I’ve spent hours on Google since you’ve left. Researching suicide. Why do people do it? What happens after you do it? Why does it hurt so much? I’ve found a lot of posts catered to “suicide survivors”. The people you left behind. They talk about how to grieve and get help after someone commits suicide… I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that grief and healing can take longer than any other type of death. That it’s normal to feel so much pain, and so much guilt. And that it’s okay to feel angry and sad. But what I can’t find…is how survivors really feel. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places…or maybe I’m not ready to find those answers yet. All I really want to know right now, is how do they cope and adapt to life with all the pain they are in? Because I need to know how. How do I keep living my life with so much pain, and so much guilt? How?
I’ve experienced loss in so many different ways. I’ve had family members and friends pass away. They’ve died from cancer, an infection, disease, old age, a car accident. Whether the loss was expected, or a tragic accident, it still caused immense pain and heartache… But none of them felt as terrible as this. You didn’t die by accident. You died because you physically chose to end your own life. You took yourself away from us; your mom, your dad, your family, your friends…and me. You left us here to live without you. On purpose.
So what does suicide do to a person? The people you leave behind?
It tears you apart from the inside out. First your heart hurts. It physically hurts. It throbs and it aches. Your stomach. It gets tied into a knot and it feels like someone just ripped it out of your gut. You can’t breath and the rest of your body goes numb. And then you sob. Uncontrollably. You drown in your own tears and it feels like you’ll never be able to stop. And your skin. It feels cold and bare. It longs to feel your skin and to hug you. All of it is pain. It feels like pain that will never go away…And you’d think this is what it feels like anytime you lose someone you love. But this is worse. It’s much worse.
I’ve never felt pain like this before. I have never felt so much guilt, regret, self-blame or sorrow. I feel like I failed you. Like I wasn’t good enough and I didn’t help you when I should have. My whole body aches all the time. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. At times I feel like I can’t even breathe. My eyes burn from crying all the time. My head is fatigued, from replaying scenarios and thoughts over and over. My heart continues to ache. My body is exhausted, physically and emotionally. Something as simple as a shower has now become a chore. If I could, I’d just lay in my bed all day and wait for the pain to go away. But I can’t. I still have to wake up. Brush my teeth. Go to work. I still have to be me. Somehow. Someway.
And of course, the guilt. It just causes more pain. The guilt takes my gut and turns it and twists it and tears me apart even more. It causes my heart to ache more than ever, and my mind continues to race. The guilt reminds me of all the things I think I did wrong…I knew you were sad. I knew you were lonely. I knew you struggled with depression… After we broke up, I still promised you that I’d be there for you. And even then, you’d ignore me and push me away. You were so good at doing that… But I still worried about you and cared about you. I told you to reach out to me when you needed a friend. I told you I’d be there for you. But when you’d text me or call me and tell me you needed company. When you told me you were lonely…I turned you down. I thought I was ready to be your friend…but I wasn’t. I was scared of getting hurt again and I didn’t want to get hurt anymore. I just couldn’t do it. And I feel terrible about that. I feel like I was being selfish. Did you know that Chris? That I felt so guilty?
I keep replaying those messages and phone calls in my head. What if I would have agreed to see you when you asked? Would you have still done it? What if we hadn’t broken up? Would you have still done it? And Why? Why, when I finally agreed to see you, did you send me that text? The text that still haunts me…You knew I was on my way to see you. You had just spoke with me on the phone an hour before. You asked me to come over… And at some point, in-between our phone calls and your last message to me, you had already texted your parents about your decision. What was going on in your head after our phone call? What were you feeling? What made you do it? Did I do something wrong? Were you mad that I chose to have dinner with my sister first? Did I not respond to your text fast enough? Did I not call you back fast enough? Or did any of that even matter?
All The “What if’s?” The “Why’s?” Those are questions that just continue to haunt me and I continue to replay scenarios in my head. And your mom and your sisters, your family, your friends, they all have their own questions…their own guilt. We like to think that if we would have done something differently. That maybe you’d still be here. That maybe we could have saved you. But that’s not the case. You had already made your decision, and not I nor anyone else could have changed your mind. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty…but I still do. That’s what guilt does. That what suicide does. It plagues the mind with guilt and it causes pain. Pain that won’t go away.