Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When Tragedy comes to visit.

The Violin played was melodic music to the ears, but it was the
hands of fate that played me throughout the years...........

A potential client was screening my thoughts on Suicide, he went on to tell me of a couple who had one son at war and another son who recently hung himself. “What is your view of suicide and where do you stand? he asked." My first thought was it was a cowards way out and then I reviewed out loud how diverse mental health issues are. His request was that I write for the couple and the loss and love of their two sons. He said how will you know what I want to say or how I feel. I replied from our discussion and if you have any thoughts, jot them down. The next week he delivered this whole letter which seem like a honor for the son who had commit suicide. I usually give clients two rough drafts and allow them to choose. I felt very strongly that this was different. This project I was working on was to honor these people as parents and human beings. I knew that if I were in that position I would have a weight of guilt, first I needed to relieve them of the heavy weight "the burden of guilt. "

I started writing to the graphics, “ Nothing Separates the bond between parent and child, it is eternal even at the time of death. “ Then moved on to write about their achievements. When it was finished, my client paid me twice my asking price, he said you are very in touch with what they are feeling. I replied, I have had experience, been down this road before. Different stories the same emotions. We are after all human!
It jarred thoughts of how close suicide was to my own family and the scars it leaves or maybe its the negative lesson of an “easy way out.” I never had a chance to know my grandfather, though I heard of him. He was a professor of music and he had a great love for the future. He was the first on the block to own a car and a television. But he will always be remembered for his love of the violin. I guess that is partly where our love for music came from. All of us girls played the violin, but my older sisters both played concert and could get down and fiddle.Grandfather had been stricken with ear problems it had developed into mastoid ears. Medical technology not as advanced at the time, grandfather was going deaf.

Standing in the graveyard reading over his gravestone, my mind chased over the stories to try and clarify what had truly happen. He was not in the section where family was buried. Grandfather had chose to end his life. In the 1940’s suicide was so frowned upon by the church that he was forbidden to be buried on sacred grounds. He was in the section they called “lost sinners.” The story my mother told us what that he couldn’t live with going deaf, though my great aunt told me the dirty little secrets of a marriage gone bad. My grandparents had separated and grandmother was filing for divorce. Depends who tells the story, which version you hear. At this point that mattered very little, the black mark against the family would become a string of an unwanted legacy.

My mother was extremely close with her father and had prepared right before his death to move in with my great aunt and her father. She stopped into check on him as she always did and he wasn’t in the kitchen, calling“ come here princess” . She went down to the garage and there in his pride and joy, his 1945 Ford was her father, unconscious, cold. Grandfather had connected a hose from the exhaust into the cab of the car, closed his eyes and gone to sleep forever.Was grandfather depressed ? I am sure he was! Physically in pain? that too, heart broken, yes I think the fear of loneliness is more than many can bare.

Unfortunately the scars left behind from such a emotional experience seems to seed insecurities and a poor view of self worth, as well as give few alternatives to problems in life. My mother never really got over the loss of her father. She lived with a lot of what if. What if, they had the medication at the time to cure, what if he would have accepted surgery, what if they would have accepted his sisters invitation to move in with her, what if grandmother didn't want a divorce.

Mother’s life was far from perfect, her and my father had a physical spark between them but little else in common. Mother’s education exceeded his by leaps and bounds. But as life is very vulnerable for us all, we cannot put ourselves on a pedestal.Simply, because we do not know what we would do “ unless we walked a mile in their shoes” Mother repeatedly tried to take her life and her failed attempts baffled me. It seem like each generation had one who would come to close to walking in grandfathers foot steps.

My brother was engaged to be married, her parents wanted the marriage called off and at one point it was. My brother was devastated, he took my mothers pill from the shelf and went to my grandmothers and wrote a note, I cannot and will not live without her. Grandmother found him unconscious and had him rushed to the hospital where they pumped his stomach.

I feared how close would this sickness come to my own children or my own family. Overly cautious, I listened and talked as my children worked through the trial and err of life. If nothing I wanted them to know I was here, that there are options, that someone cares and loves them. I wanted them to know that I know about heartbreak and love and that they will survive and the heart will heal. That life will go on , but more importantly how saddened the world would be without them. How saddened I would be without them. I have been fortunate as far as motherhood goes. I say it is true “God only gives us as much as we can handle.” Though a few times I have said " Don't push it God"


pat said...

Your post hits very close to home. Thank you.

Children with out voices said...

Dear Pat, chills over come me when I read your response.Though at the time that we are traveling through life and experiencing our pain, we feel very alone. But we are far from alone, those who dare to sit in judgment will have there time. So goes the old adage " people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
"If I have learned but one lesson throughout life, it is truly our vulnerability, which is effected by so many causes and can happen to anyone of us at anytime.
We all have strengths and weaknesses, and only in our ability to to come together can we learn to deal with life.
I had just spoken with my dearest friend and I said. The life I lived was far from kind, but I do not regret, because it gave me the insight through which I can write and through my writing help others. I said " does this make sense?" and the response was "yes."
Reaches out and gives you a big hug" Thank you!

Matty said...

children w/o voices.
What a story! I tell people who want to judge the same thing,,,first walk a mile in their shoes,,,but when you do, be sure to take your shoes off,,,,don't go in with pre-conceived notions of your own.
It is so easy to sit on a pedastal and judge, but there but for the grace of God.
Yes we are so vulnerable and we do have strengths and weaknesses.
I have to laugh because one day a friend of mine said, God only gives us what we can handle. and I said, well, if you're talking to him, just tell him to back off! Enough is enough!

Little Wing said...

Children w/o voices, I think, like you, that the issues of mental illness are vast and varied. I do feel, however, that when one takes their own life, that it is a chance for us to understand a step more, than we understood before, regarding humanity. I can't help but think that it is for us to look a bit deeper, listen more carefully and intently... until we can understand more completely. My husband took his own life... there was, of course, and still remains, much reflection... as should be. It does feel, to me, that it is for all concerned, who were closely connected, to reflect more deeply.

Anonymous said...

I think we are all victims, the person pulling the trigger and the person who tries to stop him from pulling the trigger.

Children with out voices said...

Dear Anonymous, it is kind of a cold way of putting it, but it does make you think, that the person on death row is someones child. Not that I seek to place blame or to judge but again scary thought the " the apple doesnt fall far from the tree" I always hoped in my case that the apple not only fell but rolled pretty far down hill before it set root. The truth is what ever strain on our character was placed their during a childhood, we either learn and grow or wallow in it like a legless frog in a stagnant pond. The tools of survival we are given may be few but we do have the ability alter the outcome .

Children with out voices said...

P.S. Forgive me If I don't feel sorrow for the person holding the gun, ultimately their choice.

Children with out voices said...

Dear Little Wing, as I stood in front of person who held a gun to their head I can tell you this I couldn't have listen or more or done more. Sometimes It's up to the person to seek help. "the lord helps those who help themself" We can only help when someone is willing to accept help.