The anniversary of my twin sister, Catherine's death by suicide, is on January 6th. Since the end of the year and the new year is approaching, I'd like to share some thoughts on how I survived this life-changing event.
Of course I went through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But you go through them in random order, and they come back over and over, not just once at a time.
I had to reconstruct my identity: as a twinless twin. I mostly felt shame that she was so depressed and died of suicide, and I didn't tell co-workers and very few friends. I was able to allow myself to feel happiness, worthiness, and gratitude in my life without her, through on-going counseling and taking meds for my diagnosis as having bipolar disorder.
Then there were especially significant events like our birthday. Being without her I had to find a way to include her on that day. Just by lighting a candle in her memory was helpful.
The anniversary of her death is the most difficult. She died on a holiday, called "Epiphany" where our family, with our grandparents and cousins got together, shared a special cake "la galette des rois" (the king's cake). We lost our Queen forever. However, she remains an integral part of our family on this special day.
To all those who have lost a loved one by suicide, let me just tell you that you can heal, you will heal, if you allow yourself to identify your feelings, accept them (don't deny or run away from them because they are there to be accepted as part of the healing process) and most important practice self-soothing. That can be by meditating, doing yoga, writing, any other way that you can consciously tell your brain to think positive thoughts about yourself, to come to terms with yourself and your suffering and see the joy in your life.
Lastly, Catherine stays in our hearts, in our memory and she will only truly die, when we forget her. That won't happen during my lifetime.
A Moodscope member.