Rubey February 2013

Unfinished business is sad

No matter when a person dies there is always unfinished business that is left as this person is commended to the hereafter. That is a sad legacy to leave the unfinished business unfinished. I am reminded of a young woman by the name of Claire Squires who ran in the London Marathon. About one mile before the finish line Claire collapsed and died. Claire was running the marathon to raise money for a group called the Samaritans. The Samaritans is an organization that provides a hotline for those people who are contemplating suicide. The organization started in England. It has spread throughout the world. Claire’s pledges would have raised over $600.00 or $700.00 dollars. Word spread all over the world about the untimely death of this young runner and well over $1,000,000 dollars were raised for the Samaritans in memory of this marathon runner. What a legacy for Claire and what a worldwide effort to help finish the unfinished work of Claire.

One of the great regrets survivors of a suicide have is that this life that was cut short and this loved one will never reach their potential, and they left a lot of unfinished business in the wake of their death. One way that survivors can remember their loved ones is to figure out how to finish some of these unfinished tasks in the memory of this loved one. Obviously, nothing can take the place of this loved one but to engage in some of the tasks that this person left behind and to attempt to finish some of the unfinished business is a way to remember and to honor them. If this loved one had a special charity that they were particularly fond of survivors could continue to be involved with this charity. If a loved one had special fondness for animals, survivors could continue in some way to respect the animal life in the world.

This is a not a real tall order to accomplish. It does take creativity and a desire to carry on where a loved has left off. Such an effort accomplishes two ends. It keeps the memory of this loved one alive. A tragedy worse than the suicide of a loved one would be if that loved one were to be forgotten. The other result would be to finish up some of the unfinished business that this loved one left behind. What greater tribute could be paid to dearly departed loved one than to put some effort in keeping them a part of this world. Such efforts could also affect something positive in light of such a tragic ending of one’s life.

Another way of looking at this is to emulate some of the more positive qualities of this loved one. It is more than merely imitating this person’s behaviors, but it is to make some positive changes in one’s life as a result of their life and death. Again, such efforts make this person continue to be a part of the life of the survivor, and hopefully can make one’s world a better place because of the life and traits of this deceased loved one. Unfinished business leaves a void in the world. When someone leaves this world very suddenly and tragically survivors are devastated and need time to absorb the enormity of this event. Once the shock wears off, then survivors can begin the work of addressing the unfinished business that this loved one left.

Completing the unfinished business can be looked upon as the legacy that this loved one has left behind. We think of legacy in terms of money but legacy is much more than money and it is many times more valuable than any type of monetary value. The legacy of these loved ones is an extension of themselves and their lives that were shortened because of the intolerable pain that they were in. This legacy is part of the unfinished business that survivors grapple with during the aftermath of the completed suicide. This unfinished business is an act of love that is engaged in to honor the life and the memory of a much loved one.

The first task of the unfinished business is to figure out just what this business is all about. It could be an interest, an activity, a way of acting towards the world or interacting with people. Sometimes survivors begin a Foundation or a Scholarship to remember a loved one. There are organizations that have been founded to memorialize a loved one such as Erika’s Lighthouse. This organization was started by Erika’s family to address the issue of adolescent depression. It has been a very important help to a number of communities. Survivors can be as creative as they want to be in remembering a loved one.

Completing the unfinished business of a loved one does not have to cost a lot of money or any money for that matter. All it takes is some thought, creativity and some willingness to engage in something that will make that loved one present and remembered. Their deaths were tragic and untimely, but their lives were rich and wonderful, and these lives cry out to be remembered and memorialized to enrich the world.

There are many examples of ways survivors have memorialized their loved ones who found life too painful to want to continue. To engage in the unfinished business of a loved one is but another way to address the void that is created by a suicide. It is not the same as having that loved one present in one’s family or life but it does address the fact that this person had admirable characteristics that need to be kept alive and not be buried with that loved one. This person deserves to be remembered as one who had a lot to offer the world. Now that they are not here there are people who are going to engage in work that will ensure that the unfinished business gets done and that this person’s accomplishments are worthy of completion.

As always, I want to assure each and every member of the LOSS family of my thoughts and prayers on a daily basis during my quiet time. I also encourage each and every one of you to do the same for each other –especially for those survivors who have recently joined our family.

Keep On Keepin’ On,