Andrew Vachss, a prolific writer and an attorney who specializes in child protection issues, once wrote, “If love would die along with death, this life wouldn’t be so hard.”
In many ways, he’s right. There is nothing that rips at the heart quite as much as the suicide of a loved one. The loss turns our lives upside down. Light becomes dark. Moments that would, only weeks ago, have brought smiles to our faces now reduce us to tears as we realize we won’t be able to share them with the person we loved.
A favorite song on the radio – a line from a favorite movie – the scent of your favorite dish cooking … all of these things lose their ability to comfort and become instead painful reminders of your loss. And then there is the business of getting through each day. Some people try to take it an hour at a time. For others, an hour is too long. They survive minute by minute or second by second. The pain seems like a force of nature, with no beginning and no end.
Yet, even the strongest storms eventually blow over, and the devastation they leave in their wake can be rebuilt into a new world. It will be a different world than the one you shared with your loved one, but a world that suits your new needs and realities.
It doesn’t happen all at once. One morning, you may realize you slept through the night without bad dreams. A few weeks later, you may find yourself laughing at a joke. Don’t expect to progress in a straight line. After your first, shaky laugh, you may spend the next three days weeping, and that’s perfectly normal. Even as you cry your eyes out, healing is taking place.
Inevitably, the worst of the pain will recede. It will leave you a different person – in some ways better and in some ways worse – but it will leave intact your love for the person you lost.
Death is weak. Suicide is weak. They will not damage your spirit forever. They cannot steal the gifts your loved one brought into your life or take away the precious memories of the time you shared together.
Love is healing, love is strong, and no matter how agonizing the pain of grief seems at first, love will triumph over death every single time.