I Believe in Help

Penelope - Harrisville, New Hampshire
Entered on April 4, 2009

I believe in help, receiving as well as giving. I’ve come to believe the Bible verse in Acts 20:35, it is better to give than to receive, needed clarification for me. My youngest son, Noah, died by suicide recently. This horrific event has left me feeling helpless. Even though my mental chemistry calls out for isolation, in fact, this is the time when I need help the most. I’ve felt helpless before during divorce, empty nest adjustments, car accidents and the death of my mother. Now as a suicide survivor my helplessness is more intense and raw. My son Noah must have felt helpless. He was looking for work and was in trouble with debt. I was helping him as were his brother, sister and friends. I wish he had been able to ask for emotional help. Of course I feel that I failed to pick up on his unvoiced needs. My helplessness has made me feel just as vulnerable and inept at voicing my needs. Now I am left with separating his choice of suicide from all the special memories of his extraordinary 28 years. Family and friends have reached out to me with flowers, food, cards, emails, books, phone calls and especially time together to support me in my grief. My helplessness is being recast by the helpfullness of others.

Family and friends acts of kindness have inspired me to appreciate the act of receiving help from others. I am a reading specialist and part of my job description is to help. I want to learn how better to teach children how to be resilient and ask for help in times of crisis. Being at work has been a distraction from my grief. Working with children individually and in small groups continues to bring me joy. By 3:00 my energy is spent. Each afternoon I drive home to keep an appointment with my grief. Since eating has not been a distraction I have lost a few pounds. My colleauges picked up on this and have been providing vegetarian soups for me several times a week. Several girl friends planned a slumber party at my house and brought everything. Noah’s friend TJ stacked wood for me. My son, Josh and his wife, Lori and my daughter, Amber have opened their homes to me to visit with my granddaughters, Mattingly and Juniper. My friend Susan helped craft Noah’s obituary and is going to a grief group with me. Another friend, Candace, cut short her vacation to come to NH and hug me and listen to my grief. A grief counselor is helping me with this emotional firestorm. Each asked me how can I help? What do you need?

Some say time heals. I read time has no power to heal. It is people needing help and people taking time to help that heals. That is why I beleive in help, both receiving and giving.