisingly little about suicide in terms of recovery, self-help, guilt, etc. Instead I’ve taken a more childish, you could say, approach to blindly dealing with new suicide/mom/death situations and subsequent conversations as they arise. Most of the time it just comes out as verbal vomit on some poor unsuspecting soul who just wanted me to say “oh I’m doing good, you?” and we both keep moving along in our intentionally separate ways.
This might sound weird to you guys, but until today I had forgotten about mom’s erm…”death anniversary”? ( … there has to be a better term for that). I think I exerted so much emotional energy on her birthday, then spent the following two weeks in the hospital that I thought somehow that was the “big day” emotion wise for a while and I could resume forgetting she was actually gone and referring to her in the present tense.
My last post showed a wonderful picture of mom smiling and playing with her grandchildren. That photo is on my refrigerator now. But something has changed in the last week. I pass the photo, look at it, and still smile initially at the happy memory, but then I find myself wanting to scream at her. I want to tell her in the photo that in 3 years she is going to do something that none of us will ever truly recover from. I’m sure that even applies to some of you reading this that knew her in the classroom. Where you can’t even begin to make sense of the bubbly, happy, sing-songy Mrs. Dierking you knew, with the woman she was when no one was watching. A woman who was capable of committing such a violent act.
Every happy memory of her I have, every picture, now bears with it a tinge of sadness and suspicion… was that smile real? Was she scared thinking dark, depressed thoughts before that smile? Did she know she was always going to do this?
On good days I have a completely different answer to this than bad days. Today I am comfortably on the fence. No answer. One comment of hers that always comes to mind when I think about her and her choice of exit strategy will always confuse me as well. For as long as I can remember, she always would make the comment, “I hope your Dad goes first when it’s time because I don’t think he would survive if I went first.” ….Great mom, where was that thought when you pulled the trigger? All disagreements or quarrels you had at the time with Howard or I, both spoken and unspoken, aside…where was that thought at least…
All that to say…memories are complicated and sneaky. It is almost as if they have their own agendas to bring happiness, sadness, or fear depending on the moment.
The common sentiment to make sure your loved ones know you love them because you never know what will happen is not exempt from this. We’re taught that this should bring a magical peace, when in reality it doesn’t. Mom loved me, and she knew she was loved in return. Despite what area(s) of my life she disagreed with and vented about to some not-so-discrete individuals, I know she loved me.
Yet …here i am…good memories, a loving mom gone, and more questions than I know what to do with. My next-step on this logic train is the question that when i look out at everyone in my daily life (especially on Facebook – where we tend to only show the highlight reel of our lives on what is literally called a “Wall” so our real selves can stay safely hidden behind said Wall) …is wondering who is dealing with the same demons my mom was but outwardly looks like Captain Has-My-Shit-Together to everyone else ...