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The Road a Suicide Loss Survivor Takes

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In the early hours of August 27, 2014, I awoke screaming to the sound of knocking against my back door. As I quickly tried to gather my thoughts together through the rapidly descending mist of panic, I realized unfortunately I wasn’t dreaming. Drawing back the curtains, I saw a policeman standing on the door step; the terror felt deep inside my heart intensified exponentially.

I’m not sure how I made it to the door, my legs collapsed on me numerous times. I knew there was no way that behind the closed door lay good news. With my heart already beginning to shatter and my stomach wrenching, I somehow managed to pull down the door handle and open the door.

Standing there, frozen with terror, I was informed that the girl with whom I’d been hopelessly in love with for the past 16 months had died by suicide. I found myself, involuntarily, taking the first steps on the most harrowing and dangerous journey of my life.

A field and a dark blue sky,

I remember standing there. Cold to the bone. The concept of how much time it actually has been since then escapes my comprehension. In real world civil time, it hasn’t even been two years. Yet still, I remember standing there, left behind with a new path to follow.

It was as though I was shrouded by a thick mist, the water vapour sucking the heat from my body and soul. I couldn’t see anything. A little bit of baron ground to stand upon, but otherwise, as for anything into the future or hints of which direction to travel upon, there simply was nothing there.

I could hardly move. But I did. I had to. I remember seeing quite clearly in my mind, after only a few hours of knowing, there were two roads I could take. One of them was toward impending doom. I wasn’t prepared to take that, no matter what it took.

This doesn’t make it easy. For the first who knows how long, I slowly staggered around the moorland of what once was my life. Gradually moving along, in a rather erratic fashion.

A foggy road

Almost as if by magic, again after what felt like an enormous passage of time, a road did start to appear. My vague erratic steps brought me to somewhere. At times it kidded me into thinking it was straight. However, I’ve come to understand it’s not.

The mist is still there. Yet somehow it’s not quite so consuming, not quite so close. I feel as though I should be able to breath again, to be back to my usual, old nature. I can’t. It’s still around me, it’s not as dense, but it’s still there, sucking the heat away from my body and soul. 

This is a long road. And with absolutely no idea what’s on the horizon, it’s indeed a very lonely one, too.

There could be so much going on so close to where I am, yet I am oblivious to it all. Again, I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Trudging along.

a road with a cloudy sky in the distance, stretching through fields

Gradually though, the mist does begin to lift. I can’t quite put my finger on when exactly it was, it just did — slowly. I can see some color. I can see some form. I’m starting to understand there is this other world going on, and I can gently choose to become more of a part of it again.

I’ll pull over now and then to have a closer look. I feel like I’m starting to explore a little.

Yet this journey, this road, it still appears to be straight. Like the fences have been placed there to push me in a general direction without staying too far away.

In the distance still lies this uncertainty. The dark clouds are there. They rest in the back of my mind, leaving me always on my toes.

I’m still not sure what lies in the distance, yet I understand in my here and now, my short-term future, I can see what’s coming and I can make plans to manage it.

Finally the surprises are minimized.
a road going through farmland at sunrise

Here it is. OK, I’m not here yet, I’m still a long ways away from here, but this is my faith, my belief. I tell myself that somehow it’s really there, because I have to, it’s all part of me making that decision in the early hours. 

A world where possibilities can come flooding in. Where light enters my soul again, or indeed, when I finally allow it to enter again. Where the fences and roads are starting to become hidden as rays of light replace the mist. 

Deep down, I know this place exists. I also know that when I get there, I will be aware that beneath the rays of light lies the mist. It may be far, far, far away, but I know, all too well that it can descend again in moments. Until that time though, I continue to have faith in the place.

And so should you, keep going, you’re worth it.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Originally published: July 26, 2016
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