Back From Washington

My friend Elizabeth, me and friend and fellow survivor Shannon on the train on our way to Washington on Sunday

I woke up this morning feeling as though I’ve been run over by a truck. I am aching from head to foot and my brain is going through a spell of Foggy-Brain-Syndrome.
But in my heart I feel… I feel that from the moment I learned of Andrew’s death, I became a peaceful warrior. The last three days, from when I left the house on my way to Washington, I’ve been engaged in peaceful but active combat. I even met a real life Army General, a female Army General.
I met many wonderful people and made new friends, both amongst suicide survivors like myself and in the Capital’s throbbing heart, Congress. Andrew was with me every moment, and with every step I took in and out The Hill. Any of the young staffers who “met” him (I showed his picture to everyone), would have been only to happy to date him, if only…. if only he’d been there in the flesh to shake hands and smile his luminous smile. But then, well, if he’d been around to shake hands and smile we wouldn’t have been marching around The Hill.

Alright, this is all I can manage today, I am too worn out physically and mentally to do anything other than lie around comatose for the rest of the day.
But first I would like to say a big thank you for your warm welcome to my daughter, Florentina. Thank you for embracing her and supporting her. I read her writing about Andrew at the same time as you did, and…. well… I love you Florentina and we will get through this, together with you, Daddy and Robert here, Andrew and Alexander “there”, we will make it.
I want to say a couple more thank yous: to my husband and Robert for holding the fort while I was way.
To my fellow survivor Shannon, for telling me about the conference, and for the special moments we shared getting to know each other on the train and later, when we were looking for a place to eat and talk quietly in pretty King Street, Alexandria. And last, but certainly not least, to my dear friend Elizabeth for coming with me and for her steadfast support, for her unique brand of compassion, which manifests as a wicked sense of humor. Whenever she sees me teetering on the brink of tears, pretending not to notice, she comes up with the most outrageous “vignettes” of so and so making it impossible for me to do anything other than laugh my head off. She had the same effect on Andrew. I also want to say thank you to Elizabeth for referring to Andrew, at the conference and on The Hill, as the son she never had.

I will tell you more, but bye for now,
Esmeralda

PS Having forgotten my camera behind, I am relying on the people who took pictures and promised to email them to me. As of now the only picture I have is the one I posted today.

14 thoughts on “Back From Washington

  1. Esmeralda,

    I think I can sum up my feelings best – by saying simply that – I am so proud of you. When faced with challenges you find a way to rise above them & put your energy into making the world a better place.

    Love,
    Barbara

    • That is really kind of you to say, and I accept your generous words. Let me in turn say though, that as you know, people like me would not be able to achieve half as much without people like you stepping in to help. God Bless you Barbara and thank you. Hugs, Esmeralda :)

      • Thanks for your kind words. Reading your post has inspired me to take up meditation. I’ve long been a fan of yoga. I signed up for a meditation class & I’m really pleased to be learning it and enjoying the peace that comes with it. I agree with you that yoga & meditation are useful tools.

  2. What you have done, after all the heartache you have been through, is inspiring. I hope with all my heart that someone in Washington heard your voices. Our beautiful children caught in a vaccuum, denied the life they should be here living are cheering you on from heaven. You keep me focused on something besides my own grief with your bravery and writing. Your daughter’s posts were beautiful. She is as gifted as her mother. My hugs to you all..rest well.

    • Dear Iola, I am so glad to hear from you again. I feel like we are a community now, and we have a conversation going.
      Where do you live? I am want to organize something in June, do you live anywhere near NY?
      Thank you for your kind words about my daughter, she truly is a gift from God.
      And now I’m off to bed. Take care my friend, Esmeralda

      • Hi. Hope you got some rest last night. I live actually 60 miles south of Chicago in a small town. I work a Mon-Fri job, take care of my aging mom, and try very hard to hold myself together some days. People tell me I am strong, but I think very differently.
        I look forward to your blogs…and very much enjoyed your daughters. It makes me feel less alone to share your thoughts. Know that even when I am silent, I am listening. hugs to you

      • BIG hugs to you. And don’t be too silent, we like everybody’s input. Slept well, but still feel REALLY tired. Take care

  3. Please, Dear Esmeralda, don’t be offended when you read this…it’s just I KNOW the “look”! In the train picture you posted, you look like a “survivor.” It makes me ache b/c I know I’ve looked in the mirror and have seen that look too. The first time I went to a Compassionate Friends support group meeting there was a woman who attended whose daughter had died just 6 days earlier. Her son and son-in-law came with her. They all had the visage of a survivor. I can see in your recent photo how new the grief is in the depth of sorrow and compassion of your eyes…oh the anguish of those first months!

    Your post about your friend who makes you laugh makes me remember the days last year when I am sure I had the “survivor look” b/c every day I drove 45 minutes to work and talked to God and my son and CRIED. (Those scenic drives actually helped me heal! An hour and a half dedicated time each day to ponder, to listen, to talk to God and my son, to cry…) I know I walked into work and people were aching for me but not sure what to do. Once in front of my “office mate” I was talking to another co-worker and crying. After the co-worker left, my office mate said to me, “You know you can talk to me anytime.” I said, “NO! You make me laugh! That’s your job; keep me laughing!” We banter sarcastically back and forth all day long. It’s a special working relationship. :D
    I let people around me know what I need and I try to reciprocate by asking others what they need and how I can help.

    One of my sons attending college is doing a “cause and effect” speech about survivors of suicide. He “interviewed” me. We had an amazing conversation today. Part of it was about our family dilemma of whether to be totally open about how his brother died or to continue being selectively open. I warned him to be prepared he might cry. And I told him that would be ok…no shame! It told my son about your blog.

    Take care…do not run faster than you are able…blessings to you and your family…and I am eager to hear about your experiences in Washington. :) Aloha~

    • I thought I looked quite smiley. But quite frankly I don’t mind looking like a survivor, that’s what I am.
      I am glad about your son’s interview. I wish I could be there to hear his speech.

      • You are a beautiful woman, physically and spiritually. And yes you were quite smiley in the photo. :D I can also see what compassionate friend saw–fulfillment and satisfaction. What you do amazes me–daily writing a blog and being an activist. (I definitely pale in comparison.) But to me, and perhaps to me only, your eyes spoke to me of the sorrow and compassion of a survivor of suicide…I hope my eyes keep the compassion even as the sorrow recedes…aloha…

      • I really think that we all do what we are supposed to do. You must not think that you are doing less, how do you know that? Who can tell how deep and hard you had to dig to get yourself upright? Back to work in two weeks, it takes a special person.
        And all the books you suggest to us, you’ve done the research, we get the benefits. Yes I write everyday, and when I open my laptop each morning and log on, I can count on you having left something for me and I look forward to it :)
        Thank you RayofSunshine for the light you shine my way.

  4. I think you look fantastic in the photo – content in the company you were keeping. I think you actually look younger than other photos you have posted of yourself. It seems to be a look of fulfillment and satisfaction. Thanks for rallying for all the survivors and those suffering even in the midst of your own exhausting grief. Blessings to you.

    • Compassionate friend is indeed the right name for what you do. Thank you. I was indeed content to be with my friends and happy to be going to the conference. I felt that I was DOING something to bring about change. Thank you for caring and for following, I really appreciate it, and blessings to you. Esmeralda

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