STRENGTH…

We all have different views on what strength is. Everyone has a back story, but not everyone knows another persons trials and tribulations.

Many of my newer friends know I lost my youngest son Jaie, to Suicide. But the back story before all this happened, is in many ways, out of a horror book for my children and myself.

‘Strength through Adversity’ I keep telling myself.

Do you want to know what strength is?

  • Strength is having someone you love, threaten to kill you and their unborn baby, yet you stand tall in the face of this.
  • Strength is having this person stalk you for years afterwards and 20 years later, you can stand up to them without blinking.
  • Strength is admitting when you are struggling and need help. Any help. From family, friends, workmates… literally anyone.
  • Strength is, after finding out a person you literally trusted with your life (children), has betrayed you all in the worst possible way, you do what is right. Even though, in that moment, it is the most difficult path.
  • Strength is having to teach your children that life is unfair and cruel and sometimes, bad people either fail to get any punishment or they receive minimum punishment. (Though I’m a firm believer that karma will catch them).
  • Strength is having your daughter disclose sexual abuse at 15 years of age and keeping your shit together, long enough to get her and her brothers to safety, while still being in the presence of evil.
  • Strength is doing things in a way that keeps everyone close to you safe from harm, until it can all be spoken about with them.
  • Strength is being judged for doing things in a way no one else can comprehend, but you still do it because you know it protects those you love.
  • Strength is talking your little brother out of suicide.
  • Strength is the very next night, realising immediately that your little brother is literally fighting for his life and calling the emergency services to try and help him.
  • Strength is calling your mother at 4.20am in the morning to let her know the police had found your little brothers body and that we had lost him.
  • Strength is living alone with the demons in your head, for over 10 years and telling no one just how horrifying they truly are.
  • Strength is convincing yourself that your family and friends are better off without you (this is not true. We love you and will always want you with us.) Suicide is not selfish or cowardly.
  • Strength is having to lie to your daughters about the death being confirmed, until you can be with them to break the news face to face.
  • Strength is wanting to help your mother cover the costs of your little brothers funeral.
  • Strength is mothering the child of your deceased fiancé, while feeling like you want to die too.
  • Strength is being able to wake up every single day and to choose life.
  • Strength is being able to comprehend that your life is never going to be what you thought it would be, but still making the most of it anyway.
  • Strength is knowing that by helping others, it is helping yourself.
  • Strength is finding a reason to smile everyday.
  • Strength is sometimes simply getting out of bed and taking a shower.
  • Strength is recognising what worked for you in the ‘Before’, no longer works for you in the ‘After’.
  • Strength is practicing self care and leading your children by example.
  • Strength is withdrawing when everything is too much.
  • Strength is telling people you have major depressive disorder (or bipolar or schizophrenia or any form of mental illness).
  • Strength is sometimes simply waking up, taking a deep breath, then rolling back over to return to sleep.
  • Surviving IS strength.

If you’re not walking in another persons shoes, how would you know what burdens they are carrying?

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

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Rising From these Ashes

“I lost myself, when my sister died.”

Words from a newly discovered friend tonight.

“I’m sure you understand what I’m trying to say. You lost your son.”

I had begun to cry at her words.

This lady actually saw it and got it. Her loss and grief has taken her to a place where now, she too is fighting to return to the land of the living.

I explained to this friend that I’ve been trying to explain for 4 years how grief has changed me. I tell people that if they’re struggling to cope with the stranger I’ve become, imagine how difficult it is for me!

I look in the mirror every. single. day. And have little to no recognition of the ‘person’ staring back at me.

And it is a terrifying thing. For ones life to go from ‘normal’ issues and woes, to a parents and family’s worst nightmare.

Then there are the people who use your loss against you for their own spiteful, immature and selfish reasons. So you wonder why you still bother trying to be that change in this messed up world.

To all those soul survivors out there, please believe that your departed loved one is still around you. They are still showering you with love.

May you find the grace in yourself to practice kindness to your own soul.

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

Dedicated to A.L.

3+ Years In. 

Most days our struggle is muted somewhat by work or ‘busy’ stuff. But it is never gone. 

The further away from that day our world imploded we get, the more difficult it becomes to survive. 

Our adjustment is a constant, organic thing. Our coping abilities are forever shifting, so we never reach a place of true peace. 

Or acceptance. 

This continuous need for adjustment is a huge part of why our energy is depleted so easily. And quickly. Grieving is a life long process, which takes a massive toll on the grieving individual. I feel guilty now, that I don’t wail outwardly every single day. 

But inside, I am howling like a banshee, just as I did when I first discovered Jaie had taken his own life. 

According to Gaelic lore, our family come from the Ó prefix. We originate from the insular Celtic lands. We have our own banshee. Our very own bean chaointe (keening woman).  This gives me some solace believing that she is still wailing the first death in 2 generations of Moran’s. I know I had to scream after learning of Jaie’s Suicide. It’s all I wanted to do. However I am the matriarch of our little family and had to care for those dependent upon me. So I let out my keening away from those I protect and kept/keep the lid clamped firmly closed around it. 

One thing I’ve noticed though, when I’m upset I generally begin letting this lid vent and I beg the universe for Jaie and his return. Very few people experience this level of devastation from me. Only the very trusted and true. Others may feel I’m trying to use my grief as a way to deflect from issues, but it’s not. I have to release that grief valve or I will not be able to function at ANY level. I do respond differently now, to issues with friends and family. 

This is another reason why I limit my contact with people. Not only am I aware I drain quickly, but I can also be a drain on others. 

Possibly as I progress along this grief journey I shall eventually be able to control my release valve better. But you know what? I’m human so tough luck for the rest of the world if I don’t. 

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

“Are You Better Now?”

I had to return to my GP for a new referral to my psychiatrist. I had the Locum doctor who was obviously unfamiliar with my background.

While answering the standard questions about medications etc, another question was asked.

“Are You Better Now?”

And within seconds my eyes began to fill with tears and I took a deep breath before responding, “Well I do not cry every single moment of the day now.” And then the next 10 minutes of the appointment was spent trying to not cry because all I kept thinking was,

“How does anyone feel ‘better’ after child loss or losing a loved one?”

Because, no I am most certainly NOT feeling better. I am simply learning how to wear a mask and hide my emotions most of the time. I no longer struggle to hide my emotions from the general public, because most of the general public do not wish to see a woman sitting, drinking coffee, with tears streaming down her face. It makes them uncomfortable and wonder if I am about to leap up wielding a weapon and harming others. I can tell because of the looks of horror and uncertainty on their faces. As well as the fact I have had people move seats away from me lol.

Amazing that as a society we view genuine emotions with horror and discomfort, yet we encourage people to show a ‘strong face’ etc, in times of despair. Oh sorry, but my son died 2 1/2 years ago and you believe this to mean my feelings of despair should be over by now? Well let me tell you that I shall NEVER be over my feelings of despair and loss, regarding my child. And until or unless you experience this type of loss, you have NO RIGHT to expect me to meet your beliefs about this type of grief.

I am angry, so very angry. My son did not deserve to die how he did. My children did not deserve to lose their little brother. Jaie’s Fiancee and daughter did not deserve to lose him in any way.

So I am angry to be asked “Are you better now?” I am angry my baby is dead. I am angry his little girl will have no living memories of her daddy. I am angry that my eldest son spoke of everything being ‘tainted’ by Jaie’s death. I am angry that my daughter does not have an argument with her little brother, but in the next moment is defending him against  anyone else. I am angry that his Fiancee has been placed with so much sorrow and stress on her young shoulders. I am angry I couldn’t help my son.

But I am not angry with Jaie. I am simply devastated that my youngest child felt so bereft of hope he took his own life. I am saddened he did not realise that he had an illness which destroyed his mind and life. An illness which was manageable.

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

Suicide is NOT a Joke!

Thank you to Jenn for her passion and dedication to this crusade. I struggle with jokes about suicide. I accidentally made a random comment a few weeks ago, that the moment it left my mouth I could have hit myself for it and I am a survivor of suicide.
Seemingly harmless statements and jokes, are not so harmless, when you consider for the approximately 1 million people who die by suicide each year, worldwide… There are millions of people left behind after their traumatic death, who love and adore them and we struggle to find our feet in a completely changed world.
This is shared from my Facebook wall July 23rd 2014 …

People tell me I get lost in my grief when I start to speak of Jaie and his death. They do not understand I am not ‘lost’ or ‘stuck’ in it. The grief is stuck in me. I have lost a part of my soul. And speaking of Jaie and how his loss is impacting me over time, helps me to accept this deep burden of loss. There is, quite literally, no way I can change,
A. How I feel
B. How it affects me
C. How much I miss my son (as do my other 3 children and granddaughter)
D. How long this takes. Because I will NEVER get over losing Jaie. Not in a million years.
E. That the loss of Jaie is SO painful and I am wounded so badly by his death, that walking away from anyone or anything who causes me stress or compounds my grief, is relatively easy.
F. Do not be afraid of not understanding this pain. Be grateful and respect that I AM.
G. You do NOT want to EVER feel this type of loss. But child loss especially.
So forethought and compassion when speaking needs to become second nature to ourselves. How about other people show the same respect and compassion as well…

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‘Sometimes Love Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

The Life of a Suicide Loss Survivor

 ***WARNING*** This might be a “trigger” to suicide loss survivors.  I feel it is time I use MY voice on this topic. It is time that those that have not had to walk in our shoes, and I pray they never have to, maybe understand just for a moment how painful jokes about suicide truly are to a suicide loss survivor. I hope that maybe, just maybe, this will help to educate and make a difference. I hope this is shared  and that when it is read people will finally understand how something as simple as changing a few words in their vocabulary can literally change the entire day, or even days, of a suicide loss survivor. Ever heard of a thing called PTSD? Please educate yourself on it, it is not uncommon for suicide loss survivors to suffer with it. Something as simple as a “joke” could literally set…

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I Don’t Choose Depression… Depression Chooses me …

Well meaning loved ones and people with the very best intentions ask me if I am alright often, which makes me feel worse than I already feel because I cannot find the words or reasons why I feel so down.
This puts me into a cycle of feeling guilty for not being more productive and being in a better headspace than what I am. So I begin to feel even worse and eventually I end up crying or withdrawing even further into myself so that I will stop impacting those I love with my negativity.
Depression is not something I can just switch on or off. It is not something I choose to feel or not feel. It simply is what it is and I struggle everyday to some degree with feeling like crap …
Suicidal thoughts still cross my mind and suicide is most certainly not something I would ever want to do to my children, family and friends or followers … But it is my reality and by being aware and mindful of these thoughts and depressive states, is what helps me get through them safely …
Learning to speak with someone who I can trust and tell them the truth about what my depression and anxiety tells me and why I might be so quiet and not talking all that much. But it is still difficult to do this. I still stumble over telling them what is making me awkward and difficult to interact with …
I wish this was not how it is. I wish that none of this was real and that my brain could go back to where it once was and working how it once was …
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‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

The Gifts of Grief…

I know, I know… Many of you are probably reading the title of this post and thinking,

“Gifts?!?  From grief?!? Are you delusional?!?”

Let me babble for a moment please. When riding the new bike home yesterday, it struck me, I have received very specific gifts since losing Jaie to suicide. Very important, yet not recognised gifts, have been offered to me as a bereaved person. This is one important reason I love to ride. I think, reflect and have therapy, all at once.

Now prior to losing Jaie, I had been an optimist and would always look for the rainbow after the rain. After losing Jaie, I never thought it possible to even smile again, let alone feel like I could actually rise from these ashes and begin to take small, but very determined steps forward.

You see, even though I was a community orientated member of society and was more empathetic than the average person, it was still not enough to make a marked difference (at least this is what I believe). Since Jaie’s death by suicide, I have become even more. And less.

More tolerant of those who are in pain and suffering, less tolerant of spiteful behaviour and nastiness. More empathetic with those struggling and less wasteful of my time on those who try to create drama, simply for the sake of it. I no longer feel even slightly inclined to try and live any part of my life trying to ‘understand’ another view, where on some aspect of life I know for a fact they are not for me. So I refuse to waste any time or effort on them or those involved with them.

The ‘gifts’ I have received after Jaie’s death, are not gifts a person truly ‘chooses’ to accept. Because accepting them makes this grief very real, very confronting and at the first recognition of these gifts, it is emotionally and physically crippling. Recognition of these gifts mean that there is no longer any ability to deny the reality of my adored and much loved son, being dead.

Jaie’s death has provided me a strength I never thought possible for me to achieve. Well obviously, because there is no way anyone could have ever said to me, “One of your children will die and you will have to continue to live.” I would have told them “Uh Uh … I’ll be going with them, don’t you worry.”

However, here I am, almost 2 years and 2 months since Jaie died. I am still alive and fighting to survive in this changed landscape, as a bereaved mother.

So now I must continue to wield these gifts with extreme discretion and care. We know only too well the harm which can befall those of us, who we do not even know are vulnerable. I guess what I am saying is maybe the universe somehow selects some of us to be the sufferers? The bearers of trials and tribulations, so that we are provided the necessary skills and experience, to not only survive tragedy, but to make a mark in the world after it?

Trust me, I would do anything to not be a part of this club, but after experiencing firsthand, what suicide grief is like, it is not something I would wish upon another. Our future experiences will now be, forevermore, bittersweet … any happiness will always have the shadow of pain across it …

‘The Gifts of Grief’ ….. 

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‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’