Tag Archives: grief

Farewell to Doron

a willow treeFAREWELL TO DORON

A very good friend who is  no longer with us, sent this after Doron’s death.

A young, innocent child playing with his toys

Provides his parents with countless joys.

An energetic youth, full of charm,

Who ever thought he’d come to harm?

Noone knew what his future would be; nor about his tranquility.

All at once his world was shattered

He had the feeling of being battered.

Unseen demons chased him, causing strife; his life was grim.

Though it was hard to bear, this brave youth shed not a tear,

but, contemplated this world to leave,

didn’t consider his family who would truly grieve.

He’d leave to find eternal peace,

Some felt it would be a great release.

Did he need to suffer so?

The answer is no, no, no, no.

I sighed and thought of happier times

Memories plenty; friends did their best.

Thank G-d your son is now at rest.

We all loved  you, Doron.

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I’m a thousand winds that blow

I’m the diamond glints on snow.

I’m the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight

I’m the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry

I am not there, I did not die.

by Mary Elizabeth Fryea calm ocean

You have to be ‘normal’ if you …

a-sunset-view-from-aIn our world, in order to fit in, one has to be normal. But, what is normal? According to the Random House Dictionary: nor-mal means: not abnormal, regular, natural, serving to fix a standard, approximately average in every psychological trait as intelligence, personality or emotional adjustment, free from any mental disorder, sane.

And every single day I look around and wonder how many of us ‘so-called healthy people’ fit this description. Was the hit and run driver normal? I mean, is it normal to drive so fast? Was it normal to drive after smoking pot?

Not a day passed when I did not think about my son and how he’d suffered while the rest of us were trying to sort out our lives. When my parents died, I lost a huge chunk of my past, but when David died, it was my future and the dreams I’d had for him that disappeared.

My husband and I tried to do something different each day; we needed to taste life again. Yes, I realized that we had actually forgotten how to live. So, we made a point of doing things we’d enjoyed in the past like walking along the beachfront to watch surfers riding the waves which reminded us of better times when David had been amongst them. We sat down to watch the sun set slowly, painting the horizon in a way that is difficult for an artist to capture on canvas . We made of a point of driving to see fields of wild flowers in the spring, going to see a good movie or reading a book, knowing we would not be interrupted by an upsetting telephone call from David.

 But, no matter what I did, I was unable to stop my tears from flowing.

Losing a son … how do parents cope with this situation?

Death had claimed our son, David and the resultant anguish was ours to bear. Over the past 16 years I’d shed more tears than I had my whole life. I’d grieved while my son was still alive as I’d lost him to an illness that is almost impossible to describe – paranoid schizophrenia. Most people grieve after a death but in our family, we grieved for the loss of our son’s sanity for the 16 years he tried to overcome.

Before schizophrenia, our three children had spent years of closeness, laughter and sibling secrets. During the years we lived with mental illness, his sisters shared their fears and tears, wishing they could escape the shadow hanging over them, but always drawn back to watch over, listen to and protect their older brother, who, in his healthy years, had done the same for them.

When my parents died, I lost a large part of my past but when my son died, I lost a large part of my future. I recalled my son, David’s words; the one’s he repeated over and over; “All I want is a job, someone to love, and peace of mind.’

Before leaving our house for the cemetery, my husband said; “I want you to remember that David did not take his life. He took what schizophrenia made of it. He ended his agony and I thank him for ending his suffering. I hope he has found the peace of mind he so desperately sought, the peace of mind that eluded him for so long. Now the rest of our family has to face the tragedy of our loss.”

We buried David three months before his 34th birthday. On that dull winter’s day, I spoke to my son for the last time, while in the cold still air, I heard a thousand birds sing their songs of life. All the people who loved David could finally say farewell. I saw people who had not coped with his mental illness but knew how to handle his death So many friends, neighbors and acquaintances stood shoulders touching, breath mingling into one great sigh for our loss.

The thud of earth, a marker, he’s gone and he didn’t say goodbye. In a tumble of memories, I saw David’s smile superimposed on the painful image of his anguished, tortured expression.

I love you, David.

Rest.

For all the consumers out there (a consumer is a person suffering from a mental illness.) Don’t let our story stop you from taking your meds, as many people who suffer from schizophrenia today do find the right medication and if taken on a regular basis, they are necessary. Our David was one of the patients who proved to be medication resistant, despite having tried Clozapine and Risperidone, the newest medications to hit the market then.

After David’s funeral, we had to try and absorb the enormity of what had occurred, and then, in time, had to begin the coping process. But, how does one cope with the loss of a 33-year-old son who took his life in such a violent manner?

This is what I will be blogging about from tomorrow … how our family managed to get by; how we decided to choose life …

The words ‘golden agers’ came to mind, but there was nothing reminiscent of anything ‘golden’ here

Some time after our son committed suicide, a social worker asked whether I could possibly visit a family whose son had taken his life six months previously and the family was not coping at all. She told me that this young man had tried to commit suicide on a previous occasion in order to shake off his demons but had failed. The second time, his parents buried him. “Why do you want me to visit them?” I asked. “Because you have experienced what they are going through,” she told me. “I want you to show them that in time, they might be able to cope the way your family did.”  “That took us a very long time, I replied crying softly.”  Her reply was; “I know, and you can tell them that, but eventually, with the right mindset plus a lot of help from the mental health organization, they should be able to lead a more regular life: a different kind of life, but a life nonetheless.”

I was not sure how I would handle the situation but I agreed. I climbed many steps to reach their apartment on the sixth floor – the elevator was out of order. I did not see a single plant in the building’s entrance hall or later, in their apatment as there was no place for anything but bare necessities. The view from their living room window was the gray, concrete wall of a soccer stadium. I dread to think of the noise when a soccer match was in progress. There was not one drop of greenery visible from their windows. The daughter introduced me to her parents and she did all the talking. All I could do was listen. Only when I shared my family’s exeriences and told them what had happened to our son, did the parents open up a little. Slowly and in turn, they choked out the horrors of their son’s mental illness and how it had effected them all. They no longer owned a car, had never taken a trip abroad or even a vacation in the country. Any spare money went toward helping their son. The words golden agers flashed through my mind but there was nothing golden to be seen here; neither in their wa of life, nor in their attitude. Instinctively, I twisted my engagement ring and my wedding band toward the palm of my hand and I was thankful that I had worn jeans. I spent two hours with them, and when i left, I hugged them in turn and gave them my telephone number in case they felt the need to talk again. That family still haunts me and I call them from time to time.

Facing grief with a smile

It’s difficult at times to face grief with a smile.
It’s hard to believe that it will pass in a while.
When the pain is sharpest, words are to no avail
When tears fall hot and heavy, the best intentions fail.
And however heavy the burdens that I bear
When no one else will listen, my daughters will be there.
When others have no spare time, my girls will lend a hand.
Even though some forget me, my daughters understand.