It’s Thursday night. The hubby is at man camp.
Bring on the Chinese food and the sweatpants and the Twitter party.
Kate. The tribe of comedy fangirls. We are: same.
My first encounter with suicide came at age eighteen. A friend had landed in jail. I don’t remember why. He called me one night, from that gray enclosure. Wanted to talk. I was rushing out the door. For work? To meet my boyfriend? I don’t remember that, either. In extreme naivety, I asked if he could call me another time.
He was dead the next day.
Just after New Year’s.
I left work early to attend his funeral. Clad in black from head to foot. I distinctly remember sensing that this was a very grown-up thing. Something I wasn’t prepared for. Long rows of chairs in the sanctuary. Surrounded by familiar faces. Everyone was quiet. Respectful. Dressed nicer than we had for our high school graduation.
They told stories. His parents, his brother. Other people I didn’t know. Awfully bizarre to speak kind words and laugh about precious memories when he wasn’t there to hear, to participate.
Later, afterwards, I sat in a diner with two of my guy-pals. The smell of stale cigarette smoke and bitter black coffee. They pulled their ties loose. We didn’t say much.
I still don’t say much. Not about this.
Logically, I know that I didn’t make him commit suicide. I know that the choice was his.
I wonder. Could I have said something? Could I have alerted someone? Was there some cue or clue I missed in the months before? Maybe. Maybe not. When someone gets it in his mind, really dwells on ending his life, he doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t ask for help.
It just happens.
I know that now. I’ve walked that road.
For those left behind, suicide is a glaringly selfish act. How on earth are we to come to terms with it? How can we escape the sense of guilt? The anger? The questions?
For those who take up the weapons of destruction, suicide is the end of a long, weary road. A road that twists and turns and doesn’t make sense. A road that leaves right thinking and acting by the wayside. Selfishness doesn’t even enter the equation.
We are all suicide survivors. We’ve all been touched – a family member, a friend, a coworker, ourselves. Some of us bear mental scars. The wondering. Some of us bear the razor marks.
It is the vile work of the Devil.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” – John 10:10a (NKJV)
Beloved reader, hear me now: Whatever side of this you are on, whatever you have experienced, there is more to the story. It doesn’t have to be this way. History doesn’t have to repeat itself. We don’t have to read the same ending over and over and over again.
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10b (NKJV)
Loved one left behind, let yourself off the hook tonight. It’s not your fault. It’s not.
You who are in agony – cry out. With the last ounce of strength and courage that you have, cry out. God will hear and He will move. I guarantee it. He did so for me. He preserved my life. He foiled my plans. It will not happen in a way you expect. It will be something you would never think of in a million years. But He will – HE WILL – cast light into your darkness. Blinding, brilliant, life-saving light.
You must speak. You must tell someone. Even if all you do is collapse in their arms and weep. Even if it is the most broken and bitter-tasting moment you have ever experienced.
You are here, in this place, at this time, for a reason. You are not just a random collection of atoms. You are God-designed. God-planned. Fitted with gifts and talents. Made with passion and purpose. You have not plunged to such a depth that the arm of the Lord is not longer and stronger. You have not out-sinned His grace or worn out His patience.
Little child, your Father is here.
He is faithful and mighty and gracious and ever the same.
“The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.” – Psalm 145:14 (NKJV)