You’re about to meet a lovely lady named Noreen, who is now in her sixties. Her story begins in Victoria, in the 1960s. Noreen was born in the city of Melbourne, however, an amazing transformation occurred in her life when she lived in country Australia.
Noreen shows us well how life can sometimes go along in a way that doesn’t meet our expectations or the expectations of others, and how we can become unravelled by it. Yet despite this, our despair can lead to a surrendering that gives rise to something worth living for.
At the age of thirty-six, mother of three, Noreen, contemplated suicide during a time of deep disappointment in her life, only to be shown through a remarkable happening what this act would mean for her and her loved ones – changing her forever. Welcome, Noreen!
I fell pregnant to John when we were dating. I was twenty-one years old and naïve. Our son Andrew was born when I was twenty-two. My family GP was genuinely sorry to have to confirm my pregnancy. He said I was a nice girl and didn’t deserve the bad news. It was the 1960s and I was in disgrace. I arrived home to my dad, a policeman, pacing the driveway. My parents were aware of my morning sickness, so my impurity was no secret. I just burst into tears and he knew I was pregnant.
My dad could be an angry man, but this time, he just put his arm around me and said little. My mum on the other hand, to whom I was close, turned her gaze away from me and ignored me. She offered me no support. I felt her disappointment and it cut right through me.
John was from country Victoria. I was a city girl. I’d always wanted to live on the land and I never squirmed away from hard work. Out on his parent’s farm, I even got involved in marking the lambs which is a blood messy job. His dad said how lucky John was to have a girlfriend who didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. John’s mum never did, she made sandwiches. When we decided to get married, my mum got busy with planning the wedding. She and I were ok again. John’s dad was accepting of our decision but his mum developed a nervous tick of her eye that lasted months.
It’s fair enough to say, John’s mum never liked me. I always felt from her that I wasn’t good enough for her son and the initial pregnancy was my fault entirely. She had a backhanded manner about her whereby I continuously felt criticised and undervalued. Though I went on to birth and rear three beautiful children to John, she’d always have a dig at me, which always bothered me.
John’s mum lived about three or four hours away from our farm. During one of her visits to our place, she saw Andrew and me, then about fourteen, having fun together. Since he was a baby, John and I would kiss his neck to tickle him and make him laugh. We continued this over the years – it was our little family joke.
On this particular day, John’s mum witnessed this playful behaviour between Andrew and me. Aghast, she said of me with utter disdain: “You’re absolutely revolting!” Her comment floored me. I felt she detested me, and it pained me terribly. I was sharing a loving moment with my son and this was her sentiment towards me. This circumstance sent me off into a dark place inside myself. It compounded the difficulty I was feeling around that time, in regard to my sometimes confusing relationship with John. My husband and I had our challenges.
One day thereafter, in my gloom, I lay down on my bed crying. I was alone in the room. I began fantasising about ending my life. I really don’t think I would have gone through with it, but, nonetheless, I did put some energy into imagining it. With my eyes closed, I saw myself placing a 22 rifle to my chest and as I pulled the trigger, I spontaneously had an out-of-body experience. I was totally conscious of myself. I was suddenly sitting on my dressing table, looking at myself lying on my bed. It was very real. I was in two places at once. I felt I was with my body, yet, away from my body.
The most memorable sensation of the experience was on re-entering my body. It was then that I felt the terrible pain of having pulled the trigger. Though I imagined shooting myself, I literally felt the gasping pain of it and it lasted for at least five minutes. It was a horrendous feeling. It was a massive pain in my heart. I knew then, I could never really shoot myself.
I sat up on my bed with this pain lingering in my chest and looked in the mirror at myself. I thought, Why is this pain still with me if I pulled the trigger and I’m supposed to be dead? Whatever the extraordinary experience was, it taught me a lesson: death doesn’t take the pain away. Rather, it is felt by others left behind, like my children, if they were to lose their mum by suicide.
I thought about the experience in depth by myself over a cup of tea. I needed to sift through it. I thought, Who’s going to believe me? I did eventually share it with a friend and she was accepting. It was a difficult thing to explain. It really had a profound effect on me. It was so real. It changed me. I never got to that gloomy point again. And it helped me to let go of needing my mother-in-law’s approval.
Soon after, I said to John: “Your mum is never going to forgive me for what happened all those years ago.” To which he replied: “No.” Something shifted in me when I heard him confirm this. I accepted this was the way it was going to be. I didn’t feel the need for it to be any other way.
John and I were married for twenty-one years. We are divorced now though we still remain good friends. We continue to share a great love for our three children.
The experience showed me that suicide is not the answer. Who would find me if I shot myself? What effect would it have on my children – my family? It also opened me to the spiritual. I was raised as a Methodist and now I attend a Spiritualist Church. I talk to God a lot and I believe there are people in spirit around us.
If you are feeling so low, so depressed, so worthless, there is no shame in talking to someone about it – anyone – a relative – a friend – a counsellor. If you do feel too ashamed to talk to someone, then, at least, write down how you are feeling. You can say anything you like in this way. Get everything out by writing about it.
Thanks, Noreen for sharing your intimate story with us. I’m sure a lot of us can relate to it since many of us seek other people’s approval. Many of us also have expectations about how our lives should go, and then when it doesn’t go to plan we feel deeply disappointed. Noreen offers some helpful advice for those feeling despaired – you are not alone. Please talk to someone about how you are feeling.
What was the highlight of Noreen’s soul story for you? Have you ever had an out-of-body experience? If so, did it bring about a shift in your life, as it did for Noreen? I’d love to know.
P.S. – If you would like to share your soul story with us at Spirit my way, as Noreen has; go to the ‘Share Your Story’ tab in the navigation bar and you will find more info there!
There is 24/7 free call help at hand if you’re feeling suicidal, or if someone you care about is in crisis.
Please pick up the phone and talk with someone today: Australia: Lifeline-13 11 14 / New Zealand: Suicide Crisis Helpline-0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828) / US & Canada: National Suicide Prevention Line-1-800-273 TALK (8255) / UK: HOPELineUK-0800 068 41 41 & Samaritans 116 123 (UK) 116 123 (ROI).