It is amazing to me how much grief changes you. After losing my dad to suicide, I never really thought about how future deaths would impact me. My father’s suicide instilled this unequivocal fear that others would die tragically. How could I not have that fear? It happened once before, maybe it will happen again. Much time and energy has been directed to this fear yet little has been directed to how I would cope if tragedy struck again. So when tragedy did strike again, I was caught completely off guard.
About a month ago, I experienced the loss of an unborn child. I know people who have experienced this type of loss before, but never truly understood it until I experienced it myself. It wasn’t easy to let go of the life I already planned for the little one inside me, but it was even harder not to choose to go down a path that I have once been. This loss brought me to yet another crossroads. One similar to the one I faced after losing my dad to suicide. I have had a fear of being at this crossroad again, but never really thought about what I would do.
Here is the thing about life; it is hard, and it most certainly isn’t always fair. I came to accept this realization after losing my dad to suicide. Losing my dad to suicide has altered my life expectations. This may seem a bit cynical or pessimistic, but to me it is just reality. I feel that we often have this perception of what life should be, and when it doesn’t meet the expectations based on our perception we become bitter, angry and maybe even depressed. I see this happening in the lives of loved ones all the time. I have been this person, and for a brief period I became this person after my most recent loss. I remember thinking to myself, “Really? Haven’t I been through enough?” But that is just it. In a sense, I do not think I have been through enough. Why? Because I am still living. Loss, hurt, pain, and sorrow are all a part of life. My acceptance of this is what helped me choose the right path while sitting at the crossroad after my most recent loss.
What I have learned about life is that it is all about managing your expectations. If we expect life to always be perfect, we are bound for failure. So while I sat on my path starring at the crossroads in front of me, I made a conscious choice. A choice to not let this world break me. I chose not to let the pain define who I am, or alter my perception of the life I have been given. Do I still feel hurt, anger and pain when I think about both my most recent loss and the loss of my father; absolutely. I am only human. I just choose not to let that pain define who I am.
Experiencing loss after losing anyone to suicide can be difficult. Allow yourself to be angry, bitter and sad. Sit on your path for awhile and truly allow yourself to feel these emotions. Then, make a choice.