Moving Forward from Loss, Surviving a Suicide

Getting through, what happens after a suicide, when you are the one(s) that are left.

 

What do you do, how do you cope and make sense of things?

 

My Aunt Beth is hosting a beautiful event this weekend in the memory of my Uncle Dennis who left us on January 25, 2014, he was my Mom's brother.

 

Dennis Wirgowski Free Football Camp for Kids, Bay City, MI, Sunday September 18 -http://www.ymcabaycity.org/freefootballcamp/

 

He was the one who lived in Michigan on the beach all of his adult life and loved California and all of its beach-y, surfing, hang ten trappings.

 

He was to me very much an icon in my life.

 

He took us for ice creams in his sparkly purple convertible beach dune buggy in the middle of Michigan on hot Summer days.

 

The one who had to cool 70's platform shoes, fly matching burgundy bell bottomed pants and sexy mustache.

 

He also was our Bay City, Michigan NFL Football Star, one who got out, made it and lived the glamorous life of a professional athlete for a few years in the early 70's around the time when I was born.

 

He was a defensive end.  He played his college football at Purdue University and professionally was a ninth round draft pick in the NFL for Boston Patriots (later the New England Patriots) and also played for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Six seasons in total, chasing down the likes O.J. Simpson and Bob Griese.

 

Vater in life he and my Aunt Beth lived and played on the beach with their dogs and friends. For a while he owned a local bar, worked for years at Stevens Worldwide Van Lines and went to the gym at the local YMCA every day.  Aunt Beth is a nurse, giving her time to helping patients get through the tough stuff. We saw each other not as much as I'd liked but a good amount.

 

My Uncle Dennis was 66 when he took his own life a few short years ago.  As you can imagine our family's world was rocked.

 

I loved him and remember him fondly, but the hero in this is his wife Beth, the survivor of a tragic loss.

 

With suicide there is the not knowing why - that is the thing, even if there is a note.

 

The survivors deal with the guilt of "why didn't I see it", "how could I not have known". "Why didn't I answer that phone call"… etc… for each person and family its different and yet the same.  Depression is so easily masked and hard to see.

 

There are people far smarter and trained than I that give good counsel on this subject so this is simply my perspective of how I've dealt with it and watching my family do the same.

 

I couldn't be prouder of Beth by her taking action, using her voice and helping others who have and are going through this.  She is amazing and I know every day she is taking those good steps forward even when it's tough.

 

Much love to my family, My Mom, Aunt Mary and Uncle Nigel and Barb for all the hard work they put in on the event and all of our Wirgowski clan.

Wishing you a beautiful event Beth, I love you so. Uncle Dennis would, as you well know love it too.