Saturday, September 19, 2015

Transparency

I think on my life and I feel like I have been mostly an open book. People see my struggles. With raising all boys, with adoption, with cancer. And then this week a friend has had two suicides in her close family life. And with them, a plea. To talk to our kids about suicide. To let them know that life is not an end all. That it ebbs and flows within weeks, months, years. So, I sat down with my two older boys to talk to them about life, stress, and suicide.

Right now, my boys are not under stress. So this discussion was open, raw, and with disbelief. I remember a time in my life when it was such. Who would allow someone else, or something else to have so much control over them? Who would think of losing their own life over someone else? Over a temporary situation. I can vividly remember thinking of those people as weak. Wondering why they don't walk away, find someone to talk about, or realize their worth. Until I was in such a situation.

I talked to my boys in simple terms about a young girl who loved a young boy. Who thought the moon and sun rose on him. And how he grew to not feel the same way. How he threw other girls into my face. How he told me I was worthless. How he broke my heart, shredded it, and threw it away. And how I reacted as a young girl. How I understood how someone could not walk away from someone who hurt them. Physically, emotionally, socially......how I cried out to friends and how many came to my aid. How at times, I felt the only way to escape the embarrassment was to end my life. How I learned that suicide is a long term fix for a temporary problem. As I fought my way out of that way of life with the aid of my family and friends, I realized how easy it is to fall under the spell of someone else. How a strong minded, willed, and independent girl had fallen prey. It was an ugly journey. I can assure you of that. My family and close friends will as well. But it is one, I luckily survived. And became stronger because of it.

Everyone has a story with them. A story that tells of who they are and how they came to be. Some stories they wish would disappear, like this one. But as it is, this story shaped my life more than I expected. From it, I grew stronger. From it, I knew how to do marital and couples therapy with a spouse that was being abused. Due to it, I was compassionate, understanding, and could deal with men and women who could not simply "leave" relationships behind. And I knew how to talk to my boys. About how life throws you curves and you learn to field them.

As I shared, my boys had a hard time seeing this young girl in the woman I have become. My boys have seen a mother who shares hardship and joy. Who apologies. Who loves. Who holds their hands through hard times, stands up for them, and teaches them to stand for others. But one who never gives up. So to tell them of my younger self, my feelings, and my fears, allowed them to see a part of me they had never witnessed; yet are old enough to recognize. With telling my boys of my own shortcomings as a child, by telling them of my feelings and actions, and those of my courageous friends, they could see and feel how suicide hits close to home. And it made an impact. For now, my boys know they are protected by their father and I. That we will move mountains to see them safe. All is right in their worlds. I pray it will always be so.

For now, I am praying for my friend's family. For the friends of her children who lost a classmate. For her family who lost a loved one. Because I know, how easily, it could have been me. Or maybe you.