Today was a hard day. Someone I love lost someone they love. For those of you keeping score, tragedies still suck. Loss is devastating. I’ve compared it before to the loss of a limb. How unbearable that must be initially.
The shock of losing this limb alone is enough to make you want to call it quits, but then having to go through your entire life without it there anymore? Having to learn again how to complete the basic tasks of daily living without it must be draining, physically and emotionally. In time, with enough will and determination, you learn how to complete those tasks in an entirely new way. Hopefully, the lost limb no longer derails your everyday life.
I’ve read that people who have lost limbs experience something called “phantom pain,” which is defined as pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that’s no longer there. I believe that the death of a loved one is like this. When someone you love dies unexpectedly or expectedly, you feel powerless. It’s almost as if going on without that person feels impossible. But you figure it out. You find meaning behind the loss. You move on, and you find a way to get through each day without them. Never really forgetting them, just learning how to go on in their absence. Every now and then there’s that phantom pain that makes you miss them, which is a normal feeling.
Unless that loss seems like something you could have prevented. Then you’re standing around questioning what you could have done to stop this tragedy from happening.
I’ve dealt with so much loss in my life, both close to home and also more removed, but still life-altering. The loss of a parent or even a distant cousin can be devastating, but none have left me quite as empty as when the loss was because that person took their own life.
Suicide is such a horrible tragedy. It sweeps in like a tornado, bringing ruin and devastation to everything around it. The sirens may sound, but it’s too late. People stand around wondering why it happened and how they could have prevented it.
Suicide is shattering news, no matter how removed you are. It is so jarring because not many suicidal people openly discuss their plans to terminate their existence. It just happens without warning, and then it’s done.
The tragedy of suicide has come into the walls of my heart and knocked each one down. I was young when it happened, but it was earth shaking. It left me with more questions than answers, and due to my youth, I was sheltered from truths until later in life. I sat at a funeral in a room filled with sad and curious people, the rubble left in the aftermath of the tornado that is suicide.
As an adult looking back now, I’m not sure I would have even noticed the signs that my loved one was so hopeless that they rejected the gift of tomorrow. That the sadness and grief of their existence in general was too horrible to face another day with. How could they have been so sad? How was their grief that awful? Why did I not see it? What could I have done to help them? There are so many questions and there are no answers. Just pain.
What I can say is that as preventable as you imagine it to be, I don’t think it always is. That person needed something you couldn’t give them. Something only God can give them. Agape. Unconditional love, no matter the return. Some people’s sadness is so overwhelming they drown in their ocean of sorrow.
I don’t know the why or how or what if; all I know is that you have to be strong enough to pick up all the rubble and rebuild. Be stronger than they were, for them. Their loss needs to be a tool that helps you build a stronger heart for yourself. I have no advice on how to get over it, because just like that lost limb, it will forever be gone. But you will find a way to live without it.
If you feel like giving up or know someone who might be thinking those thoughts, seek help. There are resources and caring people equipped to handle what you think cannot be handled. Just don’t think that your life isn’t worth saving, because every single life matters. No matter what.
The help is there. It’s here. It’s everywhere. Even a stranger has the wherewithal in them to help you if you ask. Giving up is not an option. Ever.
Be safe. Be great. Be you!
Reality Changing Observations:
1. Please share other outlets here to help those who feel like they want to end their life.
2. Have you ever thought about killing yourself? What did you do in that moment to keep going?
3. How can we help those who are helpless to feel important? What can we do daily to show the ones we care that their life matters to us?