Suicide can and does wreak havoc on families across the nation much more than is realized. The only suicides we hear on national news are the suicides of entertainers as if their lives and families are the only lives affected by suicide. On local news, we hear nothing of suicides.
Many fear that speaking of suicide may glorify it thus generate more suicides.
Sadly, ignoring the issue does nothing to help.
All lives matter. My son’s life mattered. He mattered to me. To his father. To his siblings. To aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and friends.
When we take a crisis – such as suicide – and only pay attention or promote awareness when its an entertainer (movies, music, sports, etc) we do the lives of every-day citizens and society as a whole a great disservice.
Every life matters.
It wasn’t long ago when my son took his life. In fact, I am very much still trying to get past the shock and disbelief. My friends and family have been supportive. I haven’t faced any rude comments, but I have dealt with change of subject when the topic of my son’s death comes up. I understand that people are uncomfortable with the subject or, possibly, tired of hearing about it. I understand. I do not judge or condemn. I just go on doing what I do.
Since I lost my son, I’ve learned a few things as I stumble through my grief.
- I do not want to glorify my son’s death, but I do want people to understand the emotional pain that got him to the point of no return. Emotional pain can be caused by any number of circumstances, but from what I’ve read, it often arises from depression or other mental illness.
- My son didn’t take his life to hurt me or anyone else. He was not trying to cause anybody any pain. He took his life to end his own pain because he didn’t know any other way. In that state of hopelessness the individual does not – cannot – think past his/her emotional frame of mind. This is where suicide awareness, mental illness, depression awareness plays such an important role. Feelings are normal and society needs to get educated that strength is in talking about these issues rather than hiding the issues.
- I am now THAT person. THAT person who has lost someone. THAT person whose child took his life. THAT person forever affected by suicide. THAT person who will use that tragic loss to spread awareness – to help others. THAT person who will always talk and never forget about my son and who hopes you talk about and never forget him either. His life made a difference.
- How one person experiences grief is completely different than the next. Grief is personal and it is a necessary part of the healing process.
- We all walk a similar path: uphill battles and downhill coasts. We stumble and we fall, but our paths have different circumstances and trials to stress and/or rejoice over. We all carry burdens no one else knows about. When we cross paths with another just remember, he/she has a story, too.
- Before I ever had personal experience with suicide, my attitude was a common one: “how selfish of this person to do that, cause that kind of pain, to people who loved him/her. It is only through this tragic loss and witnessing my son’s pain that I realized: Suicide is not selfish nor was the individual. The person who takes his/her life believes suicide to be the only way out.
Again, society needs education rather than condemnation concerning what strength is in relation to emotions and mental illness.
Become a society in which people can show “presumed” weaknesses without fear of judgement.
My son once said ‘I don’t talk about my feelings because I don’t want to be some emotional freak show or give ammunition to use against me later.’
Feelings are normal. Everyone has them. It’s all in how we handle our feelings that makes the difference. Never shame someone for their feelings. Never shame them for voicing their feelings.
Why is that what we are teaching our children, our teenagers? Why are we teaching our teens to keep it all bottled inside when most adults can’t handle it? Why do we expect more from our youth than we expect from our adult selves?
#SuicideAwareness #SuicidePrevention #SaveaLifebyBeingaFriend