Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the loss of life reaffirms the value of life

November 2nd.

I know the United States is lit up right now in Political conversations due to the Midterm elections. Everyone I see is discussing Voting or their views (and some who annoyingly cram it down your throat... yes, I don't care that you're voting for so-and-so!) but to me, though I voted as I should, this day is always a bit of a somber one.

On November 2nd, 2004- I was really excited to find out the outcome of the Bush vs. Kerry Presidential election the following day. I had a strong vote for one candidate and was looking forward to spending the day with my at-the-time long-term Boyfriend, one of the dearest people I will ever know, to witness the results. But it quickly became something else.

On the morning of November 2nd, I was sitting with him as he received a call that his Mother had commit suicide. We met in college and he was states away from his home, his family, his mother. The day became a cloud of sorrow and misery, the incident still breaks my heart (tears are falling as I type to you now) and I don't think it is something I will ever recover from witnessing. I wanted to do everything I could to help him, remove the hurt from his body but all I could do was lay with him as he sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

That day became something else and few know how much it affects me and how much I think about it throughout the year but especially every November 2nd as the present political banter is a stark contrast to the emotions I felt that day. Not only was the person it happened to someone I am forever eternally grateful to know but the gravity of something like that in general isn't a feeling you shake.

I knew much about this woman who passed... her son was one of the most important people in my life and we shared an unshakable bond. I knew how she raised him, what she liked, how she cooked food, what she struggled with, what she was fighting to overcome which ultimately she did not.

November 2nd became the day that I forever cringe and want to shout when people dismiss suicide victims as "selfish" and make grand declarations like "I have no sympathy for people who kill themselves" without ever understanding how ill the person really is and how much it is a mental disease. It became the day I always notice when people say "I would kill myself if I got a 'B'" etc. It became a day that I exploded with compassion for someone and realized that I would do anything to try to make the pain go away from someone I love.

I will always remember November 2nd and I will always remember every detail of that day.

{Above: a picture I took of the Son, my dear friend. I would never feel appropriate putting his face alongside this post so this picture shows him perfectly as it should and perfectly declares my view towards him... I will always have his back.}

I will always value, cherish, love and refuse to speak ill of or compromise on the relationship with the son which as you can guess, has shaped into something different than it was then, but something still sacred nonetheless.

And I will remember her, always, because she changed my views on the value of life and allowed me to see the world differently but with more clarity and compassion. I always grieve the years she lost due to her illness and the toll that it has taken on her family and all that she could have been but wasn't able to. But I firmly understand that the final act brought on by an illness doesn't diminish what she had already contributed during her time here and doesn't fade the beautiful spirit she had that lay just beneath the cloud of sickness.

I celebrate her, I celebrate him and I celebrate the gift of life, even if I just do it quietly to myself as the polls close.

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Unknown said...

Im so sorry you had to go through something like that, but amazed that you have been able to take so much away from it.
Mental illness is still so misunderstood.
Thanks so much for sharing.

Sher said...

I'm sorry that you and your friend had to go through the loss of someone special in such a way. It's really tragic. But I guess that which does not kill you will make you and your friend stronger. Life is fleeting and this is a good reminder to live our lives to the fullest, so thanks for sharing hun:)


Sophie said...

Caitlin, I am so sorry to hear that you and someone you love had to go through this. I hope the son is ok. I agree with the comment above that mental illness is still very misunderstood, thank you for talking about this and sharing with us. xo

Leia said...

Oh darling, I am so sorry you had to go through this... I wish there was something I could say but instead I'm just sending you a big virtual hug! xx


erika sorocco said...

That is truly one of the most tragic things I have ever read, Caitlin; but it is such a beautiful declaration and tribute to a lost life. :)

Mari said...

Love, I am so sorry you had to go through that but I can feel your pain too- that type of sickness is debilitating and so hard and tragic. He was lucky to have such a good person by his side like you when going through all of this

alanna said...

1) i LOVE unflattering picture Sunday
2) i LOVE your halloween peacock costume! BEAUTIFUL!
3) thank you for taking the time to write what was surely a difficult post. you seem like you were a great girlfriend and are a great friend to this boy, and i am very sorry for his loss.

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

How very sad...How lucky that he has a friend like you!

Jen said...

That is awful. I'm glad you understand that she did not intend to hurt anyone, that it was her sickness, she just wanted the pain to stop. I wish there wasn't such a stigma on it so more people would be helped and not meet the same end.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for sharing about your difficult memory and your friend is blessed to have someone like you.

Leah said...

I'm happy that you found consolation even in the most trying time... she seemed like a very good person. I know you miss her and just be thankful that she had raised a wonderful son and that she was able to affect your life in a positive way.

Take care always.

Arantxa Chavarria said...

Caitlin I'm so sorry that you and your once loved one had to go through that... but I'm amaze of how much you have learn and taken from that experience!! You are such an inspiration and the fact that you shared this with us makes my heart melt... thank you so much! It makes me think of the problems ppl go through and I never even notice, thanks for opening my eyes!


mirmirzimzim said...

this made me sad/tear up. but i really appreciate the perspective you give to this issue, for a lot of reasons. love you.

Anonymous said...

So sad girlie : (

Julia, the Thanksgiving Girl said...

Oh Caitlin :(( I hope typing this out helped you cope with these difficult day and memories.

P.S. I admire you for sharing this kind of bond with your ex, and not just this ex you mention but others too - I've always noticed how you treat them so well with your words on your blog.

Kara said...

Wow, Caitlin. I just got around to reading this post and I'm glad I did. It's so beautifully written, and I so feel for you.

Suicide is, understandably, one of my hot button issues. I have a lot of clients who struggle with feeling like they want to self-harm and it's even difficult to deal with as a therapist. I hope she found the peace she wanted, and I hope your ex understands that it wasn't about him.

You must be an amazing friend. Keep it up - there aren't a lot of people like you <3

Sierra said...

Aww honey this broke my heart, and yet I loved your honesty and candid thoughts. Having gone through depression recently I can relate to cherishing life and the pain of going through mental hurt. I'm sorry you had to go through that but am glad that you were there for your friend! Mental illness is very much understood, I never wish that pain on anyone, especially your friend's mother. May she rest in peace and may your friend find love in his memories. xoxo.