Focusing On The Doing

Focusing on the doing - With a volunteer at the last "GYWO Fair"

Focusing on the doing - With a volunteer at the last GYWO Fair

Apart from a big plate of chocolate chip cookies, I came away from the National Suicide Survivors Day, with a little more understanding about grief.

I had begun to suspect that the constant fatigue and lassitude I feel, are a byproduct of grief. Even Rayo, whose son died a year before Andrew, told me that she is not physically where she used to be before her son shot himself.
Even so, many a time I lie there pissed with myself because I don’t feel like lifting a finger.
I used to start cooking a meal the day before, in my head, so keen and joyful I was about feeding my family, carefully creating dishes that not only satisfied the palate and nurtured the spirit, but gave the body everything it needed to, not only survive, but thrive.
Now, day after day I haven’t a clue what to cook, half of the time I don’t have the ingredients, and when it comes to actually cooking, it is an effort. By the time I’ve rustled something up and cleaned up after the meal, I am worn out.

But for the subject to have come up during the broadcast, as one of the “side effects” of grief was helpful to me. Instead of berating myself for being lazy and useless, I can be kind and loving and tell myself that this is how it is at the moment. It won’t last forever (hopefully).
Even the nasty rash I had all over my body two months after Andrew died, I discovered, is not uncommon, some of the other survivors had suffered from similar afflictions.

Grief, particularly the complex, multi layered grief that comes from losing a loved one to suicide, does a real number on the body. It does a number on the immune system.

“Andrew,” I thought, sarcastically I admit. “Ain’t this good to know?”

So from now on, I am going to keep track of all that I am able to accomplish rather than the other way around.

So, Dear Iola, Rayo, Shannon, Susan, Elisa, Sherry, Dave and all the other survivors out there, let’s give ourselves a break and a pat on the shoulder for all that we are able to accomplish.

Have a great day,


15 thoughts on “Focusing On The Doing

  1. Interesting post about the effects of survivor grief.

    I wanted to share a poem with you I came across yesterday about grief…

    The Elephant In The Room
    By Terry Kettering

    There’s and elephant in the room.
    It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
    Yet we squeeze by with “How are you?” and “I’m fine…
    And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.
    We talk about the weather.
    We talk about work.
    We talk about everything else…
    Except the elephant in the room.
    We all know it is there.
    We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.
    It is constantly on our minds.
    For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
    It has hurt us all.
    But we do not talk about the elephant in the room.
    Oh, please, say her name.
    Oh, please, say “Barbara” again.
    Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
    For if we talk about her death,
    Perhaps we can talk about her life.
    Can I say “Barbara” to you and not have you look away:
    For if I cannot,
    then you are leaving me alone…
    in a room…
    with an elephant

  2. Hi again,
    I wanted to tell you that you are not alone in feeling drained and physically worn out. I am too. My energy level has been so depleted. But then I remind myself that getting thru the day requires alot more energy than it did before. So, even tho I feel exhausted, and want to nap alot, I think I am doing the best I can. and thats not so bad, is it?
    we will make it, one tiny step at a time, until we come to a place where peace lives besides our love for our sons. thats what i am praying for.
    Thank you for all you do for us. you are loved.

    • You are loved too. It really helps to know that a lot of what we feel is normal and part of it. Next time I take a nap I’ll think of you. xox

      • I take one every chance I get. had a 3 hour one saturday afternoon. then was up all night. now when i crawl in for a nap, i will think of you too! nap-mates…yes, thats the ticket!

      • I love that, nap-mates! What a great word, I’ll have to use it in my writing. My nap-mate and I try not to sleep too long during our naps, otherwise we have trouble sleeping at night, and if we don’t sleep at night, than we have even longer naps and then it gets worse and worse. Love ya 😉

  3. Cooking is a good indicator of getting well. At first I hated it so didnt cook for myself and lost lots of weight. Then I began to cook simple favourites, like pesto, curries, omelettes etc.sort of mechanically. Then I began to buy more veges at the market and made lists of stuff to buy adding new things so that we had a healthy stock of food. Now, approaching 4 years since Bruno died, I’m using up teh packs of curry sauce and buying herbs, and growing some in pots, as we always used to do. And for Xmas (dont read anything into that)I have bought myself a small 6’x6′ greenhouse to grow herbs and forbidden fruits.
    I also think that the depression that follows a suicide might differ between (among) genders. Men of my generation ‘worked-off’ depression because it was seen as a personal failing and ‘beating it’ was part of your ‘manhood’. Every time I was depressed I put a new room on the house. When Bruno died I went into hyperactivity cleaning out decades of collected rubbish and building new paths and ramps (for my partner who has MS).
    I think that no child would commit suicide if they had the freedom to work on something that expressed their creative needs and could see and feel the results as personal fulfillment, rather than being required to conform to some mindless activity on someone elses profit plan.

    • You know, I used to grow tomatoes, peppers, all my herbs…
      I think you are about how healthy being able to express ones creative needs. For Andrew it was always important that things made sense to him. It wasn’t enough for him that he should things just because. Just because didn’t work for him.
      As always, GREAT to hear from you. Take care, and hopefully I’ll cook you a great meal one day, what do you say to that? 😉

    • Lol Dave…not up for the infringement of your rights and invasion of privacy with our beloved Homeland Security reps at our international airports!

      • I get it! But what is the connection between the carbon footprint and the pat down? Sorry guys I am a bit slow, what can I say?

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