Was there a cry for help?

I believe when someone is experiencing severe difficulties that challenge their coping skills they search for ways to communicate their pain and worries through subtle hints if they can not handle it on their own. In some cases they may just keep it inside and not tell anyone, not even their family or closest friend. The one who does confide usually tells a close family member or friend known as a confidant. They entrust them with what they tell them and usually ask them to keep it private. If the person they tell is trustworthy they will honor their request and also may seek to try and get the troubled individual into some form of counseling or crisis intervention program. In cases when someone is troubled and not able to express it they tend to keep it inside. The problem is that eventually the “little problem” becomes a major dilemma in their mind and eventually may become so unbearable that they take drastic action.

I believe this was the case with my father. He was a very proud man who seldom talked about his feelings or opened up to family. He enjoyed talking with people but usually in general terms and never with regard to his personal matters. In trying to cope with my dad’s unexpected death I tried to think back to recent conversations we had and our last family gathering at Easter to see if their were any clues that indicated something that would have set him off but I could not think of any one specific reason he would be so distraught he would take his life by leaping into the path of a speeding train. I just feel their are things we will never have an answer for and it is hard to find closure but we have to in some way let go and respect our loved one’s choice and try to hold on to all the pleasant memories and not to think of the tragic loss. It is very hard to deal with death of someone so close but it is a fact of life that we will suffer loss and eventually we will be called too one day. The hardest thing I have had to face besides my mother’s untimely passing is my dad’s unexpected death by suicide. As time passes the pain subsides but it never goes away and the void is always there. I have noticed his absence many times and it is something I deal with everyday and I know my dad would not want me to be so upset but I do miss my dad very much and just knowing how he died really troubles me. I try to put it out of my mind and I am good at doing that and able to focus on my responsibilities. The problem is when I am alone or when I am with my son that is when we feel his absence because he would always reach out to me by a phone call to check in with me and he would always enjoy visiting and spending time with Matthew and I. I would also like to call him to talk and say hi and see how he was doing. I miss reaching for the phone to call him as well.

The one thing I learned from this tragedy is that you should never discount the feelings of someone if they are brave enough to open up and discuss them with someone by hinting or by direct conversation. Usually they are unable to express it and they keep it inside. This however is a major problem because if they never seek to help themselves they may succumb to their feelings and emotions and may at their most difficult time decide to take their life. In most cases when a tragedy like this occurs people close to the victim are often in shock and never expected it. It is a puzzle to them with missing pieces and no answers but lots of questions. Suicide is a very difficult thing to deal with and it affects so many people who knew the victim. It is a very sad and emotional pain and there are many stages the survivors bear in trying to grapple with it. It will take time to deal with it but the reality is that people who lose a loved one to suicide are deeply affected by it and it can not or should not be easily dismissed.

In having the opportunity of visiting at support group meetings for parents of ADHD and Autistic children my wife and I have heard disturbing stories of preteen age kids who have encountered many emotional and behavioral problems in their early lives and have expressed their wish to be out of their pain and wished they were dead or never born. This is a very rude awakening hearing parents talk about their children saying things like this and it really concerns me. We have heard Matthew talk like this too as he feels his problems are the result of having a brain that does not work right as he puts it. He sometimes says he wished he could get a new brain and if he can not then he wished he was not born or wished he could leave this place. It is very disturbing hearing a young child talk like this and I have to take my son seriously because I am worried and concerned for him and the pain I feel after losing my dad only makes me more worried and concerned.

We have addressed Matthew’s behavioral and emotional disturbances by having him seen by a child psychologist and a child psychiatrist and we also have him on medication that helps him with his medical conditions. It is an uphill struggle with an autistic child and addressing their needs are so very important and I am trying my best to talk to my son to gauge his feelings and to get him to talk with me and Maria and the medical professionals. We want him to open up and express himself and I encourage him to be emotional and to cry if he has to. I believe boys should be able to express themselves too and I do not ever want my son to keep things to himself. I want him to be expressive and I will never discount anything he says. I am concerned for his well being and I will always be there to talk and listen. We must always know as parents and friend when someone may be crying for help or attention. It is so important and it is best to address it earlier than later as timing is everything.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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