Against the Odds

A few days ago, a woman joined the online support group I belong to. Her 22 year old daughter died in a car accident in May last year and her 18 year old son hung himself in November. She lost both her children in a period of six months. My heart breaks for her, because she is living my greatest fear. Today, she said that she feels alone and isolated from the rest of the world.

Another family’s son died by suicide (I’m not sure when this happened), two weeks later their house burned to the ground leaving them with only the clothes they were wearing. A month after that, the daughter went to her prom, and her two brothers picked her up afterwards. On the way home, they had a car accident and they all died. The parents lost their four children and all their possessions in a period of six weeks. How did they manage to pick up the pieces and carry on? Where did they find the strength? Such devastation would knock the will to live out of a person, yet these people carried on.

How can we, parents of children who have suicided, help these people? How can we stretch our arms out and comfort them? So many lose more than one child/person in their family. We are all hurting, we are all struggling to get through the next day, yet today the first woman I mentioned cried out for help. I don’t know about the other members of the group, but a situation like this leaves me feeling helpless. How can we make things easier for someone we can’t see, we don’t know? How can we keep her safe until she finds the will to carry on?

The domino effect is a nasty thing. It’s like an evil presence waiting in the shadows to spring onto an unsuspecting soul. I fear this every day with Daniel. And I know the months that pass do not, in fact, mean the danger is over.

Some years ago, Gary’s son’s ex-girlfriend’s brother died by suicide. I didn’t know him, but have been told that life was cruel to him and he eventually gave up the fight. He ended his life and his sister found him. Six months later, that same girl returned home to find the nightmare was starting all over again. Her father had followed his son into death and she found him in the same spot she had found her brother. I don’t know what happened to that girl. I hope she found the strength to live life. I hope she found a reason to trust and love again. Yet, it wasn’t until after we lost Barry that I began to understand what that girl must have been through. And even now, I don’t know 100%. I can only imagine.

I’m sure that neither her brother or her father meant to scar her, they were too caught up in their own problems. And I’m sure that Barry never meant to scar Daniel either. I do know that Barry never wanted me to find him. He made absolutely sure that I wouldn’t be home. Our last conversation told me that. Barry wanted Daniel to find him, and I can only assume that Barry chose Daniel because he felt his older brother was strong enough to carry on. I hope and pray every day that Barry was right.

And what’s the point of this post? I don’t think there is one. I’ve had too many reminders, today, of how bad things really can get. But I can also see that, against the odds, people still manage to find a reason to carry on. I find that amazing, yet that doesn’t help the woman, who lost her only two children last year, does it?


2 thoughts on “Against the Odds

  1. Karen, you asked, “How can we make things easier for someone we can’t see, we don’t know? How can we keep her safe until she finds the will to carry on?”

    I don’t know if you can, but maybe you can try to draw on your own experience in your dealings with her. You know the things that helped you and didn’t help you; you know the things that you wished people would say to you and the things you didn’t want to hear. Whether you can really help her is unknown, that is largely going to be up to her, but at least you can use your own experience as a guide. That’s all you can do, but it might be enough.

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