A Story About Suicide


March 7, marks the anniversary when my mom took her own life. 

That is something you never forget. I am sure many of you, who have had tragic events in your life, know how much it helps to talk about it. Talk and talk and talk until you get it out of your system. Plus in this case, since it was suicide, it may be of interest to those who know EXACTLY what it feels like. You are not alone. It happens in the best of families. Families still keep secrets. 

Here are some excerpts from things I have written. 
My sister was still alive at the time. 

I had just come back home from spending a week (and my birthday) with my 73-year-old Mom.  Our Dad had died in January of 2007 and it had been a horrible year for my Mom.  After the first anniversary, I started to witness a glimmer of hope in her.   I had planned that I would get her out - we could go thrift shopping eat out and be like the way we used to be - mother and daughter, hanging out together. 

All she wanted to do was sit in her chair, with her heating pad - with the TV on. I could not get her to budge.  When it came down to that first night, to go to bed, I started into the guest room and she told me, she wanted me to sleep with her.  OKAY, this is my Mom but I hadn't slept with her in years. But what are you going to do?  Every night I would wake up, to her saying prayers and crying to God about how much she missed my dad. I would pretend I was sleeping. 

You'd have to know how my mother was - she was a narcissist and manipulative. So her crying out to God, didn't feel sincere. Every evening she would pressure me about leaving my husband who she did not like - told me I could do better. She wanted me to leave my husband and come up here and take care of her. She was only 73. She was working me.  

*She didn't like my husband because she couldn't manipulate him like she did my first husband. 

As the days went on, we had some soul-searching talks and shared many things that I am grateful for, to this day. I shared Christ with her - She wasn't all that receptive.   I knew she was hurting and I only had a few days left before I returned home to my husband. I couldn't wait to get out of there. 

When it was time for me to go, we shared a Fudgsicle. She  asked me, 

"do you like to bite it or lick it or suck it?"

I tend to bite it Ma. 

"I like to lick it"

Okay, Mom. We laughed. And that was it. The last time we spoke. 

The TimeLine
  • I returned home on the 3rd.  I tried calling her but no answer.  
  • The 4th came and went. 
  • Then it was the 5th - my sister's birthday. I figured they would talk.  
  • Nothing on the 6th. I had a feeling of dread. I phoned my sister and asked her if she had talked to Mom. She told me, that Mom never called her so at 9pm that night on the 5th, she called and the phone rang and rang, and finally Mom picked up the phone. Mom had been mad at my sister for quite some time - Donna lived closer to Mom than I did but never came by to see her. Mom would ask her and my sister would say she was busy or had to work - it had been since our Dad's death in Jan 2007 since she had last seen our Mom. So yeah, Mom was bitter and resentful and downright MAD at her. 

Donna likes to joke a lot and often lacks better judgment in choosing her words or just spits out her thoughts without thinking.  It had just been 18 months prior,  that her 3rd husband had overdosed and died on their wedding anniversary. So she jokingly said to Mom:

" Gee, I thought you were pulling a Rick but on my birthday."

My sister said, that made Mom furious at her and she quickly got off the phone. That was the evening of the 5th of March. (Donna's birthday) Even I was surprised that my sister said that but I kept it to myself. It is interesting to note, that every anniversary, my sister would call me - drunk and crying and remorseful of saying what she did to Mom, thinking she may have caused her ridiculous suicide - only the person responsible for a suicide is the person. 

We kept calling all throughout the day on the 6th and no answer.  We just figured Mom was mad at her and many times, she would lump us two together and would be mad at me too. 

I couldn't sleep well that night so the next day, the 7th - I called my sister and said I was calling Mom's doctor because I remembered that she had an appointment with them yesterday. I was just doing the follow-up before I really started to get concerned.  To my complete shock, when I called them, they said she never showed up. That was not like my Mom. I then called my sister back, telling her I was going to call the local police here and have them do a welfare check. Donna did not want to do that because she's thinking, Mom is mad and that this will only piss her off more.  

I did it anyway. I was always in the doghouse with Mom. Sometimes I even enjoyed it. 

That in itself took 2-3 hours - me being 250 miles away.  Phone calls were coming in, asking for permission to break a window. My sister wanted nothing to do with it. They heard Mom's 2 little dogs frantically barking.  2 days of newspapers were on her driveway - Then we waited. The police finally called. I kinda had already had that feeling that she had died...but of natural causes - but she was healthy. No heart disease, diabetes nothing - just a broken heart.  

The coroner told us, she had been dead since March 5-6, the estimated time of death around 12:30 am on the 6th.  Just a couple of hours after she talked with my sister. She shot herself in the head. 

We'll never know - Was it the insensitive comment made by my sister?  Was it because I started to get annoyed with her that last week? Was it because she was going to have to take her driver's test in a month? Was it because she had run out of her Darvon and Vicodin? No wine in the house? Was it because she just couldn't live without our dad? 

We rushed up here that day - went straight to the coroner's office and picked up my Mom's purse and the keys to the house.  The dogs had been taken to the local shelter. We came into the house - it was dark. I could smell my Mom's cologne.  On her bed, were VHF tapes of our old movie films, growing up. She had our pictures - and then there was the blood on the bathroom floor. 

The kitchen still had a few plates in the sink, which she had used prior.   The clocks were still clanging and striking every hour - it was so lonely and cold to be in that house.

In the days and weeks after, (we moved in)  I would find notes left around the house, tucked here and there, addressed to my sister and me - telling us what horrible daughters she thought we were - and how dad was the only one who ever loved her.  Many of these notes were written years before. 

Donna and I are okay. Mom was in emotional pain and wanted to be with Dad. 

That is the thing about suicide - it leaves the rest of us here to try and figure it out. And while I am at peace and so is my sister, at times we do have our moments, where we start to wonder once again - what it was, that did it. I once mentioned in a suicide grief support that I felt suicide is the ultimate F You from the deceased to us.  The gift that keeps on giving...the wondering, the whys. 

I'm a pro-active person so I immediately contacted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.   And because I don't believe in "keeping the family secrets" I ordered bracelets and gave everyone a packet of suicide information at her memorial service. And yes, I received some flack - and a lot of stink eye from the old women but I didn't mind. I knew I was doing the right thing. 

For a few years, I would go to cities where they had Out of the Darkness marches.  And then like it should be, life has a way of filling up those times and you start to live again. 

I do want to say, she really was the best Mommy.  It seems after she had her hysterectomy, around the time I moved out and got my own apartment, she got addicted to painkillers and valium. She was 39. She never admitted it but the rest of us knew. This was around the time I was 19 (1973)  That's when her personality changed. At least I was out of the house but my poor sister, who is 5 years younger than me, was in her high school years. Many times, I would pick up my sister from school and take her to my apartment for a few days. Just so she could get away from Mom. 

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