Anniversary

Thursday, July 31, 2014
One year ago today, the Parker Police Department came to our door to tell us that our daughter was dead, having taken her own life the night before.

And I would be lying if I claimed this last year has been anything other than tortuous.

My grief is less sharp now, but it's a constant, dull ache that infuses every moment of every day. I don't remember what it feels like to not be carrying this burden, and the guilt and self-loathing that goes with it. What if I hadn't been traveling so much the last year of her life? What if I had made more of an effort to check on her, to confirm that her mental health was stable? How could I have missed this, and failed my child so profoundly, in the worst way imaginable?

I don't know the answers to these questions, and probably never will. But they haunt me every day.

Grief is a complex thing. Since Moe's death, I have grieved for her, alone in her suffering, until she could see only one terrible choice. I have grieved for Linda, her Sister of the Heart, who now has a huge hole in her own. I have grieved for the Smart Man, Moe's "Poppa," who lost his relationship with Moe just as they had come to love one another. I have grieved for all of Moe's family, whether they're my family or not, for their loss of such an amazing, gifted human being.

But now I find that most of all, I am grieving for myself. I'm grieving for the time I will never have with her. I'm grieving for the loss of the one person in this world who was "most like me." I'm grieving for the grandchildren I'll never know, her life's partner who will never be, and the satisfaction that comes with raising my daughter to be a happy, productive adult.

I've lost parts of myself, surely, parts that I may never get back. My desire to care for myself and my health. My desire to connect with others in profound and meaningful ways. My ability to love my life in all it's messiness and unpredictability. 

But most of all, I've lost the feeling that what I am is enough, that my impact on this world has been meaningful to the people I care about, and that the world is a better place for having me in it. I worked hard to achieve this personal success, and I grieve daily for its loss.

And I can't shake the feeling that all this grief and suffering is a direct result of my own failure, and could have been avoided if I had just been a better parent, a better friend, a better listener. But I wasn't, and now she's dead, and it's too late.

I know intellectually this isn't my fault. She was a grown woman, responsible for her own life and health, who used her own agency to make her own decisions.

But I wish someone could tell my heart.

14 comments:

Anne C. said...

Hearts are notoriously obstinate in keeping to their (often) messed up reality.

You already intellectually know that we don't agree with what your demons tell you, so I'll skip that and tell your heart...

We love you so much, Janiece, and grieve with you and for the Janiece-that-was. You are always in our hearts. We treasure you as you were (in our memories, that Janiece and that Moe will live on) and as you are. Because even damaged and fragile, you are a stunningly amazing being.

<3 <3 <3 Bottomless heaps of hugs <3 <3 <3

mattw said...

I don't know what else I can say other than I'm truly sorry for your loss and what that has meant for you over the last year.

Just remember there are people that love you and care about you and think of you often.

Hugs all around.

Random Michelle K said...

I love you and I wish I could help you bear this burden.

Stacey said...

Ditto what Anne said. Love you then, now and always.

Shawn Powers said...

Hugs and more hugs. Words can't take away the sting, but you have lots of people who love you and wish we could.

vince said...

Love you my friend. ((HUGS))

John said...

Dear Janiece,

My heart is with you. We lost our beautiful girl 4+ years ago, and I remember so clearly how it was for me for the first year. I never forget, and I know you never will... but we learn to live with it.

They are always in our heart, they are.

<<<<<>>>>>

anissa_roy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. You do have a positive impact on the world, in part for one random stranger down in FL who's been inspired since the day I found your blog. And I wish I could assure you that Moe's death was not your fault.

Speaking as someone who's suffered from depression most of her life, and who has been suicidal in the past, my own mom never knew either. I kept it from her. I invented elaborate ways to hide how I felt and mask the outward symptoms. I never knew Moe, but if she was as brilliant as you, she could have done the same.

I don't have a good reason why I kept my mom from knowing. I would've said back then that I didn't want her to see how screwed up I was. Daughters want to make their moms proud, not scared, and maybe shame was part of it.

Maybe some of it was the disease itself. Depression felt like I had no energy or motivation to do anything. On some level, maybe I knew that if Mom found out how bad things really were, she would never rest until she got me help. And at that point I didn't want help, I wanted to be left alone ... by everyone.

I survived by a margin so narrow it scares me to this day. And reading about your grief is part of the reason why I'm on medication now. Even though in the last few years I've been better, I don't ever want to get to that point again.

I don't presume to know what your daughter was thinking, but maybe something of my own experience could be helpful, which is why I wrote here. All I know for sure is that my heart aches for you.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

The ache is there, it ebbs and flows. But anniversaries open up the wound again. So take the time to remember all the good things as well. I'd tell you to stop thinking you were the cause, but we're funny people and feelings don't respond well to logic.

Take care and know you've got people thinking of you.

Dr. Phil

Phiala said...

You are an amazing woman and I love you. If only that were good for more.

David said...

The human mind keeps a damnably accurate calendar, doesn't it?

I wish you peace, I wish you hugs, I wish you sunshine in the morning and fair winds in the night. None of that changes the past, nor should it. But know that you are loved and not alone, not now, not ever.

Megan said...

Hugs and much love, my friend.

Beatrice Desper said...

Hugs from France from an e-fan. Your blog inspires me!

MAW said...

*hugs*