I’ve written 5 talks trying to bend my insights to the kindness and honesty themes.
At 11:30 Saturday night, I finally decided that Dr. David can address the themes since the main talk is his arena and I will talk to you about a very unexpected set of insights I’ve received in the midst of tragedy.
It’s tragic to lose a family member when they are not yet 60 and appear to have no outward physical problems. There’s an extra layer of stress and confusion when they take their own life.
On May 17 this year (2015), our beloved Sandra drove out to the coast and ended her own life. She was living in our home. We had invited her to move in two years ago when she was struggling from deep grief for her favorite dog which only amplified her lifelong struggle with clinical depression.
Sandra and I had known each other for 31 years and lived together for 20 of them.
When a loved one suicides it frappes your thinking processes. This event ripped a cavernous hole in my life and 31 years of actions and beliefs tumbled out into my lap. The line between worlds got very blurry for me. I tried with my whole being to pull her back through every air molecule from wherever she is. I acquired the inner position of waiting for her return. The difficulty with that is that she kept not returning. If I could have stopped that process I would have. I was aware of its non-sense.
Insight number one: just as I was powerless to stop this weird waiting I was doing, Sam’s illness kept her from getting help. In a way she was powerless over her suicide. I realize that won’t be favorable to some here and I get it. And, I still feel that some mental illness is terminal, and suicide is the way one dies from it.
Insight number two: we get off of this ride only partly by our choice. There were so many things that could have stopped this from occurring that night. The police could have arrived on thescene to see if she needed help with her car. An awareness could have crossed her mind, a voice in her head, a noise outside the car. There are so many possibilities and none of them happened. So, just as I know your God is bigger than your problems, I also feel that it’s not as easy as simply deciding to take your life, there has to be total and absolute “permission,” if you will.
I’m clear that this was not her act of anger at anyone; it wasn’t a missed cry for help; neither of her notes lay any blame anywhere. It was time for the pain to end. Time to stop struggling.
And her leaving left a war in my mind. I still can’t quite comprehend it. The shock has barely worn off. And still, there are these winks from the unseen threaded through my life now that have deepened my faith and moved some points of belief into the “knowing” category:
Sam adored animals. They adored her. All her spendable cash was donated to organizations that help animals. Unbeknownst to her, my first ceremony as a minister was for the animal ministry Remembrance Day. I performed it without knowing she was headed to the coast the same day for the last time. I remembered her dog at that ceremony.
We are cared for – before we know to ask…
The very next weekend Susanne Giesseman was the guest speaker. Susanne is an evidence based medium – in other words dead people talk to her. She had only just met me and had no idea what I was dealing with. She tapped me before service and told me I had recently lost someone, and that person couldn’t tell me what was wrong while they were alive. I was amazed and comforted.
When I went to her website to try to make an appointment for a reading I saw that the waiting list was closed and that over 200 people were on it. I called her anyway explaining that I felt so lost as to how to proceed. She said she’d put me on the list. I was grateful.
A week later she called to say that she had a spot of the next day which I took without hesitating.
When she called she said she was calling from Yosemite.
Again, I was amazed. Yosemite was the place I went with Sandra 29 years earlier on our very first road trip. The reading was completely dead on (sorry for the bad pun) with facts and voice impressions that one would have had to have known Sandra in order to express them.
That incident coupled with some interesting dog-barking-at-nothing moments (which led to finding information vital to resolving her estate) bring us to Insight number three: Life is eternal – this plane here is but one part of a vast continuum.
I miss Sam, and, I’ve talked to her more now than when she was in her body. There is so much about her last year of life and the way it ended that is tragic. Right next to that is the knowing that she is free from her pain and has flown into the arms of a God that knows only good. She left her war behind for the rest of us to fight.
The final insight (to date): All we have is right now. And right now, and right now. It’s never too late to do a u-turn on your agitation and frustration and surrender to all the love and connection available in this moment. That miracle place where there is oddness, and humor, and eyes that look out and in, and home, and hands to hold, music to sing, talks to have, walks to take, things to lose, and prayers to say.
Here. Right now…