I’ve always been someone with a knack for numbers…. whether it be budgeting money or remembering birth dates. I always thought of it as a blessing, because I never missed sending a birthday card or hitting a deadline, but I no longer found my numerical abilities to be a positive thing after January 24th, 2011.
When you have someone you care about die by suicide, there are a lot of feelings attached. I went through denial, anger, sadness, regret, and a slew of other emotions that took me in many different directions and that hit me at what seemed like the worst times. I cried in public. My appetite was gone when I was presented with some of my favorite foods. Life was different for a while. And when things finally felt like they were getting easier, a year had passed and the date of his death packed a punch that I didn’t see coming and my grief resurfaced.
The reminder of his death became the elephant in the room. Memories of a life cut short intertwined with an awkward silence that filled every space I was in on January 24th, 2012, taking the air right out of every room I entered. I wanted so badly to say something, to have someone to confide in, to share my memories and feelings with someone… anyone.
But, no one likes to talk about death. I don’t blame them, mostly because there are no words anyone could say to adequately comfort someone who is grieving the loss of someone they love. But, even if no one knew what to say…
I wish they had said his name.
“I really miss Clay.”
It is easy to feel alone in your grief. Because grief is something that is so personal that can make you feel so vulnerable, we like to keep it to ourselves. Crying with someone can seem awkward… even laughing with someone about memories you have with someone who has died can feel different and uncomfortable. But, sometimes it is the conversations we are most uncomfortable with having that help us to heal. Something so simple as saying Clay’s name would have allowed for me to heal, for me to feel like I could open up to someone about how I was feeling. One word can make a world of difference in the life of someone who is experiencing grief… I know it would have for me.
Program Coordinator, Henry Ford SandCastles