Tag Archives: loss

The Reality of Suicide Attempts

 

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istock

A family event yesterday caused me to spiral downward in a most drastic way. Before I knew it, what seemed like such an insignificant event brought me to the point to where I locked myself in my room for two days, refusing to eat. My two young sons didn’t know what to think; I imagine I hurt them a great deal with my irrational behavior. I was trying to prove a point to my wife, but the children were the ones who got caught in the crossfire.

I reached rock bottom this evening. I read in a mystery novel recently about a character committing suicide by swallowing Drano, a drain cleaning product made mostly of sodium hydroxide (lye). They sell it at any store like Walmart, so I was planning on making a trip there to pick up a bottle.

However, something told me to research it online — on my phone, of course; I didn’t want my family seeing the search terms “drano suicide” in the browser history. After my Xanax-and-booze attempt, I wanted a sure-fire way to kill myself.

What I read shocked the hell out of me. I found out that the most painful form (among many, I’m sure) of a suicide attempt is swallowing lye. If a person does indeed die from it, it could take days or months. The reason is that it burns the mouth, tongue, esophagus, and it also burns holes into the chest cavity. Years of painful surgeries would most likely be required.

That settled it. I was fortunate enough not to be turned into a vegetable for taking 40 Xanax pills mixed with tequila. (However, my memory has suffered somewhat — I can trace it back to that fateful night.)

From what I was reading, the human body is tough and harder to kill than people realize. For instance, slitting one’s wrists wouldn’t necessarily kill them. It may just damage the tendons and nerves in the wrists instead.

I remember the nurse at one of my hospital stays telling me about a man who once put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. The barrel of the gun wasn’t where it should have been to kill him. Instead of blowing his brains out, the bullet traveled right behind his eyes. He survived, but he was permanently blinded.

There were other deterrents that I came across: hanging oneself could just cause permanent brain damage; jumping from a high place might only cause permanent injury; overdosing on aspirin could only damage the kidneys, lungs, and liver instead of resulting in death.

After learning all of this, I became

1. disappointed and

2. scared.

Soon after that, my sons came into my room (I let them in) and asked if I could play outside with them. I said no because I was sad. My youngest left the room saying, “Daddy doesn’t want to play with us.” It broke my heart, but I was still too inwardly focused to do anything.

God knew I wanted to do the right thing. Before I knew it, I was outside in the dark, playing tag with my kids and having a great time.

If you are considering suicide, please remember this:

*Suicide is often messy, and the rate of success is not very high.

*If you by chance are successful, your loved ones (and you DO have people who love you) would be devastated for the rest of their lives.

My cousin committed suicide, and my aunt was never the same. Many say it caused her early death.

Hopefully this post will prevent your attempt. I pray it does.

~t

Information taken from the book Here Comes the Sun by Gayle Rosellini & Mark Worden

 


Dear Rachel: A Letter to My Baby in Heaven

Credit: lameken5050

Dear Little Rachel,

I will never forget the day that your mommy and I put the manjū rabbit on the tatami mat of our neighborhood Shinto shrine. It was Japan, so there weren’t any churches. Somehow that little shrine transcended religion and its boundaries.

I have never been moved quite so much than at that moment. To ring the bell, clap our hands twice, and pray with mommy for the repose of your soul affected me more than had you been born alive.

Just like placing flowers before a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe or lighting a votive candle before St. Joseph the Worker, I knew that the offering was well taken care of. The manjū rabbit was more than an offering, though, Rachel. It represented you — that little thing, parted from mommy and daddy, surrounded by eternal happiness in that beloved shrine.

You were about five weeks old, but mommy and I were so excited. You would have been our first child! Mommy liked the name Rachel because she has always been a fan of the TV show Friends, and I liked it because it’s a lovely Biblical name.

I will never forget the little sonogram photo that showed you in mommy’s tummy. Of course there’s no solid proof that you were a girl, but somehow we knew. Your grandma is a psychic, and even she was sure of your gender.

I remember exploring the grounds of a nearby Buddhist temple the week before you stopped kicking. We were excited to have discovered such a beautiful landscape and temple. Monks were chanting from inside. I thought it was God’s way of blessing you, and I was happy. However, mommy later told me that it was a funeral ceremony, and that she felt that the monks were saying it for you, Rachel. Mommy and I never went back to that place.

I’ve always wanted a little girl to spoil. I see pictures everywhere of proud dads with their little princesses, and it gnaws at me in the depths of my spirit. It goes without saying that I love your two brothers more than life itself. But there’s a reason for everything, right, Rachel? You know; you are with the Lord in His heavenly kingdom. You are part of the beatific vision and, thus, you probably know the reason. Mommy and I won’t know until we meet you after falling asleep in the Lord.

I’ve never brought this up with anyone, Rachel, but I have an idea why you didn’t stay with us. Of course, I don’t know the mind of God, but I have a conviction in my heart that is as strong as iron. I struggle continuously with lust and sexual impurity. I honestly believe that God allowed mommy to have a miscarriage to somehow help me to be more holy. I am sorry if that sounds selfish. I really am. Also, our next two children were boys; we were to have no girls.

I would have loved you and protected you with my entire being, though.

Mommy and I are filled with joy that we have two happy, healthy, normal little boys.

But I will always think of you from time to time — and walking away from the manjū rabbit at the shrine nine years ago.

Well, little one, I’ll wrap up this letter for now. Mommy and I will see you later. (Pray for mommy because you know how stubborn she is when it comes to spirituality!) Give Mama Mary a big hug for me.

Love always and forever,

Daddy

~t

An explanation of manjū is here.


Remembering Thanksgiving Past

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. It’s a holiday known for gorging oneself with turkey and pumpkin pie, but, more importantly, it’s a time when families reunite.

For most of my life, we all celebrated Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house. It was special in that we got to see extended family members again. For me and my sister, however, it was a time to be with our grandma. Her home was always so warm and loving just like she was. She would spend the whole morning in the kitchen preparing the huge feast. When it was time to eat, grandma was the last person to fill her plate because she wanted to be sure everyone was taken care of first. Still, we often had to coax her into sitting down to eat and rest.

A few years ago, after grandma passed away, my little niece wrote a school essay about her which I have included below.

Grandma’s death greatly impacted all of us. She is dearly missed, and Thanksgiving and Christmas will never quite be the same without her.

(click on images to enlarge)

~t


Interrupted by Death

I barely heard the muffled sound of my cell phone in the pocket of my cargo shorts. With all the commotion of helping my son get his catcher’s equipment on and the chatter and cheers of the players, coaches, and parents, it took me a while to pick up on the constant ring tone.

If it goes to voice mail, you’ll know who it is, I thought grimly. The day was perfect for a t-ball game, but a dark cloud had finally moved in from the north, and it began to envelop my very soul and mind into its midst.

A type of cloud that I hadn’t experienced in about 15 years was back.

The cloud of death.

I then heard the triple beep of my phone as the caller finished leaving voice mail.

The night before, my sister notified me by text (how I miss personal phone calls) that our grandma was suffering kidney failure. Grandma, living with my mom, stepdad, and stepfather-in-law, alerted my mom that she was having trouble breathing and couldn’t move. After being transported to the hospital and evaluated, my grandma stayed overnight for more testing. My sister told me in her text that she would keep me posted if anything changed. A routine hospital run; no different than before.

My ignorant assumptions crumbled like a centuries-old letter.

I dialed my voice mail as my son took his position behind home plate. Leaving the chain-link fence next to the empty dugout, I quickly walked to the adjacent baseball diamond where, luckily, no game was being played. Putting my index finger into my left ear as I jammed the phone against the other, my sister’s voice came on: “Hi Scott. It’s me. Grandma’s not doing too well.” A long, horrific pause ensued, meaning only one thing: My sister, the one with a heart of stone, was actually choked up. I stood confused and helpless, trying to decipher her message.

I had to replay the voice mail to understand her through the sobs. “Her kidneys are failing, and there’s nothing they can do. The doctors are gonna give her a private room in another section of the hospital so she can go peacefully.” The last few lines after that were unintelligible.

Immediately dialing my sister’s number, I quickly wondered how my son was doing as catcher before remembering that it was t-ball and catchers didn’t do much. An instant later, my sister answered.

“So there’s really nothing that can be done?” I asked, walking toward the low right-field fence and looking at the trees in home-run territory. Birds sang in front of me, and parents cheered behind me.

“No. Grandma’s too old for dialysis and a kidney transplant. Dialysis would be three times a week for six hours each time. The doctor said she would live miserably. She could go on life support, but her and mom already signed a form refusing it.”

“I see…”

“Yeah,” my sister said, and then paused. “They’re saying she can only last several days without her pills or being hooked up to a machine.”

I knelt down and then plopped onto the tall grass with my back against the wooden fence. In front of me was part of a black, dried up seed pod. I stared at it during the rest of our conversation.

“Can family visit?”

“Oh, yeah,” she said, “It’ll be a nice room. Really nice. It’s called South Care Hospice House. At least everyone can be with her and…” Another pause. “say goodbye.”

My sister lost control, and I felt a sucker punch in my gut. She managed to choke out the sentence about her being en route to the hospital.

It was my turn to cry. “Can you… tell her… bye… for me?”

“Yes.” Very short and clipped.

“Thanks.

“Sure. Bye, Scott.”

“Bye.”

I stood up and looked out into the distance beyond the fence. Orange and yellow trees stood tall under the blue, cloudless sky. “Grandpa, please appear to grandma in her room right before she goes so she won’t be scared.”

As an afterthought, I continued, “But ask God first if it’s okay for you to come down here.”

Another afterthought: “Oh, and, while you’re at it, can you arrange a last-minute flight for me?”

I knew grandpa would do it because, well, he was grandpa.

After a few minutes, I went back to the ball game just in time to help my son put on his batting helmet.

The dark cloud loosened its grip on me, but it remained nevertheless.

In Memory of

Grandma B

October 31, 1920 – October 10, 2011

The preceding was written two years ago after the death of my last surviving grandparent.

~t

(photo by Topaz)


A Life Cut Way Too Short

I’m not into posting in an impromptu manner, but something has been weighing heavily on my heart today.  There is a lady whose blog I have recently discovered.  It is called My Bright Shining Star, and it is an outlet for her to deal with the trauma of losing her beautiful daughter, Kaitlyn, to suicide this past April.

As a lot of you can guess, this topic really hits home to me since I attempted suicide late last summer (the night of August 24 to be exact).  I cannot do this poor woman justice by describing her pain and torment and how she pours her heart and soul into her blog posts, so just go over there and read them for yourselves.

I know the blogger’s name, but since she doesn’t publicize it anywhere (that I saw) on her blog, I will just refer to her as Kaitlyn’s mother.

She is still Kaitlyn’s mother and always will be.

My wife spent one year in the U.S. as an exchange student in high school. She was placed with a very dear LDS (Mormon) family. They had six children, but two of them tragically died in a car accident years before my wife lived with the family. To this day, my wife’s host mother still includes all six children’s names in her Christmas cards that she sends out each year.

It melts my heart each year when I open the card and see all eight names at the bottom (including the parents). To my wife’s host mother, the two deceased children’s bodies are no longer here, but their spirits live on in the hearts of the surviving family members.

I’m not sure what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about it, but my wife and I have a mutual understanding that we would have done the same exact thing had we been in her host parents’ situation.

I wrote a comment to Kaitlyn’s mother today and told her that her blog has impacted me in ways that she probably cannot imagine. After my attempt last summer, my wife, parents, and siblings told me over and over how they would have been affected and how it would have changed their lives forever. My mother even said that she wouldn’t have been able to celebrate Christmas quite the same for the rest of her life; she and I share that holiday as our favorite, and I would have unknowingly ruined it beyond repair.

My older cousin took his own life while I was living abroad, and I’ll never forget reading the email from my mother about the details. I began sobbing right there in the Internet Cafe as I read the news. My mother said that my cousin even took the time to put his two beloved dogs in their kennels before he shot himself.

My mother, from whom I get my emotional heart, said she would have given any amount of money to know what he was thinking as he led the dogs into the kennels and latched the doors for the last time. Those little trivial thoughts are like life support for a memory that has already evaporated.

Even though it has been over twelve years, little things like that pop into my mind from out of nowhere. One year for Christmas I bought my cousin a newly-released CD box set of The Doors, his all-time favorite band. He loved that gift so much. I still wonder what became of those CDs. Are they sitting in an attic covered by layers of dust? Did his ex-wife sell them at a garage sale? Or did my aunt and uncle leave them in his bedroom where he had last left them, like a lot of parents who seal off their deceased child’s bedroom to preserve their memory for as long as possible?

Anyway, if you’re reading this, Kaitlyn’s mother, please know that, although I cannot begin to comprehend your loss and the trauma that you’re experiencing, your writings have impacted me like nothing else ever has. I promised my family that I would not attempt suicide ever again, and you have helped me to cement that vow.

May you and your family be comforted and carried by the Lord and His angels until you are all reunited with your lovely daughter again.

~topaz