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Chapter 19

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Chapter 19
Post Personal Apocalypse

My son was gone. I wish I could say that I felt good about it. But I was agonized. I was tormented. I’ll tell more of the story after it happened, but I think that it’s important to express the agony that I experienced through so many of those years. The proportions of the pain are tremendous. I hated the M-s, and I hated Candace, and I hated Jeff, and I hated Gail and Alex and Olga (Alex’s mother). Most of all, I hated myself.

I hated myself because I gave in. I hated myself because I listened to a stupid vision. I hated myself because I didn’t find a way to get us free. I hated myself because I felt unworthy. I hated myself for being weak. I hated myself for so many things. A deep, profound self-loathing set in that plagued me for many years. I was 21 years old at this point, and I felt so much self-loathing that I could barely function.

And I finally gave up on Christianity. For so many reasons. Partly because I could no longer have the same blind devotion I’d always had. No longer did I think it was simply a question of “my lack of faith.” I began to realize that the Bible wasn’t the word of God. And God hadn’t saved me, hadn’t protected me, didn’t care and didn’t love me. I finally realized that praying to the Bible god had never once gotten me anywhere. I began to realize that “just have faith” was no real answer. That my questions weren’t wrong.

The agony that I suffered every Holiday (particularly around Christmases and Easters- which was around the time I gave Austin up), is something that can never be articulated. I missed my son so much. I recognized the memories I would never get to create with him. The things I’d never get to do for him. The joys that I would never get to share. Every year around his November Birthday (and mine’s in Nov, too), I was reminded that I would never share life or joy or anything else with my baby.

I looked at other children, and wondered what he was like at that age. I saw pregnant women and mourned. I’d lost my only chance to have a child. My life was as barren as my womb would now remain forever, according to the doctors. I suffered excruciating periods, and I accepted them as punishment for my failure to keep my son. I hated being a woman, and I hated being a “birthmother.” Every time some sanctimonious, pompous, self-important person told me that I’d “done the best thing for him,” I wanted to slap sense into them.

Because somehow, even as I toed the party line and said adoption was best and good and that I saved my son from the horror of growing up with me… I knew that was a lie. I knew that he would have had a great life with me, too. But the stress and trauma of losing him created in me so much pain and anger, that I began to live out the dynamic of what was said of me.

I was no longer motivated. I no longer cared. I did things that damaged myself. The brief experience I’d had with working so hard to get my life together was gone. It was crushed beneath the weight of self-loathing, self-condemnation, and self-punishment. It’s a question of the chicken or the egg, and I think this is true of so many ‘birthmothers.’

I ask you now, does losing a child cause you to live a life that no child should be subjected to, or was the child saved from a life no child should be subjected to? I say it’s the first, because I experienced, first hand, the fact that I was working hard to get my life together once I had motivation.  Outside circumstances intervened, yes, but that can (and does) happen to anyone. Austin would have had a good life with me, had those external circumstances not happened. And I would have made very different decisions with him in my life. I know this, because for the 6 months that I had him… I made very different decisions. I cared.

And I watch other people who have lost children, in various ways. Their lives are very different afterwards. Very, very different. Even if they have other children, they lose something vital, and their lives often become a struggle until they finally (usually many, many years later) can get past the excruciating loss.

Ask sometime, if you know anyone who has lost a child. The loss of a child is a devastation completely unlike any other pain or loss. And again, I tell you that I say this, because I KNOW it. I have experienced all the darkest parts of humanity. Losses and sufferings that most cannot believe. And I tell you this. The loss of a child surpasses every other loss or hurt.

I would venture to say, with a degree of ironic wryness, that I am rather an authority on it. Hmm?

It was so terrible that I was suicidal again. But I was beyond suicidal. I was beyond disconsolate. Yet I felt forced to carry this unspeakable, inexpressible misery without outward clue. I lied every day, while I broke more and more inside. I smiled and I laughed and I cried in the darkness of the night, in the privacy of my room.  I smiled and went on with life while inside I was wretched and inconsolable.

Why? Because what choice did I have? What was I to do? I tried to die, and even in this, I failed.

So many people condemn suicide. I appreciate this condemnation when others will be hurt, but I was so completely alone in the world. No one would even notice when I was gone, except those inconvenienced by my burial (so I actually tried to die in ways that wouldn’t require burial– but we’ll get into that later).

This is my problem with the condemnation of suicide. I am torn on the issue, strangely enough. But the fact of the matter is, the person living the life, should have the unadulterated right to decide whether that life is worth living or not. That person should have the unadulterated right to admit to whether they can stand to continue, or whether the burden is simply too great.

On the other hand, the loss of a child is so terrible. To take your own life when you have family could be tantamount to murder. By taking your own life, when you have family, you could drive others to feel that their own lives are no longer livable.

But yet, who better to decide the value of a life, than the one living it? Does the potential of future value justify enforcing suffering upon someone? Does the possibility that “one day” the person might do “great things” (which I don’t believe I ever will) or might have a family of their own… does this justify the infliction of such staggering suffering?

And if I was a parent about to lose my child to suicide, could I live with myself, knowing that my child is experiencing suffering so horrific that he or she wants to die… and yet I am forcing them to live because I cannot stand the loss? These are impossible questions.

Yet the fact of the matter is that most people who want to die don’t want to die. They want to stop hurting. I wanted to stop hurting. Yet life, for me, was abject misery. The two were combined. As long as I was alive without my son, in those days, life and agony were intertwined. For many who are lonely, this is true for them as well.

There are those who will say, “yes, but suicide isn’t the answer.” On the other hand, their answer is, “get help.” Help from whom? People who think that loneliness is curable with drugs? Seriously?

Or the ever popular, “make some friends!” How, pray tell, do you make friends in world where “normal” means mocking and deriding and belittling and condemning others? How do you propose that I make friends when people sit in judgment of me as being weird and strange– and consider weird and strange to be equal to evilness or anathema?

If it were so easy, your smart ass wouldn’t need to pompously say, “Make friends!” like you came up with some kind of brilliant insight. And if “getting help” were so damned easy, you wouldn’t need to pronounce that, either. The vaunted “logic” of the Normal… not so much.

And it’s a sad state of affairs, where we’re told “obvious” things that we find nearly impossible. Especially in a world where being normal, well…just ain’t normal.

Yet so many people sit in judgment, wondering how anyone could want to die. Really? Seriously? Oh yeah, because it’s just that easy. Just deal with your pain. Live with it. Suck it up. Suicide isn’t the answer… but for some, there is no other answer available. When all they really want is to just stop hurting. I want to say, “is that so much to ask for?” and yet I know all too well, that yes, it’s often too much to ask for.

Flippant answers don’t help. And snideness and mockery don’t help, either. It’s standard fare in our country to greet, “I want to die” with spiteful snideness. With hatefulness and condemnation.

I wonder how this can be. Here is a person who is hurting so badly that they’re desperate to escape the pain… and that is our answer? Then we wonder why people DO go kill themselves. Because their pain isn’t even acknowledged. They just get condemnation and spite heaped on top of their already groaning backs.

Thanks. Thanks for nothing. How helpful… suicide isn’t the answer. How often have I been told, though, that Christianity is the answer? Oh, more often than you can even guess.

But I left it behind, because even when I was a Christian, I was suffering so badly that I wanted to die. I was trapped by it, never freed by it.

What are the answers? I don’t know. I believe they’re different for everyone. I can tell you, though; that I don’t think the answer to anyone’s pain should be mockery and derision. Yet this, I think, is yet another thing that makes me “not normal.” Normal ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, I say.

Written by sandit4glp

July 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Chapter 19