World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

I’m always cautious when I write about suicide. It’s not part of my own lived experience and I never, ever want anyone to think that I am trying to represent those for whom it is.

But I know so, so many parents whose children left this life by suicide and don’t want to shy away from the subject just because I need to be careful in addressing it.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

The name, in itself, is fraught with emotion.

Who doesn’t second guess whether they missed a clue that the person they love is so desperate that suicide seems to be the only way out of their pain? I am loathe to add one iota of guilt or doubt on the heart of a grieving parent!

But I think most folks whose loved one completed suicide would join the host of experts and others who say: Pay Attention! Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Hard Questions! Take Comments About Self-Harm Seriously!

It’s absolutely, positively true that some individuals fall quickly and silently down the pit of despair. There are no tell-tale outward signs warn of their intentions.

Many, though, begin the descent in predictable and observable ways.

So today, in honor of those who are missing someone who is no longer here, take a moment to familiarize yourself with these warning signs.

Commit to reach out and to ask hard questions.

Be an encourager and a hope-speaker.

And light a candle.

For the ones who didn’t make it, for the hearts who love them and for the ones who are looking for any sign there is more to this life than pain and darkness.

Repost: Suicide and Child Loss-Christ’s Blood is Sufficient

I have always, always felt a special duty to tread lightly with respect to those parents in particular.  I want to honor them and never suggest I speak for them.  I’ve started and discarded at least a dozen posts on child loss and suicide.

So when a mom who lost a child to suicide shared this in one of our closed groups, I messaged her and asked permission to publish her comment here. 

So here are HER words, precisely as she shared them:  

Read the rest here: https://thelifeididntchoose.com/2019/04/29/suicide-and-child-loss-christs-blood-is-sufficient/

World Suicide Prevention Day

I’m always torn between sharing about suicide awareness and just offering a listening ear to survivors of suicide.

On the one hand, I don’t want a single person who may be shouting warning signals to end up completing suicide because no one listened.

On the other, I want to protect bereaved parents and siblings from any additional guilt they may feel because they “missed” such signals.

But since suicide is at epidemic proportions in our country-especially among young people and veterans-I’m going to try to navigate the middle ground.

To anyone whose loved one left this life by suicide let me say this: You are not responsible! Even if in hindsight you feel like you missed cues or didn’t notice tell-tale signs, in the end it was their own action that led to death.

I do not believe suicide is selfish.

I believe suicide results from pain so unbearable a heart simply thinks there is no other way to end it. It’s not a conscious act as such, it’s a reflexive response to intense pain.

I also know that mental illness-often untreated because it is undiagnosed-wrecks havoc with the logical, reasoning part of a brain.

To those who may be contemplating suicide (something I know many, many bereaved parents think about) let me say this: If you are considering it, reach out.

You are a unique creation and cannot be replaced.

There are resources available and people not only willing, but LONGING, to help you hold onto hope.

As you fall deeper and deeper into the pit of despair, it’s easy to lose sight of the truth that darkness is not all that exists. Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s nearly impossible of your own volition to will yourself out of the funk.

This is where suicide prevention has a role to play.

If someone seems “off”, don’t ignore it, dismiss it or excuse yourself from asking hard questions (even at the risk of being rebuffed or worse).

Often a single person extending a hand and listening ear at just the right moment grants space for a hurting heart to reconsider suicide as the only way out of pain. If they won’t respond in spite of your best efforts, enlist allies.

And walk gently among your fellow humans!

You may never know when your smile, opened door, random encouraging word or knowing glance is the difference between a stranger going home to end it all and going home and making a phone call to get help.

Suicide is tragic.

Be alert.

Be a friend.

Compassion is a choice.

Be the one who cares, calls and comforts.