Sometimes I don’t go the extra mile to reflect out loud on the blog–the words & thoughts instead spill out on Facebook. Here are some reflections from 2015…. I don’t really expect you to read them all. I suppose I simply wanted to keep them somewhere safe… evidence of my journey for future reference.

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12/30/15
In this New Year, heal the rifts that you can… the fractured relationships that can be repaired in safety, with love and forgiveness. Be brave and take the first step. It’s scary and hard, it’ll leave you feeling vulnerable. But I was blessed to share almost 3 and 1/2 more years with my father before he died. And he left this world ( I pray) knowing that I loved him and I know he loved me. And in the midst of all of this pain, I cling to that. Forgiveness isn’t always possible. It isn’t always safe or healthy. But where it is, embrace it. Because living with regret, words unspoken, faults & fights unforgiven, relationships unhealed and time not spent loving those who matter to us… Well, that would be the greatest loss of all.

12/29/15
2015–the last year I had a father…. I know, I know–some will say I still have a father, that he is with me always–but I’ll never again say “Happy New Year” to him or hear him say “I love you.” There will never be another hug, another kiss, another laugh–no new memories to be made, shared & treasured. So yeah, 2015–the last year I had a Dad. And it breaks my heart….

12/27/15
Watched “The Way We Were” with Fred and our girls tonight. One of my favorite movies of all time. Couldn’t help but to be struck by the line in the song “Memories”… “What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget”… If only it were that easy… One day it’ll be “the laughter we will remember” instead of the pain… One day…

12/27/15
In this year to come… My most fervent prayer is that I can help inspire greater and more open dialog about mental illness & suicide. May 2016 be the year we stop whispering about it, relegating to the shadows those living with mental health struggles, those who’ve attempted suicide, those who are contemplating suicide and those of us living with suicide loss. It’s time my friends. May 2016 allow me to be a part of that effort and to make meaning of my father’s death

12/26/15
Some days the words roll off of my tongue and utter disbelief still follows, eight months later. My father killed himself. My father died by suicide. My father took his own life. I have sudden flashes of horrible imagery, I have flashbacks to the moment my life changed forever… and admittedly, for a brief moment I want to convince myself it’s just a bad dream. None of it reconciles with the smiling pictures I look through… 2015 unleashed a tsunami of pain, grief, trauma and loss. I pray 2016 will bring more joy, healing and light… day by precious day. And one day, I hope I’ll think of him and smile, maybe even laugh…even if it’s through tears.

12/20/15
Dear Dad,
Eight months ago today, despair, depression and anxiety took you from us. I still don’t know where to file how you died, the manner, the reason, the self-infliction of it all. I’m trying to learn simply to live with it.
But the missing… After eight months it feels more palpable, not less… more real, more final… And it simply breaks my heart and makes me so very sad. You were loved Dad… I pray you knew that even in the midst of such pain. And for the record, you were wrong… We are not better off without you here…
Eight months later… I hurt, I miss and I love you. I carry you with me. Always…

12/14/15
Today I found myself thinking about a certain moment with my Dad. It was a couple of weeks after Noa was born. We had already learned about her congenital heart defects, and we’d been trying to get her bigger, stronger, more physically ready for the major open heart surgery that would need to be performed. My parents were visiting our house in Connecticut. The phone rang. It was Noa’s cardiologist. We knew that despite our best efforts, Noa was losing weight and he called to tell us that the most recent tests revealed that Noa was in full blown congestive heart failure. The surgery needed to be scheduled as soon as possible. I remember so vividly, hanging up the phone with him and staring out of the picture window in our kitchen, tears just rolling down my cheeks. I was so scared, so worried, and so very heartbroken. My dad came into the kitchen and silently he stood next to me, put his arm around me and stared out of that window with me. Not a word was spoken, but so much was said. It was his presence that gave me comfort in that moment. Maybe I’ve been thinking about that particular moment because we are around the time the phone call would’ve come. The anniversary of the surgery, just nine days from now. And maybe because, in my sadness, it is his presence, his just being here, that I miss the most. And perhaps it’s the intermingling of memories of a precious life we almost lost and the stark reality of the one we did–whatever it is–I close my eyes and remember. And I feel him, if only for a moment–and I miss him….

12/13/15
Another thing I’ve learned, grieving a suicide loss… TV is ripe with casual references and jokes about “killing oneself” or blasé remarks about shooting or hanging oneself etc. it’s on dramas, comedies and reality shows alike… Here’s the thing… It’s not funny at all and it serves not only as a trigger, but an indication of the lack of seriousness we as a nation put towards suicide loss and prevention. Perhaps it was always there, perhaps I’m simply keenly aware of it now, on television, in books or in casual conversations. Whatever it is… we all need to learn to choose our words far more wisely when it comes to this topic. Because it is no laughing or casual matter…

12/13/15
Lessons I’ve learned on being a friend to someone in grief…you need to have a long, long attention span & keep showing up well beyond the initial loss. And if the loss is a traumatic one…buckle up and accompany your friend on the long, arduous journey ahead. Your ongoing presence may be the greatest gift you ever give them…..

12/5/15
I think it’s fair to say that a tsunami of grief snuck up on me and swallowed me whole today… Didn’t see it coming. Just trying to get ready for the holidays.. but I suppose that was all the opening that grief needed. A mug thrown across the kitchen and shattered everywhere, primal screams for my dad and a tearing open of the fragile scab that calmer waters, only days before, had allowed to begin forming, or so I thought. I miss my Dad. I miss the me that I was before his suicide. I miss the mom that I was, the wife that I was, the whole unwounded and strong version of myself. I want to outrun and outwit grief, but I keep ending up on the losing side of that game… My puffy eyes, hoarse voice and battered heart are what’s left today. I try to make the holidays celebratory, to fill them with life and meaning for my family. And then the pain reminds me..that I cannot simply will it away, in the midst of this year of firsts without my father. I want to remember him without so much sadness. I’m tired. It’s been a long hard journey. I want a “Get out of grief” card that lets me skip around the hard stuff and go straight back into the land of the living. He’s not coming back. There will never be another holiday together. I cannot rewrite his tragic ending. I’m learning to live with it. I have to. But some days the painful lessons of learning and of loss, can truly bring me to my knees…

12/1/15
It may seem like a small and minuscule accomplishment to some, but seven and a half months after my father’s suicide, I finally maintained the focus and attention span to read, remember, follow and finish a book. Sure it was a light read, a bit of fluff and predictable…but that’s what I needed. Sometimes it’s the little things…..

 

11/21/15
Today is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. A day I once never knew existed. A day I never thought would include me, my mother, my brother and our families. But it does… According to the CDC it is estimated there is a median of between 6 and 32 survivors directly impacted from a suicide death. Get to know us. Be open to our stories. Don’t claim to know how we feel if you are not a survivor, just give us the room to feel and express it all. Love us, be patient with us, understand that we are forever altered. Be present long after the initial loss, we will need that. I am grateful to my loving village. I’ve never once walked this journey alone. I am a survivor. I am surviving and one day I will again do more than that. Until then, one day, one breath, one minute at a time I face the grief and the trauma. The hardest journey I’ve ever been on…

11/20/15
Dear Dad,
It’s been seven months since you died. And I just want you to know how much I miss you and how much I love you. If love were enough to save you, you’d still be here. But it wasn’t… Still, I hope you knew it. I hope you felt it. Even in those dark final moments of despair.
And I hope and pray every day that you are at peace. That your soul is healed. And that you are held each day in God’s loving embrace.

11/18/15
My therapist said that sometimes it is okay to acknowledge my grief and feelings of trauma, and then to tell them that I’m too weary, too tired or just not up for engaging them at that moment. Instead, at times I must give myself permission to tend to and be kind to myself. To do something that is relaxing, calming or enjoyable just for me. That is how I can sustain myself through this complex, painful and multi-layered grief work. I’ve resisted this before, feeling I must always be ready to engage the grief and feelings of trauma, so I can move through and past them. But almost seven months in, I’m tired, I’m weary and I’m emotionally exhausted. If I’m to keep going through this muck and mud, if I’m to keep picking up the pieces, I must refuel myself along the way. It isn’t ignoring the grief, it isn’t getting stuck, it isn’t lazy… It is tending to my bruised and battered spirit. Allowing it to rest awhile. Allowing nothingness, calmness and quiet to prevail for just a moment in time … And so today, I colored and I read. An easy to follow book, with no trauma, violence or the triggers that are so abundant in the shows I once found easy to watch. I lost myself for a little while. I looked away from grief. I looked away from suicide, from loss, from my father and I gave myself peace and quiet. Being kind to myself isn’t always easy for me. But I’m learning and I’m trying.

11/15/15
Yes, there were the more predictable moments that made me cry today at CU’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. The Sabbath Prayer & Sunrise, Sunset… But the moment that snuck up on me and quietly took my breath away & filled my eyes with tears was when Tevye is saying goodbye to Hodel at the train station. She embraces her father with so much emotion and says, “God only knows when we will see each other again Papa.” And Tevye tearfully replies, “Then we shall leave it in his hands.” I did not get to say goodbye, there was no final embrace. I sometimes worry and wonder if I told my father in that final phone call, that I loved him. I think I did. I hope I did… Yes, the story had moments that made me smile and remember, and moments that have always made me cry… But that moment today seemed somehow more painfully poignant… Because that one touched upon what I miss most..knowing that I’ll see my father again

11/6/15
Since my father’s suicide, I often liken myself to Humpty Dumpty after the fall. I am still in the process of picking up the pieces, fragments of my former self. My daughter reminded me that Humpty Dumpty is really a tragedy, as she is studying in her Lit class. He was never able to be repaired. Not with all the King’s horses and all the King’s men. Me? My army is stronger than the King’s. As I journey through this traumatic loss, as I piece together a new me, I am supported, cared for, loved and nurtured by an incredible family, a community of great compassion, and a village of women that I am blessed, truly blessed, to call my friends. Humpty Dumpty was a tragedy. I know tragedy. I am surviving one, day by day, sometimes minute by minute. But I know, even on my darkest day, that I will never be left in my brokenness. My wounds will never be left untended. If Humpty Dumpty had been as lucky as me in that regard, perhaps his story would have ended differently. So once again, I give thanks for the love, the unconditional and unwavering love that surrounds me. I give thanks for the daily texts and messages that light up my phone from the friends who just want to see how I am doing, to let me know that I am being thought of, that they are present and ready anytime that I need them. To discover friends like that, in the midst of darkness, in a new place, is a blessing. And today and every day, my breath, my strength, my hope… comes from my daughters and my husband. They sustain me, they hold me, they make me smile and they believe in my capacity to heal, even when I don’t. I still feel like Humpty Dumpty after the fall. But one day I won’t. I will gather the broken pieces and create a new mosaic.

11/5/15
Sometimes I wish those who love, know, care for or simply wish to be present for survivors of suicide loss, could be flies on the wall of a support group meeting. Because the shared stories of the things people say and do, in an attempt to convey compassion and caring in the aftermath of a suicide loss, so often miss the mark and hurt more than they heal. Suicide loss is loss plus trauma. It is a uniquely painful loss as our loved ones died at their own hands. I can only hope that as I’ve shared my journey through the aftermath of my father’s suicide, I’ve helped to sensitize people to what that loss looks and feels like and how to be with someone through every step of the complex and traumatic grief we, the survivors, face each and every day. Because in the course of a single moment, each of us in that room last night, had our worlds, hearts and souls shattered. Each acknowledged that we would never be the same. Each acknowledged that our kind of loss scares people and makes them uncomfortable. So many turn away… Making those who stay in it with us for the long haul, who don’t try to fix it with platitudes and encouragement to chin up and move on after some fixed amount of time, who stand in the silence, listen, hold us and tell us we are not alone, who love us in all of our brokenness, those people are a true blessing, gift and source of light in the darkness. Perhaps more than we can ever convey. And I wish every rabbi there today at the URJ biennial had a chance to be trained in mental health first aid and traumatic loss care… My own husband is getting real life training in this every day. And when we need our faith most, our faith leaders should know how to care for us…because every person in that room last night faced or is still facing, a crisis of faith. Who will help us through that?

11/4/15
Another painful first done. Today, another one comes. The first time Fred Greene is going away since my father’s suicide. “When you’ve been traumatically left, all leaving is hard.” The wise and insightful words of a dear friend. Deep breaths Deborah… It’ll be okay.

10/30/15
Sometimes the hardest part of traumatic grief is finding the words to name what you feel. Fred Greene will be going to Biennial next week, the day after my dad’s birthday. And I am struggling with lots of anxiety about it. Vivid disturbing dreams every night. In each I suddenly lose someone I love or am lost to them. My wise friend Barbara Gould helped me to name what I’ve been feeling today. She said, “When you’ve been traumatically left, all leavings are hard. ” I’ve been thinking about that all day. I felt overwhelmed with sadness and a sense of loss when my mom went home from her visit as well. I think it’s so very true. “When you’ve been traumatically left, all leavings are hard. ” Sometimes at least knowing and identifying the feelings allows me to feel that I’m not simply falling apart or coming undone. It helps me understand what is at the core of my struggle. What I do with that? Well, that is what therapy is for…

10/29/15
Confession. Sometimes I add to the burden of my own grief by worrying that people will tire of me, my sadness, my struggles and my stories. Another confession… Sometimes I find myself seeking forgiveness, asking for patience, asking people not to give up on me. One more confession, I wish I could just give myself the permission, trust in the relationships and live out my grief in the ways that most honor myself, my loss, and the life that I am trying to piece together in the aftermath of my father’s suicide. I wonder why doing that is so hard? I hope I can one day convince myself that my burden is heavy enough without the self imposed weight that I so readily add to it.

10/28/15
A little PSA from a suicide loss survivor… Please don’t use the term “political suicide” because no matter what happens in a campaign, if a candidate can wake up the next morning, draw in a breath, hug their loved ones, get dressed and start again… It’s not a suicide. Suicide ends a life. Aspirations and goals?! No. Those can be reborn and redefined. It’s that simple.

10/25/15
It’s been six months since I felt pure, unadulterated joy. But this weekend I felt and experienced it in full. I was reminded that it is still in me. I was reminded that a piece of my former self, is still there. I was reminded that healing is happening. I was reminded that to smile, laugh and be fully present in the moment feels more precious and meaningful because of where I’ve been and what I’ve been through. And I am grateful beyond words for that gift. It is truly the icing on the cake of a very sweet and celebratory weekend.

10/23/15
Sometimes the clouds of grief part for a while and allow a ray of sunshine to come in. And so it is today, the rains have stopped & the sun is shining. And I choose to believe that my father is looking down very proudly on his son-in-law as the installation Shabbat weekend gets ready to begin. He was so overjoyed that Fred got this position and that our family was moving to a place filled with such beauty and splendor. So even in the midst of my struggles, I will believe that he is with us in spirit, a proud father & father-in-law.

10/21/15
Okay Grief, you weren’t quite ready to step aside today. My heart remained heavy, the tears readily fell, the ache in my soul was palpable all day long. I didn’t smile much, I didn’t say much, maybe I didn’t even accomplish much. I got up, I exercised, I took a shower, I shopped for nutritious foods for my family, I snuggled with my doggies, talked & cried with my mommy and listened to my daughters tell me about their days. Dinner was at a restaurant, but it was a chance to grab some time with my husband. I wrote and now, I head to the couch to lose myself in the land of television shows. Maybe yesterday took me 15 steps back, maybe today I was stuck in place, maybe tomorrow I’ll inch forward again. I gave today all I had. I tried to simply be with you Grief, to feel you, acknowledge you and coexist peacefully. Goodnight Grief. Tomorrow, well, tomorrow I try again. I’m hopeful there will be some baby steps in me come the morning…

10/20/15
Dear Grief,
On this six month anniversary of my father’s death, I think it’s fair to say you kicked my ass. The gentle scab that had barely begun to form was torn away, the wound exposed and vulnerable, the pain, sadness and anguish seemed like a tsunami. And the anger, oh the horrible anger… But at day’s end, there is mostly the missing, the constant disbelief and the lonely feeling that comes with carrying this kind of loss. Suicide loss. Grief, today you win. The white flag is up, and I fully surrendered to it. But just so you know, battered & bruised, and with the wound fully open once again–I will get up, put one foot in front of the other and journey forward through your mucky, muddy & sucky path. I am strong… when I cry, when I laugh, when I hurt, when I heal, when I fall and when I get up… I am strong. It might not feel that way today. But tomorrow is another day…
Sincerely,
Me

10/26/15
A daughter with autism, a daughter with life threatening congenital heart defects, family estrangement… It’s not been a world or life without profound challenges. But grieving, surviving and learning to live with my father’s suicide is the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever had to do… So perhaps it’s time I give myself some credit for the strength I’ve shown every day that I get up, get dressed and put one foot in front of the other. And perhaps it’s time to be kinder to myself on this long, hard and profoundly painful journey.

10/4/15
My fingers lay on the keyboard, not sure in which direction to go. My eyes stare at the screen, searching for what to say. I have no poetic words, no eloquence to share. The strength it took to get through yesterday’s walk, has taken leave. And in it’s place, a profound and primal sadness has set in. I want my Daddy. I miss him so much.

10/5/15
I’m writing through tears. Such an emotional day. Our first Out of the Darkness walk, in loving memory of a precious father and grandfather lost to suicide. His picture placed on the Memory Tree, amidst leaf after leaf of beautiful smiling faces, all of whom took their own lives. Smiles stolen by pain, suffering and anguish. We could not have gotten through today, were it not for the friends who walked alongside of us. Thank you to our team, our friends… Lauren Edelstein Park Laurie Weiss Bernstein Barbara Gould Daniel Packman Rachel Pred Gehr Joy Pulitzer and Shari Blake Schnee I’ve been crying for a good half hour now, I cried much of the morning, and I held my girls through their tears. But we did it. Step by heartbroken step. We walked surrounded by love. Thank you.

10/2/15

Dear Dad,
We did it. Yael Greene Leora Greene and I met our goals for the Out of the Darkness Walk. Our team total, $7,718 will go towards programs that support suicide prevention awareness, advocacy and research. Tomorrow, on the Jewish Sabbath, we pray with our feet, hand in hand with friends & members of our new community. Before the walk begins, your granddaughters and I have been invited to go up on the stage and release butterflies, along with some of our fellow survivors. I’ll think of you in this picture, an image of better & brighter days, and though I’m certain the tears will be flowing, with each butterfly I will be sending you my love. And on their wings, I hope that my love will reach you. I am devoted Dad. I have decided it is my mission now, to fight for a world without suicide. I want to take all that I have learned, and all I have yet to learn, to make meaning of your death. I want to spare another family the pain ours now carries. Tomorrow we walk Dad. We walk for you. We miss you so very much. We hope that we have made you proud. And we are beyond grateful to each and every person who has given along the way. Suicide can be prevented. I only wish, we could have prevented yours.

9/25/15
If ever you want to know why I write, why I share my journey so openly & honestly, why I will not stop writing about suicide loss and mental health-here is a response someone offered on my blog yesterday.
“I want you to know that you are helping me heal my grieving soul. My mother took her own life (also very violent). Its been over 10 years and I still think of her everyday and I still weep often. Your writings mirror my brokenness, but at the same time, I think it is helping me heal. Will it get better for you? I can only hope it will be less acute as time moves on. Thank you also for helping to bring mental illness out from the silence.”

9/22/15
It is Yom Kippur. A time to confess our sins….
40,000 Americans die by suicide each year.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds.
An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors
Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for adults ages 18-65.
There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes.
Colorado has the 7th highest suicide rate in the country.
Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment.
For the sin of complacency….
We dare not ask God for forgiveness….
Instead, we look within, we look around, we open our eyes and in this New Year, we dedicate ourselves to helping those struggling & lost in the darkness. When they believe they have no place in the Book of Life, we stand with them, we get them help, we offer our unconditional love & presence and we help them hold the pen, to inscribe themselves in that book. Because their story does not have to and should not end….. And asking for God’s forgiveness, as his children die, simply is not enough.

9/20/15
Some days I wish I could capture in a picture, in a word, in a story; what it looks like, feels like, hurts like to lose someone you love to suicide. Some days I wish the wounds were visible… Five months ago today my father took his own life. His pain wasn’t terminal, but he believed it was. His suffering wasn’t inevitable, but he believed it was. His storm was not without end, but he believed it was. His life was not without worth, but he believed it was. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Some days I wish I could capture the sadness in a poster, the guilt in a hashtag, the regret in a song. What would my billboard look like if I could make you see? Would I convince you that no one is immune? Would I convince you to start the conversations in your homes, your schools, your houses of worship. Would my rallying call be enough to shake you, to wake you, to implore you, to beg you to take away the shame..to demand better access to care, to not give up on someone who is suffering? To ask the hard questions, to not pretend you have the simple answers… If I could show you, would my struggle make more sense? A self-murderous act took my father from me. I can’t show you what that feels like. He died at his own hand. The wounds are only visible in my tears. The heaviness a palpable background to each and every day! I can’t show you… I can only tell you. I hope my words impart my truth. I hope my words enlighten, teach, touch and inspire. I hope you can receive them, honor them and hear them. I hope the words I speak, type, pray and share make a difference… Because I never thought it would happen to us. Never! But it did. And the wounds that can’t be seen, do not hurt any less.

9/14/15
Cried my way through services. Today will bring the same. The liturgy of these holy days so very hard. What do I do with my father’s suicide. He did not feel strong enough, worthy enough, brave enough, to inscribe himself in the Book of Life. Who shall live and who shall die? The words only wound me further… I am grateful though, profoundly grateful, for the friends who do not leave me alone in my pain and my tears… These holy days, these painful firsts, the imagery of his death alongside the imagery of the text, cause my knees to buckle and my soul to hurt… There are no words to encompass what I feel… The tears say what I can’t.

9/13/15
Dear Dad,
There is now a stone in the ground that bears your name; your birth and your death. Four years ago on Rosh Hashanah Day, after a six year estrangement, you and mom received my letter. You told mom it was going to be “a blessed day.” The first steps in healing our broken family. How grateful I am that we reconciled that we had almost four years together to make new memories, share in simchas, and be present for one another in life. And how it breaks my heart and wounds my soul that you’re gone. Suicide. How can it be? I ask myself daily. I cried myself to sleep last night dad; thinking of our first embrace upon seeing each other after the letters, the phone calls, the reconciliation. We both wept as we held each other. I’d give anything to hug you again. I’d give anything to have you here with us, welcoming in a new year, watching you journey towards your own healing, renewing your sense of faith and hope. I don’t know how to pray to God on this holiday. You should’ve been inscribed in the book of life. It wasn’t “your time.” But you’re gone, a stone in the ground now bears your name. And we who loved you must continue to journey through the wilderness of this complicated and painful grief. We must continue to choose life through our pain. I cried myself to sleep last night, remembering that embrace, and my tears may be my greatest prayer on these High Holy days. The liturgy is hard to contemplate or to find comfort in. But I believe God will hear the silent prayers of my heart, my soul and my tears. I hope you will to. I cried myself to sleep. I want you here. It would’ve gotten better. I miss your voice. I miss you. I will love you always….

9/3/15
After a night of vivid nightmares and a day of crying… This morning, as we sat at the breakfast table, there was this sliver of a rainbow in the sky..amidst the morning clouds. And then I got in the car, turned it on and the words that came across the radio were, “ooh ooh child, things are gonna get easier…ooh ooh child things will get brighter.” Thank you Daddy. I think today these were your gifts to me. At least that’s what they felt like…

8/29/15
Dear Dad,
What breaks my heart most
What wakes me at night
What brings tears to my eyes
Are your final moments on earth
Your final act
The ending of your own life
It fills my mind with violent images
I see your tears
I know you suffered
Though I pray it ended quickly
I wish I knew the what the last straw was
The final burden you could no longer bear
The nail that drove you to the coffin
What happened?
What happened?
No answers come with the images
which only sharpens the pain
I miss you dad
Your death haunts me
I journey forward through the valley
I wade through the grief
And still I ask each and every day
Why did you go?
And why can’t I find the you I loved in my dreams
Why are the only images the you that I lost

8/28/15
Praying for the peaceful sleep that has eluded me. God, let not violent images of my father’s final moments enter my dreams. Grant me rest on this Sabbath eve. As we savor the sweetness of Shabbat, I am grateful for every smile my daughters came home with at the end of another school day. So much change, met with so much courage… And I am grateful for the man who stands steadfast by my side. The man who daily helps me pick up the pieces of my fractured soul. The man who carries every extra burden, so that my knees won’t buckle on this journey of grief. My love, my best friend, my heart… Fred Greene. May tonight be a sleep where my blessings quiet and quell my pain and fill my dreams with peace and quiet. This is my Sabbath prayer as I watch this beautiful sunset in this beautiful place… Amen.

8/20/15
4 months ago today. I stood in Whole Foods on a Monday morning. My cell rang. It was my brother. He was crying “Daddy’s dead. He killed himself.” I made him repeat it. It couldn’t be. He kept saying, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” How horrible it must have been to make that call. I asked, “When? How?” I fell to the floor…primal screams, crying… strangers gathered. One prayed for me, others called my husband, I remember these kind strangers discussing how they would get me home. I shouldn’t, I couldn’t drive… still others went in search of a friend who I said might be working at Whole Foods. She came and got me, she took me to the back and waited with me until Fred could come….four months ago today, a normal Monday morning became a nightmare. And, of the many, many challenges our family has faced, surviving my father’s suicide and working through the horrible, painful and complex layers of grief…has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do….

8/14/15
Dear Dad,
Everyone has left. The house is quiet. I am alone. It is Shabbat. And the permanance of your absence, your loss, is setting in. God I miss you. I miss your voice. So tonight, on this Sabbath eve-alone, I am going to watch some videos of you. Videos of happier days, family memories. I wanted to be alone with you. So I can weep out loud. I’m afraid to do it. I don’t know if I’m ready. But I need to see you in life… not simply think of you in death. I don’t know if I”m ready daddy–will the remembering make it hurt more? Will it ease some of the pain, even if only for a little? I haven’t even begun and the tears are flowing. I want so much for you to come back….but you can’t. So tonight, for the first time since your suicide, I’m going to visit with you. And I’m going to pray for some smiles & laughter, through my tears. Remembering is hard, not remembering feels harder…

8/6/15
Dad,
Today I am knee deep in a mad, angry, pissed off state of grief. No eloquent reflections to write–it would just be filled with expletives and written in all caps– like screaming, ranting & yelling at the top of my lungs–but on paper, which just won’t offer the same release as doing it for real. But doing it for real might just scare the shit out of my neighbors–so I don’t really know what the hell to do with it–it’s just simmering and I’m trying not to let it boil over–so Dad-that’s where you, me & the endless reverberations of your suicide, stand today! Oh, by the way, nightmarish dreams for me-that’s one thing. For my children, your grandchildren-well, that’s a whole other f*cking story. I mean–are you kidding me? I have nothing more to say today! At least nothing rational anyway. But then again, I’m writing you letters on Facebook because I can’t say any of this to you. Because you left. You f*cking left–so how rational am I to begin with?! So, yeah-mad! That’s all I’ve got today–because you left a mess behind here Dad. And you don’t have to do anything to help clean it up… and some days, that is so damn wrong & unfair!
Your daughter,
Deborah

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