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.

My Angel


I wake up in the morning
And I look up to the sky
I wonder why he took you
before I said good-bye 

I look up to the stars at night
And know you’re looking down
I’d like to think you’re proud of me
But I’m just stumbling round

I crawl in bed and close my eyes
And realize that you’re gone
Then comes the fears and then the tears
And life just seems so wrong

I glance up at the heavens
And I know you’re flying by
My Angel’s watching over me
I’m happy as I cry

Hold On, Pain Ends

Hug Your Mom Tight For Me – NYPOST.com


Hug Your Mom Tight For Me by Cindy Adams

I have reprised this column every Mother’s Day since springtime of 2000. That’s when I lost my own mom. It was akin to losing my whole world. Each year this special weekend is my only way of touching her.

I’m a mother lover. I print this annual tribute because I never loved any creature, big or small, man or woman, old or young, human or animal, the way I loved my mother. And not in this life nor in those the Spirits say I may pass through, will I ever love anyone more.

My grandmother, who came over from the old country, Russia, was a janitress in the New World. Cleaned stoops. Took in boarders. Made chicken soup so thick you broke your wrist lifting the spoon. And once washed my mom’s only party dress — pretend satin, trimmed with fake fur — then stuck it on a radiator to dry. The thing turned stiff. Grandpa never made a living. He was a tailor but couldn’t save mom’s only party dress.

They had five children. My mother Jessica, the baby, was born in Liverpool. Mother married a dentist but liked nothing about him including his teeth. She divorced him after I was born. An executive secretary, she was a single parent.

I was always sickly. But, no matter what, she was always there. She’d pawn things because we needed other things. She then married a dear man who loved me and sold insurance. Mostly I remember that she was always, always there for me.

She dug up my birth father when I was 12 so we could meet because he’d never once seen nor supported me. We met. I was distinctly ungood-looking at 12. He continued to not care to see me again. Years later as life changed for me, he then reached out. Mom and I both then told him what he could do with his reach.

Mother was beautiful. I was not. She had my nose fixed. Improved my hair line. Made me diet. Fed me little green Feosol tablets because I was always anemic. Gave me speech, posture and acting lessons. Took me to a modeling agent and announced: “My daughter is going to become somebody.” Underwhelmed, they said, “Maybe, but not here.”

At age 8, my class had a May 1 Maypole Dance in the park. We each bobbed and weaved, over and under, braiding our streamers into the Maypole. It was a chilly morning. Only my mother alone came bearing a sweater. I was mortified. Was I not a grown-up? No other mothers were babying their children. I hissed at her, “Go away.” She blinked at me. She went away. But there were tears in her eyes.

That happened civilizations ago, but I still cannot wipe that image from my mind.

Yearly readers request I reprise this Mother’s Day Valentine. Last week, again, a copy of 2007’s column was sent to me as a reminder. I think this is the part they want:

I can’t believe my mother is gone. Even in my heart the word is capitalized. Every winter she was in Palm Beach with an army of aides. Every summer in the Hamptons. Even when she lay unfocussed and unspeaking in the hospital bed in the country home I provided for her, she was in my life.

Even in those years when she didn’t know who I was, I knew who she was. I knew somewhere inside that shell was the stunning, bright, sassy, verbal, vibrant, witty, dynamic, fun-loving, killer lady who had forever been my everything, the core of my being.

The last time I hugged her an icy stab of fear sliced through me. I sensed an increased fragility. I wanted to crawl into that bed alongside her, but there was no way. No room. Besides, I was terrified I’d frighten her or, worse, the bed would collapse.

And so I pressed up close, my body flat against the protective side bars. All I could do was stroke that small head. And place against the cold steel railings of the hospital bed a stuffed teddy bear so those curled fingers might touch something soft.

I remember that gorgeous head when it was full of information. When it ruled worlds. When it was big and strong and knowledgeable and featured that powerful mane of thick red hair. It seemed tiny now. The hair white. Sparse. Shiny.

I was an only child. I married in my teens. So we were four. Then dad went, and we were three. Next, my husband, who was the same age as my mother. And then we were two. And now I’m one. And my only family are two yappy Yorkshire terriers — but at least they come from England as she did.

It’s tough. Tough to lose your mother. It is now a dozen years since I’ve lost my mother. It’s still tough. I’d give up everything to give her a gentle, easy, slow-moving hug today. Just one. One that wouldn’t alarm her. One that couldn’t be returned. Or even understood.

I’m aware that each Mother’s Day, for whatever reasons, families become aware there are wide gaps between many a mother and child. Not for me to sit in judgment.

It’s just that — if it’s within your ability — call. Buy flowers. Send a gift. Write a note. Tell your mother you love her.

I wish I could.

I can’t anymore.

Read more: If you still can, please tell your mother you love her – NYPOST.com.

Mother’s Day Poems For Grieving Parents



A week before Mother’s Day; I have lamented on what to say to all mothers who have lost their children on this occasion. Alas, I realized that I do not have the words as I have never yet had children of my own. Who am I to bring words of wisdom on a subject regarding feelings that I cannot begin to comprehend? Still, one of the reasons for the articles written on this blog is to bring solace to those who are seeking a brief reprieve from their grief. With this in mind, I decided to post poems by those who have expressed the loss of a child.

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Here are the poems I chose in dedication to every mom missing their child. Please read and enjoy, or cry, or yell, or smile. . .or whatever feels right in your heart. I wish I could hug each one of you to know that someone out there cares. As long as I shall exist, this blog will always be here and I hope it brings you some relief to know that you will never be alone in your grief.

A Peak Into Heaven
by Callie Sanders Thornton

;

Just one little peek into heaven,
Is all I’m asking for today.
I just want to know how she’s doing,
And heaven seems so far away.

Is she playing on the clouds with angels?
Is she laughing and running today?
Does she miss me?
I guess only she knows.
Oh why does heaven seem so far away?

If you just let me look for a moment,
To catch a glimpse of her sweet smiling face,
I promise I won’t try to take her,
I know, she’s in a better place.

Just one little peek into heaven,
Is all I’m asking for today.
I just want to know how she’s doing,
And heaven seems so far away…

Just For Today For Bereived Parents
by Vicki Tushingham

;

Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours
and not expect to get over my child’s death,
but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.
Just for today I will remember my child’s life, not just her death,
and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days
and moments we shared.
Just for today I will forgive all the family and friends
who didn’t help or comfort me the way I needed them to.
They truly did not know how.
Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside,
for maybe if I smile a little,
my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.
Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child,
for they are hurting too,
and perhaps we can help each other.
Just for today I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt,
for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world
I could of done to save my child from death,
I would of done it.
Just for today I will honor my child’s memory

by doing something with another child
because I know that would make my own child proud.
Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship
to another bereaved parent
for I do know how they feel.
Just for today when my heart feels like breaking,
I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving
and the only reason I hurt is because
I had the privilege of loving so much
Just for today I will not compare myself with others.
I am fortunate to be who I am
and have had my child for as long as I did.
Just for today I will allow myself to be happy,
for I know that I am not deserting her by living on.
Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did,
my life did go on,
and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.

For All Parents
by Edgar Guest

;

I’ll lend you for a little time,
A child of mine he said.
For you to love there as he lives
And mourn when he is dead.

It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty two or three.
But will you , ’till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?

He’ll bring his charms to gladden you,
And shall his stay be brief.
You’ll have his lovely memories,
As solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from Earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,
I want this child to learn.

I’ve searched the wide world over,
In my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes,
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labor vain.
Nor hate me when I come to call
To take him back again?

I fancied that I heard them say,
Dear Lord, thy will be done.
For all the joy thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.

We’ll shelter him with tenderness,
We’ll love him while we may
And for the happiness we’ve known
Forever grateful stay.

But shall the angels call for him
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.

For those grieving their mothers on this occasion, I will post something for you this week as well. You are not forgotten. And for those of you who are blessed to have your mother’s presence today, appreciate her while you can. After all, we only get one in our lifetime. There is no love like that of a mother. . .
. . .which reminds me, I need to go buy my mom her Mother’s Day gift!
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Happy Mother’s Day mom. I love you.

A Dose Of Sarcasm For Valentine’s Day


Just when we thought we survived the holidays, here comes another one sneaking around the corner-Valentine’s Day. People have their opinions about Valentine’s day, some endorsing it and others dismissing it to a day dedicated to greeting cards.  Fact is, it is considered an annual traditional holiday and for people in mourning, it’s a reminder of our loss. It evokes feelings of memory and traditions, tugging at our emotional boundaries.

Here’s my advice: if you made it through the past two months of holiday “festivities,” maybe crying in your eggnog while hurled in a fetal position in your bed (oh wait, that was me..) then this too, shall pass.

Now, my opinion and 75 cents will buy you a cup of  coffee (unless you’re at Starbucks.) Make no mistake, I’m not an emotional counselor, a psychiatrist or any type of doctor of any kind. I simply blog about mental health advocacy and list the professional agencies here on the site for you to use as needed. My expertise is that of being a human being and any advice I give is based off of my personal experiences.

I’ve read many articles with suggestions on honoring your loved ones and their memories by baking cakes, writing personal notes, lighting candles, and so on. They bore me, especially because I won’t take any of those suggestions. Not only that, I won’t feel bad about not taking them. You know why? Because I’m learning how to live with loss my way. I have been doing that for years. There is no cure, remedy or corny sentiment that anyone can share with me that will make me any stronger than I am right now. We’re all unique individuals and we all learn recovery in our way, on our own time.

This year, another Valentine’s Day will come and go, like it does every year.  I’ll think of my life, my loved ones and probably get a postcard from my chiropractor or dentist, wishing me a happy holiday while reminding me to come in for my overdue check up.

For all of you One To Six readers, have a wonderful Valentine’s day. Celebrate it, ignore it, or simply sit back and see where the day takes you.  I’ll be here, thinking of my next holiday post…

Life’s That Way


As If There’s A Rule Book…

“April 11, 2004

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of the rules of thought, feeling, and behavior in these circumstances? It seems like there should be a rule book somewhere that lays out everything exactly the way one should respond to a loss like this. I’d surely like to know if I’m doing it right. Am I whining enough or too much? Am I unseemly in my occasional moments of lightheartedness? At what date and I supposed to turn off the emotion and jump back on the treadmill of normalcy? Is there a specific number of days or decades that must pass before I can do something I enjoy without feeling I’ve betrayed my dearest love? And when, oh when, am I ever really going to believe this has happened? Next time you’re in a bookstore, as if there’s a rule book.

11:54 p.m.

Jim”

 

I’ve never gotten caught up in the notion that this turn of events isn’t “fair.”  I don’t believe in “fairness.”  Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people and all the possible permutations of those happenings, and there’s nothing fair or unfair about it – it just is.

― Jim BeaverLife’s That Way: A Memoir

 

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

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