My best friend Charlie and I last spoke on 8/4/2010. We had a friendly upbeat conversation for about fifteen minutes on Wednesday night. He texted me goodnight, like he always did. I received the text on Thursday morning- which I deleted. A few minutes later I received a text from my husband who asked if I had heard from Charlie- because he had the keys to the building (they worked together) and he and a few other co-workers couldn’t get into the building. Charlie was a creature of habit. He would have never played hooky from work without first telling someone. I tried calling his cell phone- which went to voice mail. Thinking he had called in sick, and had turned his phone off so as not to be bothered, I went to his house. His car was not there. I called his cell phone all day- which went straight to voice mail. This was completely out of character for him.
The New York State Troopers got involved and located his car a few buildings down from where he worked. He had drove 45 minutes to where he worked with a hunting rifle in his trunk. He then hiked into the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and shot himself. It took the Search and Rescue team three days to find him.
I feel an immense amount of guilt, being the last person to speak with him, and not realizing what his plans were. The first few weeks were terrible. The pain I had was so intense that I contemplated following in his footsteps and sealing my fate the same way. I know that I would only be causing the same pain I was feeling to be felt by my loved ones, and I know my decision would be selfish. However I can’t help but feel like I would be better off…
Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.
Just a few months after my fiance took his own life, I was talking to a friend of mine, Andrew, as we both collected our mail from the post office. A small town, and somewhat of a gathering place. I knew that Andrew had become even quieter than his typical quiet and somewhat introverted self. However, I was not aware that he was suffering from clinical depression. The last time, that day, when we spoke, we talked about my fiance's suicide. Even had I known Andrew was that depressed, I could not have stopped him from what he had been apparantly planning for some time. What may have helped him, was for his employers, a law enforcement agency, to insist on counseling. I found later that co-workers were very much aware of his increased depression but did nothing to get some help for him.
My initial thoughts and feelings from losing both my fiance and my friend Andrew, were very overwhelming. I had not felt any guilt or asked 'why' when my fiance killed himself, as several years previous I had convinced him to try therapy, counseling and medication for his depression. I was there for him...I did anything and everything possible to try to reach him.
With my friend Andrew, my feelings were different and mixed. Guilt that the last thing I spoke of to him, was of my fiance's suicide. I kept telling myself and a close friend that I know that I didn't give Andrew any ideas by speaking to him of my fiance's suicide. I also found that I was trying very hard to convice myself of this as I spoke.
When I stepped back from my emotions, I could be more rational and realistic. Andrew was suicidal and had been for some time. He would have taken his life, whether we had our conversation that day or not. There was nothing I could have done.
Remembering back as I went through those initial hours, days and months after losing two people I'd loved to suicide, the emptiness and despair inside was so incredibly strong. My grief at times unbearable. I also, as you did, had thoughts of taking my own life. Actually I 'wished' moreso, that I wouldn't wake up in the morning. I just wanted away from the pain, and the feelings of emptiness and devastation and hopelessness which we can be left with.
What kept me going, as you also mentioned, was that I realized the ramifications of suicide. I saw the pain and the grief of the people left behind, including myself and my pets, my fiance's dog who was with him when I found him, and Andrew's cat (who I ended up adopting), friends, family and even mild acquaintances....We never know, that even if we say a simple hello to someone in a day, that our small action may be what gives that person, even in a passing glance, hope to go on in their own life, and the feeling that somebody cared enough to say hello. We never know how our loss will affect even the most remote of our acquaintences.
I knew that I couldn't do something which would have that devastating effect on the lives of those around me. I couldn't take my own life, knowing that in a way, when someone takes their own lives, they forever take a portion of the heart and lives of those they leave behind.
The best thing that you can do for yourself, is to talk, share, seek professional help if you find yourself unable to cope with the grief by other means. Don't give up..... It will get easier and gentler as time goes by.