My soul aches as the news informs me of another suicide. Laden with sadness, the emptiness that the person who died must have felt seems to permeate the air. Of course, it makes me think of Gary, my good husband and friend who died from suicide in 2010. And, people who haven’t experienced a death like this look in my direction, to see if I know how to process it – if they can take any clues from my reaction, and learn how to deal with the inexplicable loss.
Practice doesn’t seem to help a lot with these horrific moments, unfortunately. I know there is another set of family, another set of friends who feel the dark wash over them. What could we have done differently? What did we miss? There aren’t any answers down that road.
As death by suicide becomes a national epidemic, I have this thought for those who would listen – it’s not an answer. Sure, things can be pretty bad, and picturing a way to solve life’s problems can seem insurmountable. But, suicide is not an answer. It shifts the problem down the line, to the next person, your spouse, your child, your friends. That’s no answer.
I am so sad when I imagine this good man’s last hours. I am so sad that things got to this point for him. He was a point of light for me as he journeyed to far away places, and, in his unpretentious way, attempted to connect at a deeply personal level.
I wish he could have felt hope, in those last hours. Because that is what sustains me. That is what I believe can change the world, and reverse this horrific epidemic. Hope is real. There is a God of Love who longs to hold us, to swaddle us in God’s story of redemption. This is what I cling to, as I pray for Antony Bourdain’s family and loved ones. Hope is the answer.
I’ve been participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention out of the Darkness Walks every fall since 2010. Find one in your area. Show up. Walk. Thank you.