It’s time to give elephant the boot

On the afternoon of Jan. 19, 2012, my life and the lives of Dr. Jon Fistler’s children were forever changed and we were thrown to the wolves with unanswered questions, regret, and unspeakable grief at the misunderstanding that followed his suicide.
I have discovered that I hate the word suicide. It is bitter and sour and razor-sharp, and as I now understand it to be true—also is the biggest elephant in the room after someone dies at his or her own hand.
In my last column of December, I wrote the following:
I understand that no matter how life may saddle me, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should,” (taken from the “Desiderata”) says it best.
And while there are bound to be many future times when I will frown on that outlook, especially when life stinks, I will still believe it to be true.
That belief keeps me approachable to learning more the why and what of this fascinating and multi-layered world and the importance of my part in it.
Oh, how little did I know when I wrote that.
Well, if the Universe is unfolding as it should and I am to keep approachable to learning the importance of my part in this world (which, to say the least, is a &%$#@! big pill to swallow right now), then I am opening the door and telling the elephant to “Get Out.”
The shroud of secrecy and the stigma surrounding suicide following major depression must be exposed. There is no shame here. Major depression is a disease like cancer, and we must give it the recognition it deserves.
So here I am joining the ranks of the “left behind.” I have a very long road ahead to recovery from what has happened here, and there are three precious and beautiful adult children of Jon’s who also now have to find their way back from the darkness created by this heart-breaking tragedy.
We are helping each other. Their support of me and mine of them is the grace to come out of all of this.
I had a wonderful experience of the miracle of love with Jon in Canada, where he was realizing a longtime dream of practising veterinarian medicine here in Rainy River District. His life was so very full of promise.
God bless him for sharing an all too brief 403 days of his life with me. I know in my heart our love for each other was a wonderful respite of peace and serenity for Jon, especially in those recent times when depression and darkness crept in to his mind.
I know this much to be true. Jon was a tender soul. Maybe some tender souls just cannot carry the burden on this Earth and need to go to a softer, gentler place more quickly than others.
Jon’s spirit now is free to work miracles from the other side. May he come into the peace of wild things that do not tax their lives with forethought of despair.
I also know for sure that those of us who are left behind in our heartache and our unknowing about major depression have a big job ahead of us.
There is a German proverb that says: “To bury grief, plant a seed.” So I’m asking everyone who knew Jon, or has known someone who has committed suicide, to first plant a seed of gratitude.
Say “thank you” out loud a lot for his or her life. Even if you’re not sure to whom or to what you are saying it, say it anyway, especially when grief is about to swallow you up.
Plant a seed of no regrets in your soul. Those of us who were closest to Jon, let us feel no guilt, and we should not and cannot carry his pain or his burden. He would not want that and we need to be free to heal.
Plant a seed of communication. Talk about your feelings with someone who will listen, talk about depression, learn about depression and suicide, and speak its name.
Plant a seed. Grow awareness. Please.
I carry your heart, Jon. I carry it in my heart.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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