I couldn’t bring myself to wear pantyhose today.
I just got home from saying goodbye to a friend I’ve had for nearly 17 years. A friend I’ve shared a lot of good and bad news with, good and bad times with. A friend who was so unhappy and depressed that he thought his best option was to take his own life and leave his friends and family and wife and children behind.
We met at work, all those years ago, and we disliked each other immediately, mostly because we were both ambitious smart-asses. We managed opposite sides of the same business unit and we were constantly bickering over who was really in charge. After a month or two of that, we realized the other was worth knowing. Worth spending time with. Worth listening to.
We worked together for six years. During that time we had business success, yes, but we also started sharing our personal lives. He celebrated with us when we brought Tim home from the hospital. He was there when we adopted our daughter. I talked to him through his giddy excitement when he realized his girlfriend was The One. I laughed at him taking his dog to a therapist when he thought the dog was jealous of his new wife. We went on business trips and worked trade shows together. Then I quit and moved away, but we still kept in touch by phone and email and Christmas card.
By happenstance, five years ago, we both moved to the same city. We picked up where we left off, and shared barbeques and restaurant recommendations again. Our children played together. I lost a job, and he was my reference. I found a job, and hired him when he lost his. We traveled together again, like the old days.
There are a lot of silly stories about all those business trips. I always liked traveling with him on business trips becuase there was no pressure. We had dinner together after long days with clients. We’d call our spouses at the table and say “hi” to each others before dissecting the trip and the client.
Once, he noticed as we were walking into a client’s office, that I wasn’t wearing pantyhose. He was wearing a tie, and smarted off that if he had to wear a tie, why didn’t I have to wear hose? I explained my philosophy to him. I hate pantyhose. HATE. More than anything but lima beans. So I decided long ago that I would only wear hose on two monumental life events – someone’s wedding, or someone’s funeral. He thought that was hysterical.
There are a lot funnier stories about things that have happened to us or things we’ve done over the past 17 years, but that’s the story that stays in my head today. Probably because I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I didn’t realize how distraught he was. Me – of all people. Why didn’t I listen harder? Why couldn’t I tell? Nothing makes sense right now. I can’t believe I was at a funeral today. His funeral. I don’t understand why he made that choice. Why he’s gone. So I didn’t wear them. I couldn’t. I’m not ready to admit this is a monumental event in his – or my – life. No hose.
Each time I read a blog you have written I have a reaction. I don't usually leave a comment but this time I had to. I lost my best friend 7 years ago. She committed suicide by alcohol which took a very long time. I was in denial for along time about her addiction and tried so hard to get her family to help her. I also tried for years but nothing worked.
Then about two years ago my fathers wife committed suicide. He is still sad about it and just last weekend had the strength to clean out her stuff.
My mother has tried several times over the years to committ suicide and finally something happened and she got the help and has not tried in six years. It is funny as an adult I feel like I have the mom I should of had when I was younger.
My point is I understand and feel for what you are going through right now. I dealt with each in a very different way and I am so sorry for your loss.
Patty – thanks for sharing your story as well. I wish I could understand – I'm sure you feel that way too. I appreciate your taking the time to comment, very much.
Oh Chrisa my heart goes out to you! I also lost a dear friend to suicide last year, he left behind two young children and wife. Like you, I kept asking why didn't I see this coming, why didn't I realize he was so distraught. The only answer I can come up with is he didn't tell anyone what he was going through. I am so sorry you lost your friend.
Heike, I just don't understand how anyone could leave behind their children to deal with that sort of pain. I'm angry, and I haven't figured out exactly what to do with it yet. Thanks for being such a caring friend.
Wow. That really hit home. I love a husband to suicide in 2004…then in 2010 heard that a wonderful friend of 15 years (a friend who had talked me through that hard time!) had also taken his life. I flashed through 15 years of milestones and friendship. So sad to think that they only way out of their dark place was to sleep forever.
I lost my brother July 18, 2010 and ihave leanred that if I don't want to wear panty hose to pelase others in this time of mournign i don;t need to I am here if you need to talk.
Sister fo Brian,
My brother took his life in 2003 a few days before his birthday. The I wish I hads and the what ifs are there and will always be. Leaving behind children has its own kind of pain and responsibilities. My children have never gotten over "losing" my brother. Especially the oldest. But their compassion for others has grown. Sometimes those closest to us mask their pain on purpose. It is not our load to carry. I can tell you had a deep regard and love for this friend. Be angry and get it out until you garner the understanding. It will come. My prayers are with you.
I lost my husband to suicide 1/3/09 at the tender age of 37. I can tell you that those who leave this world by suicide believe they are relieving themselves, their family and their friends of errible pain. They themselves are in so much pain and feel they are causing so much pain that they can't envision the pain the people who love them will live with for a lifetime once they are gone. They are desparate and can't see any other answer to their problems. I too didn't see the depth of my husand's troubled state of mind…nor did his family and friends…nor did his couselor. His counselor saw him 3 days prior to his suicide and the counselor's exacts words to me were "Wow, I didn't see that coming" when I informed him that my husband shot himself. In retrospect, yes, there were signs. I feel that we don't recognize the importance of those signs because we ourselves can't imagine ending our lives, so why would we think someone else would. A big clue was when I looked at his pictures when he was gone. There were no smiles for years back. I never saw that when he was alive. He seemed happy and able to enjoy himself. Suicide is something one rarely expects. The only comfort is knowing that person is no longer tortured by his/her own thoughts and are now at peace. I'm sorry for your loss. Connie
Beautiful and terrible. I've lost three immediate family members to suicide and another keeps trying (so far I've put it off myself, we don't need to make it all five of us), and had friends "arrange" to die so I understand Patty's comment very well. For years, then for decades, the pain slowly wears away like rocks in a stormy ocean, sometimes just rubbed down with time, sometimes let go in a great gout of waves and tears. But it's always the small things that stay sharpest and hurt every time I think of them. Being angry is very normal – I still have days when I rage that my parents did this, even though some degree of acceptance has come over the years. My father was really at the end of the line medically and his choice made more sense, it was more of a euthanasia question. But my mom was loved by people around the world as a teacher and artist, was in the bloom of later life, and I can't help but be furious that she abandoned her own brilliance, her creative power, and her wide future in addition to her family. It's coming up on two decades, and I only feel the anger part maybe once or twice a month now, but I think that's more because it's fading with time than because my understanding of her pain in any way lessens the severity of the loss to the world and herself.
Thanks to everyone for your comments today, on the eve of Survivors of Suicide Day. I appreciate you all and, as painful as it is, sharing the pain with you makes it a little easier to bear.
Please support The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at http://www.afsp.org.
Saw this post shared by AFSP on FB of which I'm a fan. I am so sorry for the loss of your good friend. I loved your post, it showed what a wonderful friendship you shared and how much his departure has affected you.
I lost my husband to suicide almost 10 years ago this Christmas. He was bi-polar, but only diagnosed a few weeks before he took his own life. I am blogging my experience and it's helping me heal all these many years later. It's also connecting me with many survivors of suicide and for those I am eternally grateful.
As others have said, most who take their lives are not thinking clearly, many have mental health issues as well. From my own experience, they are in such turmoil, in so much pain and are comletely overwhelmed and often feel all alone. The stigma associated with mental helath illness and even moreso, suicide is what causes the very ones who need help most not to reach out. I believe they are so consumed by their thoughts that they are not able to think of the impact left behind for their loved ones, although my late husband did tell me it was my son's face that kept him from following through several times. In the end, it just wasn't enough to stop him and the pain too intense to bear.
I have learned everyone deals with the pain of suicide in their own way. Some come to terms with it, heal and go on, others are shattered forever more. My blog is my way of sharing about an all too silenced phenomenon, to help not only myself heal but for others to know they're not alone. It is my goal to raise awareness about suicide, bringing it out in the open to have dialogue about a tragedy claiming almost 1 million lives a year. Your blog post here helps dispel the stigma and silence. We all make a difference, one person at a time.
I send healing thoughts and prayers your way and to your friend's family as well.
Take care, Barb
My mother committed suicide this summer, July 29th, to be exact. I still forget that she isn't there sometimes and pick up the phone to call her about something that I would have normally shared with her. Today, the day before Survivors of Suicide Day, my 4 year old daughter's school is hosting a Grandmother's Tea and it is indescribable how difficult it is to go today without my mother.
My heart goes out to everyone that has lost someone to suicide.
chrissa, i lost my beautiful husband, dennis to suicide on march 23, 2010. like you and most others have commented, "i never saw it coming", we were dancing in our kitchen at 6:30. at 7:30 he headed down to the basement (i thought to have a cigarette in the garage cuz it was raining), i called out, "hey dinny" he replied, "one second honey." and then he was gone. my wish for you, myself and other survivors is that come tomorrow at survivors of suicide day…i/we can begin to heal. peace
Chrisa, first let me say I am sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful and sad story.
You say you don't understand. You ask "why?" These are thoughts I have had throughout my life. They were hardest in my younger years. As a child left behind by a father who took his own life, I wondered the same thing. How could he leave me? Didn't he love me as much as I did him? He was my hero, and he gave up…or so I thought.
It was nearly 20 years later that I learned about depression and began to understand why I too felt like leaving this world at times. It wasn't his fault. He was bi-polar. It is an illness that can be treated. The most important thing is to recognize the signs.
I believe everything happens for a reason. Perhaps this experience is an opportunity to learn more about depression so that some day another life can be saved.
Like those who posted before me, I lost someone I was very close to this year. Thank you for writing about it and for allowing AFSP to post it. I imagine you're going to continue getting responses.
It's been 7 months since my loss and I find that some days are just as hard as the day I found out. Some days I can dwell in memories with a smile on my face. It is a never ending grief and I appreciate yours with the world.
Thank you for sharing your story. I too have asked those same questions.Why…? how did anybody not see it.?? Well i lost a dear friend recently also. She made everyone laugh, her smile lit up the room and you could just feel her spirit comming out.Now I try to be thankful for the time, friendshipand memories that i have. Even though I wish we could have more. I miss her.my friend…
Hi Chrisa,I want to say that I am so sorry for your loss,and I know what this loss feels like,I lost my partner Michael,dec will be 5yrs he's been gone and it still hurts,but to know that he is happy now,and he watch's over me everyday and I believe I will get to hold him again.So be strong it gets better,and my god alway's bless you.
I lost my beautiful talented daughter 18 months ago to suicide. NEVER DID I BELIEVE SHE WOULD REALLY DO IT!!!!! She had tried before… she had told me she was suicidal….she had been in a psychiatric hospital several times. One of the things that stick out to me now is how she used to say it was SO HARD to PRETEND to be happy in front of everyone when she wasnt. She was never happy inside she told me the day she took an OD of her prescription anti-depressants. That night my husband and I talked about mothers day coming up and Alex (Al) 21years old might try to do something for attention……..my poor husband found her rigid cold body the next morning…..SHOCKKKKKKKK to say the least. I tried CPR and MOUTH TO MOUTH on her cold blue dried lips…..nothing worked. I am still in shock and cant understand why I didnt think she would ever really do it. Everyone said she wanted attention….but I knew her pain…..I suffer from bouts of severe clinical depression too. I was hospitalized 9 months after I lost Al….How do you live with out your baby???? Im ok on several meds. WHAT I DO KNOW NOW IS IF THEY EVER TALK OF DEPRESSION OR SUICIDE THEY ARE SERIOUS and if they have ever tried it before they will again……God I miss my baby so much…..Bless all of us survivors of suicide ….and do not blame ourselves….its too late!!!!
Chrisa, I, too, am sorry for your loss. I lost a friend earlier this year to suicide. I still ask the same questions you do. Mostly I ask "why." Why did he do this? Why it was easier for him to pick up a gun instead of the phone? Why didn't I check in with him a little more than I did? Why? I am still so hurt and shocked and sad and angry by what he did. I miss him so much! Diane
I am always in shock when i read peoples stories– breaks my heart-depression,bullying,WHATEVER the reason…SOOOOOO SAD !!!! I wanna say i am sooo sorry for all of you..when our newphew richard(17)killed himself,,he yelled down i love u ,,was so hard to hear those words for yrs..still so much reminds us of him,,richie we coulda gotten thru it..
How strange it is that I've been reading your blog for damn near a year, you're one of my co-admins in my support group, I call you when I'm freaking out, hell, you're one of my close friends…and I just found this blog post tonight. Brandon killed himself a year ago today. I love you, girl. I know this must have seriously sucked to write…thank you.
Oh Christa, you are so very good at putting pain into words that resonate in my heart. So, so sorry you lost your friend.
<3 what a moving tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss. 🙁
Thank you for posting this Chrisa! I tried taking my life last year in July and did not succeed. I am so thankful I didn't succeed and that I was allowed to live. However, I was sick for a very long time and in the hospital for a long time because of my choice. I hurt my kids and my husband and I put them through horrible anguish not knowing if I would live. I do carry guilt over this but I do know I won't be doing it ever again. The thought of hurting my family again is too much to bear. I also understand why people do this and it's usually because of very deep, dark pain and despair. Thank you for listening.
Shari – thank you for sharing your story. Big hugs to you.
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