I lost my sister to suicide a year ago this November. Like so many other’s experience, her death was a complete shock. Hindsight torments me with my failures in recognizing what was right in front of me. I have profound anguish and grief. I feel responsible.
The details of our loved one’s despair leading to suicide are all different, but I want to share a detail in my tragedy.
My sister left a letter. It was brief. In three sentences she expressed her despair, her sorrow in leaving us. She told us she loved us. I’m sharing this extremely personal and private detail because I still ask “why?” I’m anguished and tormented. I analyze and pick apart every detail, every word in our conversations in the weeks and days leading up to this horrific tragedy.
I thought I was supportive, loving. I thought I understood her pain. We were sisters for 56 years. We were sisters who loved each other unconditionally. We were each other’s best friend. We didn’t need a big circle of friends, we had each other. We had our family. We were blessed. Nothing could separate our unconditional love for our family. And then our family woke to tragedy.
We have a letter but I still ask “why?” Why didn’t I see this? Why didn’t I see the enormity of her despair? Were my words insensitive? Did I contribute to her despair? Didn’t she understand me? Did I hurt her? I shouldn’t have said that. I should have said this. Didn’t she know how much I loved her? Why weren’t we, her family, enough? I should’ve. I would’ve. Why didn’t I? Why?
I think as survivors we want to believe if we can have just a few more pieces then we can understand. I have many of those pieces and I’m still tormented. I’m still analyzing and picking apart the details. I have a letter and I still ask “why?”