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Leaving Behind No Answers

By Ginny Sparrow, Editor, AAS’s newsletter, Surviving Suicide, survivor of her mother’s suicide in 1995 when she was 26

No survivor of suicide has skipped this question. Even those who received suicide notes are forever pondering what was in their loved one’s mind? Human beings are supposed to be self -preserving… we move our hands away from the flame. How could someone so close to me do something without at least a reasonable explanation (does one exist?) or a goodbye?

After years of regrets, confusion, anger and sleepless nights after the suicide of my mother, I decided to not decide. There were a number of answers as to why, none of them worthy of such a move. Perhaps in her mind, though, the situation deemed the act. Perhaps in her mind, she would rather not feel anything than feel the pain that life was causing her. On the outside, she certainly seemed to have it all. I’m sure she felt guilty for her misery, knowing others struggled more than her both financially and emotionally. I was once told that the reason suicide notes are usually non-existent or make little sense, is this: if they were in a right enough mind to try and write a rational explanation, and found there is none, then they wouldn’t follow through. It would seem silly once on paper, other options would perhaps appear. After all, journaling is supposed to be a fabulous way to express oneself, although I personally can’t stand the chore. My thoughts look so self involved and small on paper, I’d just assume keep them to myself. And perhaps there is the answer. Our loved ones thoughts were expressed, just in a permanent, violent way. Maybe journaling didn’t work for them either; they kept their thoughts to themselves. So if you catch me giving stuff away, particularly my Coach purse collection, put me on suicide watch! Never fear, I express myself fine. I complain a lot. And I write. I just don’t journal.

The act of suicide is, essentially, selfish. This is their way of self- preserving. The flame is their life. They have convinced themselves that others will be better off without them. Read Struck by Living, a memoir by Julie Hersh who attempted several times and she’ll tell you how convincing her sales pitch to herself could be.

So I’ve decided to let it go. I’ll always be a little mad at her for it, and I’ll never understand how she could do it to me. But I’ll let it go. For me, it’s just easiest that way.


08/19/2014 at 2:22 PM
Natascha Watson
I totally agree Margaret , when we lost Greta she was and had been completely lost with the world and nothing any of us could do to change it was going to help , because she ultimately felt like all avenues had been exhausted , I loved her and STILL TO THIS DAY LOVE HER , not a day goes by where she doesn't pass through my thoughts or leaves her smile upon my lips and I continue to take my daughters and husband to her memorial and tell them of all the fun times we had all those years ago . And yes it hurts just as much today as it did the day she flew away . I miss her , it wasn't enough, I blame myself somewhat still and honestly I'm not over loosing her . But to say that she was selfish to end her life is frankly BS , the one thing that AMAZING WOMAN was not , was selfish . She made the BIGGEST impact on my life and for that I'm eternally grateful. Love u Margaret x Forever & Always Tasch xx
05/14/2014 at 3:00 AM
Margaret Doust
Working through the questions left in the wake of suicide is a timely excercise. But one I feel is neccessary as we need to allow our minds to do what they are wired to do. That is to find a feasable answer to all that happens in our life. Like others I have let it go now, that is the outcome for most of us when we have allowed our mind to work on it. But I don't agree that our lost ones were selfish. They don't think about who's left behind, at least not in a realistic way. Their emotions have twisted thier thoughts to believe the world is better off without them. When the human mind reaches a place where self preservation no longer exists, where every minute is torture to the soul, where they feel they cannot step out of this darkness in any other way. How can they be selfish when they cannot preserve thier own life, the most precious thing to us all. I think for some of them at the onset of these thoughts might use them as fantasies of escape. The problem is the lack of control of a fantisy when your mind is in depression. I don't think they 'do it' to us, but rather do it to themselves because they feel it is all they have left. Would anyone believe a suicider would say " Well I'm going to leave everyone I love now, I know they will be shattered to peices and hate me for it. Someone will have to find my body and cope with the memory of that forever. They will cry and feel abandoned left to wonder what they could have done but I will be out of pain so it's okay." I don't think so, the usual letters left behind talk of how they are sorry to cause us pain but they have to leave. Some say we will soon get over it, showing how little they valued themselves in our eyes. No, we are the selfish ones, if we expect them to continue living in hell just because it's easier for us. Remember the good times, lock them in your heart, carry them with you, never to be apart. To my darling daughter Greta. Love Mum xxxxxx
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