“I wish you peace when times are hard, A light to guide you through the dark, And when storms are high and your dreams Are low, I wish you the peace to let love grow, I wish you the strength to let love grow.” “I Wish you Peace” from the Eagles Album, “One of These Nights.”
Sometimes, often times, when things aren’t going well, when the tears fall most of the day, when there’s a leak in a faucet, when the “goneness” is overwhelming, a gift drops into my lap. Such was the case when I received a beautiful note from Jim Quinn, a survivor who attended the group many, many years ago. Jim became a board member of SPS and he and his wife, Pat, were present at our fundraisers and always willing to lend a hand.
I don’t remember exactly when Pat died but I DO know that a memorial service was held for her in WI last summer. Pat died suddenly of an aneurysm. Jim and Pat had moved to AZ to care for his ailing mother. Within a few months of each other, his wife, his mom, and his sister died.
I spoke with Jim after Pat died and again, recently. A few days after that conversation, a check and a note arrived for me from Jim. Unknowingly, he introduced me to an Eagles song I had long forgotten about and an album/CD I didn’t have. That lead me to the store, “Kiss The Sky” in Batavia. It is filled with vinyl. The place is often packed, mostly with we older people, searching for favorite albums.
While having to order the CD, I talked with Steve, the owner, and his wife, Delores. Delores has engraved gifts for years for SPS volunteers. We talked about how suicide has affected them. Steve’s dad is 93. He seems to be following the same health path that my Bill did so we talked about how to get him out of the nursing home. Jim wants to get a duplex with him.
At that same time, another customer entered into our conversation to discuss the recent death by suicide of her father.
I told her about SOS and SPS and THAT lead us to grab coffee at Limestone Coffee House in Batavia. Limestone has a latte named “the hope latte” and was named so because of the death of a close friend of a teen that worked there. Limestone contributes 100% of the profits from that drink to SPS every month. You can see what one kind and beautifully written note from a survivor did for me and how many lives that note impacted.
I have always loved the fall; however, September 5, the day mom was found dead by her own hand, causes me to pause, reflect, cry, and garden on that day. Like all of you, I still carry a piece of the guilt. I don’t believe that any one of us can be logically or rationally talked out of that remaining piece of guilt.
Now we’ll move from September 5 onto October 22, the day a year ago that Bill died. I plan to be with my friend on Cape Cod for about a week surrounding that day. My friend, Rob, is a survivor I met when he was 23 years old. I was participating in a sibling seminar at Mercy Hospital. Rob and his brother attended from Morris, IL because one of their other brothers had recently died by suicide.
Over these many years, I’ve watched Rob grow and thrive in so many areas. Bill and I would visit him often (his main home is in Newton, Mass.) He bought in his words, dump on the Cape ” many, many years ago. He fixed it up with his fantastic carpentry skills and rents it out most of the spring and summer. It' s in Truro near Provincetown. We talk often. When I called him and asked if I could come, “ Yes, come for the month. Come for 2 months. Life is truly familiar and easy for me on the Cape.
Friends die, spouses die, children die … Each one is a sucker punch but, for me, as I see it, my job is to survive. My mom didn't want to take me with her. Neither did Bill. The price of deep love is deep grief. I can still feel them both around me and that brings me great comfort.
“ Don ’ t Cry Because It ’ s Over, Smile Because It happened. Dr. Seuss
You are loved ….
” To see your beautiful smiling face And hold your hand in mine We walk the paths where flowers bloom And watch the butterflies We share some childhood memories Of yesterday’s gone by Many tears I’ve cried since you went away My life has changed so much Without you here to share with me Or feel your gentle touch I miss your smile, your laughter too I miss those days gone by I often sit and wonder About all the reasons why I guess your blooms were so beautiful All covered with glistening mist That God sent the angels down that day And checked you off his list Page 7