Epilogue- Suicide by Death

Childhood is supposed to be carefree, innocent and more importantly, filled with an abundance of love. Nothing is free, but in the long-run, being a kid is supposed to be made that way…if you’re one of the fortunate ones.

There are many of us out there who can concur that their life started out much like Clair’s—chaotic, frightening and immersed in utter pandemonium. What a great way to start life…I don’t think so. It dictates the path we choose in our existence—how we feel and treat ourselves and others.

While editing Suicide By Death, I grew increasingly tied to the main character, Clair. I know editors are not supposed to get personally involved with the ‘players’, but I did. It turns out Clair, and I have a lot in common—and I became her emotional advocate—her doppelganger so to speak. There were times I wanted to literally step inside Clair’s world and protect her, do a little physical damage to those who caused her so much pain and angst. It tore open my own personal wounds, which I thought I had dealt with long ago. I realize now that there are scars that can still bleed, sometimes profusely at times. You can attain all the counseling you want, but they’re still there corked down so deeply that when they surface, you want to scream or do something irrational just to quell the anger and bitterness which has built up within ourselves over time.

The first example in our lives is our family. If you can’t trust them to love and support you, then who can you trust? We inevitably end up attracting or being attracted to the same toxicity throughout the rest of our lives. We learned it all when our early years were full of emotional insanity – we think we’re moving forward, all the while we’re just going through the motions and trying to discover what love really is. We know how to spell it, but what is it in the true sense of the word? If we don’t have positive examples of a truly functional start in life, then it’s hit and miss – and usually a miss for most.

When innocence is stolen from us so early in life, it then becomes an awkward jigsaw puzzle of choices, like pulling a rabbit out of an arena full of hats. Sometimes we get lucky, sometimes not, and it’s usually the ‘not’ that is the winner in the quest for happiness and self-awareness. One can simply move on and catch whatever prism as it shines its light on you. Nevertheless, the damage is there and there to stay. It’s what we do with it that counts.

People like Clair would look at a relationship and ask, “If he likes me, there must be something wrong with him.” I call it “The “Damaged Goods Syndrome.” We feel we are undeserving of love or happiness. It was beaten into us subtly so early on. Too many times it’s unsalvageable. It’s that hamster wheel that keeps on spinning. The lucky ones survive and live relatively content lives in the end. Sure, we can just continue wandering aimlessly down that path of self-destruction and self-loathing and hope for the best, or just let nature take its course and take what you get. Sometimes you win – sometimes you don’t.

As I read through the book, I found myself continuously re-gluing myself emotionally back together in small ways, but they all added up. “If Clair can do it, so can I.” I can honestly say that after closing the book, I felt different somehow. I began to see my own demons in a different light, just as Clair did. Things didn’t seem so hopeless any longer, and I’ve been looking for that my entire life. Sometimes it just takes that one person to point the way, and in creating the characters in Suicide by Death, I want to personally thank Mark Anthony Waters for brilliantly assembling some sort of sanity out of the emotional rubble for me.

I’ll miss Clair, quite honestly. I wish her the best.

 

Carla Michale Clark

 

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