Thursday, August 25, 2011

The impact of taking your own life

We attended the service for my friend yesterday and it was so sad. So without going into to much detail I will finally share with you what happened. On Friday I talked to an old friend who is also a long time client regarding his account. Worried about his condition at the time of the call I called his wife who I have been friends with for probably 20 years. She had heard from him several times that day via phone so she was well aware of why I was calling. After I hung up with her about 8 minutes later he took his life while on the phone with her. It was devastating, tragic, and I was extremely sad for her and mad at him for committing the act while she was on the phone. I got the call on Saturday about what had transpired and cried myself to sleep. What "if's" floated through my mind about our call, but I know that is very normal. I have been through a similar situation before.

Flashback to when I was 15 years old, very innocent, and very naive about the world in general. I met the prettiest boy I had ever seen. He was tall with sandy blonde hair, golden brown eyes, and naturally tan skin. He looked like he needed to be in Hawaii riding a surfboard. He was beautiful, so very nice, but troubled. I soon had my first real boyfriend and I was 100% infatuated. The only issue was that he lived about an hour away from my house so we could only see each other on weekends. We talked every single day and I am sure if text message had been invented then our phones would have blown up all day long. He talked to me about he wished he could please everyone, but he couldn't. He struggled through those difficult teen years and in the end the years won. The night before everything took place he drove all the way out to my house in the middle of the night......without a license. We snuck out (shame on us) and we talked for hours under the moon at a local park until a police officer started wondering why two youngsters were out so late chatting. We were brought home by the police. It was humiliating because I was considered such a good girl. The next day while sitting in class I received a message that I had a telephone call come through the office. I was suppose to call the person back on a pay was my boyfriend. On the other end of the phone he admitted he had skipped school which I scolded him for. He then told me he was considering ending his life. He had mentioned this before, but the problem was I had no idea he really meant it this time. Let my post be a message to everyone out there that if someone mentions suicide always take them seriously. After some encouraging words from me we got off the phone with an "I love you". Not sure it can be real love at 15, but I sure felt like it was. I had a track meet later that day and while laying on the grass waiting to run I got the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was very wrong. I jumped up and ran to my coach telling him I had to go home right then! I called my grandfather in tears and he came to pick me up. I tried calling my boyfriend, but his mother answered which was very odd and in a panic I hung up. I sat worried at my house waiting for my boyfriend to call.....but he never did.  Later that night I finally got a call from his best friend and my first words were "Where is Chris?".  He replied "Oh Jen no one has called you? Chris hung himself today". I was devastated! I was a 15 year old having a nervous breakdown. It turns out his mother walked in from work to find him. How horrible, how cruel. I struggled for a long time to make sense of the situation. He left me a note that I still have to this day tucked away in a cedar chest in the attic. His father would write me to help me get through everything which was very kind. I remember thinking I could feel Chris near me or that I could hear his voice. I saw him in the shadows when no one was there. Maybe they are around to help comfort us? I have reached out to his family since, but for obvious reasons I am sure they don't feel comfortable talking to me. He is still on my mind and I hope he is at peace.

So while at Chris's funeral and many times afterwards I had several people tell me that those who commit suicide damned to hell. I don't believe this and never have, but you are welcomed to have this opinion.  I believe that my God is compassionate and forgiving. So my friend who took his life this past Friday's father cried to me about how people were telling him the same thing. Why someone would mention this to a newly grieving father......I have no clue. He must have expressed this same situation to the pastor who ran the memorial service, because his lesson was based off a passage in the bible I had also pointed out. The only unforgivable sin is the following...

MATTHEW 12: 31-32 "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come".

It is also not our place to judge what will happen to that person it's God's place!
Now let me point out as someone who has been through the loss of someone from a self inflicted's selfish! You leave those you love behind to pick up the pieces and it's just not fair. IT'S NOT FAIR! The person in such a depression doesn't think about all the small ends that your poor family has to tie's awful. If you just wait.......things do get better! We battle emotionally with a lot of wars, but life always finds a way to work itself out. If you focus on the positive then eventually the negative will fade away. If you fight and have the courage to fight then God is there to help you through your rough time. Trust me I have had my share of rough times. The above is just a sampling of my childhood. So take your "story" and let it make you a better person.  

My boyfriend never knew about many new beautiful parks, small cell phones, texting, PS3, Ipads, or other material things that I think he would have loved. Isn't that strange to think about? How time moves on without you there? I used to talk to High schools about the impact of suicide. I was told over and over that the largest impact I made was when I said "If you dream about a funeral and how everyone will attend......oh they will.......but in a few months your friends will just move on and barely think of you as they go to prom, graduate, get married, and have children. Although it's your family that will be devastated and partially crippled for the rest of their lives." At the service yesterday his young son got up to the podium. He paused for a moment and looking at the crowd he swept his hair out of his face and spoke "My dad was a good man!" he said like he didn't care what anyone thought (good for him) then he continued "My dad was at every football game, every practice, and every function I ever had since I was little. He was a good man and that's what I will choose to remember". Good for him, God bless him!

My thoughts and prayers are with my friend as she find the strength to work through this. I pray it makes her stronger and she finds a happy life.

1 comment:

sarah said...

I am so sorry that you and your friend's wife have to go through this! I have never had something like that happen so close to me ( although I have had friends who have had it that close).

In my opinion, people who take their own lives do not go to hell. In a twisted way, it is the only way the person feels they can *escape* hell. My heart hurts to think that the emotional pain they are feeling outweighs the joys in their lives....

The people who speak of eternal damnation, etc are just plain RUDE.