Suicide has impacted my life and changed me as a man. I like to think of these changes as ultimately positive and significant learning experiences along my own journey. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the lion’s den suicide loss put my family and myself through. Some days I like to revisit the mental images of the past when we were all kids. Life was simple and fun. The sun was always shining. Everything to me was perfect. Death and the kind of death suicide is was as unheard of as another Earth in our solar system and as distant as Pluto.
I don’t like to revel in the past too much, but looking back to childhood and where I am now and where we are as a family since my brother’s death – change is the one constant. For better or worse – life keeps moving. For those that have suffered suicide loss – change is deep, change is scary, change brings about resistance, change isn’t always welcomed, change shifts dynamics and change invites the truth.
I don’t know what my life would look like if my brother was still alive. His death changed everything. For years I would silently curse his name and feel the ever-constant surges of anger pulse in my veins. That was when I couldn’t accept change. That was when I didn’t want to change.
This stuff changes you. I don’t mean it changes the essence of who you are. But I mean it exposes and unlocks other parts of you that you’ve buried, that you haven’t explored, that you haven’t opened up to or discovered yet. I believe the invitation is there for greater self-discovery, but I understand not everyone wants that. We cling to the past. The past seems safer than today and tomorrow. In the past we could have saved that life we lost…or so we keep telling ourselves on rewind.
There’s no going back unfortunately. All we can do is be here now and come to grips with the changes in our life after suicide. Changes within your family, your relationships, how you think and feel and changes within you – deep down inside. That place which is always connected to your lost one…the level of the soul.
I don’t know what my life would look like if my brother was still alive. His death changed everything. For years I would silently curse his name and feel the ever-constant surges of anger pulse in my veins. That was when I couldn’t accept change. That was when I didn’t want to change. Now, it’s a different story. I can’t imagine my life any other way. Not because everything is dream perfect, but because I feel myself growing into the person I am. The “I am” has of course always been there, but for not Mitch’s death that truth within myself may never have been fully discovered. Maybe a lot later in life or maybe not at all…maybe in the next one.
His change and his transition from the physical plane into the realm of spirit, was also my change and my transition from an old self of mental images to my new self…a self reconnected to spirit – a place where everything feels right.
Below are 5 ways suicide changed me as man:
1. Suicide made me more compassionate.
I understood a deeper type of suffering and in that understanding I became more empathetic towards others and myself. I new kind of love emerged – one that was genuinely interested to helping others. I could only imagine what it would be like for those that are seriously lost in the dark. I began to explore my relationship with my brother and how he must have felt. Doing so – he opened me up and helped me grow.
2. Suicide showed me the door to greater self-love and understanding.
It wasn’t overnight that’s for sure. In processing my own suffering and emotions that come with suicide loss, I had a stronger appreciation and gratitude for the life I had been gifted. I learned to love myself in different ways and be more accepting of the man I wanted to be, free of self-criticism, judgement or what anyone else thought. Faith in God and myself was restored.
It helped me understand what other suicide survivors must be going through and how we must be a support system for each other.
3. Suicide showed me life is about giving.
It wasn’t only my brother’s passing that taught me this, but I feel like it was definitely amplified. We all know how great it feels to give unconditionally. Love is expansive and meant to be shared – when we operate in conjunction with this law of the universe – life has a delicious aroma to it. And when we do see someone in need or suspect something is wrong – the gift of a phone-call, an interaction, a check-in, a hug, a smile or a hand could be enough to spark a new beginning for someone hurting.
4. Suicide gave me confidence to speak up and talk about it.
I don’t want suicide and mental health or anything serious for that matter to be swept under the rug. Those were the dark ages. In 2015 – we talk as men, as a community and as a culture. These issues need to be talked about both privately and in the public arena. The bigger the voice and the more constant and open the dialogue, the more lives that can be changed, transformed and potentially saved.
5. Suicide made me want to be a leader.
When I lost my brother I didn’t know where to turn. I thought the rest of my life would be a downhill struggle. However, over the years I have come to know my life as a gift. There has never been another me that has walked this planet. Just like you reading this, I am unique, I come to this world with special qualities that make me who I am. I derive from the same source, the same love that brought us all here. The same love, just a different recipe – an individual whose job is to share that divine recipe with the world. My brother sparked the leader within me – one of many lessons he taught me and one I hope that inspires you today.
Live from love,
p.s I’d love to hear from you guys with any comments or questions. Please feel free to leave your thoughts below on this article or anything you’d like to discuss.