In the last week we’ve lost two of our local young people to suicide. It is a topic that is so difficult to process and I know it comes with a lifetime of confusion for those of you who are left behind. I began at an early age to understand the reality of suicide. When I was about five, my adopted “grandpa”, who was my next door neighbor, committed suicide. When I was eight, my other neighbor, and the mother of my best friend, committed suicide. When I was ten, my older brother began what would be a 15 year battle with depression, mental disorder, and many attempts of suicide. My junior high and high school years became marked by some of the scariest situations I could imagine as we rode the roller coaster of wondering if today was the day it would happen. And then when I was 16, my friend down the street didn’t show up to the bus one day. She was gone overnight by overdosing on pills.
I’m not sure why I was surrounded by so much devastation as a child and teen. I can’t really explain it or tell you that I feel it was used for a purpose in the last several decades. Honestly, it was this weird reality of wanting so much to have those people back in my life, but watching life march on without them and there was just nothing I could do about it. They had chosen not be there and that was the most gut-wrenching feeling of helplessness that I could imagine.
I have re-lived and re-mourned the loss frequently in my life as I see what 30 years does to this issue. My best friend’s mom would now have many grandkids to hold. She would have moved on from her pain and felt joy again. If Sarah was at the bus stop that day, she would probably be married with kids. She would look back at the whisp of high school and be so glad she held on as she watched her kids giggle. My “grandpa” would have gotten many more hugs from me before he would have died peacefully in his sleep one day. Thankfully we did not bury my brother in all of those years.
So, what would I tell these people in my life if I had the chance? Get some help. Please, please, please…get some help. And don’t ever give up until you find that help. Sometimes that means starting a relationship with Jesus, sometimes that means a great church of loving people, sometimes that means a good counselor to sort out your pain, sometimes that requires medication to get you thinking correctly. Not one of my stories are the same. They were diverse ages, different reasons, and what should have been different solutions. Tell someone you are hurting and if they don’t listen…tell someone else.
I wish at the end of this blog there was a positive spin to any of these stories. But, that is the true death of suicide. It negates so many positive memories with such a devasting reality and an unexplainable loss for those left to cope with it. I hurt for so many in our community who are currently facing this head on. May the peace of God be at the forefront of this journey. My prayers are with you…