You Don't Want to Spend Your Life Wondering #BloggersForMentalHealth #B4MH
Do you question everything you have ever done and wonder if you could have changed the outcome? This is a picture of my beautiful daughter Heather a couple of years ago with my grandson, her nephew. Carter loved playing with Aunt Yaya. (He couldn't say Heather, so he renamed her to Yaya.)
Heather was 22 years old in this picture. She worked in a community residence for developmentally disabled adults, was taking classes at the local community college because she wanted to become an EMT. Heather would do anything for anyone. Heather's heart was made of gold. She was always smiling, was always there when we did anything with the family, would play with Carter all the time. The list goes on and on.
What if ... life continued? What if she didn't decide on 10/26/15 that life was too cruel. What if she didn't decide that this wasn't a world she wanted to be in? What could I have done differently? Did I miss the signs? I can see some of them now. She was always tired, but working full-time, going to college at the same time and still being there for her friends and family. I understood when she said she was tired and tried to let her get the rest. I would tell her that I worried about her.
It wasn't enough. When the state troopers knocked on my door, I was very confused. They told me I had to go to the hospital for Heather. I tried to calmly call my other daughter to come home. (No, she flew in the car.) I remember trying to get dressed when she got there. I remember them telling me that she was shot. I faintly even remember asking who would shoot my baby? Then, they told me it was self-inflicted. We were getting ready to leave when the police came back. I didn't even get to say good-bye. She was gone already.
Now, I can what-if until the day I die and I probably will. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss her and want to just spend some time with her. You see, the signs aren't obvious. Most of the other parents that I have spoken with, those that have lived through the suicide of a child, say the same thing. They were so happy. They were always laughing and making everyone else smile.
So, what do you do? You start some honest, open communication. Are you having a bad day? Let others know. Stop living in a fantasy world where everything is ok. Everything is not ok. When life gives you some lemon, have a lemonade party and let others be there for you. Are you afraid that others will think you are trying to get attention? That was one of Heather's fears. Don't worry about what others think. Worry about you and get help.
I know Heather wanted the pain she hid inside to go away, but the pain didn't leave with Heather. It stayed ... with me and her 2 sisters. It stayed with many friends. Yes, Heather is pain free now. I'm happy she isn't hurting anymore. But, with the death of my daughter came the death of who I was. I will never be the same person again. I live in a perpetual fog. Yes, I function. I cook, I clean, I watch my grandson, I work on my blog, I talk with a few friends. But ask me next week what this post was about and I wouldn't be able to tell you. Nothing sticks anymore. It's like my memory stopped at the time of her death.
My question for you is two-fold. One, what are you doing to prevent your life of what if? Two, if you are considering ending you life, what do you say for those left behind that are going to be dealing with your pain for the rest of their lives. Nothing is so bad that can't be helped. Yes, it can be hard to ask for help. I understand that. But not asking also leaves you feeling the pain. So, if you need help, ask.