I attended a funeral today. The director leading the service mentioned the man’s biological daughter and his step children. There was no mention of his son who died fifteen years ago, although he was in the obituary. That grief takes a of space in a parent’s life and can’t simply be carved out of a life because it doesn’t make a good end-of-life story.
How does one accidentally forget to mention the son of the deceased? Standing there confused, the gravity of the omission wormed its way into my conscious. This wasn’t an oversight but a purposeful omission.
Had his son died of cancer, I feel sure he would have been mentioned. But he died by suicide so therefore, erased from the family tree. Now in all fairness, that wasn’t the feeling of all the attendees but probably reflected the wishes of one. The wife and son of the one who had died by suicide fifteen year’s earlier were at the service.
As a mother of a son who also died by suicide, the feeling that some might think my son’s life didn’t count because of how he died reminded me of how far we have to go. In my little bubble here, it’s easy to forget how dense the stigma and shame are as it relates to suicide.