...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Friday, October 5, 2012

I remember this story

Yesterday, I read a book called "Waiting" by Carol Lynch Williams. 

It was a unique and melancholy read.  I have to write a review for it for the newspaper and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to say about it yet.  My heart is still a little bit raw.

This book has a very distinctive format which makes it a very quick read and gives it a choppy, halting feel...

Which is appropriate given the topic, which is a girl dealing with the suicide death of her brother. 

And I remember this story.  I remember it from my life.

I didn't have a brother who died, but one of my best friends in high school did.  Her younger brother, Sean, through a series of sad events, accidentally killed himself.  It was horrific and terrible. 

I have seen first hand the darkness that pain that squelches a family when something like this happens.  It tore them savagely from the inside out.  There are no words to tell someone who hasn't seen it how palpable the despair is.  I know that even though I watched from the front of the sidelines, I don't really understand the pain either because some things you can't fully comprehend without having gone through them.  Honestly, these are feelings I am grateful that I don't know.

To a large degree I lost my friend.  I lost her because I couldn't reach her anymore.  There was a chasm between us that I didn't know how to get over and neither did she.  We were trapped.

I tried to help, but I couldn't go where she was.  I didn't want to abandon her to face this alone, but she wasn't in a place to let me in.  I was sad that I couldn't be there for her.  I felt so so helpless and out of place, but that is nothing to what she was feeling and I always wished I could have been the kind of friend to help her when she really needed help.  I don't know what I should have done, but I wish I had done it.  I loved her, I still love her.  I wanted to walk by her side and hold her hand, but that just didn't work and so after a while I left her to ache all alone.  She pulled in and closed off and I didn't know what to do.  I guess I wasn't much of a friend after all.

Like the characters in this book, no one knew how to talk to her or what to say -- so many people just said nothing and I'm sure that made things worse. Also like the characters in this book, a boy who really cared about her (he lived next door to her) really helped to pull her through.  He was an angel who drove fast cars on the salt flats. 

Reading this book and being pulled back into those memories was like walking a road with an old friend, one that you loved, but didn't necessarily miss once it was gone.  It reminded me of things that were bittersweet to remember. 

My heart aches for anyone who has been touched by this kind of tragedy.  There are just no words to soothe something so heartrending.  "I'm sorry."  "I miss him."  "What can I do?"  They are hollow, even when they are full of concern and care.  Sometimes even the most loving cup of kindness has holes punched in the bottom.

Those are the times when there is no answer but the Savior.  His love and mercy can heal ALL wounds.  His atonement for us is deeper than the deepest sorrow.  That doesn't mean there is no suffering, but it does mean that He will help us through no matter the situation if we will trust Him.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind today.  It isn't particularly pleasant, but sometimes beautiful things have a tang of bitterness to them.  For me, this book was powerful.  It touched a place in my heart that hasn't been open for many many years. And it was good to remember.


Corinne said...

So, probably Josh has talked with you about our dear friend Jason. It was astonishing what that did to my heart. Still, all these years later, it hurts. Survivor guilt. Wishing you couldn't done SOMETHING. Or even that you could've KNOWN somehow that it was so bad. I think dealing with death on any scale is so, so hard but suicide is particularly troubling. I'm actually not sure I could handle reading a book about it.

Good luck with your review, okay?

Wife Of A Salesman said...

Missy, the best thing we can do is remove the stigma and start taking about it. From a very personal standpoint and from my work I know that talking about suicide and putting a face on it is the most proactive thing we can do. Statitics show that when suicidal people are confronted by about their thoughts they are actually less likely to go through with it. I hope you can find a way to use your review as a platform for suicide awareness. I still remember the day Sean died, the heardache we all felt and him laying so small and innnocent in his baseball uniform in a casket. Some things we can never explain, some actions we can never change, but we take what we've learned and apply it to today and tomorrow. Good Luck with the review, I know you will approach it thoughtfully. Em

Manda Jane Clawson said...

We had a close family friend kill himself this year. It's so heartbreaking :( I know the YW are struggling with this right now because of classmate who did this on Tuesday. It's so awful and nothing can make it right. I am sure your friend knew you cared - you are amazing!

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