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The Day My World Stopped
Suicide in General
Member Name: Silverwillow
Suicide in General
January 13th 2003 is the day my world stopped.
Wrapped up in my stressful world of studying and exams, I took no notice of the door slamming and my mum running to the car until my mum's partner called my sister and I downstairs.
A carer had phoned to say that she couldn't find our gran. There was a cryptic note, but no sign of her. Now my gran was a very defiant woman when it came to illness and age, she wasn't letting either of them affect her independence, so we assumed she'd just nipped out to pick up her paper or check in on one of her 'old biddies' on the street to see if they needed anything. That's the kind of person she was, everyone came before herself. She'd be home soon, telling us off for worrying.
When my mum returned just over an hour later we knew that something was horribly wrong. I have never seen my mum look as devastated as she did that morning. She told us that gran had taken her own life in the toy cupboard of the spare bedroom, the one place the carer hadn't checked. Even in her last hour she'd been thinking of the family, gran had organised it all so that it would be the carer that found her and not one of us, unfortunately that part just hadn't gone to plan and it was my dad who found his mum's body.
The more we thought about, the more we realised that she'd had this planned for a while. She'd cleared out some of the cupboards and sent old toys down to us, when asked why the big tidy out she replied 'just getting things sorted' and we thought no more about it.
I'd always (wrongly) associated suicide with depressed teenagers and those down on their luck in life with no road out. I never once thought that someone like my gran would take their own life. Maybe this is why it hit me as hard?!
There were (and still are) so many emotions to deal with that day. The worst of them all is the frustration of not having noticed the signs (that only hindsight can uncover). Then there is the devastating hole that is left in your life by the absence of their life. Nothing prepares you for a suicide of a loved one, if she had been seriously ill it would have been 'her time,' if she was in an accident it would have been 'Gods plan,' then what of those that take their own life? What comforting line do we give then?
But the worst part is the ignorance, the ignorance of those around you that don't think before they speak. We didn't and still don't broadcast the way in which my gran died, this in fact is the most public I have been with the details and my feelings. Hearing people talk of suicide 'being a cowards way out' brought out an aggression in me that I didn't think was possible. She wanted to die with her dignity in tact, she wanted to go out on her own terms, she didn't want to let an illness ruin our happy memories of her, she didn't want us to have to watch her die slowly and painfully, how is that cowardly?
Six Christmas's have past, my wedding day has been and gone, her great grandson (my first nephew) was born and has now celebrated his second birthday. Each of these occasions have reminded us of her absence. With time I've accepted the reasons for which she did what she did, I have forgiven her for the pain it caused us all, but no matter how much time passes, the sense of loss remains as strong today as it did that day. I think of her each and every day, I think of how it could have been if euthanasia was legal, she need not have died alone. I wish she had seen us grow up, I wish she could see our successes, comfort us when we've failed. Did she have any other choice than to take her life?
Suicide leaves more questions than answers. When society starts to open its mind to suicide and euthanasia, maybe then we will be able to discard that stigma of a 'cowards way out' of the 'sinners that murdered themselves.' Maybe then they won't talk in whispers when they discuss suicide; I for one stand proud of my gran's choice. Yes it may hurt each and every day, I may cry for her more than she would want me to, but I know that she went in death as she did in life, independently, dignified and of her own accord.