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When I hear the words “suicide prevention” what I hear is “you did not do everything you could to save Anthony, you missed something and now he is dead”.  I do not know what other suicide loss survivors hear when they hear those words but that is my experience, which is all I can write about. I cannot try to write anything else, that is what “my truth” means to me. This is my experience and  it does not diminish anyone’s else’s experience(s). I am free to express my perspective without anyone telling me I need to be more sensitive to everyone around me. Me being more sensitive to everyone around me is at the heart of my codependency, which I have paid a lot of money in therapy and books on the subject to try and break free from.

It is my experience that when it comes to grief and suicide most people want the uncomfortable to be made comfortable. They want the easy, safe and neatly packaged response so they can check off the box that says they “did something” and can go back to their nice lives where nobody has hung themselves in the garage. I do not blame anyone for wanting that, I sure wish I could want that, but it does make me seethe with rage because to me, that means everyone wants to forget that Anthony was alive and now he is dead. Not in “a better place”, not “at peace”, not “released from his suffering” but dead AF. In a grave where his mother has to go to spend time talking into the dirt that covers the coffin that holds his dead body she will never see or hold again in this life and maybe not even in the next if she keeps missing mass and hating God.

There is no comfort for me. I wish that I could find a way to not be me so that I could pretend there is some somewhere, but I am not anyone else. I am who God made me and that is a person who sees absolutely no comfort in pretending things are not the way they are.

I was born in the middle of a Texas Panhandle dust storm. It is one of the few details I know about my birth other than my father had been long gone by the time I made my way into the world. I do not know why being born in a dust storm is one of the things that I held onto my entire life, but I did. I have never asked my mother about my birth in adulthood and I am not even sure when or where she told me the fact that I was born in a dust storm either, or if it was even her who told me. I just know that somewhere along my life someone said that I was born in one and that it was dark and a giant spider was crawling on the window of the hospital. The picture of that was seared into my imagination and that is what I think of when I think of the day I was born. That and my grandfather giving me his last name.

A few days ago there was a dust storm in Big Spring Texas which is in the panhandle close to the tiny town I was born in and the pictures of it were all over my Facebook feed. I sat at my computer completely awed at the beauty of it while the comment section was full of people saying how scary it looked. I told my husband that I was really proud to have been born in one of those beauties and I did not understand why. He said “well, when you are born in darkness and chaos, you can handle anything else in life” and for the first time in our relationship (which goes back to when we were five years old) my husband saw me. Not this version of me that I showed him or the version of me that he had made up to make it easy to deal with life, but me, Leticia. Who I am, where I came from, what I have been through and as I am right now. I felt seen and loved and understood. That is how I feel in therapy because I have a great therapist, but she is still my therapist, this is my husband. It is what I have been seeking and somehow I have found it.

I never would have found it if I had lived my life on the plane where I pretend things are not the way they are so I can be comfortable. If I choose to believe the world is a friendly place. It is not. God is love and we are made to love and be loved and to find our way back to God, but that way is paved with suffering because this world is cruel and full of sin and people who cooperate with evil. That is reality. There is an escape from it but that escape comes with a price. That price is never being seen as we are and to never see the beauty of the survivors of evil. And dear survivors, we are beautiful.

In my experience the only way through the grief of suicide loss is reality. To know it is bullshit, to live in the house my son died in, to refuse to do anything that makes it seem like this was a good thing and to fight for my space to mourn the life of a great human being that died senselessly in a way that blew his family’s lives up. His children and siblings were innocent casualties in the explosion that was his suicide and yet, they are now forced to figure out how to live the rest of their lives piecing themselves back together. That is the reality of suicide.

There is nothing we would not have done to prevent Anthony’s suicide. There is nothing we would not do to have him back. There is nothing in the world that helps us in hearing people talk about prevention. I am sure it helps someone and that is amazing, but for me, what helped me was hearing from people who have suffered this loss and how they managed their way through it. The honest and raw stories of people who were angry and who admitted that it sucks to be here. The people who asked “why” and who listened as I asked “why”. I personally do not get anything from people who have to stay positive or set their heartbreak to the side to move forward. I want to hear from people who move forward carrying that heartbreak. To me, this is the beauty of Mary, she did not act as if everything was fine and she did not think positive, she felt her feelings and she lived with a pierced heart. That is the role model I need in my life and it is the kind of example I want to be for others who need that. Anyone who needs positive affirmations or lists of ways to stay positive have tons and tons of self-help books to dig through to find that. I want my writing to be a blessing to those who mourn and mourning means embracing the suck. I was born into darkness and chaos, I was made for this.

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Embrace the Suck
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8 thoughts on “Embrace the Suck

  • June 12, 2019 at 11:52 am
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    Gosh, this is dark and scary and beautiful. I’m so glad I get to read your work. It makes me feel fierce, because I had a bad childhood (I’m not comparing it to yours, but it was bad) but I survived and by golly I will make sure my descendants don’t have the kind of childhood I had.

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  • June 13, 2019 at 12:12 pm
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    JMJ. Praise God, for you saying yes to Him working in your heart. I’m sorry, it is just completely awful and there are no words I could ever write to make that untrue. All I can do is tell you that I will contine to pray to pray for you and your family, and the soul of your son Anthony. If you haven’t ready any of Karen’s writings, here is a link to her blog – https://godversations.wordpress.com/. I met her after reaching out to Leila Miller after my son Colton passed away. She’s been a great friend to correspond with and her writings have brought me a lot of peace. May the Lord fill your heart with peace. Mother Mary, please pray for us.

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    • June 13, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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      Thanks for the link. I have really gotten so much from reading secular memoirs on grief. Nora McInerny has two out that I love. I have personally found it difficult to relate to Christians during my grief, I don’t know if it is because I’m so angry at God or if it is because suicide is so different (not more difficult but difficult) than other losses. But I am for sure not praising God through my grief. I’m cussing Him out and pounding on His chest. It is unfair to me 100% that my son paid the price for things that were not his to pay for. Including me staying in a marriage I should have left because I believed that divorce was the worst thing ever, spoiler: it is something the best choice to avoid trauma on innocent children.

      Thank you for your prayers. I am the strongest I’ve been in a very long time. I feel good. I am focused and I know exactly where I want to go from here and I am having so much fun getting there. ❤️

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      • June 13, 2019 at 1:43 pm
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        JMJ – We all handle grief differently and I’m glad you’ve gotten something from reading secular writings. I’m not ever going to tell you how you should handle your grief, ever. I’m just sharing something that helped me. In a lot of ways, I think I was shielded from being angry at God because I’ve always felt so loved. How could I be angry at someone who has loved me so much? God said no to me that day, and it continues to suck each and every day; but I know He loves me, i know He loves my son and I know He grieves with me and helps me carry my cross. Somewhere along the way I picked up that it was okay to be angry with Him, that He can take anything we throw at Him and He’ll still be there – loving us. I also picked up that it didn’t matter if you praised Him and hated every minute of it. The act of choosing to thank Him, in all circumstances can bring great peace to your heart. I am a witness to this, He’s brought peace into my heart. I’m not a theologian and am probably doing an awful job of sharing this with you. I’m sorry. Every day, I thank God for this pain in my heart and I ask Him not to take it away from me because it keeps me close to Him. I actually miss the days were all I could do was cry. Grief is so odd. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Mother Teresa Quotes. “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

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        • June 13, 2019 at 2:19 pm
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          You’re right, we all grieve differently and I’m not thankful at all for any of this. I am just learning how to carry it. Again, I think it is because suicide is so different. I’m glad you have that, that is really an amazing Grace.

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          • June 14, 2019 at 8:54 am
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            JMJ. Thank you, it is a grace that I will never be worthy of. I thought a lot about you yesterday and how suicide is completely different. I offered up my Rosary and Divine Chaplet of Mercy for your family and your son as well. I reflected some on my own experience and I realized there was and continues to be some anger at the unfairness of it all. I am so angry, but I’m angry at the devil. I honestly believe he targeted my family and thought he could easily destroy us. I hope you can direct some of your anger at him, because I think he probably thought the same thing about you. I think people forget that he exists and that he is doing such a good job at targeting our kids. The rise of suicides rates in our youth is alarming. I read recently drowning rates were up as well because parents were glued to their phones and didn’t look up. I myself and probably somewhat addicted to my phone and need to make a constant effort at not reaching for it when I’m with my kids. I’ve developed a special devotion to St. Michael and I try recite the chaplet every day. Again, I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It is and will never be right or fair. I do trust that only God can bring some good out of it and that He can bring peace to your heart. We are sisters in Christ, and I know there is an army of people praying for you and your family. God love you!

          • June 14, 2019 at 9:03 am
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            Thank you. I am weirdly at the most peace I’ve ever been in in my life. I think that comes from facing the scariest thing I could have ever faced and still standing. Peace for me just doesn’t mean I’m not angry or that I do not mourn my son, God is so good and allows me to feel my feelings, including the anger.

            I do not acknowledge the devil. He is insignificant to me, I focus on God. Whatever the devil does to me, God allows it and I can choose to cooperate with it or not. Blaming the devil for suicide does nothing to help anyone in my life.

            Thank you so much for your prayers. They are the absolute most helpful thing anyone can do. And I am so sorry for your loss too. It is a difficult road to travel. I would not have made it this far without a great therapist.

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