I am in public relations. I am a professional communicator. I communicate for fun. I communicate for my job. I communicate with words, with my eyes (they get huge when I am excited), with my facial expressions (they are way too transparent, sometimes too transparent). I am even a crazy “hand communicator.” Get me going and my hands are flying EVERYWHERE. I have been known to lightly hit my friends…out of love and excitement, of course.
I am a communicator, through and through.
However, today I am silent. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.
Anyone who knows me knows that this is a little bizarre. Especially since my husband’s suicide is now a huge part of the fabric of my life.
Typically, I would be doing my part to raise awareness. That is my personality, how I am wired. I am a doer. I would be posting on Facebook, sharing my story, finding volunteer opportunity in the world of suicide prevention….I would engage, at 110%, use my voice and turn this tragedy into something good. That is how I normally roll.
Instead, I am stuck. I am frozen. At a loss for words. My body is too heavy to move. I should be moving. I should be posting. I should be speaking… but I can’t.
Honestly, it is horrible to admit, but I didn’t know there was a day devoted to Suicide Prevention. I didn’t know until, while I was scrolling mindlessly on Facebook. There was a post. Then another. And another. I kept scrolling. I didn’t stop. I didn’t glance. I ignored those posts. My mom mentioned “Suicide Prevention Day” to me over brunch…that there may be some blogs and resources I should check out. I barely acknowledged she was speaking to me. I said, “interesting,” in between bites of my french toast, making a careful effort not to make eye contact.
Yes, “interesting,” is all I could say. Remember, I am the girl whose husband killed himself three months prior. My lukewarm, flat, dissociative response alone was “interesting.”
To so many, this is a very important day bringing awareness to something that is so often ignored, misunderstood, seeping with shame.
To me, someone who lost the love her life less than 12 weeks ago to suicide, those two words, “suicide prevention,” scream the sick reminder that I have failed. I have failed as a wife. I have failed as a partner. I have failed as best friend. I failed at preventing my husband from committing suicide.
Wow. At first glance, you may think that I twisted the message and purpose of this day into a whole hot mess of things. That is kind of true. Kind of.
You see, until this moment, I thought I didn’t blame myself. I thought there was nothing I could do to stop this tragedy. But here I am, unable to speak of suicide prevention, because I didn’t prevent my husband’s suicide?!? I highly doubt that was the intention of those who created this important day. Talk about a major backfire.
The more I think about it though, “Suicide Prevention” resonated with me in the most perfect way at the most perfect time.
It brought to surface the reality that I have guilt, I have shame and there are parts of me–the inner, deepest parts of my heart and soul–that believe Tylor’s suicide was my fault because I could have, I should have prevented it.
I thought I had checked the, “I don’t feel guilty” box off my list. Done. Finished. Onto the next “my husband died,” challenge. Wrong. Dead wrong.
So thank you, “Suicide Prevention Day,” for bringing to the surface some things I need to work on, areas that need to be recognized, tackled and set free. I am proud of my twisted way of thinking. I am excited to OwnMy hurt, sadness and guilt. I am grateful to have a place where these horrible feelings (too horrible to easily make it to my conscious thought) can be brought to the light…and slowly, spiritually, gently be replaced with truth, love and grace.
I hope that next year I will be able to participate in Suicide Prevention Day in a manner more typical of my “normal” self and in a way that is more aligned with the purpose of the day. Maybe not. That is okay too 🙂