Recently, the worst imaginable thing happened to our good friends and neighbors. They received a phone call that no parent ever wants to hear. Their son ended his own life, and their family was changed forever.
This horrible event, this most unanswered of happenings, has been weighing heavily on my mind. We will never fully understand his decision or why he came to this end. My heart aches for a mother who fought, cried, loved, and tried to raise a son who could enjoy and experience life. Our hearts are heavy for a father who bravely serves our country every day but is no longer granted the opportunity to lay down his life for his son. The brothers, who are left to pick up the pieces of their parents bring tears to my eyes, for their suffering could go overlooked, believing they need to be brave.
I find myself in contemplation about this young man. Our family only knew him from a few brief meetings. But still my mind goes back to him and what I knew of him from his parents. I knew they were concerned about choices they had to make and restrictions they had to enforce. They made allowances for their situation and tried to make it work given the circumstances, which is something, we all as parents would have done. But still, I wonder… What could he not say? What was he running from or trying escape? How could he not see how much their discipline was for his benefit and not his burden? Why didn’t he believe they loved him in spite of all the circumstances? What did he think was going to happen to those who he left behind? Did he think they would be better off never seeing him again? Is love not enough?
In all these questions I have, I am lead by my curiosity to look at this from his perspective. My questions can never really be answered or even understood. I am seeking enlightenment and greater compassion on the matter. People all around us could have or will experience feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness. Every year we see so many public figures give in to despair and commit suicide. We recognize these people without really knowing them. We are devastated and left unprepared for the barrage of emotions when we pause for a moment and remember. We don’t understand the struggles they go through, but their loss profoundly impacts all of us.
Pain entangles all of us, and we urgently attempt to escape. Pain is what we are left with when we try to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives and move on. We don’t expect it, and too often we don’t see it coming, but the pain is there. We can either ignore it because we aren’t ready, or deal with it head on and resolve to come out better in the end.
Our loss will hit us at unexpected times. Our loved one had a place, a value and a light in our world whether we could express it or not. And that person is missed and gone and has made a hole that will never be filled by any amount of distraction or passing of time. However, we must not let this terrible loss consume us. We need to be present and support each other as survivors. It is given to us to carry the memories of those who passed before us.
If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. If you’re not actively suicidal but need someone to talk to, look for a therapist. They can work with you to find someone in your area who will work with you.