The silliness of that title is unnerving. If you gather up all the “prevention months” it would make more sense cause isn’t that what we are trying to do? Prevent death? While we may bring awareness to many so-called preventable diseases, we can be sure that death is not preventable. We all have that appointed time with something that is going to take us outta here. Even what seems preventable like suicide is actually not…
September: Suicide Prevention Month. Really?
I have purposely delayed any posts on the subject of suicide this month simply because I just do not believe there is such a thing as suicide prevention. Is it really our call to assume we can prevent such an act? If so then my son, Brandon, would still be here today. Who are we to think we can come between depression, mental illness, brain injury, and the ultimate final act that these conditions may and often do impose upon the mind? And what about those who go undiagnosed with such illnesses? We who are left behind wring our hands, bang our heads against the wall, shout to the clouds, that we “DID NOT KNOW!” We could have saved our loved ones if only ……
…there was such a thing as prevention.
It is not like having cancer or heart disease or other disease that causes death. Sure there are signs and symptoms and tests to confirm. But what about the terminal illnesses of the brain? People do not choose to have this anymore than they may choose to have any other malady! And sure you may say, there are signs that a person is so distressed and depressed and despairing that they may die by their own hands. But situational depression is only passing while clinical depression is the unwanted guest that never leaves. It may take years to know its name and even more time to get the proper treatment. Sadly, it is during this course that we lose our loved ones. Even the treatment once provided can lead them to the threshold of death.
Many of us are caught off guard when our loved one dies by their own hand. Oh sure, we knew they were going through something terrible..i.e. loss of a job, divorce, illness, rejection of some kind, etc….so many things that are upsetting but come on…don’t we just brush it off and go on? Perhaps we do, but those who already have an internal disruption of sorts are unable to cope like the ‘normal’ you and I. The wires are crossed, chemicals misfire, emotions implode, and then ‘it’ happens….they succumb, through no fault of their own or the loved ones who surround them who would do anything for them but pull the plug.
Suicide is not preventable unless you have a prophetic eye and supernatural power that allows you to prevent it.
I shudder at the time when I did delay the suicide of an internet mom/friend whose child had died and whose husband left her for another woman. She lived in isolation in some motel and was self-medicating with alcohol. I was powerless to help her except to share my faith with her, which we actually had in common. She was consumed with self-destruction over the tragedies in her life. Only for a short time could I keep her ‘afloat’ in a world she no longer could endure. While emergency personnel arrived at her motel room to find what I knew would be her demise, she was still breathing then taken to a facility to be ‘observed’ (laughable) for 78 hours….then released…. I called her again only to find she was very angry with me for my interception of that fateful night. She meant to die and would never call me again as she did die by her own hands weeks later. Preventable?
I cannot be certain of the night my son was said to have killed himself. His wife said that during their argument he left the room and went out to the car. When he returned there were more words between them and then he pulled out his revolver and in front of her, took his life. Of course, I would have stepped between him and any bullet. I would have done anything had I known the deep sorrow and stress he was under during that time. His wife did not love him as I have loved him his whole life. He was my blood, my baby boy, my heart. I would have done anything had I known there was even a thought of suicide to pass into his mind. Would she have done the same? Did she? There was no prevention.
There are countless people who have died throughout history by suicide. I have come to my own conclusion that it is just another way to die. And can we prevent death? No. It is the one thing we can count on as we live out our lives as best we can in an uncertain world of pain, evil, sorrow, disappointment, sadness, illness, sin….
I am thankful for my Lord, who has been my constant companion during this unending grief and loss. I have His love and mercy and forgiveness as did my son. Illness is not a sin. It is the result of a fallen world. My faith in Christ lets me know without doubt that there are better things to come in the continuation of life in Heaven. Death here is not preventable no matter how hard you try.