Sunday, September 8, 2013

Suicide Prevention Week -- Author's Care


I am a Survivor

One week past my 14th birthday, my mother killed herself.

It’s not a subject I talk about often. Not because it’s something I want to hide. It’s more of a conversation stopper. When people hear my mother died when I was a teenager, most often the next question is “how.” Depending upon the situation, the simple answer is, “an accident.”

The truth is anything but simple. She was a manic-depressive. Certain life situations tended to trigger her episodes. After being adopted at the age of 12 out of Mexico, she suffered from guilt leaving behind her six younger brothers and sisters. Whenever a family member would reach out to her in adult life, it sent her spiraling out of control.

The first few years were exceptionally difficult. I had to learn to separate myself from her. We were not the same person, and people should not look at me differently because of her actions. As an adult, that distinction has become clearer.

Unlike movies and books, where storylines get neatly wrapped up, her death didn’t. There wasn’t a note, or at least one I’ve yet to know about thirty years later. She left food for dinner defrosting on the counter, and that evening we were supposed to attend my cousin’s birthday party. I even listened to a tape inside my radio – just in case she might have left me a message.

For those battling demons, or suffering from depression, I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own world. But, try thinking about all the others who may be affected. My mother was the only child of her adoptive parents. They wonder – all the time – if there was something more they could have done.

My father, her husband, did everything possible to help ensure her safety. She spent at least three months out of a year in a psychiatric hospital. Even those who are locked up full time, unfortunately still can find a way to hurt themselves.

The only time I visited a psychologist was directly afterward. He explained she was probably about to undergo another episode, and didn’t want to do it.

Thirty years. The amount of time that’s passed staggers me, and yet I’m still affected. When my children ask how she died, I deflect. Honestly, I don’t want them to know that people choose to kill themselves, as if that alone may put the thought into their heads.   

And yet, it’s impossible to think about all the good that’s happened in my life. I can hope that she knows what I’ve accomplished, and the joys of my daughters. Those left behind by suicide are called “survivors.”

I am a Survivor.

*~*~*~

Thank you for visiting my stop on the Suicide Prevention Week – Authors Care Hop. Please make sure to visit the other hosts – each should be giving out a prize. For those commenting on my blog, the winner will have a choice of a book from my backlist.

The grand prize is one (1) $50 gift certificate to Amazon. The winner will be chosen randomly from Rafflecopter entries on Sunday, 9/15/13. Hop stops will be responsible for awarding their own prizes.



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45 comments:

  1. So sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the mental pain your mother was in during her life and the difficulty you and and your family must have endured by living with someone who was in that kind of pain and then, of course, the aftermath.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Cara. It was tough, but it has made me strong.

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  2. Losing your mom at a young age is hard but when it's because of suicide it's especially hard. I'm so sorry for your loss.
    suz2(at)cox(dot)net

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    1. Thank you Susan. I appreciate your kind words.

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  3. There are no words that can convey how sorry I am to hear of your loss. I have always looked at suicide as a selfish act born from the inability to realize just how much one person can effect the world around them. It is a hurtful situation for all involved. I wish you all the insight in the world and the ability to pass it on to your girls.

    sionedkla@gmail.com

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    1. I don't think they often think of others, so hopefully by sharing stories we can make a difference. Thank you for visiting.

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  4. My son spent over 4 years struggling to deal with severe PTSD and TBI from his 15 months in Iraq. On Jan. 2, 2011, he decided he could no longer do it and completed suicide. He was 25 and my oldest child, my sunshine, my pride and joy and my friend. We tried for many years to get him help, he was surrounded by loving family and friends, but I think sometimes he felt like a failure because he wasn’t able to handle it on his own. My sister and her husband are both physiologist’s so there was never any stigma about getting help. To say that his death devastated all of us is an understatement. He was the glue that held his former battle buddies together, sending them all into a tale spin when he passed away. I will never be the person I use to be, a part of me will be broken until I’m with him again. Thank you for bringing this subject out in the open, I talk about it often, I’m still in contact with his battle buddies, keeping tabs on them to make sure that they are okay, I do it for them and for my son because he loved them. I tell people that a person who completed suicide didn't do this to "us" they just couldn't handle the pain anymore. My son left two notes, one for his family and one for his friends. He was tired of the fight, he wasn't thinking about how hurt we would be, he just wanted it to stop. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, when a person chooses to die, it undermines our confidence and we always wonder "why" or "could I have" or "did I do something", all normal responses but horrible to live with. I pray that your mother and my son are at peace now that their demons have been silenced.

    proudarmymom32(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Sue -- I am so sorry for your loss, and cannot imagine the pain that your son must have been in. It sounds like so many people did try to reach out and help, and sometimes we cannot. We can simply do our best.

      Sending you some strong cyber ((hugs)).

      Louisa

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  5. Losing your mom at a young age is hard but when it's because of suicide it's especially hard. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you Laurie. I appreciate your support.

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  6. That is just heartbreaking! I hope you all find some comfort somehow. I'm sure you will help a lot of people through your post and this hop!

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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  7. I'm so sorry for your loss. I have sort of experienced this myself, but not able to talk about it publicly. Other than when the demons come, it is hard to see anything else.

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    1. I appreciate your support, Tim, and I'm sorry for your loss as well. May you chase those demons away.

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  8. How very brave of you to share something so personal and tragic. I can't even imagine having to live through something like this. But you didn't just survive her death, you overcame it in order to become the vibrant, caring, creative and successful woman you are today. There is no doubt that she would be proud. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you my friend. It's one of the reasons why I bristle so much when someone makes a comment about everything coming so "easy" for me. No, I've worked for it. And, hopefully, I can help others too.

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  9. I just wanted to stop in and thank you, Louisa, for putting this hop together for us. I'm truly sorry for your loss. Hugs.

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  10. You are, indeed a survivor. Never underestimate the strength it takes...or the need to find support. Blessings to you.

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  11. Lu <3 I am so sorry about your Mom. One can certainly understand how beyond upsetting her life had to have hurt her. Being as we are, sensitive people like ourselves, born with an innate ability to protect ourselves, we sometimes can't nor can we control people who are hurting so deeply. Somehow we blame ourselves which hurts us more. I have to believe that along with being tender hearted comes along the strength to handle it, though we know, some days, that just isn't how it is. Reaching out is key in saving someones life if we can recognize quick enough how much they are hurting. Usually they cannot reach out. Suicide has deeply affected my life. In honor of those I lost, I live my life honoring their beliefs such as a dear gay friend who lost his battle because his family turned their back on him because he was gay. I cannot understand, even as a parent, how anyone can turn away from anyone. For Mario, i live to see the day when gay marriage is legallized through out our entire country. How many more people will loose their fight because they can't be with the one they love?

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  12. Thank you for sharing your story, Louisa. You truly are a survivor, a strong one at that.

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  13. I am sorry you lost you mom as such a young age. You are very strong for sharing your story. Thanks for this wonderful blog hop.
    Sue B

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  14. Thanks for sharing your story

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    1. bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  15. I think it's one of the most difficult ways to lose a parent: by suicide. because then, there's that tought "They CHOSE to leave" and gave up. Not that black and white of course, but at the back of a child's mind, that must be present.

    I wish you all the happiness in the world.

    mimismithblue AT gmail DOT com

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  16. Suicide affects us all, whether directly or indirectly. I lost my first love to suicide shortly after college. Then, just this May, I lost one of my best friends. No reasons, no note. Just gone. Now I'm helping the husband she left behind with their two young daughters, 13 and 10. Every time I put them on the bus or fix them dinner, I think that Jen should be here doing this.

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  17. Louisa, you are a survivor for sure, a survivor extraordinaire! I am deeply touched and saddened to hear your story about the loss of your Mom to suicide, when you were 14 years old. Yes, suicide is complicated enough to understand as an adult, but how do you explain such a deed to a teenager. Thank you for having the courage to share your story here thereby helping those of us who are also survivors of a loved ones suicide. It will be 16 years next month that I lost my dear and precious husband to depression and suicide. I have heard that every time we tell our story we heal a little bit more. Thanks for telling your story here, providing the opportunity for others to do the same and heal a little bit more. I also sense your Mom is very proud of you and your beautiful daughters, and that she would be very touched by this blog devoted to suicide prevention. Thank you for having it during National Suicide Prevention Week. xox

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  18. Thanks for sharing your story. Reaching out to others does help.

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  19. I thank you for sharing your story. I know it must still be painful to think about... I hope someone will read this and think twice about what they've been thinking about for the past few days.
    I don't know anyone who has attempted or succeeded in suicide... but I had a friend who was really depressed and always talked about how easy it would be for her to do it, and no one would notice. But that wasn't true, because I would have. I hope someone reads this and truly sees that suicide isn't an answer for anything. That though things are hard sometimes, It's when you persevere that you see all those painful moments were worth it, to come out on top. Because however slow and agonizing as it is, we all reach that at some point.
    Thank you, for being a part of this Hop.

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  20. I'm sorry for your loss. My son was almost one of those statistics. I'm thankful every day that he isn't. Yet. I hope he never will be.

    Thank you for being part of this.

    Lisa

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  21. Thanks for sharing your story, hard as it obviously is for you even after all these years.

    Suze
    Littlesuze at hotmail.com

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  22. I'm am so terribly sorry to hear your story. It's hard to lose a parent at an early age and even harder when it's suicide. I hope you have some good memories of your mom before she died:)

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  23. Thank you for this. Suicide has touched our family twice now over the last 50 yrs and I'm very much hoping that getting the information out there will help prevent this from happening to other families.
    kalimar2010 @ gmail.com

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  24. It's so hard to lose a parent,it's so heartbreaking.
    cvsimpkins@msn.com

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  25. I can't even begin to imagine what that's like. I've been lucky in that I've never known someone who has committed suicide, though I certainly know someone who has contemplated it more than once, and that's hard enough. It's not just that person who is effected by it, whether they go through with it or not.

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  26. Such a worthy cause.

    The low age of some suiciders was brought home to me this week. A teacher friend in USA mentioned that a pupil in his school had suicided and she was only 11! Her funeral was just last Friday :(

    ilona
    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

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  27. I'm so sorry to read about your Mom and how difficult it was for her and your family. You are indeed a survivor.

    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

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  28. I like these blog hops since I get introduced to a lot of new authors. yeah
    JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

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  29. I am so very sorry for your Louisa. I couldn't imagine the pain that you have had t deal with.
    Sending you my love, thought and prayers and a bit of wolf magic...*S* Thank you for being a part of something so good that will help our LGBT community too.

    Darcy
    pomma @akwolf.com

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  30. Thank you for sharing your story and for bringing attention to this cause.

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  31. Thanks for organizing the hop, Louisa, and for sharing your story. This won't be an easy week for some of us, but, it's a conversation we need to have. *hugs*

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  32. This is a sad one , but we need to talk and listen too others . Deb P

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  33. Thank you for sharing your experience. So sorry it is one of the devastating realities... Thank you for hosting this special hop.

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  34. Thank you for sharing your story and for helping spread awareness. I'm sorry to hear about your loss and how it still affects you today. But I can see how strong and determined it's made you. Thanks again for being a voice and spreading the word.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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  35. I harder to stand up and live than stumble and die. Everyone has their reason but suicide is never an answer. You're truly a survivor!

    shinigami_light @ ymail. com

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  36. Wrapping you in hugs and sending love your way, Louisa. It's so difficult when our parents make decisions that affect us, and yet what we need and our feelings don't seem to be important enough for them to make different choices. Parents are just as human, just as fallible as we are, and it's never through a lack of love that they make those choices, only through an abundance of pain that blocks everything else out. I'm so glad you've survived that and have spread an understanding to those of us who hear your story. Thank you so much.

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

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