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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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

 

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!

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