By Michelle Nollsch
Grief and Loss When It’s Suicide
You may be wondering why I brought up Robin Williams. My son Dean was bi-polar, just like Robin. One of the many doctors my son saw growing up shared a story about Robin Williams, which gave me hope! He said, ” before Robin Williams goes out on stage at a comedy act, he is off his meds & after he finishes, his doctor is there to administer his medication.” Well, we all know how brilliant Robin was!
Please don’t misunderstand, I know my son wasn’t going to be an actor or stand-up comedian, but he could live a productive life despite his illness. That hope smashed to pieces after hearing about his death! You are probably wondering how I could stay sober through all this loss. I’m coping with grief and loss by having a loving support system through my 12 Step Program, family and friends, and special groups I attend.
Self-Care As You Heal
I mention this a lot, but self-care became a priority in my day-to-day life. I had to tune into my body & sift through painful emotions & give myself what I needed. Asking for help is still a challenge for me at times but necessary. When you are “swimming” through grief and loss, it’s hard to know what you need. The main thing is being gentle and patient with yourself.
I allow myself to feel those painful feelings and then accept right where I am for the time being. I know it’s temporary and will eventually pass. Acceptance is the key which is not always easy but necessary in my healing process. I don’t place a time limit on grief. After all, death anniversaries, birthdays & memories can trigger us. I don’t dwell on the past. I celebrate their life by remembering and sharing fond memories of them.
There is no easy way to cope with grief and loss. It’s messy most of the time so try to go with the flow. Be creative with a meal or visit a place they used to love. I often visit my son’s favorite fishing holes or go for a walk in nature. Dean was most at peace when out in nature. This past week I found myself grieving the loss of my son. His birthday came up on August 8th -forever 21 years old. We celebrated his life with a dessert.
Resources In My Time of Grief
In closing, I wanted to provide some info should any of your losses apply to these support groups. They became beneficial in my healing process. After my son’s death, I scrambled for more support than my AA Group. As loving and caring as they are, they could only help me to a certain point.