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Old 05-28-2013, 07:21 AM
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dbh
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Suicide

My beautiful, funny, thoughtful, and caring sister died from suicide a couple of weeks ago. She was in her late 40's and has a ten-year-old son.

She wasn't an alcoholic, but we grew up in an alcoholic home. I believe that the affects of growing up with an alcoholic combined with her own genetic makeup contributed to her lifetime battle with depression and anxiety.

She never looked into "recovery". Talk therapy and support groups were my thing. There was always an underlying competition between the two of us and heaven forbid one of us admitted that the other was doing something right. She took medication to help her cope.

Although we were close growing up, our relationship became more difficult as I worked on my recovery. Our relationship was pretty dysfunctional. We were too involved in each other's lives. Our mother often created friction between us through triangulation. It got to the point were I thought it would be best to distance myself from both of them. I kept them in my life, but limited my contact and communications.

I knew she was struggling. She didn't marry an alcoholic but found a man that needed saving in other ways. Their marriage wasn't working out and it was causing a lot of stress. But I sat back and thought that it was her life and she would eventually figure out what she needed to do to be happy.

Never in a million years did I think she would take her own life. She loved her son so much. There was no way I thought she would ever leave him.

So I'm stuck here with a ton of grief and guilt. Would she still be here if I was able to show her more compassion? If I judged her less? Was distancing the right thing to do?

My codependency is kicking in and I find myself obsessing about her son. I'm worried that his father will not be capable of raising him alone and I want to take over and try to make up for this terrible, terrible loss that he has gone through.

I found a support group for suicide survivors, but I don't think that they can truly understand our past, the complexity of our relationship, and how I am now doubting EVERYTHING I thought I was doing to make a better life for myself and my immediate family.

Things are also complicated by my mother. My sister was the golden child and main confidant to my mother. I'm pretty much the scapegoat. My mom has said some hurtful things to me since my sister's passing. She wouldn't help with the arrangements but then criticized how I planned things. I'm getting the feeling that she blames me for her death. The day after she died she said my sister didn't want to talk to me because she feared I would gossip about her. I'm actually not a gossiper at all. My mother, aunts, and cousins are the ones that gossip in the family.

I have to figure out how to get though this loss. I have to for the sake of my husband, daughter, son, and nephew. I think my recovery work will help me. I know how to reach out for help, I have faith in my HP, and I have tons of tools that have helped me worked through difficult experiences in the past.

This is probably the worse pain I have ever experienced though.

I love my sister. Even with our crazy family, we would often find ways to laugh about our life. I have so many memories that only involve the two of us. Silly phrases or songs that only mean something to us. I have no one to share that with now.

I truly, truly, thought that she would figure out how to be happy in life. I often thought that we would be able to get close again as we got older. I would often picture us as old ladies together.

My sister lived with the affects of growing up in an alcoholic home her entire live. She had such low self-esteem. My nephew told me she would often cry and say she was a bad parent. In the note that she left him (so heartbreaking), she said that he would be "better off without her". He's not.

The scary thing is that I felt that way too before my recovery work. In the past, I have actually said the same exact thing to my husband. I will never utter that phrase again.

I sometimes think that ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meetings are not as well attended because recovery doesn't feel as critical. When you're an alcoholic or you live with an alcoholic your life is in crisis and you know it.

Often, ACA's can get through life with all their character flaws.

My sister wasn't able to.

Thank you for letting me share.

db
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:36 AM
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I'm so very, very sorry for your loss.

Try to resist the urge to "take over" for your brother-in-law. You can extend practical offers to help during this difficult time, but he has the right to raise his own child. You may be surprised at how he steps up to the challenge once he gets past the immediate grief.

You could not have prevented her death. And detachment or distancing does not cause anyone to take their own life. Even if you were close she probably would have hidden it from you.

Don't be so sure that other survivors can't or won't understand. Just as we all understand each other, even though the details of our experience may be different, the same is true of suicide survivors--everyone feels they should have known, or done something differently, all have the same kinds of unanswered questions and regrets.

Hugs, you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:52 AM
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I am so sorry for your loss and for your family's. please be gentle with yourself, the family members of people who commit suicide often feel the way you do, and I like lexie wonder if you would find comfort in the presence of others who have been through, no doubt there will be unique circumstances but often common experiences.

I am very glad that you have your recovery to help you find your strength to deal with this, that it has helped you, lean heavily on those that can support you.

this may be inapropriate, and too early, please ignore if so, but I have a family friend who's son committed suicide after a lifelong battle with depression, they have found some peace with an acceptance of depression as a disease that in his case was terminal, that he spent as long on this earth as he was able to, and that no amount of love or help could have or indeed did change that.

gentle hugs.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:10 AM
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I am so sorry to hear about your sister. Losing a person you love to suicide is excruciating, like you say, because the grief is exacerbated by guilt. Could I have done more? Why did I not see this coming?

Depression is hell. And it's hard to understand if you haven't experienced it. It's not just that you feel hopeless in the present; depression affects your ability to accurately judge the realistic chances that things might get better. In other words - feeling utterly hopeless right now isn't the worst part; the conviction that you will always feel this way is.

I remember people telling me it would feel better and I thought "they can't see that I've lost both legs and they're telling me I'll be running again." That's what it felt like. Impossibilities on every side.

When I was at my lowest, there was not a thing anyone could have said or done that would have made the slightest bit of difference.

And I'm telling you all of this because you carry no responsibility for your sister's death. None. We have strange and complicated relationships with our siblings. Depression is like a drug that skews your perception of reality. You can't control or win over that for someone else any more than you can get another person to stop drinking.

Allow yourself to feel everything you're feeling. But remind yourself this is not your fault.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:37 AM
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I am very sorry for your loss, dbh. There is nothing I can say that will make it better, but just know many of us here understand your grief and all the emotions that come with it.

Prayers for peace for you today,
~T
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:32 AM
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I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Sending you strength and courage today.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:46 AM
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I pray for your healing from such a tragic loss. As others have said, you are not to blame. Depression is such a complicated monster, some can heal others continue to struggle. I pray for you to have strength to move on with your life and what's best for you & your family as hard as it may seem right now. God Bless You.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:24 AM
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DB - I am so sorry. I generally don't pray much, but tonite I will pray for you, your sister, and her son.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:31 AM
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adding my prayers and thoughts of comfort for you and all who love your sister ~ please continue to seek healing thru all the sources available to you for yourself and so that those around you that are hurting can know there is another way ~

gentle pink hugs
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:19 PM
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I'm am so sorry for the loss of your sister. I can't imagine the pain you must be feeling. I will say a prayer for you, your sister's son, his father and the rest of your family. I've known a few people who have committed suicide, but not an immediate relative. For me, each time I felt such a sense of sadness for the loved ones of the deceased. I hope you will find peace sooner than later with regards to this. I know it must be so painful and difficult.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:26 PM
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Dbh,

I am so sorry for your pain. My sister commited suicide as well. I didn't really allow myself to grieve her loss, instead I dove into a sick relationship with my XA, maybe to punish myself, maybe to distract myself from thinking about her.
I really wish I had gone to a support group for survivors of suicide and joined SR instead. I'm glad you are here.

I know what you mean about feeling like the people in the group might not understand, and that their circumstances were different. Suicide is weird in the way it hits hard in such a personal way. It's an isolating kind of pain. That's why I think you should fight against your uncomfortability with the support group and force yourself to go. You need to deal with this grief or it will infect your life in other ways.

My sister was depressed for years and her suicide always felt kind of inevitable to me. The rest of my family was more optimistic but I always felt like she was a freight train on a collision course with disaster. I think it is harder when it comes totally out of the blue, and of course when there is a child left behind that is the biggest tragedy of all.

All we can truly do in life when we come from these crazy families is focus on surviving ourselves. Even if in hindsight you feel like you could have done more, you did the best you could do at that time. You didn't go through your life intentionally not doing enough for your depressed sister. I really see you as an equal victim of the tragedy.

Forgive your sister for what she did. She was very sick and in pain. If you can forgive her, I believe it will be easier to then forgive yourself.

I wish I could write more. I freeze up when I try to talk about suicide and obviously have a lot more work to do with my own grief.

One last thing, I believe pain is stored in the body so I embraced yoga as an indirect and less frightening way to face mine. Yoga has really helped me release a lot of it.

Love and hugs to you. PM me anytime if you want.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:46 PM
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dbh,
So very sorry for your loss.
I can only tell you, that you are in no way, shape or form responsible for her death.
Go through the grief.
Talk about her.
Comfort her son.
She is at peace now.
She could not grasp hope.
That is not your fault or her other family and loved ones'.
Maybe, stay away from mother for now.
If only people could see the insanity of suicide. But, they just can't see it.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:51 PM
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DBH, I can only echo what others have said, that I am so very sorry for your loss. You are absolutely not to blame. I think one thing all of us here have learned or are learning, is that we are all responsible for our own path in life, including how we choose to walk that path, whether it be through therapy, support groups, medication or choosing to do nothing. We cannot fix others, only ourselves. I agree with some of the other posters that you may find more understanding than you think in a suicide survivors support group, and I hope you'll at least give it a try. You, your sister and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. (((HUGS)))
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:07 PM
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Dbh,

I am so sorry. My brother committed suicide three years ago and I still find myself asking those same questions. What could I have done? How did I not know?

I don't know that there is a way to avoid those feelings in these situations. However, I agree with DreamsofSerenity. Go to the support group. I found one in my area and parked outside but never went in. Since I never went I can't promise it will help, but I know that the way I dealt with my grief was not the best way. I sunk further into my drinking and isolation and deeper into an unhealthy relationship where I was being given valium to "help me deal with it" even years later. Ultimately, my drinking and pill popping cost me my job because I didn't deal with my grief in a constructive way.

Since becoming unemployed, I have had LOTS of time to think about things. I am finally realizing that I am not to blame for what my brother chose to do. He was depressed throughout his whole life and self medicated with opiates to cope. There was nothing I could have done to prevent that anymore than anyone else could have prevented my drinking becoming a problem. People make their own choices and some of them hurt worse than others.

Try to forgive your sister and realize that she had gotten to a place where she simply saw no other way out. That is hard to do when you see the situation she has left her son and your family in, but it is still true.

Again, I encourage you to seek support for your grief. Each case is different, but suicide forms an unfortunate "bond" between those of us who have been left behind. I think you may find that you will feel more in common with those in the support group than you believe you will. I wish I had chosen to seek help for myself.

You will be in my prayers.
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:23 AM
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Dbh, I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful sister.

Nothing you did or could have done would have changed her actions. Someone I love very much made several serious attempts on her own life. She has said that it is like being on a train - there is not anything we could have done to prevent her. We'd have been run down in the process. She was found and the immediate crises taken care of medically. Then came years of gut wrenching personal work. She chose to do that. If she hadn't, she'd be gone now, I have no doubt. She still struggles with the dark thoughts but she tries very hard to not get on the train.

Suicide is cruel to everyone it touches. Please know that her pain was such that she was incapable of seeing how it would hurt those who loved her. And please know that you do not have responsibility for her choices. Take care of yourself during this awful time as best you can. If that means distance from your mother, so be it. She is lashing out with her own pain, from her own unwell state. But her pain is not your burden. You have enough of your own.

Praying for you and your family. I am so very sorry you have to go through this.
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Old 05-29-2013, 04:02 PM
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dbh,

I am so sorry for your loss. Families are complicated for sure and especially for those of us who grew up in alcoholic homes.

Last month my sister attempted suicide for the umpteenth time she is schizophrenic and this is her way of crying for help. It's so gut wrenching to those of us who love her.....I could go on and on, but I just want you to know many of us do understand how you feel.

Please don't go the blame game or guilt yourself into a depression, or spend time with woulda, coulda, shoulda, it is what it is. You owe you family as good of a person as you can be, yes grieve it's natural but don't blame or shame. My sisters therapist told me years ago that there is truly nothing you can do to either prevent or cause the actions of a person who is in such pain. Oh short of calling for professional help if you know they are going to try suicide, but that said he emphasized to me that no one is that powerful over another's life.

Cut yourself some slack, cherish you family everyday and the best response to a tragedy is to live YOUR life as best as you can and for those who are left behind.

May you find peace.
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Old 05-29-2013, 04:44 PM
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((((((((((((((((dbh))))))))))))))

I am so incredibly sorry. I lost a brother to an overdose about 5 years ago. I know the circumstances are different. We were close growing up but we had grown apart. We were both adult children and we both had our issues. I remember feeling INCREDIBLE ANGER at him initially. I was angry that he was shooting heroin and cocaine into his veins. I was angry that he chose to do so in my parent's home. I was angry that he left behind a 4 year old little girl. I was angry at myself for not seeing that his drug problem was so bad.

So much anger.

It was a very tough time. And you just have to go through the grief process. You can't skip any steps or side-step the pain and your emotions because they'll just come back until you deal with them.

I really hope you will give the suicide survivors group a fair try. Maybe its a little soon for you right now but please go when you are ready. Keep posting. Keep reaching out. Keep taking care of yourself and believe that at some point your happy memories of your sister will bring you joy instead of just pain.

I don't know if anything I said helped at all. I just want you to know that I understand, on some level, the flurry of emotions that you are going through. I just want you to know that things WILL get better. It just takes time and patience. Love yourself. Take care of yourself.

Hugs...
Mary
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:54 PM
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I'm very sorry for your tragic loss, and I hope you will find the help that feels right for you, whether a support group of survivors or a grief counselor or someone who is the right person at the right time.

I can't trace any addiction in my mother's family, but clinical depression runs through the generations in her family history. My grandfather and my mother and my son all had a severe episode of disabling depression. My son got medical and therapeutic help (and still sees his psychiatrist to check in and talk), but my other family members did not. My mother was working in Alaska during her severe episode and she told me years later how she had longed to go walking across the ice and snow and disappear, and some days almost did. My grandfather, I hear, walked into the woods out behind the house with a pistol. But he did not commit suicide, no one in my family did, and it is a mystery how they survived their descent. It is a psychic pain which few can ever understand, it is a siege by a mental illness, and the choice to escape through suicide seems so logical, I have been told, by the one who takes his or her own life. And I think there are probably many of us on this forum who have felt that death would be a relief, some days, and perhaps more so if one is of a deeply spiritual nature and more willing to let go the physical world. This life can be quite painful, and there are many who are so sensitive that it is almost too much for them. I have read about Lincoln's melancholy, and he almost did not live to make the difference he did, for he wanted very much to kill himself in his earlier years.

I hope you will find the right person or persons who will be able to help you now and to help you in the future, and who will somehow be able to reassure you that it is all right to be happy, it is all right to love your life, and to grow and to make beauty. You may need some help to believe that that will still be okay for you to do, and to allow yourself your radiance to continue to shine. Find the person who can help you do that.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:36 PM
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I am so very sorry, dbh.
At a loss for words, but I want you to know that your posts have helped me before.
I have a major depressive disorder, and it is true, a person cannot escape their own mind.
What a terrible loss for all concerned.
I hope you can find peace and recovery soon.

Beth
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:25 AM
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Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to read my post and those who responded.

I am reading and re-reading everything that was written. Writing my thoughts out also helped me a great deal.

It saddens me that so many of us have been affected by this type of loss and/or depression. Knowing that I'm not alone helps though.

I saw my therapist this week and plan to have regular sessions with her until I no longer feel in crisis. I am also going to attend a support group for suicide survivors this weekend.

When you come from a dysfunctional home, so many life events and tragedies seem to be made that much harder because you don't have the support system that other families have. If anything, a crisis seems to make the members of my family of origin (which is now only three) turn on each other.

I'm finding the shame that I used feel about my family coming back. I worried that people from "normal" families wouldn't understand the need to distance yourself from family members. I'm worried about being judged. Will need to work through some of my old issues again.

I appreciate the positive thoughts and prayers.

Thank you again,

db
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