One Friday evening in early December, early in the long winters of Ontario, Canada a woman sat down considering her life. A unexpected break up a year into what she had hoped might be the long term answer to her struggle with loneliness, another Friday night alone while her friends had all seemingly found “couples things” to do, and at 60 years old feeling like perhaps her time for happiness had passed.
She sat down to her computer and started looking for a more permanent solution to the loneliness and pain she had been dealing with for what seemed like far too long. Searching for “Painless Suicide Methods”, she ran across an article that seemed to reach her somehow. While it did not include the permanent answers she was searching for, it did at least bring up a few more questions and a remind her of the spark that was inside her in better days.
A Friday evening now you may well find her sitting in front of the same computer, and looking at the same site…. But this time she is in the chatroom making jokes with other members that call her mom, or perhaps fake arguing with a member that jokingly implied she was perhaps his child with her demanding the years of child support he owed if he wanted to treat her like a child… Silly conversation that might confuse a new member just looking on for the first time trying to figure out what type of suicide chat support this might be.
Until somebody came in and mentioned they were having an issue, when the jokes took back seat to the obvious care and support of all the members that had been joking moments before. Often times she would be leading the calm questions and reassuring comments that it was alright to talk about their feelings, and reminding the new member that feeling like they had let somebody down did not mean that they had or that it was an irreversible personality flaw they were exhibiting. Somehow, this member has the right notion of what to say and when to say it to put people at ease and make them feel both welcomed and supported.
JacsMom- Member Spotlight February 2017
JacsMom has experienced a lot in her 60 years. Any that know her story realize it is not a fairy-tale life by any means. It has been a life of highs and lows. The joy of marriage, followed by the pain of divorce and emotionally abusive alcoholic husband that took up 15 years of her early adult life. Some would have been scared to continue to look for love, yet she still chose to live life and at the opportunity chose to remarry.
The joys and challenges of parenthood were a part of her self-identity. Then one horrible night that forever changed her when her daughter was struck by a car as she walked from a friend’s house, killing her daughter instantly. Any parent knows there is no greater fear than of something happening to their child. JacsMom has had to live that nightmare for years now.
As she has always done however, JacsMom was not passive in her grief. After learning that her daughter was the second child to die from being hit by a car in that area she chose instead of retreating inside of herself to grieve to try to prevent others from enduring the same tragedy. She became an activist and enlisted the community and the support of multiple groups and agency to get streetlights and sidewalks. She could not bear the idea of a third child losing their life for lack of something as simple as sidewalks and streetlights in the growing town. The excuse of “money” given by the town was not adequate or acceptable as an excuse for the tragedy. It took months of fighting- but now there are streetlights and sidewalks and children can get around safely. She won the fight for the safety of others, but that has never replaced the hole she feels in heart when thinking about her own daughter that was still gone.
For 3 years she dealt with the pain of losing her daughter in the way she could- by fighting to help others through her activism in making safer streets and setting up an online support group for other grieving parents. She has made a habit of using her pain to lend her strength. That strength has not worked to lessen her own pain, nor was that the reason for her actions. She has made a life of using her pain as a reason to try to help others, to try to make it so that others do not suffer the same as her. She uses her pain to give the strength to try to prevent pain in others.
After a second divorce caused in large part by the difficulties of losing her daughter, JacsMom has gone on to fight her own personal fight for life. A diagnosis of cancer that she met and thought she had beat once, that last fall came back for the second time. She feels confident in her treatments, if disheartened by the slowness of getting the treatments tests due to a backlog and waiting periods in care in her home in Ontario. It is not easy being told to wait for weeks for tests and treatments when dealing with cancer. It is humbling knowing this is going on in her life as you watch her joke with others in chat, trying to spread a little happiness to others despite her own troubles.
Many people suffer tragedy in their life, in fact most all do at some point. JacsMom certainly has faced it on multiple occasions. Few react to the tragedy by selflessly pursuing a goal of helping others as a direct result of that tragedy. In every case where life has knocked her down, her response has been to stand up to try to help others not have to endure what she has. Whether it is just to make others smile or laugh when she can, to offer the wisdom that only comes from 60 years on this Earth, to fight city hall and the establishment for needed change, or to start or participate in support groups to remind others they are not alone – her response every time when facing difficulty has been to try to make life better for others.
She is wise enough to know that it does not prevent her own loneliness that she still feels. She has not deluded herself into thinking that helping others will make her own pain go away- she still struggles with being a women alone at 60 and still misses her daughter every single day. She simply continues to do whatever she can to try to make the world a little better for others because she believes the world can be a better place and that people have the power to make it better.
A Reply Too Long in Coming-
One night in December JacsMom wrote on the forum –
It’s 12:30 at night. I’m sitting here missing my daughter and wondering how I am going to get through the Christmas holidays and her anniversary date yet again.
I wonder now if she’d be married and have children of her own. I wonder what career she would have picked. I miss her beautiful smile and soul. My grief feels insurmountable.
All the other problems in my life are amplified by the grief I feel. I feel very alone and wonder why it seems every relationship I find ends. I am now also grieving the loss of another one, for an unknown reason. I feel so lost, and unlovable. I am truly a decent person and I can’t figure out why life has chosen to keep taking all the things I care about away from me.
Sadly, when I found that post I saw there had not been a single reply.
I cannot answer the questions she left on this post- it is clear she is truly an amazing person that gives far more and better to the world than she has received to this point. Having daughters of my own and watching them do the things that she wonders about her own daughter, lost far too young, I do have one answer about her daughter that I am certain of. It is a certainty born of being a parent with daughters of my own.
She would be proud of her Mom.
JacsMom genuinely makes the world a better place. She makes SF a better place. She is the type of person and parent that that makes those around her better. Thank you JacsMom, you are a decent person, you are lovable and you deserve better. I cannot explain why the world seems to choose some for such a difficult path as yours, but perhaps it is because every time you have faced tragedy you made the world better for others and that is needed in this world too. You are needed in this world.