KNOW THIS: If you are an ignorant fool about SUICIDE then this one’s for you.
One thing that happens for certain when a person has died by suicide is the tongues begin to wag. Everyone has an opinion about “what went wrong and why it happened.” The whispers intensify with abandon to a decibel that can harm the ears. People judge and ridicule every facet of the suicide victim’s life. The family is not off limits, either. I am sensitive about the subject for that reason. I make no apologies. I am outspoken. I will come down with a gentle gavel at first on those who just don’t know but only once. If you are someone who continues in your ignorance then I am swift to point it out. I will correct you if you dare say “committed suicide” instead of “died by suicide.” I will lash out at you if you call it “cowardly or selfish”….how dare you make those assumptions. I don’t want to really hear what you think went wrong because the family is having enough of a hard time trying to figure it out for themselves. Perhaps, they know but the stigma of this disease maims as much as the disease itself.
When my son, Brandon, died by suicide five years ago, we were devastated beyond belief. Although, we knew he was depressed, we had no idea how badly. As I have shared on other posts, there was also the suspicious circumstances on that fateful night that will always be in question in our minds. For as much as we think we know, we still have so many doubts. I have been on a one woman mission to at least try to understand suicide. Meanwhile, I am sure that because he died in the middle of an argument with his wife and the circumstances surrounding their separation, I am sure that the whispers began that very night. In my misery, I was spared hearing all that must have been said. My sobs were louder than any whisper.
This past week two suicides have made another impact, locally and regionally, in my part of the world. The school right down the road from my house had to send many students home last week because of the suicide of a much loved student. FACTS: “A” was 16 yrs old. He had lost his adopted dad, to whom he was very close, several months ago. His mother had died by hanging herself when he was younger and so had his uncle. His girlfriend had recently ‘broke up’ with him. “A” hung himself in his closet this past week. He had made several attempts before. Beyond this information, I have no idea why he would have died this way except that I have been studying the whys for five years now and though it does not make me an expert on something I cannot know for sure, it has shed a glaring light on it.
What I hate about his death is not only that he died but how the manner of his death has caused those wagging whispers around the town to escalate. Some people can be so unmerciful in how they “know” the whole scoop while never knowing anything. They perpetuate the rumors and speculation without realizing the harm that they are doing. FACT: It is plain to me that this young man was still much in his grief over very significant losses in his young life: adopted father, mother, uncle, girlfriend. Grief is a key factor in many suicides. FACT: Depression/mental illnesses are genetic! FACT: a child who is sixteen years old does not having the coping skills to deal with emotions on many levels. The sixteen year old brain is still developing to maturity. FACT: We can never know just how severe the problem is until it is too late.
I read another sad blog and news report about a 42 yr. old minister in High Point, NC who died by suicide this past Friday. His family and congregation were devastated, needless to say, but yet, it does bear saying. The previous Sunday, in his sermon, he made mention that his mother had suffered from schizophrenia. And yet, on the comments made under the news report in the local online paper, “Christians” who are from a fundamentalist and condemning church…had the nerve to post about this man’s selfish sin and that he had “committed” the unforgivable sin. WHAT????????? The comments became so cruel by these folk that the editor disabled the comments section…and so she should have.
FACT: The pastor had already shared about his mother’s mental illness. I know nothing more. GENETICS, PEOPLE!
FACT: What I don’t want to hear is how that person’s family failed them. I have read til my eyes bled, and watched documentaries on families who knew about the mental illness of a child, even one as young as 7 yrs old., who is on constant suicide watch, knowing that the child could be one wink away from dying by suicide. FACT: In our own family, we have never had anything but love for each other. We care about one another. As parents, my husband and I have always encouraged our children, prayed for our children, gave them more than we could have afforded at times, supported our children in those things they wanted to do, cried with our children, laughed with our children, as adults we continued to celebrate holidays, weekends, events, and vacation together. We are not a disjointed family that has abandoned and abused. FACT: We could not prevent our son’s death by suicide and will never, ever be repaired to normal this side of heaven.
How can people justify in their own prejudiced minds about those people who died by suicide? FACT: Ignorance
My hearts go out to the families who have lost a loved one to suicide this past week…yesterday, the past 15 minutes….God be with them and soften those wagging whispers to silence.