Of the Death of a Family Member

TW: Suicide

I received news from my mother, and cousin, that my uncle was found to have died by suicide.

It came as a huge shock to me – not only because it was unexpected, but that suicide was the cause of death. It hit me in multiple ways.

As the uncle in question was a brother of my father’s, I was more affected because throughout my life, my father’s side of the family and my immediate family have been closer than we have been with my mother’s side of the family. He was the second of 7 brothers, my father being the third son. He was my grandmother’s favorite son, and was by far the most filial son my grandmother had.

I feel helpless because I am hundreds of thousands of miles away from Malaysia, and am too broke to be able to afford to fly home to visit and pay my respects. I also feel helpless because of the bits and pieces of news that I’d been getting.

No one knows exactly what drove him to choose suicide, but we speculate that it was due to some medical related news from his doctor because the day after a medical appointment, he had gone missing. He was missing for 2 whole days before his body was found by some fishermen; his motorcycle had been parked by the bridge – his shoes neatly placed by it, the keys in the ignition.

It pains me greatly to think about what he must have been thinking that night when he drove to the seashore. It pains me greatly to know that he had made a decision to be all alone – to suffer alone, and to die alone.

This loss baffles all of us – mostly because we don’t know why or what had driven him to suicide. His wife blames herself, and hasn’t stopped crying.

I can’t help but feel multiple emotions at once – I feel extremely sad for his death, and for the loss; I feel that I could relate so much to my uncle and how he must have been feeling as I had been through something similar; I feel helpless because I don’t know what I can do, or say to make things better; I also feel guilty because I just realized that months ago, I had been ready to subject my own family to the same kind of grief that my aunt, and 2 cousins are going through right now.

Depression is a bitch. It hurts us in such a way that it creates lasting scars. It hurts not only the sufferer but also the family members, and loved ones.

Every time I think of the loss, I also can’t help but think about how grateful I feel to be alive. I feel grateful that I never stopped fighting and that now that life is a little better for me, that I never gave up. I am so grateful that I have the psychological help that I need. Not many people have such a luxury, and that’s sad because mental health should never be a luxury but a necessity!

My uncle’s death is a tragedy, and I wish that there was more that could be done to prevent suicide.

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