Some of these are more significant and have more impact than others. The holidays are always difficult but he never liked the holiday season anyway so sometimes I just laugh when I think about how much he despised the commercialization of it all.
Mark’s birthday is difficult but it has become a day that I celebrate his life and all of the awesome memories I have of the times we shared. I often laugh and cry at the same time on his birthday.
Easter is a particularly difficult holiday because Easter Sunday 2011 was the last time I saw Mark. He seemed to be in a really good space that day with his girlfriend and baby son. We had a wonderful day together at our parent’s house with good food and lots of laughter despite my mother’s stage 4 Cancer. My last vision of him that day was a peaceful smile on his face. I cherish that vision because two days later he was dead, which brings me to the most difficult calendar day of the year for me. While it will always be two days after Easter, in 2011 Easter was late. 4/27 will always be a crappy day for me.
There is a lot of discussion in this forum of our grief and pain surrounding the loss of our loved ones from suicide and whether it gets easier as time goes by. It’s an extremely personal thing and no two experiences are the same so I can only speak for myself.
I equate my grief to a stray pit bull in the room that only I can see. The pit bull is always there with me, even to this day. For the first year after Mark died, the pit bull was a nasty junk yard dog, impossible to ignore, constantly barking and ready to attack. On hard days, he’d be right up in my face barking and I was afraid to turn my back for if I let my guard down even for a second, he’d get the best of me. Thankfully, I learned over time that I could crate him in the corner so that I could function at work and piece together some semblance of a life. However, just beneath the surface, I was a varying combination of angry, sad, on guard and tired most of the time. At times, it seemed that damn pit bull wouldn’t leave me alone. You may ask, “Did you name the pit bull?” The answer is no. I never considered him a friend – he has come to represent the act of suicide and all that was taken from me when Mark died that day.
Even though the pit bull is still there, he mostly just lies quietly in the corner but today, he’s right up in my face.
I hope yesterday passed by as gently as possible for you. Take care
(correction: suicide bereavement metaphor)