When Suicide Touches Your Family

These past four or five weeks have been one of the most sobering, disturbing times of my lifeā€”also one of the busiest as I have taken the lead in responding to the mundane, practical issues following on the passing, by her own hand, of my niece.

She was 42 years old, and by all outward signs, she had perhaps more possible avenues before her than many people do. She was bright, hard working, good looking, and talented in a number of ways. But two things are true: she could not see herself as others of us did, and we could not see how life was for her in the inner prison of her mind.

My initial reaction, which lasted longer than I would have preferred, was anger with her for the permanent choice she made, bringing devastation and horrible sorrow to so many, especially her mother and her children and more than one man who loved her. But as it fell to me to clear out her belongings from her home, I had the opportunity (not available to the others) to work through my feelings and come to experience her life in ways I never had before. In the process, I forgave her this act and began to pray for more for her spirit than simply that God would bless her soul.

The most frequent question people ask when a suicide occurs is: Why? And that’s the one question that cannot be fully answered because none of the possibilities really makes sense to the rest of us. There can only be acknowledgment of the wasted potential and sadness at the irreversible choice that was made.

           

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