What The Last Two Days Have Taught Me

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Gentle Reader,

So in case you were wondering if we had all grown up a bit since March or April when I lost my Daddy, the last two days have proven that we, most certainly, have not.  We still just don’t know what the heck to do with death.  (Disclaimer:  You were AMAZING to me when Daddy died.  This is not directed at you on a personal level, AT ALL.  This is meta commentary.)  (I am beyond thankful for the prayers, visits, blessings, cards, donations, rides to and from airports, re-booking my plane tickets, booking a car for me, etc.  And we’ve discussed the food situation-AT LENGTH.  I love you.)

I’m just not sure when we decided that someone’s death was something about which we got to have an opinion.  Other than, “What a remarkable tragedy, I hate the fact that his loved ones are now hurting.”  Full stop.  No further explanation or qualification.

The fact that it was apparently a self-inflicted death?  Doesn’t change that.  I don’t get where we feel like we need to judge suicide.  Because Dante did it?  Is this our baseline theology now?  A dream-sequence guided by an ancient author??  My position on this, not that it is important for me to have one, is…it is not my place to judge.  It is my place to try to create a world in which there is grace and love and safety for people to seek help if they can, and to help with the hurt.  Full stop.

The fact that he seemed so happy and full of life?  I think this gets a bit closer to why we all keep flapping about it.  We wonder how it could have happened.  Were there any warning signs?  Is this going to happen to me?  Life is going to be uncertain, folks.  As far as warning signs, I don’t know in this particular case, because it’s none of my business.  OR YOURS, either.  This can and should spur discussion of suicide on a larger level, and that’s good and healthy and potentially life-saving, but it should NOT be in the context of one person.

And, ultimately, what I hope that we mean by all of the misguided attempts at analysis is, “I loved him.  Really, truly, loved him.  I felt like he was part of my world, and now he isn’t, and I didn’t get to anticipate this.  And because I’m human and have emotions, that scares me and makes me sad.”  Which is perfectly legitimate and healthy, and say that instead of trying to couch it differently.

And if Mr. Williams’ children are reading this (WHY???  I hope you are taking a media break right now.) that’s what I hope you will interpret most of this as being.  I am so, so sorry you are missing your Daddy. I would do anything I could to help someone else not feel the hurt that is the absence of someone so beloved.  I don’t know precisely what you are feeling, but I do know what it’s like to have a sick Daddy, and to see him go away.  I know how protective I was of my Daddy during this process, although ours was different than yours, and how conflicted I was about having to care what other people thought or felt about Daddy, and how I wanted to protect him, but wanted people to remember him.  That was so hard, and I imagine you are feeling that on a whole different level right now.  You don’t even get that choice to try to protect him, do you?  I am so very sorry for you on that.  Please know that whatever you are feeling right now?  Is OKAY.  But also please be gentle with yourselves first.  This process turned me into a bit of a tyrant with my Mama.  It was out of nothing but a sense of love and wanting to be strong and make things easy for her.  And there was probably a healthy splash of some anger in there, too.  And there was yelling.  I even swept things off the coffee table with my arm one time because the remote control wouldn’t work.  (We don’t do that in my family.  Ever.)  That may happen to you, and if it does, be gentle with yourselves.  You will all hurt in different ways.  And the grace and gentleness you are wishing the world would show your Daddy?  Remember to show that to yourselves, so that you can work through this with each other.  You are hurting and it’s okay.

That’s what I wish we would spend our time telling Mr. Williams’ family, instead of hurling bewildered judgment at the world.



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