Posts tagged ‘suicide’

AM I ON MY OWN? AM I EVEN CLOSE? 


Well, that’s Mother’s Day done and dusted for another year. I know I am not the only one who finds Mother’s Day hard. There are lots of reasons it can be hard for people. Those who have lost their mothers. Those who have not been able to have children but who have deeply wanted to. I don’t pretend to have any monopoly on Mother’s Day related pain. Really, who would want it? Truth be told though, it is not a day I enjoy.

There are obvious reasons for that and for those of you following along, here’s one more:

In a few days it will be Daughter Number Two’s birthday. She will be nine. The day after that it will be Son Number One’s 22nd birthday, but he is much younger than his years in some ways and however old you are it’s nice to feel people appreciate having you around, particularly on your birthday. Thirteen years ago I was decorating a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake with my beautiful first born Daughter for her brother’s 9th birthday and then ten days after that she was dead. Each and every year since Sam’s death my eldest son’s birthday has fallen into the chasm of grief that opens between Daughter Number One’s birthday and the anniversary of her murder. Every. Single. Time. And since Daughter Number Two rocketed into the world her birthday is consumed by the same black hole.

It’s not like I forget the dates. I know when they were born! I was there. It is just that the dates kind of sneak up on me. Every time. So last Friday I was speaking to Daughter Number Two on the phone and I said to her “It’s Friday tomorrow, so there’s only one more day of school before the weekend!” And she answered “Yes! And you know what the next Friday Is!” And I, her Mother, said no.

“Next Friday is my birthday!”

Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck. “Oh yes! Of course I know that!” Fuck. Really? Already? But there has to be more time, surely. I have to have more time than that! I need more time!

When I was awaiting Daughter Number Two’s arrival into the world I was so excited she was due after the anniversary of her sister’s death. It would give me a positive focal point past that dreaded anniversary, I thought. But best laid plans and all of that… Daughter Number Two made her grand entrance six and a bit weeks early, completely overshadowing her eldest brother’s 13th birthday the following day, a fact from which he has still not completely recovered.

It’s not like I don’t try. I do. I knew the birthday’s were coming up. I knew I had preparations to make. I had thought a little bit about what to do this year. I just hadn’t done anything yet. But there has to be more time, surely. I have to have more time than that! I need more time! Except now there wasn’t any time left and to have any chance of getting anything to them in time for their birthday’s I would need to get something into the mail to them the very next day. I said my goodbyes to Daughter Number Two on the phone and sat on my bed berating myself for my failings as a mother. ‘What THE FUCK is WRONG with you Kate? You are their MOTHER! You know when their birthday’s are! How can you drop the ball EVERY. FUCKING. YEAR??!!’

Since detailing my shortcomings didn’t seem to be getting me very far I decided to focus on what I actually do have and what I actually could do, better late than never. Limited time, limited finances and limited capacity to think of anything in the face of my guilt and shame made it an uphill battle. Until it hit me; what I have in abundance! Where my wealth of riches are found. In my family of the heart. My beautiful and amazing friends.

So I wrote a post on facebook asking for help in making my Son and Daughter’s birthday’s special. I asked if anyone would be willing to send them a card, because I thought having more than expected mail would be a fun thing! And so many of my lovely people came through. People who have their own shit going on. No one particularly financially wealthy but all incredibly rich in heart and generosity. I know I have told you before here but it is a point I cannot make too often; I have the very best friends. Where ever I go and whatever I do, I never walk alone.

I had already asked for their support earlier in the week when I spoke at a workshop run by Angelhands. It is always a honour to be asked and I hold on to the hope that sharing my experiences will somehow, someway, someday help someone. My friend Ann was also there and I always get much of value listening to her speak. Ann was recently appointed an ambassador for Our Watch. They are lucky to have her. We are all lucky to have her.

On the day I spoke at the Angelhands workshop I had posted on my facebook saying only that it was a big day for me and asking people to keep me in their thoughts. As always my beautiful people had my back. Son Number Two and another lovely friend physically came with me. The kindness of the comments on my facebook post and even just in the acknowledgement of their ‘like’s’ – ‘I see you, I hear you’ – was a reminder that my friends stand with me. Always. How lucky I am.

After I managed to get something in the mail to my children I had time to reflect on why this happens each year despite my best efforts. I realised that if I don’t actively acknowledge the birthday’s are fast approaching then the anniversary cannot be fast approaching either. Because there has to be more time, surely. I have to have more time than that! I need more time!

Because I remember what we were doing and that my Daughter Number One was still alive this time thirteen years ago. Because I didn’t know that those would be the last times we ever did things together. Because there has to be more time, surely. I have to have more time than that! I need more time! But there isn’t. There is no more time. And that is that.

I am so thankful for all the kindnesses I receive. I try to pass on these kindnesses, to pay them forward. It doesn’t take much, as I said in my last post, to change someone’s day. I can’t pretend that it’s completely altruistic on my part; making someone else feel better makes me feel better. It really is more blessed to give than to receive. But a win-win can’t be a bad thing!

I have been doing a bit of reading on love languages recently. There are, apparently, five main ways we express love; words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. I like to think I am fairly fluent in all of those but that doesn’t mean there is not room for improvement. The more opportunities to practise, the better. Love is my religion. My reading has also been useful for reflecting on the ways that others around me show me I am loved. Acknowledging that to them and to myself is important. Especially when I don’t feel loveable.

I love and I am loved. At the end of the day it is all that counts. So, just do it, while you still have the time.
Two days before the anniversary of Sam’s death this year is the eighteenth anniversary of the day a man I loved deeply committed suicide. I still miss him enormously. He was my friend.

The day before the 13th anniversary of Sam’s death is the first anniversary of her father’s death. While I know he suffers no longer my heart breaks at the thought of how hard this day will be for his wife and his sons. Selfishly I mourn another piece of my Daughter gone forever from this world.

Then comes the 13th anniversary itself. And I inch ever closer to having the time spent living without my daughter become longer than the time I had to spend with her and, truly, I don’t know how one bears that. I just know that there doesn’t seem to be a choice.

Hard days. Hard days. I’m not going to lie. It is the love of my children and friends that holds me upright and in that way I am truly blessed. That is what I hang on to. At the end of the day that is what matters.

Life is short. Love hard.

Safe onward travel x

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TELL ME, WHAT’S FEAR TO YOU? 

Trigger warning: This post deals with domestic violence, suicide and loss. Safe onward travel x

– A Day in the life of my PTSD and me.

My telecommunications and Internet provider is experiencing difficulties this afternoon. My mobile phone has been intermittently unable to make or receive calls and my internet is dropping in and out too. I am trying, trying, trying not to completely lose my shit.

And I am failing.

After venting to my facebook friends (during a brief period the Internet was actually working) I know that it is definitely a network problem. Not exclusive to me and so I shouldn’t take it personally. But it is personal. So very personal.

The walls are closing in a little bit and I cannot focus on anything for too long. My thoughts are jumbled.My chest is tight and my breathing is shallow and I can feel a headache coming on.

I walk to the beach and I sit, watching the waves hit the shore and the sun sink slowly towards the horizon. I play Fletcher Pilon’s – winner of Australia’s Got Talent 2016 – album ‘Banjo’ through my headphones. The sea helps, the music helps, the warmth of the slowly sinking sun helps because I feel chilled even though it is a warm day. It all helps and I am trying hard to relax into it but my chest is still tight and my head hurts more.

So still I try. Try to re-establish control and restore my equilibrium. Try to take deeper breaths. Try to stop the rocking I suddenly notice I am doing. And writing everything down helps. Mindfulness, yeah? Grounding myself in the moment. I can feel my heart banging around in my chest. I hear the waves crashing on the sand. I take some photos of things that appeal to my eye.

  
This must all sound an over reaction. Phone companies have issues. Shit happens. First World Problems. But today, after I first noticed my lack of ability to communicate with the outside world the Internet kicked back in briefly and multiple messages from my seventeen year old son filtered through. “Mum, I need my Medicare number please” “Mum, are you there? Do you keep hanging up on me?”

Walking along the waters edge I notice several feathers. Further still I see what I think at first is a dead fish, being pushed back and forth gently by the waves on the very edge of the water. Then I am closer and my sluggish brain returns my gaze to it until I realise it is a wing of a bird. Ripped and torn; it’s white, white bones spilling out and the feathers gently ruffled by the ocean. I recoil as my mind starts to kick in reflexively, and make suggestions about how that wing came to be there. I don’t take any photos of the wing. But it is too late. It is too late for me and for the bird no longer flying. The wing is there anyway, in my mind’s eye. And my mind throws up the picture every so often, like a macabre Viewfinder, shuffling images as I walk.

  
I manage to get through to my son. He is having chest pains. He is heading to the GP. He is young and fit and healthy and I have no reason to think it is anything more than a pulled muscle from teenaged hijinks. So says my rational mind. He has friends with him. This is good. They are good friends. I have good friends too. I am lucky. And yet my chest still feels like I am buried under concrete.

I play the same album, over and over again. I listen to the lyrics, letting each word wash over me. When my internet kicks in I check facebook and see what my friends are doing and try to relax and try to feel normal and try to feel real. I run the sand through my fingers and feel the coarse grains. The sun is losing it’s heat. There is a sailboat on the horizon.

My son has his appointment with the doctor. She says his heart rate is a little elevated but he seems ok. She advises rest and if the pain gets worse to go to an emergency room. I manage a call that actually connects and I hear my son tell me this in his own voice. I am relieved. But my own chest stays tight.

  
I hear the counsellor ask me earlier today “When do you have a rest from this stuff?” And my voice answering “It is with me always. Always.” And it is. To varying degrees in a million ways which can be heightened by anything, or by nothing.

Not being able to contact loved ones by phone does me in. There is the illusion that they are right there, right there at the end of a phone call or a text message. I don’t wait patiently for responses. It is agony for me! All hail read receipts! And I know, better than most, that it is only an illusion. That each and every time I physically let someone leave my sight it may be the last time I see them. Life happens. But having them on the end of a phone line is something, because I can’t handcuff myself to everyone I love indefinitely. Even if I could, life would still happen. I know the security of having them at the end of a phone call is only an illusion. But it is a beautiful illusion and it is all I have.

  
On the night my beautiful daughter was murdered I rang the mobile phone of her killer dozens and dozens and dozens of times. It was turned off. I didn’t understand. It was never turned off. They were meant to be at the movies though, so maybe the film hadn’t finished yet? I didn’t understand.

On the beach, in the present moment, a gorgeous chocolate brown and caramel kelpie trots towards me. The largish stick it is holding pulling the edges of it’s mouth into a happy grin. It trots right up to me. The orange of the sunset ringing it’s silhouette in a golden glow. The chocolate dog comes right up beside me and then sits down. It stays with me for the few seconds it takes it’s human to catch up and then it trots happily off again. And I give thanks for the chocolate dog who let me touch it’s soft, warm fur and who stopped to comfort me because dogs know, they really know.

On the night my beautiful daughter was murdered I rang the mobile phone of her murder again and again and again for hour after hour after hour. It stayed off. I couldn’t work it out. It was night time and there was still no answer and I started to ring hospitals because the only horrible conclusion I could come to was that there must have been an accident. But there was no accident. It was not an accident.

The sun is touching the horizon now and soon it will dip beneath it. A man sits thirty metres up the beach singing to his crawling smiling baby and watching the setting sun. It is over three and half hours now, since this internet issue started and the service is still dropping in and out. The sun is half sunken and the wind picks up and the waves, like the days, keep rolling in.

  
At about twenty past eleven on the night my daughter was murdered, after I had called the police to say my daughter and her murderer were missing I called the mobile phone again. And my daughter answered. I asked where she was and she said she could not tell me. I asked her yes and no questions – I heard her say to her murderer “She doesn’t understand”. The phone dropped out at her end. I could still hear my daughter but she could not hear me. They were driving through mobile reception black spots. I hung up and rang again. My daughter answered! I kept trying to ask questions that might give me a clue. I asked if she was coming home and she said no. I didn’t say “I love you” because I couldn’t say goodbye. And then the phone dropped out again. She could no longer hear me.

I heard my beautiful daughter’s voice as she said, not screamed, just said “Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad.” Over and over again. Still calling him Dad. And then I hung up so I could call the police back to let them know Sam was answering the phone. When I tried to call her back there was no answer.

  
Later, when I got my phone bill and read the witness statements I realised there were probably only seconds between my hanging up the phone and the car my daughter was in hitting the rock face wall on the expressway. When I heard her saying “Please Dad” she was begging for her life as she hurtled towards a rock wall. I just missed hearing the impact and I am glad for that. Because for half an hour longer, until the police car pulled silently up in front of my house in the dead of night, I still had hope my daughter was alive.

The sun is long gone. The light with it too. Who knows when the telephone service will be fully back on line. My limbs are stiff. It is getting cold. I am shivering. My phone battery is almost flat. But while sitting on the beach, writing this, I have begun to breathe a little easier. A chocolate dog, a giggling baby and waves that keep on rolling in.

Sam is with me always. Always.

  

TWO LITTLE BOYS. 

Speaking to The Love of My Life today, we were talking about how my Daughter Number One, Sam, died. 

‘You know’ he said ‘in the future there will be cars that people can’t die in. Someone is probably working on it now, something to keep the occupants safe, so that car crashes can’t happen. And then people won’t die in cars’. And I thought to myself that that would really be something. No more fatalities on our roads. 

But then I thought, it wasn’t actually the car that killed her. The car was just the weapon of choice of her murderer. My Daughter was killed by another human being, it wasn’t a car accident, it was an act of murder by a trusted adult known to her. A man who drove at high speed into a rock wall on an expressway and ended her life. 

Then the news today that a father has driven off a wharf with his two little sons, aged four and not yet even one, after posting a suicide note on facebook. Koda and Hunter died, trapped in a car, drowning. This was no car accident either. And although the coroner will have the final word, and as much as I feel for their mother – and oh I do! So very much! This club doesn’t need any more members – I am not afraid to say that the man the media is reporting as a loving father and active member of the community is, now, a murderer and surely whatever else he may have been fairly PALES in comparison? Seriously. 

My heart bleeds for Hunter and Koda’s mother, extended family and friends. But mostly it bleeds for two little boys who are now gone, just like that, for always. 

Cars that people can’t die in would really be something. But so would an end to Domestic Violence. Fuck, why stop there? Let’s get rid of people killing other people, full stop. Because, enough already. 

Rest in Peace Koda and Hunter. And say hi to Sam for me x 

  

YOU HOLD ME WITHOUT TOUCH. 

Trigger warning; grief, loss, suicide. Go easy people x

  

For those of you who love me; I am safe and sound and surrounded by friends who offer me comfort. Still, I am floundering a bit. 

Yesterday my first husband, the father of my Daughter Number One, was farewelled at his funeral. Even as I write that sentence it still seems totally unreal. 

The pictures in my head are of us when we were very young. Me, in a borrowed dress I loathed but didn’t feel I could say no to and him in his grey tux and pink cummerbund – so very Eighties! I was seventeen and he had just turned eighteen and our wedding photo’s picture us as the babes in arms we were. So young. Before life had really touched us, or before it should have as much as it already had but never imagining how much more there was to come. Neither of us having had a stellar childhood and both of us hoping to create with each other what neither of us had ever known, but what were the odds of that? Well, we didn’t beat them. A planned unplanned teenage pregnancy and wedding photo’s that sincerely look like high school class pictures. And we’ve all seen a lot of life since then. And we’ve all seen too much of death. 

The two friends who were my bridesmaids on that day stand by me still. Have been there for me through all years in between. One of them attended the funeral and told me afterwards that I was mentioned in one of the eulogies. Not just Daughter Number One but me as well and for some reason that blew me away and just kills me. And hearing it was like a portal to another life, in another chapel, so very long ago. 

My head is still spinning. Random, ridiculous thoughts. One of my dearest friends, an ex-lover, a kindred spirit of the highest order, died seventeen years ago on the 30th of May. The anniversary of Daughter Number One’s death is the 1st June and now her father has died on the 31st of May. I mean REALLY? Really? 

The services for my Kindred Spirit friend and Daughter Number One were held in the same chapel and for reasons I cannot explain I felt SUCH RELIEF when I read that her father’s service was to be held elsewhere. Stupid, right? Like it even matters. But I felt relieved and goodness knows I’ll take it where I can get it at this stage of the game. 

Mostly I think of his three sons. Of how they are now the fatherless sons of a Dad who killed himself, just like my sons. These boys I have never met who were also my daughter’s brothers. And they’d already lost their elder sister, my Daughter, so they have that in common with my own sons too. And then blackly, bleakly I think that at least their Dad didn’t kill their older sister when he killed himself so at least they have that much over my sons. And they got to have their Dad for twelve years longer, which has to be a bonus? But there are no winners here, just losers and HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? It is so, so desperately sad. He was 45 years old. They played ‘So Far Away’ at his funeral. AT HIS FUNERAL. His poor sons! His poor wife! 

I know I bang on about my friends a lot here but the reality is that I wouldn’t still be here without them; I couldn’t be. When my world is spinning faster than I can handle they are the anchor that holds me fast. With their kindness and their grace, their humour and their acceptance. With their ability to love me, just as I am. 

Within hours of hearing the news and my distress one friend had brought me across the country to be with him in a place that I feel safe. I am here still. The response from another friend when I remarked that two people I once married and another ex-lover have all committed suicide was this: 

  
That Tinder comment right there? THAT’S why that guy is my friend. My friends don’t just talk the talk with me. They walk the walk and take the piss out of me along the way. 

More kind words:

And again: 
   
And I’m letting my friends speak for themselves and these examples speak for all the others because I only have so many words at the moment and not many of them are good. And I’m really trying to hang on to the good. I wanted you to see and to know how blessed I am. 

There are lots of things I’m not ready to hear at the moment and many things I can’t acknowledge. I don’t know much at all right now. But I know that I have the very best friends. And I can believe in them even while their belief in me astounds me. I wish I could see me as they see me but for today the fact I know they do really see me and they do not turn away makes all the difference to me. 

‘CAUSE YOU KNOW SOMETIMES WORDS HAVE TWO MEANINGS. 

  
(BIG FAT OLD TRIGGER WARNING FOR THOSE OF YOU DEALING WITH LOSS, GRIEF OR SUICIDE). 

I am sitting in an airport with Son Number Two and it is the most at home I have felt in months. Yesterday marked twelve years since Daughter Number One died. It is beyond comprehension and although I acknowledge it must be so, given the date and the year, my mind baulks each time it registers. Because HOW? How is it possible that you can live twelve years after your daughter is murdered? There’s nothing about that that makes sense. So I stop trying. 
This morning I had a message from my friend. The same dear friend that kept answering her phone each and every time I called her during that long dark night twelve years ago. I called her many times and she always answered. I am so lucky to have friends who always answer. This morning my friend’s message asked ‘Have you heard the news about Daughter Number One’s father?’ and I said no, so she rang me. 

I think I knew before she spoke, what she was going to say before she said it. He is dead. Has died this past weekend. Killed himself. 

The last time I spoke to him was our Daughter’s funeral. He was there with his wife and three young sons. After she died we had nothing left in common, out of the little we had in common to begin with. He introduced me to Led Zepplin and we listened to Dire Straits and Madonna. He was the husband in my child bride marriage, my first boyfriend, my first lover. He was the father of my daughter. He leaves behind three young sons and I can’t even deal with the crushing sadness of it. 

In one of his finer moments, of which he had a few, Baby Daddy once said to me ‘I don’t know what is wrong with you Kate! Two of the people you’ve been with have killed themselves and all they had in common is you!’. When I relayed this to Son Number Two today he said ‘That is as stupid as saying they were both human beings and all they had in common was you’ and I know it was an empty statement made by a small man. But still, but still….

The guilt claws at me and I cannot get rid of it anymore than Lady Macbeth could feel she’d removed the blood from her hands. 

So I’m at an airport, because I have friends who always answer. Son Number Two is watching me walk into the Men’s toilet without telling me because it’s funny and he could use a laugh. And there’s a full moon tonight. 

Love each other x 

Space Bound

Time to crank up the Eminem and run. For a lot of reasons it has been a long week, with more than a little frustration, mostly with myself. I am not where I want to be. Not in any sense. Constantly fighting against the tide that threatens to overwhelm me is exhausting. 

My lovely Barry, he says “Just do what you need to do and go Kate. You just have to get through this next bit, and it will get easier. Just do what you need to do and go. Just go.”

Barry is right, as always. I’ve just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get to the other side. And then I’ll be gone.

I came across an amazing blog a few weekends ago by a talented writer called Lori. She articulates everything so beautifully; it is awe inspiring. Although much of what Lori has to say resonates with me it was this post http://www.rrsahm.com/2011_02_27_archive.html in particular that blew my mind. That place, that is how it feels to me. That’s why I’m going. I just need to be somewhere I can breathe.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Malcolm, I love you and I miss you so much, each and every day, and always.

Father’s Day

Today has been a crap day. It started out pretty well but slid downhill fast. Baby Daddy saw Daughter Number Two yesterday, so I did not have to manage that today. It was beautiful weather and I spoke to the Current Person of Interest this morning.

 

It all came apart spectacularly when my Dad dropped in so we could wish him a Happy Father’s Day. Son Number Two had had a restless night and had been short tempered all day. Son Number One was his usual testing self. Literally two minutes after my Dad and his wife walked in Son Number Two exploded in a ball of rage at Son Number One which involved lots of swearing and door slamming. And went on, and on, and on. Probably for only half an hour but it felt like FOREVER.

 

I don’t imagine Father’s Day is much fun when your Father killed himself. Especially if he murdered your big sister at the same time. While I never deny my Son’s their memories of their father and their grief at his loss it is quite a different scenario from a Father’s Day with an absentee father, or one who has passed away. I can only presume it raises conflicting emotions for them, it certainly does for me. While I understand  all that, part of me screams why oh why couldn’t the major meltdown have happened after my father’s visit?

 

I am just so tired. I have a two day Autism workshop thingy that I’m sure would be worthwhile if I didn’t feel such a mess but as it is, it is another thing on the long list of things I have to manage and leaving Daughter Number Two for two days to attend is making me anxious like you wouldn’t believe. She is being minded at home which is the best scenario but I’m still finding it difficult. I’m finding everything difficult.

 

In the news over the past week there were two stories that resonated with me. One involved a murder/suicide in which a father drove his two young children into a tree. The other was a step father killing his step daughter, after it is thought she woke up while he was assaulting her. These stories are a physical blow to me, that knock me down. And it is so hard to keep on getting back up.

 

This is the best I can do. I can’t do anymore. And it sucks to realise it doesn’t seem good enough.

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