I try not to relive the trauma of the day our lives changed forever too often. The memories are seared into my brain and are always there to conjure if prompted. I do my best to let them lay because they are so painful to hold on the surface for too long.
Yesterday, a friend of mine was preparing to tell her son that his uncle had passed. Her son is close with one of my sons, so she also let me know that this uncle died by suicide. Knowing how 9-year-old boys talk to each other, it’s unlikely that they will share this information with each other. However, I appreciate the fact that she told me so that we are not caught unaware if they boys do talk about it.
Therefore, I found myself back into the late afternoon moments of April 20th, 2021.
That surreal moment of coming inside trailed by two police officers who have just delivered the devasting news of Tony’s death. The worried look on my children’s faces. I gathered them as best I could and told them that their dad had died. The inadequacy I felt trying to comfort them. I didn’t have enough arms, lap space, hugs, or words to make this shocking reality even remotely okay. All I could do was tell them how much I loved them. In my own state of shock, I didn’t cry. My mind was reeling with the news.
The tears come now, as I look back at that day. I now realize with this kind of loss; everything is inadequate because nothing can fix it.
The only thing we can do in the moment is what we do. There is no right way. No time for a handbook. The whole thing sucks. There is no children’s book I could have read them, no words of wisdom to impart, no gentle way to make the heartbreak less.
Sudden death is hard, ugly, and there is nowhere to look but in its face. I am reminded I did the best I could with the information I had. Every time I hear of another suicide loss, I can’t help but think of the kids. The shattering of the tiny hearts we made together.
Soon, I’ll set this memory back in the box. I’ll never forget it, but it doesn’t help to hold it at the surface all the time. I’m doing my best to help us mend, taking one hard thing at a time, and learning along the way.