“Don’t worry mother, your daughter is a warrior.” HeatherAsh Amara, Warrior Goddess Training
I have written before of how my sister-in-law (Susan) took her own life. This happened on March 9, 2007. I am tempted to say this was the worst time of my life, but that does not really describe it. There is literature that says the emotional pain one goes through when a family member commits suicide is comparable to enduring a concentration camp. I have never been in a concentration camp, so I cannot say.
As for my nieces (ages seven and ten at the time their mother took her own life), they had never been in a concentration camp either. But what I can say is there was nothing (and still is) nothing I could do to shield them from their pain. And that was my worst pain of all.
The pain was deep and horrific: My niece’s blood curdling scream the night it happened, my brother with his hand on his heart asking if the pain will ever go away, the sleepless nights, the impossible questions, my niece (who never cried during the day) crying and screaming in her sleep, my seven-year-old niece asking me why someone would shoot themselves. The list of horrors goes on, and all these things are etched on my soul, never to be forgotten.
Once during this time of my life, I was talking to my boyfriend. I confused him when I told him I never wanted to forget “this feeling”. He thought I was crazy. Wouldn’t I just want to get through this and forget it forever? I felt exactly the opposite. It was suddenly so clear to me what was important in life, and everything else disappeared. I wanted to remember the intenseness of what was important.
I wanted to always cry at the outpouring of people’s good deeds. I wanted to always see the love in everyone’s eyes. I wanted to always feel the connection in my community. I wanted to always feel love this intense as everyone around me realized that the only thing that mattered was taking care of each other.
It is now ten years later. That intense feeling of which I spoke faded, as it was bound to. But I will always remember. And so will my family. We are kindred spirits of sorts, and my nieces are the most kindred of all. They are now 17 and 20, and I just realized I’m smiling as I write about them. I just honestly did not know anything so beautiful and perfect could exist in this world.
I mentioned how the intenseness of “that feeling” faded. There were times during the past ten years when I drifted. I forgot what was important. I never thought the demon of depression would find me again, but it did. And there was a time when I felt I did not want to see myself turning 40. My sister-in-law, being 40 when she took her own life, was there to help me through those times.
“When you take your own life, you take it from everyone else, not yourself. Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it.” Sherlock from the show Sherlock
And now, ten years exactly after her death, I am actually looking forward to my 40th birthday in one month.
I mentioned some time ago that my niece wrote something for a school assignment about her mom committing suicide when she was seven-years-old. While there are still so many unanswered questions, my niece thanked her mom for knowing that she had the strength to endure her death. I learned something by reading what my niece wrote. Ten years later I learned that I also needed to know that my niece and her sister had the strength to endure it. I could not endure it for them. I could only show them that I can endure my pain, and through that, they learn that they can endure theirs.
A day or so after I read what my niece wrote, I came across a quote from Warrior Goddess Training on Facebook that said, “Don’t worry mother, your daughter is a warrior”. It made me cry. It’s so true. I am obviously not my niece’s mother. Their mother is the only mother they will ever have. And she knew they were warriors. She knew more than me. She knew my family was full of warriors, which is why we were brought to her and each other.
Those who knew my sister-in-law when she was alive know that she was a warrior too. She was a beautiful soul, and her spirit surrounds us. For that, I am thankful.
Peace, Love, and Warrior Daughters,
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