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Thirteen Things I Wish You Would Consider


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.

Note: Stop over at Thursday Thirteen and see what kinds of lists other people were making today.

11 comments:

  1. Couldn't have been said better! Japan struggles with that as a nation... lots of high profile politicians etc.. have done that under some mistake related pressure that they face.. sad really.

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  2. If I weren't headed to bed I'd be making a response on my own blog. And I fully intend to do just that.

    As I read your list, the one thing that trumps all else with those who commit suicide is the first.

    I believe many of them know the pain that will come, they are just too selfish at that moment to care.

    I'll follow up more on my blog soon.

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  3. There was poster hanging in my school office that stuck with me over twenty years later: Pain is temporary, Death is permanent. It all passes but I think when we're young, or in the depths of depression so deep that our very brain chemistry changes, we can't see an end in sight. I hope others take that moment of pause to see beyond their pain and when they can't that others step in for them. Your co-worker is in my thoughts.

    ~Xakara

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  4. Right on the money. Sadly, this happens every day, these days more than ever. Life is hard for the young and this does often seem an easy way out.

    I'm sorry for your co-worker and family.

    Great list, Jos.

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  5. A powerful list, Josie.

    When I was in the dark days of the relationship that almost killed me, I desperately wanted to die and thought often about ending it myself.

    As I've since told my daughters -- I had one truth left in all of that mess and that truth is, I love my daughters.

    I had made lies of everything else -- I could not make a lie of my love for them. I knew it would destroy them - and even in my darkness, I knew, I had participated in the miracle of their birth. I could not destroy their lives by taking my own life.

    Hugs Josie.

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  6. hiya soul sis --
    i sure didn't expect such a post when i came over -- you know it hits close to home for me. on both sides. all sides? suicide destroys lives. a person does feel very alone, tired , and trapped, when they get to the point of committing suicide-- or attempting it. some folks suffer from chronic thoughts and ideas of it -- sometimes i wonder if that is harder for a person than actually 'getting it over with'. but those people are the ones who do know that suicide is not an option. or that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    you said -- Is there anything anyone could say that would make a difference at the critical juncture?

    in my opinion, i don't think there is. in my case-- i was the last person who -- refused to talk to my very drunk and in a standoff with police -- shooting back and forth from inside his home. i had no idea what to say -- if anything. so - i chose to say nothing. he did shoot and kill himself. imagine the guilt i carry -- years later -- what if i WOULD have talked to him? - etc.
    it wouldn't have mattered. if he didn't do it himself the police would have. he was shooting at them!
    still my sister, and her kids still feel their own guilt - and what ifs-- as do i.
    maybe-- if there is one thing to say to a suicidal person? just maybe it would be -- think it through? think of the people who love you. yes.. they feel no one does. they need reassurance. nothing says it will make a difference or not. but we as 'just people' cannot, and should not, take on the role of God, when this happens. it is not our fault. it is in the mind of the person, and the mind is very powerful. weather it be negative or positive thinking.

    all we can do is love them -- and let them know that we love them - unconditionally. and never ever take a suicide hint or threat to be a joke - or attention seeking. by the time it comes verbal -- it has been thought of for quite a while.
    i am sorry for your loss, and that of his family --
    sorry for bloggin in your box :))
    big hugs to you soul sis-
    (yes i am the queen of typos!)

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  7. I can't imagine life being so bad that suicide could be considered the only way out, but it happens way too often. I've known so many people who have been devastated by it.

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  8. Such compelling reasons. We had two local kids -- 15 and 13 -- kill themselves within weeks of each other. So shocking. If only they'd had just some of your insight.

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  9. Thank you all for the excellent input on this post! It's such a difficult subject, with no easy answers. If you want to read some great insight into what it's like to be the loved ones left behind in the wake of this tragedy, go on over to my friend Ranting Monkey's blog and read his recent posts "Here We Are Again" and "Til Death Do Us Part". Click on LastStand above in the comments to go to his blog.

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  10. You know, it is difficult, but that sort of advice to someone who is considering suicide does not often work. Most are where they are because they have already considered these ideas and rejected them. I've found that it works better if you find them a piece of hope to cling to. Alas, though...THERE is the rub. It is so hard for find that it is so very individual for everyone. Such a difficult situation.

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  11. I know that's sadly very true Maria.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)