Two weeks ago, my daughter phoned me to tell me a sweet boy, who we had to our home many times over the years, had died. He grew up with my youngest son. He came to birthday parties and sleepovers. I taught him in school. He was a gifted artist and sweet, obedient child. As he became a young man, he was known for being a loyal and generous friend. He was extremely bright, talented, and artistic. He felt things deeply and always made those around him feel loved. But, on a seemingly normal summer day, he posted to social media, that he could no longer handle the difficulties of the past several years. So, at 20 years old, he chose to end his life.
People began reaching out and begging him not to go through with it. His mother was contacted and many raced to his family’s home to try to stop him. But, it was too late. He was gone.
As a mother, the heartache I felt and feel is overwhelming. I cannot imagine what my friend is feeling. She has lost her son and nothing anyone can do or say will bring him back. No words or actions can undo this present reality. Shock, heartbreak and unspeakable grief are now her and her family’s constant companions.
At the funeral home, we spoke very few words. Tears and hugs replaced all speaking.
I just stood there holding her, embracing through the sobbing.
When she did speak, her words pierced my stinging heart. “Oh God, my sweet boy is gone. I will never know why. We had no clue, no signs. He seemed fine. For the rest of my life, I will have to live with not knowing why.”
She wanted to know he was at peace, and I assured he was. My words felt hollow and meaningless. As I embraced her, I told her that I did believe he was with Jesus. As we held one another tightly crying together once more, she begged of me answers that I could not give. Only, “I’m so very sorry.”
I do believe that in that darkest of moments, and in the ones to come, the Holy Spirit groans for us and intercedes for us.
All I could think of was how no words can undo the damage and pain of losing a child. No words can undo the horror, guilt, fear, angst, betrayal, anger, and overwhelmingly gut-wrenching, soul shattering pain of losing a child to suicide. Nothing in life could ever prepare you for that. Oh how my heart aches for my friend and her husband and their two remaining sons! How I longed to be able to do something, anything to ease their pain.
I don’t write this to share someone else’s pain. I write it because this is third time suicide that has touched our family. The third! Every single incident was between the ages of 13 and 21. That kind of grief and pain is unspeakable. Parents and teachers, pastors and friends, we have to talk about this with our children!
They need to know that suicide is not an option or an answer for pain.
This young man grew up in a Christian home. Went to private Christian school, was surrounded by people who loved him fiercely. He was talented and had his whole life ahead of him. But, at 20 years old, he felt so depressed, death seemed a better choice. We have to let our young men and women know that suicide is NOT the answer they seek to their pain. I will say it again. Suicide is NOT the answer to their pain.
1. They need to know, suicide is not the answer to their pain-these are momentary trials and they will pass.
2. They need to know that even though their emotions or life seems hopeless, it isn’t. THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. Things can and often do change-sometimes the next day, sometimes the next year. But, things change.
3. They need to know that they can come to you and tell you that they feel so sad they don’t want to live. They need to know that you are a safe place and that you will help them get the help they need. If someone tells you they are considering suicide, then take them seriously!
4. Sometimes, when things seem fine, they are not. Brains are still maturing, and emotions can be all over the place. However, it will not always be this way. They need to know that.
5. Often times, suicide is glamourized. It is not glamourous. After the shock and grief pass, eventually, people will have to move on and pick up with their lives. So, even if the person who kills themself does so to hurt someone else, the person they are ultimately hurting is their ownself.
6. Suicide happens in all types of families. It is no respecter of age, social status, race, or religion. TALK TO YOUR CHILD!!! It happens in loving homes and in homes where the word of God is taught, and it happens among kids who are believers.
7. Last of all but certainly not least; remind your child that God has given them a future and a HOPE! Pray with your children and reassure them of this promise. Moreover, remember to pray for those families, who have lost a child to suicide. Their lives are forever changed.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”