The Passing Years

purple flowersOver seven years have passed since that tragic day when I heard the words, “Barry is dead.”

How the years have flown by, yet at the same time dragged its weary feet. At times, I believed we wouldn’t make it through the turbulence. That was when the evil face of suicide tempted my elder son to join his brother; and later, it tried to seduce me. Yet, although the fight was sometimes hard, we stayed to live our lives.

Then there were the times when life almost felt normal — or as close as it was going to get to it, anyway. Smiles were easy to find, laughter was a second away. For those looking on, they would never guess our hearts were not quite as full as the smiles on our faces. But that’s okay. We have learned to carry on regardless. Only sharing our pain with each other.

And the pain is still there — buried beneath the surface.

As is the guilt!

For me, the only person who can relieve me of this burden is Barry. And Barry is not here to give me the answers I require.

Having said this, I do not dwell on it as often or as long as I once did. I have accepted that Barry is gone and no amount of wishing will bring him back. I also accept that we will never know, for sure, why he chose this path when other options did exist for him. To dwell on these things will only torture me further and will turn me into a bitter, old woman. I don’t want that.

Instead, I look at the photos I have of Barry and feel thankful that I knew him and loved him. Although I yearn to see him, to hear him, to hug him; I am grateful that our last words were “I love you”. And I cherish the memories we created together.

On bad days I will wonder what Barry would be doing right now, if he were still alive? Would he have a wife or children? Would he have joined the Army and made a career of it while seeing the world? But it is best not to dwell on these things for too long either. It only upsets me more. So I turn my thoughts to my older son who is a man in his own right now. He has a one-year-old daughter. She is a (good) reason why we must move onwards.

Time heals all wounds. And it does. There may be a scar, which will be a permanent reminder, but eventually the pain softens and the heart and mind allows us to live a life that is somewhat normal. And when the scar throbs more than usual, I find myself going back to the one thing that has always helped me through the grief — nature. I take long walks in parks, botanical gardens, animal parks, by the sea, in the mountains, beside rivers. Anywhere where I can see the sky, hear the birds, smell the flowers and feel relaxed.

I believe the worst is behind us. We cannot know what the future holds, but we intend to make it as good as we can … for us and for the new addition to the family.

Advertisements

Grieving Silently

by Author Unknown

Why must I grieve silently,
When my heart is so loudly screaming?
The emptiness I feel is consuming me,
Oh God, how I wish I were dreaming.

The silence around me is deafening,
For nobody knows what to say,
To comfort this agony I’m feeling,
Since my son went away.

And each day the sun continues to rise,
And the earth is still turning,
Though my world has come to a screeching halt,
No one can ease my yearning.

For a part of me has vanished,
And a part of my heart has died,
And no one can hear my heartache,
Or feel the turmoil I carry inside.

And I’ll go on grieving silently,
And exist on a different plane,
And I’ll keep my love for him deep in my heart,
Until we see each other again.

Time

by Sue White

I thought that time was healing
All the hurt you left behind
That empty spaces could be filled
My arms, my heart, my mind
And though my body looks the same
As it did when you were here
The emptiness is growing
Even bigger with each year

I thought that time was healing
All the agonising pain
That as the tears were fading
Soon I wouldn’t feel the same
And though I can be smiling
And you think that I’ll survive
The pain is in my blood now
I have nowhere else to hide

I thought that time was healing
All the loss a mother feels
That now you live within my heart
I had you near me still
But I need so much to touch you
To see you smile again
And those memories I’m told are mine
Can never feel the same

I thought that time was healing
All the while the mask was worn
That underneath a new me
Was waiting to be born
But now I find I am the mask
It helps to keep me safe
And though my heart is breaking
You won’t see it in my face

I thought that time was healing
All those tears my eyes have seen
That aching arms that miss you
Could be satisfied with dreams
But here I am, in pain again
And healing stands alone
And mother weeps, the world can see
For a son who can’t come home

Miss Me But Let Me Go

by Author Unknown

When I come to the end of the day,
And the sun has set for me.
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love we once shared—
Miss me, but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the maker’s plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds—
Miss me, but let me go.

His Journey’s Just Begun

By Ellen Brenneman

Don’t think of him as gone away–
his journey’s just begun
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.

Just think of him as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.

Think how he must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.

And think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched…
for nothing loved is ever lost–
and he was loved so much.

“Hope” is Here!

“Hope” is a project that is close to my heart. I have wanted to do something since I lost my son to suicide in 2006. In many ways, it gave me purpose, which in turn gave me hope. So the anthology is aptly named.

In late 2010 I decided to put my plans into action and I approached writers from around Australia, telling them my story, asking for their help. I was astounded by the response!

Yesterday, Hope was launched online. The book launch is still going and I invite you to head over to the book launch and say hello. You might even win a copy of the ebook. And there’s a real possibility that you’ll win a paperback book too.

My story “Boundaries” is included in the anthology, but for me the story is not important. To me, the message of the book in its entirety is the important thing. Hope gives the reader thirteen speculative fiction stories, but it also raises suicide awareness with short ‘snippets’ of information on suicide. I urge teenagers to read the book so they are able to ‘see’ when a friend may need their help. And I urge parents to read the book so they will ‘know’ when their child may be showing signs of being suicidal. Being suicide aware may save a life. That’s what this book means to me.

I will be forever grateful to the contributors to this anthology. Together, we can make a difference.

And I think it’s important to mention at this point that none of the contributions received payment for their time or their stories. They gave these things willingly because they want to help raise suicide awareness. All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to Beyondblue and The Anika Foundation.

Here is the Table of Contents:

Preface by Karen Henderson
Introduction by Simon Haynes
High Tide at Hot Water Beach by Paul Haines
Suicide: An Introduction by Warren Bartik and Myfanwy Maple
Burned in the Black by Janette Dalgliesh
Australian Suicide Statistics
The Haunted Earth by Sean Williams
The Causes of Suicide
Eliot by Benjamin Solah
Warning Signs
Boundaries by Karen Lee Field
Indigenous Suicides
The Encounter by Sasha Beattie
Drugs and Alcohol
The God on the Mountain by Graham Storrs
Suicide Around the World
Deployment by Craig Hull
Suicide: The Impact by Myfanwy Maple and Warren Bartik
Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden by Joanne Anderton
Helping a Friend Through Loss
Blinded by Jodi Cleghorn
Myths and Facts
The Choosing by Rowena Cory Daniells
How to Help Someone at Risk of Suicide by beyondblue
Duty and Sacrifice by Alan Baxter
What You Can Do to Keep Yourself Safe by beyondblue
A Moment, A Day, A Year… by Pamela Freeman
Where to Get Help
About the Authors

And this is a summary of the stories included by some of Australia’s best speculative fiction writers:

High Tide at Hot Water Beach by Paul Haines
A man dying of a terminal disease bets his life on one last chance at survival, a chance that looks like certain death from the perspective of his family.

Burned in the Black by Janette Dalgliesh
A jaded starbeast herder, with more secrets than she cares for and a difficult task ahead, is swept into an uneasy alliance with a troubled technobard whose unique gifts could mean her salvation … or her downfall.

The Haunted Earth by Sean Williams
Not all aliens are evil, but every first contact comes at a cost.

Eliot by Benjamin Solah
Eliot hides his dark memories in the pages of journals. But there is one memory he needs to uncover once the face paint washes away.

Boundaries by Karen Lee Field
With cursed blood running through his veins and boundaries touched by magic, an escaped slave battles for life as a Freeman.

The Encounter by Sasha Beattie
A woman’s desperation finds her in a small town where she learns of a dark secret that threatens to take away her only hope of happiness.

The God on the Mountain by Graham Storrs
An ambitious scientist’s career may be over if she dare not seek the god on the mountain and confront it.

Deployment by Craig Hull
After choosing the loneliness of deep space, a woman must confront her painful past to save the life of a child.

Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden by Joanne Anderton
In the ruins of a dying magical Garden, two people from opposite sides of a dangerous clash of cultures must learn to trust each other to survive.

Blinded by Jodi Cleghorn
The past and present collide for exo-biologist Dr Thaleia Halligan when the most recent addition to her exploration team is revealed as something other than a field medic for hire.

The Choosing by Rowena Cory Daniells
In a harsh, tropical paradise, a world of scattered islands where the poor live on boats and whole tribes live the canopies of sea- growing trees, two boys set off to prove they are worthy of being called men.

Duty and Sacrifice by Alan Baxter
In endless grasslands an assassin works her way towards the biggest job of her life, and maybe the last.

A Moment, A Day, A Year… by Pamela Freeman
The Oracle ordains everyone’s role in the Yearly Round, but there are more choices to be made than anyone knows, and some of them are deadly.

It’s a brilliant book, so please help us help those in need and you can become suicide aware at the same time. It can be purchased from the publisher’s website.

Raising Suicide Awareness with “Hope”

In the years that followed the death of my son, I have constantly been looking for ways to help other families. This website came from the need to reach out … and, at the same time, it provided me with a method to unscramble the thoughts and feelings whirling around my brain. It gave me purpose and — this might sound strange — but it kept my son alive, in a sense, by marking his existence in this world. For a long time, I fretted over that last point. What if Barry was forgotten? Would that mean he never existed? Or that he only existed to his immediate family? This website proves that Barry was born, he lived … and he, unfortunately, died.

As a writer, I attempted to write his story, but it was too difficult. Memories were chased away by grief. Darkness wrapped itself around me during the day and nightmares came back to haunt me at night. For my own sanity, I gave that notion away.

Yet, I still wanted to do something. It was important to me. And as stupid as it sounds, I needed something good to come out of the worst thing ever. If I could do something that might save another mother going through what I’ve been through, then I would feel happier. But what could one person do?

The idea for Hope was born out of that passionate need. I live in Australia so I decided to contact Australian authors and ask for their help in raising suicide awareness. The response was heart warming. The idea became more than that when an editor stepped forward and offered her services and authors from around the country gladly donated short stories. Then organisations such as Beyondblue and Lifeline wanted to get involved. And finally employees of the University of New England offered to contribute too.

What started out as an idea is now a full blown publication. Hope will be released on 7 October 2011 by Kayelle Press. It will include thirteen short stories, four short essays and half a dozen ‘snippets’ of information on suicide. Everyone who contributed donated their time and their work. No one will receive any payment from the sale of the book, except Beyondblue and the Anika Foundation as all profits will be donated to these two organisations.

The book is dedicated to Barry.

One person can make a difference. This publication is tribute to that. I am extremely proud of the book and thank everyone involved with its creation from the bottom of my heart.

Remembering Barry on Facebook

For those of you who knew Barry and would like to share memories, photos, videos or anything else you can now do so on the In Memory of Barry Andrew Henderson page on Facebook.

After almost four years, I still receive messages from his friends telling me how much they miss him and I thought the Facebook page would be a perfect way for everyone to share. Thank you to everyone who has contacted me. Your thoughts mean so much to me.

The Grief Continues

After a long hiatus, I find myself pulled to this website again. There are a couple of reasons:

  • I want to “clean up” the website as I want it to be a testimony of Barry’s existence.
  • Because of the first point, I really want to document Barry’s life. I can’t do it in words, as I’m not emotionally strong enough, so I will probably do it in photos instead.
  • It’s important for me to show that there are more good days than bad and the difference of my grieving now that a little over three years has passed. Having said that, I also need to show that the grief is still strong, at times still moving me to tears and depression.

To begin with, you will hardly know I’m here, but I will be visiting frequently to do some house cleaning. I’ve already started by adopting a new theme and uploading new images of the banner…and of Barry, in the sidebar. I have also written a couple of posts, but there will be more of them in the future.

Lastly, please let me reiterate that I am not in a position to counsel people. Not only am I not qualified, I am not able to deal with the pressure (this is a continuing side affect of grief that I must deal with on a daily basis). I truly feel for everyone who is suffering a loss or from depression and I wish I could help you, but I can’t. I can only advise you to call Lifeline.

WARNING Signs of Suicide

By: Dr Mike Shery

Suicide is among the scariest words in our language; it inspires an immediate horror among the family and friends of the victim. People frequently experience a gut-wrenching dread, denial, shock, fear … and even guilt.

It is a word so charged with universal dread, guilt and burning emotion that people will avoid talking about it almost at all costs. It has become an intractable taboo.

We must discuss it, however, because the statistics are staggering: In 2001 suicide was the 11th ranked cause of death in the United States, but shockingly, it was the third leading cause of death for 10-23 year olds.

One group in the United Kingdom which provides confidential emotional support for those suffering from a crisis estimates that more than 100,000 people attempt suicide each year there. And, of these attempts, over 6,500 will eventually succeed.

Even worse, some estimate that as many as 20% of those who suffer from bipolar disorder will succeed in killing themselves. NOTE: One out of every five!

It has also been estimated that as many as 50% of all bipolar patients may attempt suicide at least once in their lives. This appalling figure shows the urgency required to properly screen, diagnose and treat the suicide-prone patient.

Therefore, it is as clear as a flashing neon sign that suicide is not something to be cavalierly ignored; it is not going away. As socially responsible family members and friends, each of us must make a commitment to be aware of the warnings signs of suicide-prone despair.

We must do our duty by being prepared to help a friend or family member in crisis. But to do so, we must be able to identify that cry for help for what it is-desperation and not be quick to cavalierly trivialize it.

Please note the following warning signs and red flags. You may just save the life of a loved one.

Situational Red Flags

1. Victim of Sexual, Emotional or Verbal Abuse
2. Sudden or Unexpected Death of a Loved One
3. A Terminal Illness Accompanied by Drastic Deterioration in Quality of Life
4. Sudden Detrimental Change in Financial Status
5. A Condition of Chronic Debilitating Pain with No Relief in Sight
6. Talk about the Possibility of Suicide
7. Extraordinary Withdrawal or Sullen Behavior
8. Traumatic Loss or Disintegration of a Relationship

Emotional Signs

1. Depression
2. Feelings of Futility
3. Oppressive Feelings of Guilt
4. Pervasive Melancholia or Sadness
5. Feelings of Hopelessness or Helplessness
6. Overwhelming Gloom

Recovering from Depression!

Sometimes as a person begins to recover from a depressive episode the possibility of a suicide attempt may increase. This may happen because when a person finally makes up his mind to actually kill himself, he sometimes becomes oddly resigned and at peace with the situation; his mood can begin to elevate slightly.

Also, the depressive lethargy may start to lift, and where a person may not have been able to find the energy to carry out suicidal plans before, he now may have it. However, regardless of the reason, this can be a very crucial stage.

Behavioral Red Flags

1. Hoarding Prescription Drugs which Can be Lethal when taken En Masse
2. Obtaining Possession of a Weapon
3. Overt Attempts to Bring Closure to Personal or Business Issues
4. Sudden Attention to Ones Will
5. Increased Reading or Conversation about Suicide
6. Gifting Away Personal Belongings
7. Reconciling with those who are Estranged
8. Sudden Interest or Attention in Ones Insurance Policy
9. Excessive Withdrawal or Isolation from Others

Thoughts and Comments to Note

1. I wish I had never been born
2. This life is a pile of crap.
3. I wonder what the best way to kill yourself would be.
4. My kids are the only thing I live for.
5. I can not see any way to get out of this mess.
6. Nothing ever gets any better
7. Nothing is worth living for.
8. I just do not care about anything anymore.

Of course, none of these signs by themselves are absolute proof that someone you know may be considering suicide. Any of these may be present individually, and a person still may have given little or no thought to suicide.

However, if any clusters of these are present take particularly strong note.

It is also possible that a person may give little, if any, warning of thoughts of impending suicide and still attempt it.

So, how can you be sure? Ask directly. Share your observations tactfully and honestly. Be open to talking about this with your loved one.

Is it awkward? It certainly can be, but even more important, it could save the life of someone you love.

About the Author:

Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He’s an expert marriage counselor and psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appointment or learn more about counseling at: http://www.nextdayappointment.com