The Other Side of the Season

December 18, 2013

I do try to be ‘real’ in my posts about our life here.  I believe some of my photos of cows calving was a bit more real than some of you would have preferred.  I am grateful for my home (my mess), my animals (their mess), my family (more mess) and our life, very, very grateful…but… often life is hard.  There were days my life was very, very hard and I am grateful to those who helped me through…

My favorite Christmas ‘saying’ are the words put together… “HO HO HOPE”.  Christmas is the season of ‘Hope’, but not everyone knows it or feels it or…   Some people get desperate… for them this season is just too much…

Today is the anniversary of my oldest brother’s death, to be real, his suicide…one week before Christmas… a very, very long time ago, when I was just a teen.  No, I don’t know ‘why’…  do we ever really… when others are hurting… we may not know it… or we may not realize how desperate they are to end their pain or…or…or…  All I am sure of is that, I do not know…anything really…

I had heard the phone ring late the night before…then in the morning my father woke me up to tell me, that Mike was dead…to this day a phone call in the night sends my heart to pounding.  My siblings were scattered about, my parents left to go to his home 400 miles away and I was left alone….it was beyond awful…  No one knows what to say, so they say nothing…and then you are really, really alone…so here is my big piece of wisdom, you don’t need to know what to say to make it better, you cannot make it better…you can only make it worse by saying nothing…so say something…stumble on your words, cry with your friend, hug them, or just sit and hold their hand…but don’t pretend it didn’t happen…because their heart will forever be altered.

Fisher family 1979 picm (Gotta love the 70’s)

A few Christmas’s before we lost Mike…upper right with the twinkle in his eye…

I wish I really knew how to give others hope… but I don’t think I do… but I was told and I have learned that it is true, that ‘we are only as sick as our secrets’… my hurts never got better alone… so I am being as ‘real’ as I can be and if you are hurting this season, I am sorry for your pain, so very sorry for your hurt, I have been there…

and….for Mike…. I don’t like this day…this ‘wrong’ anniversary….

hopebut to you…whoever you are…there is hope.

19 responses to “The Other Side of the Season”

  1. Diane Brown says:

    People don’t realize that the pain of losing a loved one never goes away. I remember the death day year after year after year. Sending big hugs and bunches of love your way. You are an awesome individual. Thanks for the message of hope!

  2. gallion says:

    Dear Ellen, I have been down the road that you speak.
    And truly, the Heaven Father is the real helper. His love he shares through his son. His comfort though the son. His peace and gentle understanding comes as we accept, without reservation, Jesus the Christ. Love you, dg

    • Ellen says:

      Oh, my hope is in Jesus Christ alone… but at this point I was trying to help anyone else who may be feeling lost and alone…Thank you

  3. Beau E. says:

    There’s too much repressed emotion in our culture today, so reading a post like this a breath of fresh air. Not that it’s pleasant to hear of the pain you have and are enduring, but any who have dealt with suicide will be comforted by your expressions. My stepfather (who raised me) committed suicide 3 years ago (January 16th) and there is a palpable, inescapable feeling that comes to visit as the “anniversary” approaches. As Miriam above stated, the English language is often lacking when attempting to describe emotions that many of us try to bury. I found a word somewhat a while ago, “saudade”, that seems to come close. It’s a Portuguese and Galician word that has no direct translation in English. To quote: “It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or deeply melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return. A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing.” It’s that latter half that resonates for those who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. The frustrating and painful inability to ever truly make sense of the decision to “leave” us can cut more deeply than the death itself and leave us in an emotional quagmire. Guilty for feeling angry. Angry for feeling guilty. I could go on and on but I’m sure I don’t need to. You and your dear family live it. I just want to thank you for bringing those things out of the box to share with the rest of us. And I agree, hope is vital. I love the reminder at 1 Thessalonians 4:13 “Moreover, brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant concerning those who are sleeping [in death]; that you may not sorrow just as the rest also do who have no hope. . .” It doesn’t mean it’s wrong to sorrow. Even Jesus Christ himself gave way to tears when he heard his friend Lazarus had died, especially seeing the way that death affected others (John 11:33-35). But there is hope. For me, that hope is in John 5:28,29. Anyway, I got a little carried away here tonight writing this. Sorry! But more than anything I wanted to let you know my thoughts and prayers are with you and I greatly appreciate you sharing this post with us all.

    • Ellen says:

      Thank you Beau, we ‘belong’ to a club no one wants to join…having loved ones die of suicide… I appreciate your words so much… My hope is in Jesus Christ… and you ‘got’ it… too many want to ‘pretend’ that ‘it’ never happened and we can never help others then… I AM so sorry for your loss….so fresh!
      Thank you for joining me here in real life…
      Ellen

  4. ChristaP says:

    I love your honesty friend! Thank you for sharing so eloquently! It is my prayer that your words have reached someone who needs them! xoxox

  5. Shelba and Donald Jensen says:

    Ellen, thank you for the “Ho Ho Hope”!
    I lost my big brother the year, one month before his 79th birthday.
    We new he was dying 6 months before. My network of quilting friends are what helped me deal with what was comming and when the end finally came. I was able to talk about it, and cry about it to them. I always knew friends were important, but in this they were a life saver! I am so grateful for my wonderful friends. In a bad situation they are often easier to talk to than family.
    So bottom line … Treasure your friends!
    I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! And a Wonderful 2014!
    Love and Blessings from this branch of the Jensen Family

  6. David says:

    I remember. I believe it likely that I/we failed that goal. I wish that you could have come next door. Your parents never held it against us and your Dad made me instead “his Son”.
    David

  7. Diane Wallace says:

    Thank you, Ellen. I learn more from you every time I read your blog. Your warmth, wisdom, and honesty deeply touch me.

  8. Trudy McKay says:

    Dear Ellen, This is such a beautiful, wise and heartfelt post. I am so very sorry for your loss; I respect your honesty and you have taught me something new today. I will not be afraid to reach out to those in pain. Hugs, Trudy

    • Ellen says:

      Trudy,
      Thank you! This was a ‘putting myself’ out there post, but I thought…sometimes it is not about ‘me’…do it. Many blessings to you.

  9. Miriam says:

    I am so sorry. You are right. Anniversary is the wrong word. The English language doesn’t have a word that describes the anniversary of the death of loved one. I am folding you in a BIG hug.

  10. Heather Flatley says:

    I had no idea about Mike, I am so sorry for your loss. Thanks also for your words of wisdom, this can be a hard time of year for some people.

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