The loss of my two children - the aftermaths of suicide

by MARIE DUDDLE
(South Africa)

I gave birth to three children, one boy and two girls. My son was such a joy, full of life and the joys of living. He grew up into a normal teenager, doing the usual things boys do... nothing out of the ordinary, but an extraordinary delight. He was a soft, gentle son, always respectful and loving. Andre grew into a man, became a good father to his children and faithful husband to his wife.
Unfortunately he developed heart problems and without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that more than once we thought we would lose him. Being a woman of faith, I believed I (we) prayed him through the scary times when he was hospitalised. Eventually in 2010 I received the fateful call @ 2h30am telling me my gentle giant had passed away due to a heart attack. Andre was only 42.
My life, my soul, my heart changed after 30 April 2010. I thought I had reached the limit of pain a parent could endure... but all my tears, grief, heartache and longing did not prepare me for what was still ahead.
My eldest daughter had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder approx. 2005, after having attempted suicide. She was divorced and had gotten herself into financial difficulty - her company did not take kindly to her suicide attempt (one of many I was unaware of).
Things spiralled downwards, she eventually had to resigned as she could not take the pressure at work and moved in with us and lived in a cottage on our property. My daughter was classy, artistic, intelligent and beautiful. Her art was amazing, her flair for decorating and painting phenomenal. But my sensitive daughter could not find work in South Africa, because of her bad credit rating... especially having been in a managerial position as an auditor, financial debt was a "no no".
She felt useless and her depression deepened. I tried everything, protected her, did all I can. We grew so close, but my heart yearned for my sensitive child to find happiness. Of course the financial and emotional toll also took from me.. constantly having to encourage and uplift her, telling her things will improve. Arriving home to her lying in a dark cottage, not having even gotten up during the day due to depression. God alone knows the fear I would experience at these times. Would she try to commit suicide again? I just HAD to help her out of these dark space she was in. And many a time I succeeded, but sometimes all I could do was sit there, being her mother, holding her hand.
She had one good year - 2011 when she found employment in Thailand as auditor. I was so proud of my girl, going to a different culture, adapting and making a go of it for that year. But alas, her own country plummeted her right back into depression when she had no choice but to return and yet again could not find work. It was financially a strain on me, but I was careful to hide it, conscious of NEVER having her know how tired I became, being forced to continue working although I have passed the age of retirement. On 1 February 2013 I returned from work to find my pride and joy hanging in the bathroom of her cottage. How do I describe what I have been through, what I am STILL going through? The picture of my Tertia hanging will never, and I mean NEVER go away. I had a total breakdown and who I was have changed forever.
The why's the questions, the need for closure. And then, her letter to us was so clinical and curt - just a thank you and that she did not want to be a burden anymore, she just wanted to be with the Lord in Whom she believed. There were no signs, we had gone shopping the day before, she was cheerful and for the life of me I have gone over and over everything in my mind, wondering how I could have missed it. But I did, she was clever and hid her intentions successfully.
Well I could go on and on, into detail about the 6 years she lived with us prior to this traumatic event but it would take a book. I just know a vital part of me has gone... gone with my two children who was taken from me - both of them only 42. And I have become old, tired and questioning God. I know have one child. A beautiful soft daughter and know I have to try and be strong for her, as she has lost her siblings... but -
Parents, all I can say, if you have lost a child or children... I know the pain. May God help us all.

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