This time last year I was attempting my first run at 31 Days of Writing. But I was also processing a tragedy that I was on the edges of. Because I was a distant participant, I didn't feel it was acceptable to be as upset as I was. Last year I wrote one post about it here. What I didn't understand at the time was how lasting the effects would be. How the incident would impact me over a period of days and weeks. And how it would trigger memories of my experiences of abuse.
Isaac was a young man, my son's age, whom we had known since they were both in kindergarten. They played together throughout elementary school, but then grew apart for all the usual reasons. This time last year my son was away at college. Isaac was attending a local university. He killed himself.
As the news began to spread via social media, I was concerned about my son finding out. How it would happen, and my not being there to help him in some way. Obviously I was overwhelmed for Isaac's family, but I knew they had a wide circle of friends and family to support them as they began to walk this horrible path.
I contacted my son. Yes, he'd heard. Yes, he was okay. He'd let me know what he learned and he'd be home the following weekend.
It is at times like these that the six degrees of separation become so apparent. As the week passed I kept meeting up with other people who knew the family from different arenas. Friends of friends. As is often the case with suicide, details were sketchy. People kept trying to find a way for it not to be suicide. An accident perhaps. Unintentional. But suicide is suicide.
I found myself feeling anxious all the time. Wanting and needing answers. Explanations. I became short tempered with people over inconsequential things. I was trying to help everyone else cope, but I couldn't see that I was being overwhelmed myself.
It's been a year now. I have had time to process the loss. To let go of the need to know all the details. The need to understand the unfathomable.
Isaac's family left town for the anniversary. They didn't go near social media or their phones. They let themselves grieve and remember. I'm glad they made a special space for themselves and for that day. They recognized what they needed and honored it.
Life doesn't come with an instruction book really. During the good times that can be tough, but during the horrible times the only thing that gets any of us through is faith. Belief that God is in control. Even if we'll never understand how it all fits together.
Peace and blessings.
linking up with 31 Days of Writing and Writer's Workshop