To BE or NOT to BE- Why and Wherefores

September 23, 2011 at 12:07 am 11 comments

I have hesitated to publish this post- it is a fair warning post and although extremely personal I believe it might help those who in recent days are questioning

“Why didn’t he or she call me – tell me ?”

Most people know someone or know of someone who have taken their own life. Those who are closest question

“why didn’t they …..” “I would have been there to help them”…. “get them help” ….. “why???? nothing is so bad as to end your life over”….. “I should’ve seen this coming” (

ED note : Assisted suicide and a terminal illness aside- that is a whole other topic.

In the past two years, since the death of my son, I have been in a state of a grief so overwhelming that I have no words to adequately describe the way it cripples me and yes! GUILT.

A guilt that actually is illogical – I know I did my best to help my son – I know there was nothing else I could have done – but there is still the thoughts everyday of “what if- why didn’t I try this” I bargained with fate or God or whatever, I did the take me instead deal , I would have gladly taken on his disease and pain if it meant he could live. There is a mother’s guilt that I wake in the morning and he doesn’t.

I sat by his bed. holding his hand, trying to understand what it was I was meant to do –how could I stop this from happening to my child– and how I was failing him. I KNOW logically it was out of my control – there was nothing more I could have done BUT that illogical guilt still eats at me everyday, I can no more dismiss it from my being than I can his dying.

The grief, I have written about , tried to explain its cold bone chilling ache that is part of me every hour , the sheer weight of it , how ,even after these many months, it is as debilitating as those first few days, how it eats at your very life. I have known the pain of death but none like this and the cold cruelty that followed only added to the pain and the “why didn’t I? “ guilt.

I cling on to any life line to get me though each day and night. Sometimes when it is so overwhelming I have to take a life pill. No! not drugs but I have to fight my way through my brain and emotional turbidity with logic. I focus on Nikki, Gavin , my mum, husband and friends to try to logically pull me out of the dark emotional maelstrom that engulfs me daily and nightly . Sometimes the pull of the maelstrom is stronger than logic, love and will and sometimes I am so tired of fighting its pull I don’t see how I can go on fighting.

I have tried the counselling – nothing more than a placebo in my world- the drugs- faith- works for a great many but as I have written earlier that is not my path and the experience I have had with those that profess faith and goodness in the death of my son leaves a lot to be desired and questioning .

I do know however, there are any number of people all over the world I can reach out to – who will help me through- various avenues I can take to ease the pain, they are a mere call away . I have used these life lines when I feel the grief becoming too overwhelming when I have warning of its build up.

Pain , pure physical strength sapping pain, that is what it is a cold weary mind numbing ache that you carry with you. This pain is there everyday – this losing of my son- the watching him die hourly- slipping away minute by minute – it is imprinted on my brain- every movement – every word of those last days- every beep of the monitor- every second that I was totally useless and could do nothing to stop the ebbing of his life- haunts me.

I relive those days , unbidden, over and over. The memories assault your senses as a trigger moment starts the whole thing over again- I can be driving, eating dinner, watering the garden yet be instantly transported into another time and place of such anguish.

But life goes on” – I wonder how those people who are mere acquaintances or strangers who attended the lead up to the various events this past weekend, of which I was a more than cursory participant, realized it was taking a conscious effort on my part to get through the performance that has become my life. Did they know I was dreading the question “do you have children” because it could trigger the end of “the act”? Because those that carry the enormous weight of a depression, hurt, or fear are actors. To look at us we appear OK and are dealing with……BUT that is not always the case.

Depths of Despair – by Chris Ritchey
How many times have we read after someone commits suicide?-

they seemed fine , they seemed to be handling the situation-

( whether it was bullying, loss of loved ones, loss of hope, cruelty etc. They aren’t fine they have just become very good at putting on the costume of the person the world wants them to be. I know.

Drugs– they, the professionals, prescribe drugs to help you through some of the darker days- but when the drugs wear off the emotional maelstrom comes rushing back. In my case I took the “antidepressants” and they did their work. It was very strange what these drugs did (to me at least) – the nightmares still happened – the pain was still there – the loss still as great- except somehow the drugs removed you from the event . I can only describe what happened to me with these drugs as not being split in two as I usually am now but into three –
(1)the emotional wreck– with the pain and weight of this person I have become due to the death of Chris-

(2)the logical me – the remnant of who I used to be and then

(3) the “fog” person who was watching the other two parts of me from afar and “not caring” anesthetized as I was being sliced and diced emotionally.

I know I am not explaining this very well -there is probably a clinical explanation- BUT it was bad enough being divided into two let alone three. I also felt in my case the drugs were actually causing more issues than I could handle.

Your body and brain tries to protect itself from this weight of woe as it does when the body is attacked by a illnes or virus. There are days that even the strongest mind , the most logical will in the world can do nothing to protect self.

I have been lucky – for one thing the logical me has managed to win through BUT I have been there sucked into a place so dark , so painful so blindingly emotional , you can hardly breathe with the weight of it , you want to escape its sheer agony . You just want it to STOP– you feel you can no longer endure one more minute of this overpowering anguish that floods over you like some a great wave . You fight its pull to get to the surface only to feel its great power enveloping your sanity and your sense of self .

At such a time I can tell you there is no logical thought , no

let me call my friend , let me reach out, get help

Your being puts you in a place without hope – you aren’t thinking of tomorrow or of anyone else . You are just trying to stop the crushing weight of it all, the agony of blackness – you just want it to stop.

The part of me that is life has my daughter’s face as my talisman and has pulled me from the depths on more than one occasion in these past months.

I am exposing my most intimate moments for a couple of reasons – I believe strongly those that didn’t reach out to their loved ones and “made it stop” were in such a place of pain in their own mind and body there was no room for logic or love.

Those left should not wonder

why didn’t they”?

The cause of their great pain was all-powerful – logic, love, help and hope had been overwhelmed by a black hole of hopelessness , its inky black strength the ultimate victor in life’s struggle.

To those that have suffered such a loss I hope this small insight may help, it has been difficult to write but I promised at the start of this journey not to sugar coat my thoughts.

INFINITY by Chris Ritchey

Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, death, grief, Love, personal opinion. Tags: , , , , , , .

Fleet Admiral King – the round-up coverage- Charleston Village- Lorain What are they thinking??? The thought process stops here

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dave Cotton  |  September 23, 2011 at 4:20 am

    wow . . .
    I don’t know what to say . . .
    I feel like I now have a very clear image of what you are dealing with. My heart goes out to you.

  • 2. Grammy  |  September 25, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I so want to say something, but can’t find the right words. I understand exactly where you are because I think I’m still in a similar place (maybe not as intense as yours, but still that “Place”). Your thoughts on paper help others understand how challenging it is to just go on. Thanks to you for your shoulder to lean on. Thanks for helping others know they are not alone in their struggle.

    Love and hugs

  • 3. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 25, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Apparently there is a plus side to what Churchill called “the black dog” from today’s BBC news article…..

    A Point of View: Churchill, chance and the ‘black dog’

    Churchill’s exceptional openness to intense emotion may help explain how he was able to sense danger that more conventional minds failed to perceive.

  • 4. denise aka mozart  |  September 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Wow…good grief…I was having a decent day…the thread is too dark for me…I appreciate the wisdom and the thinking and the heart it came from..but it leaves me sad..I will now look for a brighter space…we all have our dark corners….the 4 cornered room…get me out!

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 29, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Ah Denise there is noting good about grief 😉 it is a terrible thing to be in such a darkm place unfortunately for some there has only been one way out……..

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September 2011

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