While attending a dear friend’s funeral, it triggered memories of the grief I’d felt when our son died; after he ended his life. I remembered some of the things that well-meaning friends and relatives had said to me. One stood out more than the others. It occurred when he cupped my face with both hands and said; ‘He’s at rest in God’s hands.’ My reply? ‘But, it was in God’s hands that I watched him suffer.’ I’d sought out God when in desperate need, only to find his door slammed shut in my face. I’d bargained with him, believing that if I obeyed the rules, he’d protect me, but life does not work that way.
Here are some comments and questions we heard during the days after we’d buried our son.
‘You really should have consulted with a herbalist, you know.’
‘You were supposed to watch over him 24 hours a day.’ What happened? Who was supposed to be watching over him that day?’
‘Why didn’t you change his medication?’
‘Why didn’t you make an appointment to see another psychiatrist?’
‘You could have tried something else, couldn’t you?
‘Were you and your husband very strict when your children were young?’
What I needed most was to cry. I needed to cry until I had no more tears to shed but was unable to do so. Maybe because I had cried so much over the years. Then, a group of my son’s friends from the Mental Health Society came to visit and told us that they’d held their own private memorial service. This touched me in the deepest crevices of my soul and finally, I managed to release the well of tears I didn’t even know I had left in me to shed – tears that started and would not stop flowing.
Not long after that, a grief therapist brought by a well-meaning acquaintance rang our front door bell. According to him, I had good memories to comfort me and I could look forward to the future with hope. What I was feeling at that moment, was the raw grief of a shocking tragedy and his response sounded like psycho-babble. He insisted that we needed his help and that was when my gentle husband walked him firmly out of the front door, assuring him that we would manage without him … thank you.