Monday, February 25, 2013

Three years

It is the eve of the third anniversary of Michael's suicide.  I need to talk to my boy.

Dearest Michael
I have apologized a hundred times but as I sit here thinking about your last couple of months the guilt overwhelms me.  I wanted so much for you to feel safe and loved here with us as you tried to work through your pain and lost.  Everything worked against you: your employer, Health Canada, your lawyer.  I don't believe any of them did this out of malice but rather out of sheer ignorance.  We should have been the one safe haven for you, but we failed you.

One of the things I know to be true is that  I will always carry this guilt.  I don't want to let it go and I don't think I can explain or understand the reason for that.  It's just the way it has to be for me.  It's the only way I can carry on.

Nothing has really changed in all this time.    You are still not with us.

I miss you so much Michael, and I am so very sorry for not saving you.

I will love you always and forever.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter in Heaven

I am sitting at the table on Easter Saturday, looking out to the little back yard we have and as always the cherub with the broken leg in the wee garden I plant for Michael looks back at me and reminds me that Michael in a place of peace now.

Please God, let this be true. 

I have been hoping I would dream of my boy because he talks to me in my dreams I hear his voice and it comforts me.  Lately I've needed to hear his voice.  This weekend I am going to listen to it.  We have a video of him taken a few years ago and I've not been able to listen to it yet, although I've tried to watch it.  Today I need to hear his voice.  Sometimes I am afraid that I will forget the sound of him speaking and laughing.  When he was a little boy Mikey had a high voice. But as a man he had a beautiful deep tenor speaking voice and I miss it. I miss everything about my son, except his pain. 

Just checking in.  It has been a tough few months.  With the sun and spring I feel strong enough to start to write again.  We are working on a Defeat Depression Campaign and in the next week I will post information pertaining to that.

Michael, I love you.  This is your third Easter in Heaven.  What a wonderful place to be....but I would rather you were here with me. 

Always.  Forever.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

To My Boy in Heaven

Dearest Michael,
I tried to post the picture of you we put in the paper to mark the second anniversary of your death but for some reason it didn't work.  And now, the anniversary has passed; it was yesterday.  Despite having been close to panic the couple of days before the 25th, I awoke yesterday feeling nothing but calm.  Because we had planned to visit your workplace and place a rose in the garden we had a purpose for the morning.  As always, I watched for the bald eagle that often sits right at the entrance to highway but he wasn't there. It saddened me.  Then on our drive we counted 13 and I knew it was going to be okay.  The sun came out for about 7 seconds as we were at the garden and then we saw another eagle.  However, that was the end of our strength for a little while and we gave in to our tears.  Seeing your beautiful strong co workers and seeing the emotion on their faces we knew how much you were and are still loved.  Did you know honey how much everyone cared about you?  Part of the evil of mental illness, I think, is that we don't get to see what others see.  Our illness consumes the soul.  I remember how very alone you felt, how you wished someone would just call you and ask if you wanted to get together for coffee.  Mikey, I don't think most people had any idea you were in such turmoil.  Oh, some did, but you know, lots of people just aren't equipped to be able to deal with a friend's pain.  It hurts so much to see it and all they want to do is fix it and they can't so they stay away.  That backfires of course, but we learn things too late don't we?  You and Dad and I know that.  We learn things too damned late. 

Looking at your picture yesterday, listening to your music, remembering funny things about you brought you so close.  I felt that if just reached a little further through the veil I would feel you there.  But you of course, are in a far better place, beyond where any of us can reach you. 

So honey, on your second anniversary plus on day, in Heaven, I send you all my love.  We will be together again someday.  God sent you to me...I know He won't keep us apart forever.

In Memory of our son,
brother, uncle & Daddy

Michael John McRae

If our love could have saved you,
you would have lived forever.
Two years ago our love wasn’t enough
to keep you here with us.
You took yourself away from your pain & us...
yet our love continues because
we carry your memory in our hearts.
We remember the special things
that made you Michael.
Your ability to love was boundless. It was your gift.
Those of us who were blessed to have been loved by you
can never have that taken away from us.
We believe that you found the peace you needed
& we know we will be together again.
We promise you we will continue to advocate

for those who suffer from depression & we promise
we will never turn away from someone asking for help.
We make these promises in honour of you, Mikey.
We love & miss you.

Always & forever
Your family.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday of my week

Well, day two of what is a difficult week.  But I received an email this morning saying the awareness bracelets I ordered just last week have been shipped already!  The keepsake urns I ordered were in stock so I will have them by the 25th.  Positive things in a sad week. 

Just some facts to throw out there.  A registered psychologist charges approximately $160.00/hr.  Unless one has extended medical benefits there is likely no chance of reimbursement.  Even those with extended benefits often can only claim $1000. worth of treatment (which may only be reimbursed at 80%.  When a person requires psychotherapy half dozen treatments will only start to scratch the surface of the issues needing to be addressed.    Now, there a many therapists who aren't psychologist (which means they have a PHD) however, most EAP and extended benefits won't cover anything less that a psychologist. 

Part of an issue here is that trying out a psychologist can be much like trying on a suit.  Not everyone is a fit for everyone else.  Coverage may be largely expended before a patient even starts to make any progress.  So what do we do?  I understand medical costs are already a huge problem.  There just is not enough money even to staff our hospitals to enable operating times....and mental health issues seem to come very low in priority when we have so many other life threatening physical ailments. 

I wish I had some kind of ideas....I just don't.   Right now...I buy mental health stamps...10 cents per stamp goes to mental health.....that does nothing....yet it's something...I guess.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Approaching the two year anniversary of the loss of our son

When I started to write this journal or blog about my life following my son's suicide I anticipated being able to look back at it a year or two down the line and see some change.  Not so.  The pain and sadness is the same, the guilt perhaps more than it was then but I blame that partly on the shock that sets in for the longest time.  When I talk of guilt, it isn't only in my own failures but at that time I should have been advocating far more.  Let me tell you a little story though of the consequence of one of my attempts.  I may have told this in an earlier blog.  Michael had requested a Health Canada assessment.  He knew he was in trouble, and as a federal employee, had been assured that the government helps take care of their own.  Total fabrication.  The government will ensure you get seen by someone....however, the accuracy of that diagnosis can be (and in Michael's case) WAS wrong.  I requested a review but naturally the review board felt all proper procedures has been followed.  I hadn't questioned that.  I had questioned how they could come up with an incorrect diagnosis, totally disregarding reports by his own doctor who had know him his whole life....and this after 2 one hour visit.    At any rate...that isn't what I wanted to tell you.  I felt I had to tell this doctor how far off the mark she had been and had she identified Michael's illness he might possibly have found some help and maybe, just maybe might be alive.  And I think I probably crossed the line by suggesting I hoped she liked herself because I certainly didn't.  She immediately phoned my doctor to find out if she was safe....perhaps she did recognize the possibility of moody dysregulation after all. 

Perhaps I shouldn't say that I've not made progress.   I will now advocate on behalf of all who suffer for depression and other mood dysregulations.  I will talk about my own battle with the mood demons, with self harming attempts, with risky choice making.  I can forgive my mother for things that happened in our lives that we didn't understand. 

Yesterday I was able to take some of my sons things which have been pack in trunks in the garage and rent a nice storage unit and move them there.  I will do the same with his books and this is in preparation for selling this place.  This is the house Michael hung himself in.  Every time I walk in the front door I see that picture in my mind.  I don't think we (my husband and I) can start to move forward by staying here.  Each time we hear a neighbour running up the stairs we imagine the Michael is going to walk into our bedroom, much as he did the last three months of his life. 

But the tears and the loneliness and the grief remain.  I loved my son.  He was really not much more than a boy when he first moved out...just 20....he didn't move far...but for a young man with borderline with bipolar tendencies or vice versa he moved to an atmosphere ideal for fostering good healthy emotional problems.  Although he moved home a couple of times over the next 11 years, each time he was less strong, more emotionally beaten, less confident, more afraid of abandonment. 

Borderline, bipolar and many other illnesses creep up on you.  You find your behaviour changing...your ability to cope with certain things less than ideal and your reaction to circumstances sometimes (often) inappropriate.  It then takes a true friend, a true love to say...I will be here for you.  I will not leave you.  I will help you through this hell because I KNOW this is not you.  This is a reaction in your brain.  I still know the beauty of the soul within.

Some will say this is a fairy tale.  Well maybe it is.  Maybe we are too damned self involved...we care so much about us.  Reach out to someone this week.  My son took himself away on the 25th of February 2010.  Please do something kind for someone in his memory or the memory of someone you care about.  Thank you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

We made it through another Christmas Eve and Day. It was the most peace-filled Christmas we've had in a number of years as Christmas was a difficult time for Michael his last few years. But we are all so aware of the missing face, the angels hanging on the tree in his memory. This year being our second without him was a little easier than last year's.

I was more aware this year of doing things Michael would have done. I am sponsoring a little boy in Ghana. I hope to be allowed to continue to do this until this child becomes the doctor he wants to be. Some of our gift giving was done through The Peanut Butter project. Those little things allowed me to concentrate a little more on the wonderful feeling we get from sharing a bit of what we have so much of. And that feeling helped offset my sadness.

I carried a picture of Michael in a Christmas ornament every day of my holiday and I felt he was close to me.

SO. We were fortunate this year. But last year I read a book dealing with grief and it reminded me that the day itself is just one day. If it looks like it is going to be too difficult, keep yourself out of harms way and get through the day in the way easiest for you. God will understand no tree, no presents....those are our rules..not His.

I wish my son had not taken his life. I wish he had been able to see hope in his life...but he couldn't do it. I accepted that the night he died here at home. I understood the depths of his despairs but was so afraid of losing him that I worked at convincing him that as long as he was alive....there was hope.

Tonight at this moment, I believe that to be true. I don't know what I will believe next week or next month.

I do know that in order to keep our loved ones from committing suicide we must help them find hope. Hope for medical help, hope for understanding, hope for tolerance and hope that all those who love them will continue to stand by them during their difficult times.

I love you Michael. I can feel strength from you tonite. thank you. Xxx