During the month of March we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is a commonly held opinion that on that day everyone has a bit of Irish in them. Unfortunately, the day has become synonymous with excessive drinking and a lot of merrymaking. The pubs do a record breaking sale on that day and a few days leading up to the day. That has become an unfortunate and erroneous impression of the Irish. There is more to the Irish than the consumption of alcohol. Take it from me who is a first generation Irish person. My mother emigrated from Ireland shortly after the turn of the last century. I still have a lot of family over there and I am a frequent visitor to the Emerald Isle to maintain contact with my family and to absorb the Irish culture. I can attest that there is more to the Irish than excessive drinking. The Irish do like the pub and the atmosphere of the pub. There is a lot of frivolity and fun in the pubs but there is a lot more to the Irish than this. One of the aspects of the Irish that is commonly overlooked is the spirituality that emanated from Ireland. That is commonly called Celtic Spirituality.
Celtic Spirituality is a very introspective exercise. Much of the monastic movement began in Ireland and spread throughout the world. Celtic Spirituality goes back centuries and was an attempt to find the meaning of life and a search for God. At the core of this idea is a love and respect for art and poetry and an attempt to discover God in such pursuits. Overall, there was a sense of closeness between the natural and supernatural and it was an attempt to blend the two. As this movement grew it took hold on the Irish and there is a great resurgence of this movement going on in different parts of Ireland today. I bring this up to clarify any misconceptions people might have about this feast and about the Irish. With the uptick in the interest in Ireland I share this information in March to prepare people for this feast and to clear up any misconceptions that people might have. The lasting legacy of the Irish is not excessive drinking but is something much deeper and richer. The excessive drinking that goes on around St. Patrick’s Day is not an accurate depiction of the Irish. I would venture to say that Celtic Spirituality is an aspect of the Irish that is more descriptive and a long lasting remembrance of what it means to be Irish and of Irish heritage.
One of the concerns and worries of survivors of a suicide is that this final act of a loved one is going to be the lasting legacy and remembrance of this cherished person. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any person who completes suicide is more than this final act. This final act was an act of complete desperation. There is more to this loved one than the act of suicide. This was a loving person who had a lot to offer to the world. Unfortunately this person suffered from some type of mental illness that got the best of this person. This act should not be the lasting legacy of a loved one. There is a whole life behind this person. There is a history and many stories that are a part of this person’s life. It would be a tragedy if the lasting memory of a loved one was how they ended their life. They lived a certain number of years and during those years they accomplished many things for a family and a community. Their lives were cut short due to an illness and this should not overshadow all of the good that they did in their life. It does not matter how long this loved one lived. What does matter is that they did good things with their lives. Since they no longer have a voice to tell their story it is up to the survivors of these people to tell their story and to let the world know just what they did and what they accomplished in the years that were afforded them while they walked the earth.
As time moves on in the grief journey the final act fades in the memory. At the beginning how the person died is in the forefront of everyone’s mind but that fades as time goes on and people realize that there was more to that person than how they died. People realize that they had a life and they worked or studied and they did some very constructive things in their life. There was nothing wrong with that person. They died too soon and their death was from an illness. There was no moral flaw in them. They were sick and their illness caused them to die early. These loved ones should be remembered for who they were and for what they did with their lives. Their lives were not wasted. These people were not useless. Their accomplishments speak for themselves. To remain silent about the lives of these loved ones is to do them a great disservice. Survivors are the great spokespersons for these loved ones whose lives were cut short due to an illness. Let the world know that these loved ones left a real void not only in the lives of a family but also in the world around. They did leave a very rich legacy for those around them. The world is richer because of their presence and because of what they accomplished in their lives. The world around should mourn their absence because of what these cherished ones brought to the world. Don’t let the world forget that the world also lost a cherished one when this person took their life. There is a real deficit in the world due to the absence of this person. Each and every one of us brings something to the world and when we die the world is at a loss. The same can be said of these loved ones who found the world too painful to continue living.
As always, I want to assure each and every one of the members of the LOSS family that I remember you in my thoughts and prayers on a daily basis during my quiet time and I encourage you to do the same for each other–especially those who have recently joined our family. Also, kindly remember those people who are on the threshold of hopelessness, that they are enabled to reach out for help.
Keep On Keepin’ On,