This morning I woke up to a short, yet surprisingly intense trembling of the earth.
It might have been just an earthquake, but for Chéri and I, it was a shockwave announcing a tragedy.
Chéri was getting ready to work, and I still lay in bed, contemplating the day off in front of me.
My mother asks that I call her ASAP. It doesn’t sound like good news…
I thought it couldn’t be that bad. If it had been, Chéri’s parents would have called us, even if it meant waking us up in the middle of the night… Maybe Chéri’s sister was at the hospital again (she had some kind of panic attack recently, passed out and had to be sent to the ER).
When Chéri joined me in the livingroom, he was in tears.
In the eleven years we’ve been together, I had only seen him crying twice before. First at his grand-father’s funeral, and then at his grand-mother’s a couple of years later. It wasn’t looking good.
Denis is dead… He took his own life this weekend…
Denis was one of Chéri’s mother’s brothers. He lived by himself, on his late parents’ farm. He had a history of severe depression, but seemed to be doing farely well. Obviously, not as well as he was pretending to.
Chéri’s family is an extremely tight one. Sometimes, it even seems a little odd to me, because my family isn’t the close type. Outside my parents and Little Bro, my family ties are rather on the loose end. I love my aunts, uncles and cousins, but we don’t know eachother all that well. We don’t spend all that much time together, and it is fine that way.
But Chéri’s cousins have basically been brought up all together. They are a real clan, and I can’t imagine the tsunami of mixed emotions that is devastating the whole family as the news is spreading. As I am typing this, we’re still waiting for news from Chéri’s big sister. Their parents didn’t dare to tell her what happened over the phone, because she is an extremely emotional person (and that is a family trait too). They drove the two hours to her home to be sure she wouldn’t have to deal with it by herself.
My real worry is the guilt aftershock that is sure to come, sooner than later. To my knowledge, Denis didn’t leave any explanation behind. And quite frankly, I doubt that it would have made a difference. The terrible what ifs are coming, and it will be no use trying to convince any of the family members that it is not their fault.
Unfortunately, what’s done is done, and guilt will not bring Denis back.
Denis was a brilliant, loving and caring man. He will be terribly missed, to say the least.
You very well might have a Denis in your surounding. It might be a cousin, a son, a friend, a neighbour… If you have the slighest doubt that that person is having a hard time, even if you don’t think they might want to put an end to their life, do something. Call them, write to them, pay them a surprise little visit.
Stretch out your hand.
You just might bring the pinch of hope that will make the difference.
And if you are a Denis… I know that you don’t want to step over that line. You just want to stop hurting, and you might not see any other way out of this pain. There is hope out there. There always is, even when you can’t see or feel it. Please reach out to someone you trust, and don’t take definitive measures to take care of temporary problems.
Wether you want to help a loved one, need help for yourself, or have to deal with the loss of a loved one, there are professionals out there, ready to give you a hand.
P.S. If there is a line in your country, that you’d like to share, just leave their phone number and/or website link in the comments… I’ll gladly add them to my list…