Friday, April 4, 2014

Difficult Topics

Deviating from my usual topics of yarn and food to talk about life and death.

Tragedy strikes when we least expect it.  Last week, a cousin contacted me to share that his cousin (not related to me) was murdered by her husband. Louise was 49 years old - exactly my age. Domestic violence is a dangerous reality for many women, and one that is not easily escaped.  This is the kind of thing we see on television, but never believe will come so close to our families and friends. Shocking.

Unbelievably, within 24 hours our mutual cousin died by suicide after a long battle with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.  Linda was only 43 years old. CRPS is ranked as the most painful form of chronic pain that exists today. It is characterized by constant chronic burning pain, inflammation, spasms, insomnia, and emotional disturbances. The risk for suicide death for those suffering with CRPS is high.  More shock.

My heart breaks for the parents, close family members, and friends of these two women. I did not know Louise. I have not seen Linda since a family reunion in 1984 - 30 years ago.  These tragedies got me thinking about how most of us handle this kind of news.

There is a tendency to stay quiet - to leave families alone in their grief - instead of reaching out to them.  I think this happens because of our own fear and from being uncomfortable with death in general, especially with such tragic loss. Reality is, families mourning a homicide or suicide are in great need of support from their friends and extended family members. It is perhaps even more important to reach out, acknowledge the death, and simply be there for those who are left behind.

If you are interested in reading more about grief and suicide death, I've written a post about it on my work site, Good Grief of Northwest Ohio, Inc.  

Thanks for listening!