I did write this last night but it has taken this long for me to post it. I haven’t talked about this subject in a while but I felt the need to put out a different voice on the matter.
(My dear loving father, Seeing as you are a loyal reader, you might want to skip this one.)
Right now, as I write this, it is exactly five minutes until midnight which means that it is still, technically, Robin Williams’ sixty forth birthday… or, at least, it would have been.
From the day he was found dead, people all over the world have been singing his praises. They call him a great man, humble, a loving human being who made the world laugh. He taught us many things, they say. He was one of the good ones. This may be true. I would not know. I never had the chance to meet him. Whenever someone dies, the polite thing to do is speak kindly of them. In death, we are not our mistakes but a triumph of our successes. This is what keeps us from speaking ill. Celebrate the life while forgetting the death.
What happens when it is suicide?
No one dares to speak of the darker side of death. Why would we? Why would we shame them for something they could not control? Depression is an all-consuming force. Is it not? When someone commits suicide society tells us that it was not their fault. They could not stop it. They lost their battle with a raging demon. However, the one thing I have noticed is that no one takes the time to pay attention to the side effects of suicide. There is one thing that no one seems to take notice of. It is the people around them that are left with this cloud over their heads. The ones closest to them, left broken in despair, that are left thanking everyone for their kind words without a single acknowledgement to what they are thinking. Their loved one committed suicide. That person, lying six feet below the ground, took their own life for reasons known only to them. They interrupted Death’s lunch break simply because they felt like it. Yes, suicide is a feeling above all else and for those of us on the other side of the dirt… well, we just have to live with it.
Eventually, you stop picking up the phone to call them or going home with the expectation of finding them there. You continue to get up every single day and move forward. The late night crying stops and the memories get pushed back in your mind only to be brought out at the right times. There is a sense of control you take on because the people that are around you at this very moment do not need to know how much it destroyed you. No one wants to hear about how that person left you behind. Those people you pass by everyday lack the desire to be aware of the anguish you feel knowing that your children will never meet that person you once knew. Filling out a medical history form now requires a moment of silence. Holidays with your family will always have an empty seat that not a single person wishes to acknowledge. Every accomplishment you achieve throughout your life is slightly less fulfilling and every time you hear about someone else taking their life it reminds you that, unfortunately, you know how that feels. It is the looks you recieve when asked how they died. It is the pity you never asked for but, most of all, it is the resentment that you hate feeling. You once loved them, dearly, and all they showed you was how much that just did not matter.
Being a child of that not only robs you of your childhood but, also, labels you in a way that stabs you deep down in your gut every time the word is even mentioned. My mother committed suicide and everyday I become a little closer to being older than she ever was. This is a fact that will continue to haunt me in the coming years. She never made it past her thirties and I am left fearing the genes that she gave to me. A parent taking their own life gives a brand new meaning to not wanting to become them. Their memories are now tarnished and, somehow, you feel guilty for remembering how they died. We tell ourselves not to let it define us. We forgive and move on but on certain days, after a moment of anger, we laugh at how stupid it all was only to turn around and cry about how selfish it all was.
The greatest side effects of suicide are the ones left behind. My mother was my best friend as a child. I held her memory high for a long time only to realize the weight it had placed on my shoulders.
My daughter will never meet my mother and, for that, I hold her responsible.
Mr. Williams’ birthday has passed now…
I think I can put her memory away again.