Today my heart is heavy with thoughts of a coworker whose 30 year old brother-in-law committed suicide two days ago. Left behind to mourn him are his parents, his brother, two young children, and a wife of just a few months. Compounding the family's agony, it took authorities over 24 hours to locate his body, just as he had planned it. They say he wasn't one prone to making dramatic statements, it wasn't his nature to do something like this. But something went wrong.
Just over a year ago, a fourteen year old girl I knew and loved decided to end her life. Left behind to try to come to terms with this terrible loss are her mother and her brother and a host of classmates and friends who cared about her... and the list of people I know who have commited suicide keeps growing.
I think most of of us have at least toyed with the idea of ending our lives at one time or another when we were struggling. Some have attempted it, others have nearly succeeded, though a completed suicide could hardly be called a success.
In talking with people in desperate situations who have been on the edge, I've been told that they were so afraid, so depressed, so tired, that it was nearly impossible for then to focus on anything but their own situation... too painful for them to even consider the repercussions such an action might have. As one person told me... "I just wanted to go to sleep and never have to wake up again." I hear that. I've been there, but I know it's not the answer.
With these thoughts in mind, I offer the following list of thirteen things I wish someone who is contemplating suicide would stop and consider. Would it help? Is there anything anyone could say that would make a difference at the critical juncture? Maybe not always, maybe not even often, but most certainly the right word from the right person at the right time has saved a life now and then. The value of even one life saved if too great to measure.
Here's my list...1. Suicide is the most selfish thing you can do. If you love anyone at all in life, you don't want to leave them to bear the pain and scars of your decision forever... and they will.
2. Giving up is not an option. If you are a person of faith, you know that the Creator has not granted us the right to choose how or when we will die, much less take our own lives.
3. If you believe that not one single person cares about you or would mourn your dying, you are wrong. There is always someone to whom you matter. Even if you are angry with someone or have had a falling out, they still love you and would be devastated by your death.
4. Don't believe that you are the only one who ever felt this way and that no one could understand what you are going thru. Talk to someone... a parent, a friend, a coworker, a religious leader, a counselor, and at last resort a complete stranger.
5. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. Don't leave your father and/or mother to mourn you and to spend the rest of their lives wondering if they could have some how prevented it.
6. Children should not have to grow up bearing the burden of the knowledge that their parent abandoned them in this fashion and gave up on life. Parents are meant to be role models and teach their children how to deal with the challenges life presents.
7. Someone, either related or non-related will have the gruesome job of discovering and dealing with your physical remains. Do you really want to haunt anyone with that kind of memory?
8. Someone will have to take over the responsibilities that you ran from , be it raising your children, settling your debts, or disposing of your possessions.
9. Life insurance does not cover death by suicide. You will leave the people who believed in you with nothing, not even money for your burial or cremation, adding to the worries you are placing on them.
10. Life cycles. There are good times and bad, hard times that seem impossibly hopeless, and high times that make you wonder how you ever could have felt that way. Hang in there... persevere.
11. The situation that seems so hopeless at the moment will look different a few days or a few months down the road. We adjust, we find other options, or we come to accept what is. Sleep on it, at least for a few nights. Life has a way of working out.
12. If you end your life now, you are going to miss out on all the surprises and good things life has in store for you. Things beyond your wildest imagination... children, a new love, new jobs, beautiful places and treasured moments. And you will rob other people of the opportunity to share them with you.
13. PLEASE TELL SOMEONE if you are feeling hopeless or are planning to take your own life! Give them the opportunity to help you find help. This is a secret too dark and dangerous to keep.