Sunday 22 July 2012

The power of words

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Death. Dead. Deceased.

Is or was? Were or are?

Committed suicide? Completed suicide? Took their own life?

One thing starting this has really made me consider it is the power of words and how we choose them.

Obviously I have experiences talking about what has happened before I started this blog. And talking about Nathan’s death does throw up some of the same issues as writing about it. A lot of advice I have read warns people from using the phrase ‘committed suicide’, suggesting that it still carries with it the criminal implications the act of suicide had in the past. Personally, I find this is the first phrase that comes to mind when using the word suicide and I often find using ‘completed suicide’ sounds awkward.

One of the biggest issues I find is whether to use ‘was’ or ‘is’ when talking about Nathan.  Saying ‘was’ makes me feel weird. It is almost as if I am denying that Nath is still a part of our life. Even if he is dead, I still feel he is certain things. He is still a massive part of who I am. He is still part of our family. But when I use ‘is’ I feel like I am somehow in denial about his death; that I must still be stuck in that stage of grief.

Writing is different to talking. I think I have always been better at the former when expressing myself. However, speech has a great advantage when it comes to uncomfortable phrasings because it is temporary.  If I say ‘is’ or ‘was’ when I’m talking about my brother, two seconds later it really doesn’t matter. In fact, if I mumble a little bit it can sound like either or both.

When I’m writing, it seems permanent. Although I have the option to delete things or edit, writing gives me (and others) the chance to look over it again. And check. And analyse. And feel bad about using the ‘wrong’ words for much longer.

But obviously it can also have a positive effect. I have had such fantastic reactions to this blog; I have had hugs and tears and laughs with people about it. I even had one friend, who knew that my brother had died, who sent me a lovely card at the time, but who didn’t know how he had passed away. I’m sure she is not the only one but she is the first to admit it!  All of this is from simply trying to put into words how I feel and trying to carve something positive from it.

I guess what I am trying to say is thank you all so much for the lovely words and gestures in response to this blog. Now I need to plan what my first will be for this week. 

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