Dear Papa Bear,
I have been a part of the furry fandom for about 3 years now, but I have only become active in the fandom about a year ago. I consider myself an artist and I make furry art all the time. I'm hoping to attend a con sometime soon as well. One thing that I really want to get is a fursuit. I only want a partial because I know I could grow out of a full suit quickly. I want one mainly to entertain and to advertise my character at conventions. I'm willing to save up the money, but my parents do not really understand why having a suit is important, or why it is not a waste of money. One of their main arguments is that I would never wear it. I know they can cost around $1,000 or more for a decent suit, so I could see their point. I don't have any big issues with paying for college or a car, so I do have room to buy one. I just need a good reason to justify my purchase to my parents. They tend to think that people who go to cons are weird, and I know that they are not entirely wrong. I've tried to explain to them that being yourself and expressing your hobbies is not a bad thing when in the right places. I don't exactly know how they would react to the fursuiters at cons, so I need your advice. How can I convince my parents that fursuits are not weird and that it is not a waste of my money (and yes I know that fursuiting is a little weird, but you know what I mean.)
James the Arctic Fox (age 14)
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Smart of you to only get a partial for now, since you are probably still growing. Also, if money isn’t an issue for you and you save up the money for yourself, then you should be able to purchase what you want to without having to get parental approval, especially if, by the time you get a full fursuit, you are 18 or older.
Secondly, furry is a hobby, right? Many hobbies can cost a considerable amount of money. For example, golfing, skiing, SCUBA diving, horseback riding, etc. These are all things that could easily rack up hundreds of dollars in costs over a short period. Would your parents consider these things a “waste of money”? We all need some fun and hobbies in our lives, and I bet they wouldn’t criticize such pursuits. Therefore! Their objection is not the money; it’s the hobby itself, right? “Waste of money” is code for “We think that’s weird and don’t want you to do it.”
So, is fursuiting “weird”? Well, no stranger than being, say, a mascot. If you wanted to dress up as a lion for a local high school team, would that be weird? Oh, no no, heavens no, because that is related to socially sanctioned sports, so it’s cool. Is fursuiting weirder than people going to Star Trek conventions and dressing up as Vulcans and Ferengi? Again, it is the furry thing your parents object to.
Oh, here’s something interesting, too: if you are trying to be an artist—a professional, money-making artist—and create a fursuit to promote your business, your fursuit is tax deductible as a marketing tool, so maybe you could use that as an argument, too. Quite a few furries make money doing this sort of thing.
Finally, fursuiting is a lot of fun! Don’t your parents like you to have fun? I love donning my bear fursuit and having people wanting to give me a hug because I’m a cute fuzzy bear. It’s a way to interact with others and to bring fun and joy into people’s lives. What’s weird about that?
In summary: fursuiting is fun, a fursuit can be a marketing tool, and fursuiting is no stranger or more expensive than some other hobbies out there. And, anyway, you can't hug money, but you can hug a furry. Argument made.
Dear Papa Bear,
I'm going to a furry con next year and for fun I thought I'd share a room. I found someone in a Facebook group I'm part of and we quickly made plans. However, in my excitement that I finally found someone didn't really look into the guy until after the initial arrangements. Turns out based on his Facebook likes he is a diaper fur. Now normally I am a very open minded individual and not much bothers me when it comes to people's kinks but diapers by their very nature disgust me and I don't if I could stand to be in the same room as the guy. Just knowing someone puts what I consider to be one of the most disgusting objects in the world on their body makes my skin crawl.
How do I explain to this guy that I just made this arrangement with that his fetish makes me physically ill and I'm going to have to back out on our deal?
Is there still a way I can make this work? I feel like such a tolerant ass and I know he going to hate me.
Typhon (age 32)
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This is a lesson in checking people out before you agree to room with them, isn’t it? But now that you have told this furry that he can room with you, it would be quite dishonorable of you to tell him that you changed your mind: be a man of your word. It’s your fault you didn’t check out his background more thoroughly and not his, and you might ruin his plans to go to the furcon if you back out now. Not cool.
Now that you have made this deal, it doesn’t mean you have to have an uncomfortable time of it. As I understand it, most diaper furs wear these garments under their clothes anyway, so you’re not going to see anything. Just to make things clear, though, you should lay some ground rules about sharing the room (many of which should be agreed upon with roomies at furcons as a matter of course, anyway).
For example, you can tell the guy you are a bit shy and to please change clothes in the bathroom and you will do the same. Tell him you have learned he’s a diaper fur, and that while you are not going to forbid him from being himself, you would like him to please be discreet about it because it is not something you are into. To reciprocate, ask him if there are any things that bothers him and agree that you will not do those, either.
In addition, request some standards be put in place: promise him you will not be messy and ask him to do the same (this should cover things like leaving diapers around; ask him to please dispose of stuff or keep it packed away). If food is eaten in the room, clean up after meals. Don’t leave wet towels everywhere, etc. Depending on what your idea of fun at a con is, you might also request “please do not bring hook ups to the room—I don’t want to walk in and see you having sex.” Or some such thing. Now, if you plan on doing stuff like that yourself, you can do a simple signage system, if you know what I mean (you’re 32, so you probably do), so that if someone is using the room for naked fun, the other promises to stay out (within reasonable hours, of course).
In short: don’t be a jerk. Don’t go back on your promise (as long as he honors his to pay for his half of the room), and don’t say things like “your desire to wear diapers makes me physically ill.” Be respectful, but ask for his respect and consideration in return. Since you’re both paying for the room (I assume), he also has the right to ask for some space and consideration, too.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll actually like this guy and become friends. If not, consider it a lesson learned and be more careful next time you arrange for a roommate.
Have fun at the con!
Hi Papa Bear!
I can gladly say that my life's still going well. College is moving along and I'm pretty involved on campus where I meet interesting people all over.
But, my concern has nothing to do with college or school life or even romantic relationship troubles. My mate and I have a particular circle of friends. We all are about the same age (19-20 or so) except for one person who is 15. I'm going to call him Ryan instead of his real name for the sake of privacy. Normally, not much seems wrong despite a bit of an age gap. Ryan is safe with us and the age difference doesn't hinder all of use having a good time.
But, the age difference between Ryan and everyone else is quite apparent from a maturity and mindset standpoint. This isn't surprising since teenagers have a lot of growing to do in many different ways.
What troubles me though is Ryan's immaturity. And I don't mean that he's annoying. He's actually quite tame. Sure, he has his moments but it's not much different than anyone else being annoying in some way. Ryan lives a relatively sheltered life. He's been homeschooled for as long as I can remember and he's still being home-schooled by his parents for high school. I don't really approve of home-schooling kids for their high school years for growth and social development reasons, but that's another topic for another day. As a result of his sheltered life, Ryan doesn't have many (if any) friends his age that live near him. He basically only has us (my mate, me and the other people in our circle). I'd also like to mention our circle meets online. This isn't a bad thing, just thought it would be nice to note.
I'm also not sure if his parents are good role models. So, he instead looks up to my mate as sort of a role model. That's what worries me though. Ryan is so immature in an innocent and impressionable way. Most days I forget how old he actually is. Sometimes I think he's younger than his actual age because of how "young" he acts. I don't believe my mate is a very good adult figure for him. Don't get me wrong, I love my mate to death. He has plenty of good qualities. It's the negative qualities that I don't want being spread to Ryan. My mate can be cold, cynical and pessimistic. I'm sort of a negative-Nelly too, but my mate is much more than I am. He also does not have the same amount of empathy that most people have, so he has a hard time understanding other's emotional sides and quirks. Not too long ago, one of our friend's friends had committed suicide, leaving our friend sensitive to suicide jokes. In our circle, suicide jokes come and go and everyone laughs at them because no one is being serious about it. My mate made a suicide joke while our other fiend was around. It triggered him and he told my mate to stop. However, my mate kept going on with it. The outcome wasn't good. I brought up that the joke was insensitive, but my mate insisted that our friend needed to "get over it" and compared him to the internet super feminists who get triggered over the tiniest of things. My mate just doesn't get that some people need time to mourn. That's just how he is though. My mate is an adult and if that's his opinion, that's his opinion. (Although I think that's a stupid and insensitive one.) Ryan went along with this mentality however, and this is when I noticed just how much of an influence my mate is on him. I mean, I've noticed other times like these but I just brushed them off and left it along and quickly forgot about it for the time. It was this instance when I started to become worried. I don't want Ryan to take on the negative qualities my mate has.
Ryan has yet to go to college, choose a career and meet other people. I don't want those opportunities for him squandered by a bad role model who (indirectly) taught him to be an insensitive and pessimistic douche (excuse my language). I understand that Ryan has his own life and is allowed to have any attitude he wishes. But is a bleak and unhappy outlook without being able to understand the emotional side of others really a good way to live? I was in that boat in my adolescence. I was not a happy person then; every other day I had the urge to kill myself. I don't want that kind of life for Ryan.
Though, I'm not entirely sure how to act in this situation. I'm not sure where the line between my business and his parents' business should cross on this since it's ultimately his parents' responsibility to teach him these things. Though, it doesn't really seem like they're doing a good job in my mind. Should I even get involved at all or should I leave Ryan to his own devices when he inevitably goes to college or gets a job and he needs to grow up? I also could be blowing this way out of proportion and he could mature by himself. What do you think?
Thank you for listening,
* * *
Thanks for your letter, and I am sorry for my slow reply. I’m glad things are going well for you, at least for the most part.
On to “Ryan.” To be clear, you have never actually met Ryan in person and only have a “relationship” with him as a friend in your online group. It is nice that you care about his well-being. However, you are not responsible for raising him. That is up to his parents and family. You are not really in a position to raise the cub, so don’t feel guilty about not doing more if you can’t.
Now, about your boyfriend/mate: anyone who makes fun of suicide victims has something seriously wrong going on inside his head, frankly. There are certain things in life that are never funny, and that is one of them. And all those who laugh at his suicide jokes are also immature, callous dolts who need to grow up. Make no mistake, if a friend or family member of mine killed themselves and someone made a joke about it to my face, he would shortly lose his face.
Pardons, but that is the bear in me coming out. Pisses me off royally. If I were you, I would seriously question myself as to why I would want to be with someone like that. Nuff said on that topic.
Next thing: while I know that above I said it was his parents’ responsibility to raise Ryan—and it is—as a friend you should feel free to express yourself to the young pup and warn him about your mate’s bad attitude and to take his pessimism with a grain of salt. You should also encourage him to find and interact with friends in the real world. Although Ryan is home-schooled, there are ways for him to participate in organized activities away from home and school, including at church, at local public recreation facilities (parks, public pools, gyms), sport clubs, gaming clubs, and getting involved in volunteer work. Do a little research on these options in Ryan’s area and then make suggestions to him.
After you’ve done that, you’ve pretty much accomplished what you can for Ryan. Always make yourself available as a friend, of course, and a willing ear that will listen. After that, it is up to Ryan and his family.
Today I went through a deep emotional distress, soo much soo I've been thinking about hanging up my basic mascot suit and just leaving the community for good, I don't feel welcome or settled in, I know I'm a furry but no-one seems to want to talk to me about my fursona and I'm feeling a bit left out, I'm hoping to go to confuzzled, another fur said I could go with him but we really haven't confirmed anything because neither of us has transportation and both live with our parents, I'm 26 he's 21.
I don't feel I'll ever have the warm fuzzy feeling that being a furry is, I have no confidence in myself as a fur and I'm just thinking about leaving and never coming back, I'm hoping this is all a huge mistake and it’s just stress, I don't take medication because I can't swallow tablets and liquid meds are just as bad. I was diagnosed with autism and I can't socialise with people but when as a furry I know I'll settle in.
I want to feel more accepted in the group, what do I do?
Xoda Fox (age 26, UK)
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It’s not easy feeling like one belongs to any group, including furries. It is doubly difficult when one suffers from autism, making it more challenging to deal with social situations.
I can understand, too, why you would think the furry fandom would be a safe haven for you where you could find acceptance. I thought so once myself. The truth is that the fandom is just like any other group of people, and it is just as difficult (or easy) to find friends and camaraderie within it as any other social group.
Being a furry doesn’t erase your problems with social anxiety any more than belonging to any other kind of group. Therefore, leaving the fandom will not solve your problem any more than joining the fandom did.
What, then, is the answer? The answer is that you have to look within yourself first. You have to deal with your autism. You have to deal with your sense of self-worth. You have to evaluate why you became a furry in the first place. If you are a furry because you love anthros, then no social problems should interfere with that; if you became a furry thinking it would solve your social isolation and to get attention, then that is the wrong reason to be a furry.
Although you say you cannot manage medication for your autism, there are other things you can do to help you relax and try to control your anxiety. That would be the first thing I’d recommend you learn to do. This page from the UK’s National Autistic Society can give you some leads on what to do. I highly recommend you seek out ways to manage your autism.
Do not expect the furry fandom to help you cope with your autism or social isolation. While many people are furries because they enjoy the social aspect of it, the fandom is not a treatment program for autism. Please recognize that.
Even though that is true, it is no reason to hang up your fursona and walk away. Go into the fandom without expectations of it, and you will be much more pleased. Do not expect or demand that people talk about your fursuit or your fursona. They are going to furmeets or furcons to have a good time, and that is all.
Instead, simply share with them the fun things about being a furry. Find some common interests (e.g. maybe you read the same comic books or TV shows) and then talk to them about those and not about yourself. When you share common interests and bond on those things rather than yourself, the focus is taken off you and moves to those other things. This will make you feel less self-conscious and, hopefully, more comfortable with others who like to talk about furry things.
I've been in a relationship for about a year now and honestly, it's great. But there's one HUGE problem. My boyfriend is polyamorous and I'm not. When we started the relationship, I was still new to the idea of polyamory but was willing to try it. Now, I find myself hurting every time he's with his girlfriend. I've been cheated on before and it just feels like that again to me. I haven't met this girl yet, but do know a little about her.
On top of it, my boyfriend will blatantly state how girls we see are “hot” or he’d “f**k her.” And it hurts even more. We saw a musical the other day and he even commented on the one actress being hot.
Then there’s the fact that I worry more so about our relationship because I'm transgender and he's never dated outside of cis-females. I plan to get surgery one day and have been on testosterone for only a few days. He says he'll still stay with me but I'm worried even more that he won't thanks to having only dated cis-gender females before and the fact that he seems to be okay with the idea of sleeping around.
I always viewed polyamory as LOVE and not just having one night stands too like he seems to view it as. And I don't want to lose him over this. Before I met him, I was single for over 2 years. I don't want to go back to being single and alone because I'm transgender and a furry. Not many people can handle it. I don't know what to do anymore.
Ryvis (age 22)
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Thank you for writing to Papabear on an important issue. Also, I applaud you on your bravery in taking difficult steps toward finding your happiness.
On the subject of polyamory. Polyamory is about the ability to love several people at the same time, more or less equally. It is not about one night stands, as you correctly point out. Sounds to Papabear as if your boyfriend is trying to justify what he is doing by excusing it as polyamory when, in truth, he just likes to sleep around. Also, the two of you have been together a year and you haven’t met his girlfriend? Seems to me that if he was serious about you and open about being polyamorous with all the “loves” in his life, then he would be introducing you by now. Finally, he is showing no respect for your feelings by going on about all the girls he wants to do.
I’m glad you wrote because you need an outsider’s perspective on this, Ryvis. This guy is a jerk. Add to this that you really aren’t comfortable with a polyamorous mate (even though you are willing to try it), then you need to see that this guy isn’t for you.
The only reason you’re sticking with him is because you don’t want to be alone. Also, I have a feeling you have self-esteem issues that make you believe (falsely) that you are not worthy of a lover who is kind and considerate of you. In desperation, you are clinging to someone who “says” he loves you but, based on what you have written here, no, he does not.
Have the courage to get out of a bad relationship. It’s okay to be alone for a while until the right person comes along. In fact, being alone for a bit while you work on your sense of self-worth and also, perhaps, get that surgery, could be good for you. Before you can have a healthy relationship, you have to be healthy (mentally and emotionally) yourself. Otherwise you will fall into traps like this again.
That’s probably not what you wanted to hear (or, maybe it is?) but it is what you needed to hear.
Good Luck! I wish you REAL love in your future.
I'm a new furry, I've only been in the fandom for around 10-11 months, and I'm struggling to make friends, I'm not sure if it's the age difference. I've met a few furries at a MCM Comicon, but the conversations were only then and there, rather than taking it further, which sucks. I'd love to be more involved with the fandom. I'm just struggling to find friends.
I have social anxiety, but I get along with other people quite well. I'm just shy in most situations, and sometimes it feels like I don’t really know the ways of the fandom, if that makes sense. I guess it's a case of "I don't feel like i fit in." I have Furry Amino [a furry app], and only recently I'm getting to grips with Furaffinty. I've never been to a furmeet but plan to go to a furmeet in London soon. Is there anything else you could suggest about trying to make friends in the fandom?
Riiya (age 15)
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A problem that furries like both you and I have is the age thing. As you may have noticed, the vast majority of furries are in their late teens, twenties, perhaps early thirties. You are outside that spectrum on the young side, while Papabear is outside the spectrum on the old side. This can make it difficult to socialize.
The obvious answer is to try and find people more your age. With me, I tend to hang out with greymuzzles (over 30 crowd). It’s actually more difficult for the under 18 group like you simply because things like transportation are more difficult. You’re too young to drive, which makes going to furmeets harder, unless you can do so by bus or train to a nearby one.
This kind of leaves you with online stuff. I would like to suggest you start with the online FurryTeens (http://www.furryteens.org/forum/). This should be a good starting place for you to meet furries your own age and connect to them.
As for being shy. Don’t worry, you are in good company. Many many many furries are also shy folk for a number of reasons, but they, like you, still want to connect. You are doing well by making an effort to reach out, and I bet if you keep trying eventually you will succeed. Just be patient.
I have been suffering from obsession over Zootopia characters for months especially Nick & Judy and it seems to actually hurting my life, even if the movie is that good. Everyday I've been obsessing and dreaming about getting a hug from Nick & Judy at an Disney Parks because they are so cute and fluffy. However it seems to be impossible for me since I live in Florida and they are confined at the parade at Walt Disney World. They maybe doing meet & greets on a holiday event but I was barred from my parents to go because there are only doing it on some weekdays and Sundays and there aren't any dates for Saturday. Also, I could not afford to book a room at any hotels. It would seem likely on Fridays but they still cannot let me go and afford me there, and those days are likely sold out so it might be too late. It is because I have to go to Technical School. My job was laid off a few months ago. I been trying to contact the guest services about my feels on wanting & requesting to meet Nick & Judy but they still didn't get me and it seems likely that the only bet I can go meet them is to travel to Disneyland Resort at California which Is also hard because of School.
Apparently I want to be done or take a break from Disney along with Zootopia. I don't think my Fursona is not a good fit with either Nick & Judy for a couple of reasons and I would rather would see Nick & Judy in a couple. One of the reasons is my (Or my fursona) height was bigger than both Nick & Judy (He's is 5'6 tall and Nick was around his 4'0s and Judy was shorter) and My age is younger than both Nick & Judy (Nick is 32 and Judy is 24) and also my species is the exact same thing as Finnick, another character from Zootopia, Which I am worried that might lead to some conflict or something.
But I just can't stop thinking about them and the movie for multiple reasons. Zootopia is like everywhere in the Furry fandom, This seems to be making be a bit sad and depressed. And, Worse, It's hard to not look & heard Disney stuff/related content, from ads, & merchandise to word-of-the-mouth. Seriously I would rather talk watch Anime, Play Video Games, & Watch Movies not made by Disney. This prevents me from stop thinking about Zootopia because those things remind me of it. It also reminds me & makes me sad that I haven't got a hug Nick & Judy, and It looks like I never will. Most of the time the words "Try" & "Everything" irritants me most of the time thinking about how popular is the movie is that change our pop culture, due to song title associated with the movie. Seriously, Zootopia making me like I feel trapped in Disney as a Furry. I am getting kind of worried that Nick & Judy are like the most attractive character by Furries. I really feel excited on Zootopia which is bad for me because It gonna made me sad, worried, & depressing on not getting hugs from those cute, and fluffy characters Nick & Judy at Disney Parks, within the movie. I also hard for me to visit the therapy because it's expensive since I worried that it is going to take multiple sessions to get it cured & I'm not good talking to them due to my Asperger Syndrome, and I don't know how therapy online by chatting is going to work.
Things for me turned from fell in love with them in a happy way into an hopelessly addicted nightmare. Even if they are not real, I really don't want to live with being bothered imaginary in my mind by Nick, Judy, & other Zootopia characters while not getting a hug of Nick & Judy at Disney parks. It's my obsession that is like so hard wired into my brain that I'm not satisfied of. This really hurts my School work as well. And I don't mean to end my life as a Furry, unless it's okay for you to let me do it. I'm also open to attempt to be obsessed on other furry characters if all things do not work for me but only if it's not Zootopia.
Sorry for my grammar if my writing is bad or if this question confuses you probably because it's a rare type of question. Thanks!
Snow (age 21, Manatee County, FL)
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I'm going to write you a quick reply here and write more later. Thank you for explaining you have Asperger's. You see, obsessive-compulsive behavior can be one symptom of an autistic disorder such as Asperger's. So, I would guess that your obsession with Judy and Nick in Zootopia is most likely related to the fact that you have Asperger's. The first question, then, is are you being treated for this? Are you seeing a professional about it? If so, you should talk to them about your Nick and Judy obsession to see if they can help.
If you can get your Asperger's under better control, it should also help you with the Nick and Judy issue.
Write again and I promise to respond promptly.
* * *
1. I tried to in many ways. Some of them work temporary (Obession with other characters, masturbation) for a very short amount of time like in a few minutes or one/few hours. I working on masturbating more on them plus stop looking for stuff/content on the movie, but I'm not sure my obsession will go away.
2. I also tried to, But my parents probably barred me because my obession is only the part of my Asperger. I also heard that it requires multiple sections at the time so I probably cannot afford it for now. I also heard that you can chat with a therapy online but not sure if it will alternatively work that way.
Even through Asperger cannot be cured, I'm not sure how to get under better control.
* * *
If your parents are preventing you from getting help for your Asperger's, well, you are 21 and you are of legal age to seek help on your own. There are many services out there that can help. Are you insured? Are you covered under your parents' insurance (since you are under 26)? First, go find out what is covered by your insurance. When you say "I probably can't afford it," it sounds like you're giving up without even finding out for sure if you can or not.
Here is a list of therapists who treat Asperger's in Bradenton, which I believe is near you: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_results.php?city=Bradenton&spec=251.
And here is a list of Florida support groups: http://www.parentingaspergerscommunity.com/public/491.cfm.
Now, even if those aren't near you, you should try and call some of them and ask them for their advice on what you can do with your income level. They will likely be able to refer you to a government agency or nonprofit group that can help. Sometimes it takes several phone calls to track down what you need; the point is to start making calls!
Treating Asperger's is not something Papabear is qualified to do, Snow. I can only try and point you in the right direction. I can tell you that just addressing the Nick/Judy compulsion is not a solution because that merely addresses a symptom. You need to get at the core of the problem, ok?
Dear Papa Bear,
A few days prior to Thanksgiving, I was informed that my aunt had committed suicide. She shot herself in the chest with a gun, and it was very sudden and tragic. She left no note, no reason as to why she did it.
I don't know how to cope with this. I've never dealt with a suicide before, especially with someone in the family.
How do I get past this? It hurts so bad to know that she's gone.
Meep (age 26)
* * *
I’m sorry you have experienced this tragic loss. This is an important topic to address during the holidays because it is a time when suicide rates go up, so I appreciate your writing to me now. There are many reasons people commit this tragic act, but since you don’t tell me much about your aunt, I will have to talk in generalities here.
Let me start by talking about the suicidal person. You might (or might not) know from this column that I tried to kill myself at the age of 18. Like your aunt, I didn’t leave a note, which really upset my family because had I succeeded they, like your family, would never have understood why.
I will try and explain why. You must understand, first and foremost, that a suicidal person is not in their right state of mind. Depression, pain, severe anxiety can lead to irrational thinking and actions. Before I did what I did, I considered writing a note, but I honestly didn’t know what to put in it. I just wanted to be done and out of my life. So, Meep, please understand that the fact that your aunt didn’t leave a note doesn’t mean she didn’t care. She simply was too far gone to know what to do or say anymore.
You might be surprised to learn that in cases of suicides only 15%-38% (depending on which study you look at) leave a note. It’s much more common that they don’t. Even when they do, the note most often will not include a reason for the death or any sense of closure.
So, do not look at the lack of a note as a snub to you or your family. Instead, you might want to take a look at the things she left behind (photos etc.) as a better indication of her feelings for those close to her.
The other thing about suicide is the suddenness of it. I’m guessing that you had no clue that this might happen. No signs of depression or previous attempts? When my husband died without warning last year, the lack of closure, the fact that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, burned my very soul. People have a need to say farewell. There are many ways you can do this to give you closure. One way I did this was in the dispensing of Yogi’s (my pet name for Jim) ashes on his beloved Mt. San Jacinto. I said goodbye to him there. Of course, if your family holds a funeral, that is also a good way to say your goodbyes. You can write a note to your aunt, too, telling her what your feelings are and how you will miss her. This can be therapeutic.
Finally—and this is the hardest lesson I have had to learn—you do not get past something like this. It will always be a part of you. What you do learn is how to deal with it, how to, hopefully, learn from it. The longer we live, the more people we will lose over the years, and it is important for you to understand how to cope with and accept it (I’m talking to myself, too, here). The best thing you can do for yourself is to live in the present and to better appreciate and love the people who are still in your life today.
You are not alone, remember that. Talk to others about what has happened. Hug them and love them and lean on them—and let them lean on you, too. Be there for each other.
Life is about both hello’s and goodbye’s. Both are important lessons in our lives.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.