I have to let winter be winter. I recently learned that my cousin ended his own life. This brought on a wide range of difficult and conflicting feelings all in the same hour: bewilderment, guilt, anger, grief, powerlessness, nostalgia, blame. I am guessing he was at first reluctant to be here, then decisive–he could not be here. I imagine a future he could have wanted. A fierce reminder that I can never know what another person is facing and to always err on the side of kindness and generosity, especially with my attention. For anyone who has experienced losing somebody to suicide, some very clear thinking from my favorite Irish salve, the late poet John O ’Donohue (excerpts FOR THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF A SUICIDE)
May your loss become a sanctuary
Where new presence will dwell
To refine and enrich
The rest of your life
With courage and compassion.
And may your lost loved one
Enter into the beauty of eternal tranquility,
In that place where there is no more sorrow
Or separation or mourning or tears.
From “To Bless the Space Between Us” (a.k.a. “Benedictus”) by John O’Donohue (C) 2007