Rising from the Ashes: Brave Life Lesson on Suicide and Rape

Dear World,

Good afternoon.

I am taking time to be thankful for a few things which I often forget to be thankful for. This is mostly coming from joining Twitter today, blog post notifications I received on my phone which made me stop and think and links to links to other blog posts which left me recalling what it was like to be in another blogger’s state of mind or set of circumstances.

After one of my best friends’ former boyfriend’s suicide, I started to read on the dos and donts; what to say, what to avaoid saying, how to be there. It took me back to when I first read Reginald Brown’s Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. I have read more books than I can remember, but I still recall how it felt to connect with the exact same thoughts of someone who had known grief. It was the most wholesome comfort I received from anyone at the time. That same book would help me deal with the difficult loss of my Granpa. He was my father figure growing up. I remember crying when I graduated fro college. He was not seated in the sun, next to my mother, in a dark suit and tinted glasses (too proud to brandish an umbrella for fear of appearing too English). He would not tell me that he was proud of me. He would not plant a kiss on my cheek. He would not throw me a big party and make me feel as if I was the brightest and potentially the best graduate anyone could hire. He would be there to listen as I explained that I cared more for literature and human anatomy separately as opposed to foods, nutrition and dietetics – which I had given my all for 4 years. He would not e there.

Naturally, I thought of my Babu (that’s Grandpa in Swahili) when I came across a post on death. The closest I have come to suicide, other than having those thoughts when I had my own “daddy issues” to swim through as a teen, was when one of my best friends lost her former boyfriend. He hanged himself in his room. I was mad at him for leaving my friend with the possibility of blaming herself what had happened. I also recalled when I stood at the top of the highest dormitory in my high school and fantasized about ending all my self-doubt and fears of being burdensome with just one jump; one last call for what I believed then to be bravery. I’m not so mad about it anymore. If anything, I am sad with a deep and hollow sadness whose ache is dull and ever present. Eden Riley in her post Dealing With What He Did paints a picture of her own experience with suicide. If only I had the just right thing to say to help her, even in the smallest way, to realize how sorry I am about her pain. Yet she must be aware that she will learn to live with the ache and emptiness and helplessness of the void that the loss of a loved one brings. And this makes me hopeful for her and others who are also grieving.

The notification I received from Sarah von Bargen’s latest blog yesandyes (latest at the time) came to my phone while I was in a mini-bus heading home. I did not read past the title. I simply could not deal with another painful story. I had less than 50 pages left to the close of Khaled Hoseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and I simply refused to read of more tragedy. At least for a while. But I read the post today and my eyes welled up and I kept them from falling. I thought it unfair to cry because I had thought of myself in place of the brave woman who shared her story. I felt undeserving of sympathy because the guy I thought about while reading through someone else’s tragedy had only kissed my neck and lain on top of me with both our clothes on. I didn’t cry because I had cried when I got home “unscathed” and had confronted him about it and because my boyfriend had said that he would avenge me (and I changed my mind about this last part too). The brave and sad title of the post I am referring to is: I Didn’t Realize I’d Been Raped and it’s by Bethany. I wish I could tell Bethany how amazing and bold and beautiful she is. I wish I could tell her in person. I wish I could meet her and remind her that she is one of the most brave women I know and that I would like to know how she got past this tragedy. I also wish I could hug her and wish her a belated Happy Mother’s Day and have chai with her at her house. Because I want to be found in the company of people such as herself; who have decided to share their personal stories of pain and shame for the rare and noble purpose of helping someone else. Here is the closing conversation between Sarah and Bethany in the same post:

 Sarah: What advice would you give to someone going through something similar?

Bethany: Think of yourself as another person. As another human being. And imagine the things that happened to you happening to them. You will likely feel huge sadness and compassion for them. You deserve that sadness and compassion. Let yourself have it. You are a person, just as whole and clean and good, as those people you are able to feel empathy for. There is not one single person, include yourself, more deserving of rape than another. And you know this.
 
Cheers, good people!
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