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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why did they do it?

This past week we have seen perfect examples of persistent prayer, belief and dogged determination not to give up.  Of course I am referring to the saga with the miners, the nation and the rescue workers. 

But how often is this reflected in our lives.  Our children pester us for something or to go somewhere, until we finally relent or blow a gasket, which ever comes first.  We ourselves may nag someone until they finally given in.  We have seen it time and time again, if someone really wants something they will go to extremes to get it.  They never give up.

When we are grieving there are so many times that we want to give up, throw in the towel and call it quits.  I remember when Rachel first died, how I wished this would just pass and how it could be so easy to just give up.  So many of us are faced with problems and issues that leave us drained, feeling as if there are no outs of whatever it is we are dealing with.  I remember telling my counselor that if it all ended tomorrow, it would be fine with me. 

Recently a friend had to attend a funeral for a young woman.  This young girl who had so much ahead of her, who would be starting college next fall, just gave up.  She committed suicide.  It is hard to understand why anyone would find that the only solution would be to end their life, but yet suicide happens every day.  There is on average a suicide every 16-17 minutes, approximately 84 suicides per day.*  This does not even take into account the attempts that occur.  With each suicide or attempted suicide, at least 6 other people are effected.  These are pretty frightening numbers, but unfortunately a reality in so many homes, towns, communities, schools, etc. 

So how did these individuals, just like someone you may know, feel that there was no way out, that no one would understand, no one could help them.  They also felt that the only way out of the pain was to just 'end it all.' 

A few months ago, a friend of mine tried to commit suicide, it happened around the same time as the anniversary of my daughters death.  The anniversary is already a difficult time for me, coupled with my friends attempt on her life, really left me drained, wiped out, sapped of any strength and ambition.  Added to all this was the fact that I had so much to get done at work in a very short time frame.  Needless to say I got sick, and I am slowly getting back to having some drive and enthusiasm. 

I realized how much had been taken from me, how tired I felt, how I so wished I could just stop the world and get off.  Since my daughter's death, I tend to look at events, situations, issues and people's reactions and motivations, from every angle.  I know how dark some of my days got after Rachel's death, how taking my life would resolve so much, how maybe having a few more drinks might help me numb the pain.  It is amazing also how we can rationalize our behavior, how we can justify what we are doing, and come up with some very plausible excuses for just about anything.  Thankfully, they were just thoughts that ran through my head, (often unbidden) and I did not follow through on any of them.  My sharing with my counselor did not leave her concerned for my safety, they were simply musings of the mind.

If any of you are coping with the death of a loved one by suicide or have a loved one who attempted suicide, know that it is not your fault.  All too often we are too close to the situation to recognize any of the telltale signs.  My friend for example, has children, takes care of herself and her children, she would often have bouts of depression, but these down times never led me to believe that she would attempt suicide.   But attempt she did, and if she had not been found when she had, she would have succeeded.  When I was notified, I immediately went to the hospital, and all she kept saying was that she wanted the pain to stop and for people to just stop the gossip. 

As people found out, I heard such comments as, 'I didn't know she was crazy?' 'Wow, now that was a SMART thing to do?'  'Really, I bet she was just trying to get attention.'  How so far from the truth any of these people where.  According to Mental Health Matters, 'Every year thousands of people from every walk of life find themselves without hope and without a way to stop the pain. If their cry for help isn’t heard or recognized, these brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, seniors, adults, adolescents and youth, from all walks of life, of every color, creed, income level, gender, nationality and social status will be lost to us. No number of deaths by suicide can ever be considered an “acceptable level”.  They have lost hope, they cannot see another way to stop the pain. 

I have known people who have attempted suicide and who have succeeded, and in all situations, they were desperate, they could not see there way out of the darkness, they felt that no one would understand.  Society in most cases has placed a stigma on suicide, and it is viewed as a taboo, not to be discussed.  But we need to discuss it, we need to support the family and friends of victims of suicide and of survivors of suicide.  We need to know that it is a death, just like any other.  It robs us of our loved one, it leaves us with so many unanswered questions, so confused and so alone.

Reach out to others, do not go it alone.  We all need each other.  Everyone of us is loved, I Love You! and so many others in your life, love you.  When someone we love dies, 38 other people are effected.  The ripple effect goes even further than that, we are an important part of our families, our friends, we are important to our schools, communities, and workplaces.  We would be missed if anything should ever occur.  my daughter, Rachel has left a major void in our home, in our lives, and is missed by her friends as well, we feel as if a part of us is missing.  

So never think you will not be missed, do not ever believe no one understands, and please reach out for help, if you ever feel desperate and alone.

Blessings! and until we meet again.

*Data from

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Every country has a suicide prevention hotline, just check local listings.

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