The aftermath of Suicide {my journey of grief & loss} - Part 2

Posted on 07 August 2015

"Lift your eyes to the hills, where does my help come from...my help comes from the Lord..." Print available here

Read The aftermath of Suicide {my journey of grief & loss} - Part 1 

There was raw trauma in the early days since my sister took her own life, but since things had settled into a new ‘normal’, I was left with these raging thoughts of fear and panic. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t sleep. I felt trapped in this grief. I use to be so happy. I use to love life. Now I just felt sad all the time. The road was so dark and I wondered if I would ever feel joy again. 

A few months after Asher had died, I was still getting up at nights feeding Lexie who was just a few months old. I remember feeling this sheer exhaustion, both emotionally and physically. I was utterly spent. My emotions were raw. I would have cried if I had any tears left. I remember walking in to feed her one particular night, sitting in the dark of her room holding her and the dark familiar fear gripped me again “what if I become depressed?”, “What if I kill myself?”, “What if my children are left without a mother?”, “How would Dave parent these kids on his own?” These words and thoughts now written down in black in white, don’t hold much power. But in that moment, while feeding my daughter that night, they were all consuming. This was one of the darkest point in this weird grief process. 

I couldn’t even bring myself to think about my sisters final moments. What was she thinking as she went over that railing? Was there rational thinking at all? Did she cry out to Jesus? Was there regret? Her feelings. Her rationale. Her actions. How could it get that bad? It was just too dark and scary. I couldn’t go there in my mind for a very long time. It was like there was a storm raging outside, but all I could do to survive was bunker down. Block everything out. People say you need to ‘deal with it’, but what if it’s just too overwhelming to do that just yet? So I didn’t and instead I just did the next thing in front of me. Tried to care for my kids. Go through the weekly schedule. Without emotion. Just do the next thing. Actions without much thought or feeling. It was survival. Don’t think. Don’t go out into the storm. Stay safe inside. I could see it raging and new it was just outside my bunker window. But I needed the storm to die down before I could even crack the window and think about it all. 

The absolute trauma of suicide is so twisted, dark and sinister. It wreaks havoc on your whole world. It throws what you knew to be right and what you life once was and the way you viewed life on it’s head. Radio host Robin Bailey equates the trauma of suicide to that of the holocaust and other calamities. I can’t speak for those who went through that experience years ago, but I know there is a level of trauma of suicide which I can relate to. And there is a definite line in the sand in my life; before Ash died, and after. I even feel like a different person sometimes. 

Before, I loved life. I was an optimistic person. I loved God, I wanted to live a life that is purposeful and full and awesome on every level. I gave of my time to church, my family, my friends. The world was my oyster. Dave and I had travelled a lot, lived in different countries, I feel like I had a full and fun life. I feel that this one event pulled a black cover over it all. Life went from sunny fun to darkness and sorrow in a split second. I didn’t know if the sun would shine again. People encouraged that it would get better. But honestly the amount my little brain thought about it all, I wondered how I’d ever fit normal life back in there. Having said that, even though things had gotten dark, I knew deep down, below it all, life would be ok. 

It’s interesting, but over the past year, I have probably spent the least amount of time in quiet devotions with God (something I usually love). In the deep sadness, it was hard to concentrate, to fit more into my full and sad brain. Even something as good as spending time reading God’s word took a back seat. Everything kind of took a back seat. Work. Kids. Husband. Friends. Utter honesty there, but everything came second to the grief and thoughts. Yes, even God.

Despite that, I have never felt more ‘held’ by Him. Knowing he was there. I could just let go of what I ‘should’ be doing in my Christian life, and just rest in knowing what I already knew about Him. Knowing the truth’s from my childhood and years of devotions and bible studies. 

This is why I am so passionate about God’s word. We really do need to store up truths so that when the battle comes (and they will!), it’s already there. We know it. We don’t have to get new information to fight, we just have to reach down to our tool box and pull out a truth that we can use to combat the darkness. Some light to shine as we shuffle ahead. A pearl of hope to hold on to. We don’t have time in the battle to learn new techniques and habits. We can, of course, it’s never ever too late to start, but it’s so much easier to do this in the peace. 

I love this quote from the navy seals - “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” If we invest time in God’s word, in Christian community, in others during the mountain tops, or even the plateau’s of life. Then we are so much better equipped for the valley’s. When war wages, we have all we need to face it. Head on. I am so passionate about this. Even more now than I was a year ago. It’s why Honey & Gold exists. To give you tools to help memorise the Bible. To help you in the peace. So that it will encourage and lift your spirits in the ‘war’. 

That dark night in my daughters room was the tipping point for me. I had had a couple of formal counselling sessions, but I knew I needed help. I needed a shoulder to lean on. My whole family was grieving. We were all crippled by this. And while we were definitely there for each other, but it’s hard to help hold each other when you yourself are weary. 

The next morning it was Sunday and we were at church. (This is one of the ‘sweating in peace’ things. We go to church. Every week. It’s a habit. I could go on, but I’ll leave that soap box for another day!). The message that Sunday morning, was about Moses and how if he had his arms raised over the Israelites, they were winning the battle, but as soon as he dropped them, they started to lose. I don’t remember the full sermon, but the part where he needed others to come and help him hold up his arms, spoke so strongly to me that morning. That was me. I was tired. Tired of holding my arms up. I needed someone else to hold them for me. I was so utterly weary. 

I went down the front for prayer that morning. A beautiful, older, godly lady prayed and talked with me that morning. She made me feel my thoughts were ok. That even though they scared me, they were not too big and scary for God. I will always remember that morning as a pivotal turning point in my sadness.

While I am so thankful to God that I never had such a dark moment like that ‘night in the nursery’ again, there have been times during this past year and a bit where I will act out of fear or I will get all worked up about something that wouldn’t have bothered me in the past. It is Dave who sees that the most. He said to me a while back “I want the old Jordi back”. To which I replied “Me too!” :) The fact is, the old Jordan will never be back. She is changed. She is wearing scars. But you know the good news? The sun is returning to my life. I feel like I can dream and plan for the future again. That my life, God willing, will be long and happy. 

I was on our church’s women’s retreat recently and during an amazing evening of worship and praying for one another, one of the women shared a picture she got while praying for me. She painted the canvas of a black rose growing on an island and it was dark and stormy, but the sun started to shine down on the rose and it was turning yellow. There was still some rain, but there was sunshine. It just blew me away. it was so spot on with where I was at. I had already started to feel a little of the hope returning. And a soft yellow flower? If you had seen her wedding, that was so my sister! God continues to blow me away with how specific he loves on me.  

I don’t really know how to end this post. Because honestly, the journey is still going. I know I will be learning and changing as life moves on. The one thing I do know, is I am so thankful for a faith in God. I seriously do not know what kind of turmoil I would be in if I didn’t have a relationship with him. He is truly the Rock!

As always, if you would like to chat more about this post, please email me. I would be honoured to be a keeper of your story!

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  • Sarah: December 11, 2015

    This is so encouraging and beautiful. I lost my brother in January this year after he took his own life. This gives me hope, thank you for sharing something so personal. May God bless you and your family richly xxx

  • Rosalind: September 24, 2015

    Beautifully written, thanks for sharing so honestly my friend xxx sending big hugs your way x

  • Sam: September 04, 2015

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Jordan, your courage to share the real, the raw is inspiring x

  • Stacey: August 27, 2015

    Thanks so much Jordan for being so raw and real and sharing your story so honestly. There are no words for such a loss. Thank you for getting your brave on and sharing with the world, I am grateful for your insights. x

  • Miranda: August 27, 2015

    I just came across this post this morning and it hit so many truths with me. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope that rose is continuing to bloom and that you are still seeing the rays of sunshine through the clouds of grief. And I really loved the part about storing up truths for those “troubled” times in our lives. This is so vital and something we should all do during the calm seasons. Thanks for the reminder. x

  • Saley: August 12, 2015

    So good Jordy! X

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