Stopping Suicide


It’s the anniversary of the day that Robin Williams committed suicide so it seems like a good time to talk about this a little, it’s also less than a month from the day my brother took his life eleven years ago.  With a new baby at home I’ve been thinking a lot about my brother, he was thirty five when he died and now I am seven years older than he will ever be.  I’ve been through a divorce, I’ve had two daughters, and I’ve found someone to share my life with and some small degree of happiness.  Through the process of grieving and helping others to cope I found my best friend for life and together, well mostly her actually, we started this site.  Several of the most momentous and life changing events have happened to me in these last eleven years and specifically in the last seven years.  My first daughter was born, my second daughter was born, I went through a divorce, Steve Jobs enslaved mankind with his iPhone, Pizza Hut came out with a hot dog crust pizza, and many more exciting and dramatic things have happened, I just can’t think of them all at the moment.  Granted a hot dog crust pizza may not be the most life altering thing to have hit humanity, but it’s given me a lot of pleasure to see the looks on peoples faces when I tell them about it I can tell you that much.  They seem torn between wanting to try it and genuine despair for humanity.

My point is this.  The world has changed in a mere eleven years, and he missed it, all of it.  He missed the good and the bad, the absurd and the amusing.  He will always be thirty five and he’ll never have a chance to eat a hot dog crust pizza or at least make fun of it.

So lets talk about suicide.  The CDC compiles the information about it and the latest data is from 2013, you can peruse it yourself at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention here’s a quick overview.

Suicide is overwhelmingly committed by males.  78% of all suicides are male, and while females are three times more likely than males to attempt suicide they account for less than a quarter of actual suicides, that’s pretty staggering facts.  Just let that sink in a bit.  Just by being male you are four times more likely than a female to commit suicide, and if you are a white male in America you account for 70% of all suicides.

Age and location is also a big factor, the highest rates of suicide are grouped between 45 and 64 (the highest) and 85 and up (second highest).  Montana has the highest suicide rate of any state at 23.7 per 100,000 and the District of Columbia the lowest at 5.8 per 100,000.

There is even data on how people commit suicide, in the U.S. firearms account for the majority of suicides at 51.5% which is 27 percentage points higher than the next method which is suffocation.  In countries where firearms are inconveniently not available suffocation takes their place such as in the UK.

My point is this.  It doesn’t matter.  All the facts and the figures, all the prevention methods, all of it, meaningless.  This isn’t a popular stance I know, but it’s realistic.  We cannot prevent most suicides by talking to people.  Anyone that can be talked out of suicide most likely wasn’t going to do it in the first place.  Typically suicide is not a spontaneous action.  For the most part it is very well planned out and executed.  There is always exceptions to the rules, but that’s exactly what they are, exceptions.  Suicide is not going to be cured by talking.  Suicides will be eliminated when we figure out how to cure the underlying cause, not the result.  The result is suicide, the cause is mental illness.  Cure one and the other goes away.

In the meantime lets concentrate on working with people who have been effected by a suicide and helping promote mental health.  We can effect change in these areas.  I’m not saying we should get rid of suicide hotlines and support because there are people out there that still need them.  What I’m saying is lets concentrate on being effective and curing the root of the problem.

That’s just my two cents.

Brad.

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Father’s Day Inspiration


Hi OneTo Six fans. Happy Father’s Day! Brad (my original co-collaborator and founder  of this blog) sent me beautiful pictures of him enjoying the day with his child and I thought, this happiness should be shared to the world. On that note. please find below poems, pictures and most importantly, a virtual hug sent from me to you. . .

 

 

“There are no goodbyes for us.  Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts.” ~Mahatma Ghandi

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.” ~Anne Sexton

“There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and of unspeakable love.” ~Washington Irving

“I’ve had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.” ~Bartrand Hubbard

“I may not get to feel your warm hug or hear your loud laughter.
I may not able to hand this personally to you.
But deep inside my heart, I want to say I love you.
I really do. I also miss you so much.
Happy fathers’ day from thousand miles apart!” ~Unknown 

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day

 

 

What Is A Dad?

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail…

– Unknown

Hope you all enjoyed. Ironically, holidays annoy my father. But I’ll call him anyway. He’ll wonder why and brush me off, and I’ll smile thinking,  oy, what a grudge! But I love him and I’ll think of the quote, “A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life” ~Nora

And of course, last but certainly not least, for My Michael:

When A Friend Bids Goodbye

© Kathrine Yee Baraquia
My dear friend,
close your eyes…
hold my hand,
and hear me whisper…For the times I was lost,
you were there to look for me.
Will you believe me when I say I love you more than you’ll ever know.
Will you trust me when I say …this time you have to let me go.

My dear friend, I must leave.
The world no longer needs me.
It’s my time to be gone, until we meet again someday.
Don’t you cry now, I know I’ll be okay.
Trust that I’ll never forget you.
Don’t be sad now, just close your eyes until it’s through.
Hold my hand, don’t open your eyes yet…
wait when I no longer whisper..

My dear friend, you’ll be fine.
I’ll be up there watching over you.
For the times I’ll be gone, don’t ever forget
the words I whispered to you.

God calls on my name… and I have to let go of your hand now…
Please don’t cry… and smile for me..
because I’m with the one who made us friends.

Remember, I’ll always love you.
so come, wave me goodbye…
It’ll be painful but we have to…
Hug me, hug me tight, feel the words I can no longer say.

My dear friend, I’m going to miss you.
just pray because I’ll always listen.
and one day, when it’s your time,
I’ll be there for you…
Just like the way I used to.
…I love you…

For Every Dad. . .

For Every Dad. . .

I See You-Inner Wise Self


I see you in your stops and starts, your fears and resistances. I see you in your glorious unfoldings and creative inventions. I see you think you’re not enough, and then see you leap to the next spot, laughing. I see you write yourself in and out of memory and dream, smoke and shadow. I see your new writings taking flight. I see you refusing to quit for long, I see you willing to sob on the floor, I see you showing up to the page, over and over , over and over again- even when it’s boring, messy, not your favorite. I see you celebrating, creating, making your writing REAL and sharing your life’s purpose. I see you allowing the splendid imperfections and glaring omissions and inescapable truths and uncertainties. I see you, I know you, I love you unconditionally– completely and forever. Call on me constantly. I’m right here, right now, right always. I adore you.

 

With loving support,

Inner Wise Self  

Words To Remember

Learning Strength And Wisdom Through Pain; My Journey Continues. . .


Learning Strength And Wisdom Through Pain And Grief; My Life Journey Continues. . .

“I eat too much. I drink too much. I think too much. I want too much.” Those happened to be the lines I heard from a song as I began this post while sitting on a train. I’m on my way to see Susan and Paul in Connecticut. This will be my second visit since their son, Michael, took his life four years ago.

The first visit was emotionally and spiritually tragic for me. I felt the pain oozing from Susan’s body with every move she made. I cried. I panicked. I ached.

Don't Give Up

After all, it was the least I could do, so I thought. . . to become some martyr to the feelings of pain.  As though I was paying my dues. Who was I to feel happy? This was my homage to Michael; to suffer his pains, and to be the friend I should have been to him while he was physically here. Then, maybe his mom would be distracted by my turmoil and I could take his place. And, perhaps, I could receive forgiveness from Michael too.

Yes, it may sound silly now but those were not only rational thoughts for me, but more like a set of obligations. I went to see Susan at her workplace on my final day of my visit. We both wept over this tragedy together. Suddenly, she gathered herself together, held her hands in mine and said, “Nora, you can’t help me until you help yourself.”

What an unbelievable woman she is, when I think to back to that moment. After losing both of her twin children to suicide, she was still capable of sharing the wisdom needed to guide me away from my self-destruction. It was a pure and sincere act of strength and love. It was the epitome of grace in its purest form.

Sadly, at the time, I wasn’t able to take her advice. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I didn’t want to yet. I wasn’t ready. I wanted to run away from my feelings, and I wanted to do it alone. That destructive behavior taught be a valuable lesson: No matter how far you run, your problems will always follow you.

So, here we are now, three years later and once again, I’m preparing myself for the emotional journey of grieving, laughing, crying and sharing. Except, this time, it will be different. I know better. I have grown and I have learned.  It is my time to share what I have learned after experiencing feelings that once seemed inconsolable.  This too shall pass. It’s been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t think that’s right. Love does.

Perhaps that is why I waited so long for this visit. It is time to see Susan again, and I know she feels the time is right too. We will not dwell in our pain, but share in our memories. We will not wallow in the darkness of our sorrows. Rather, we will rejoice in rising above our despair to find the light at the end of our once endless tunnels and truly understand the gift of grace.

My Wish For You

My Wish For You

“Where it was dark now there’s light. Where there was pain now there’s joy. Where there was weakness, I found my strength.” Through pain, we grow strength and compassion for people.  This weekend, we’ll drink too much, eat too much, think too much and want too much. And, frankly, I can’t freakin’ wait!

I’ve Learned by Omer B. Washington


I’ve Learned

by Omer B. Washington

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you.
All you can do is be someone who can be loved.
The rest is up to them.
I’ve learned that no matter how much I care,
some people just don’t care back.
I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust
and only seconds to destroy it.
I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life
but who you have in your life that counts.
I’ve learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes.
After that, you’d better know something.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself
to the best others can do,
but to the best you can do.
I’ve learned that it’s not what happens to people,
It’s what they do about it.
I’ve learned that no matter how thin you slice it,
there are always two sides.
I’ve learned that you should always have loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you’ll see them.
I’ve learned that you can keep going
long after you think you can’t.

I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done
When it needs to be done,
regardless of the consequences.
I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly,
but just don’t know how to show it.
I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry,
but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.
I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to
doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I’ve learned that no matter how good a friend is,
they’re going to hurt you every once in a while
and you must forgive them for that.
I’ve learned that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken,
the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are,
but we are responsible for who we become.
I’ve learned that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’ve learned that sometimes you have to put the individual
ahead of their actions.
I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing
and see something totally different.
I’ve learned that no matter the consequences,
those who are honest with themselves go farther in life.
I’ve learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours
by people who don’t even know you.
I’ve learned that even when you think you have no more to give,
when a friend cries out to you,
you will find the strength to help.

I’ve learned that writing,
as well as talking,
can ease emotional pains.
I’ve learned that the people you care most about in life
are taken from you too soon.
I’ve learned that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice
and not hurting people’s feelings and standing up for what you believe.
I’ve learned to love
and be loved.
I’ve learned…

Life Without Regrets

You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching/ Love like you'll never be hurt/ Sing like there's nobody listening/ And live like it's heaven on earth. ~ William W. Purkey

Time To Be Grateful. . .Like It or Not.


It’s that time of year again. . .another holiday to reflect on our lives. In all honesty, today, I felt sad and lonely. Mostly for having very few people in my life to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with, besides my mom. There were no children running around the house, no siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. Nobody fighting about who would slice the turkey. Heck, I don’t even eat meat!

Nevertheless, my mother and I prepared a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, and set the table with all the trimmings. We sat and ate, shared a few stories and  within a blink of an eye, our meal had come to an end. I excused myself from the table, still feeling somewhat depressed and wishing we could somehow miraculously multiply as a family.

Then I went downstairs to be alone and I called Michael’s mom, Susan. (For those of you who don’t know, Michael is the reason for this blog. He is the reason you are reading this right now. He is a part of my life, even after taking his own.) When I spoke to Susan, she sounded grateful. Grateful for the phone call; grateful to be remembered, grateful to know that she was loved.

Then I thought how silly I was for feeling like I was somehow cheated. Sure, I don’t have a house full of family members strewn about, mixed with all the chaos and craziness associated with the typical Thanksgiving holiday. But, who cares? Why was I comparing my life to what should be the norm? Who decides what the norm is? Does that even matter?

After talking to Susan and hearing her voice, I felt incredibly grateful. That phone call made me realize that I’m grateful for having her in my life, and the fact that she is loved.

I realized that we all have something to be grateful for. We don’t need to live in a mansion, we don’t need to drive fancy cars, we don’t need to have big families, and we don’t even need to be ecstatic about where we are in our lives. But, we’re not alone, even if we feel like we are.

One thing Michael did, that I recommend to all, was to write a gratitude list. He would write about anything and everything that he was thankful for…things like a roof over his head, food in his refrigerator, legs to walk with, and a computer to write on. . . .

So, today, I am grateful. I am grateful for have having known Michael. I’m grateful for Susan and her loving husband, Paul. I’m grateful for my tiny family. I’m grateful for being loved.  And, I’m grateful to all of you who are reading this right now.

Happy New Year


Hello friends. What a journey we’ve been on. I want to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part of this process. I started this organization, selfishly, more for me, than for anyone else. But, you all made it grow into something more-a family, a support group, a place to share feelings. . . a comfort zone. None of this would have been possible if it were not through the support and encouragement of all of you.

Thank you, once again, for becoming part of my family. These memories of our experiences, our stories and our journeys will forever be cherished. Here’s to a new year of health and happiness for all of us. ~Nora Lamarti

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