Suicide of a Sibling

By Karen Kosman:

One who lost his brother shares how suicide of a sibling impacted him.

 

Image: sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

A Day I’ll Never Forget, by Geoffrey Palmer:

Surrounded by the cresting waves, I wade out into the ocean with mounting anticipation. Then I dive under the water. The ocean underworld has become to me a place of refuge, a place of mystery, a place of beauty, a place to lay aside painful memories. When I scuba dive, my dreams of becoming a marine biologist allow me to focus on my future.

Usually, time in my underwater world passes too quickly, and I need to return to the surface. A small sand shark passes by gracefully. I pause. You’re not a giant, but you’re a fine specimen. I watch it glide off.

Moments later my head breaks through the surface, and I swim to shore. There I take my scuba gear off and head for my car.

Refreshed and feeling at peace, I plan my week. On the drive home I think, Scuba diving is expensive, but I can’t wait to go again, maybe Saturday. Oh, yeah! This is an important week. I’m going to speak at a local high school about Jason’s suicide.

Suddenly, my mind struggles with a nagging fear that’s been eating away at me. For months Mom’s been speaking with a ministry called the “Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention.” She pushes herself so hard that I worry about her getting sick.

I pull into our driveway and park. When I enter the house Mom announces, “Geoffrey, the administrator at the high school you were scheduled to speak at has cancelled. He didn’t want the students thinking that suicide is an option.”

A wave of discouragement washes over me. Then anger surfaces. “That’s stupid! Those students need to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”

“I know, but that’s the way it is for now. We won’t give up.”

I nod, still feeling the weight of my disappointment, then go into my room to dress for school. I have classes at Fullerton College. I don’t want my life to end like Jason’s. I don’t want to hide away in my room and push people away. Life has its problems, but I don’t want to give up. I want others to know that there are answers, and that help does exist.

Quickly, I slip into a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. On my way out I grab my baseball cap that has the black ribbon pin trimmed in gold—a pin representing my grief. A short time later, I pull into my school parking lot, park, and jump out. I head for my chemistry class to redo a lab demo I’d had trouble with.

When others ask me about the pin I tell them. “It means I’m grieving for my brother. Jason shot and killed himself last January. He was my big brother, 11 years older than me, but we had a great time together. We loved sports—played basketball together and roughhoused. I knew he fought depression, but I still can’t believe he did what he did.”

I share my brother’s story to encourage others to ask for help.

My thoughts flash back to the day I’ll never forget—the day news reached me of my brother’s suicide. It had been a typical day with no thought of disaster looming ahead. At work a friend and I were preparing the soccer field for the kids we coached. My cell phone rang and I answered, “Hi, Mom, what’s up?”

I could hardly believe what she told me.

“What happened to Jason? He did what? Okay, okay, I’m on my way.”

My friend saw the look of horror on my face and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“I have to go home. Something’s happened to Jason!”

If I could send my brother a message it would be, “Jason, you are missed.”

Always in my heart will be this question: Jason, why did you do it?

In this YouTube video another young man sings to the brother he lost to suicide. 

Hope: Choosing Happiness (Decision 5)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Is choosing happiness an option when depression is part of your life? Read and ponder this:

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over a lifetime, anyone’s life, there are moments when one can feel desperate enough to even be thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan uses to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that may ponder suicide.

In the previous post of this series, I promised to share with you the fifth decision a person can make to start getting their life to a better place. If you recall I encouraged you to get Andy Andrew’s book  The Travelers Gift and to start reading it. ( It is also available at the library.)

Decision number five states; Today I Will Choose to be Happy.

Just like choosing to get dressed in the morning or to make dinner we can choose to be happy. Once I realized that was true, it changed everything. No longer is happiness something anyone can take away from me. No longer is it dependent on my circumstances.

Beginning this very moment, I am a happy person, for I now truly understand the concept of happiness. Few others before me have been able to grasp the truth of the physical law that enables one to live happily every day. I know now that happiness is not an emotional phantom floating in and out of my life.

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is the end result of certain thoughts and activities, which actually bring about a chemical reaction in my body. This reaction results in a euphoria, which, while elusive to some, is totally under my control. (Page 108, The Traveler’s Gift)

One way of cultivating happiness is to have a grateful heart. Do I look at my broken car and be sad because it needs fixed, or do I remain happy because I own a car to have repaired?

Do I look at the pile of work ahead of me today and bemoan the fact that it is so much to do, or be grateful that I am employed?

The choice is mine every day. I can choose to be grateful for what I have or I can lament the things I don’t. When I choose to be grateful, my whole countenance changes. My entire outlook is redone.

Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit. In the past, I have found discouragement in particular situations, until I compared the condition of my life to others less fortunate.

Just as a fresh breeze cleans smoke from the air, so does a grateful spirit remove the cloud of despair. It is impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a thankful heart.

My God has bestowed upon me many gifts, and for these I will remember to be grateful. Too many times, I have offered up the prayers of a beggar, always asking for more and forgetting my thanks. (Page 109, The Traveler’s Gift)

I encourage you to stop thinking about suicide and read that last posts in this series plus The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. Also, why not listen to him describing the 5th decision, choosing happiness, himself:

Help Friends Mourning Loved Ones Lost to Suicide

man sitting on the grass from mfBy Jeenie Gordon:

            Mourning – a painful, long process for those who have lost someone to suicide.

Two years seems to be a typical time of intense sorrow and numbness for those who have lost a loved one. Over and over I have seen the time frame played out with students and clients in therapy.

 It takes about two years before the force of reality hits home. Truth knocks the mourner down with a blow similar to a heavyweight boxer hitting him in the gut. The person understands the great loss will last the rest of his life, and he hates it. Often I hear the expression, “I despise my life and I can’t stand the pain. It’s eating me up inside.”

Family and friends, who gathered close for the first few months or a year eventually go on with their lives. Rarely do they give the mourner’s loss another conscious thought. For the most part, there is no longer a human source in which to find comfort, thus, loneliness and isolation, can become overwhelming.

Talking things over with God helps the grief stricken person to slowly begin to move on with life. Journaling is also a valid, healthy way to start to resolve the issues.

How can you help your friends who are mourning loved ones lost to suicide?

 

I have made it a practice for many years to have a daily prayer list for those who are grieving the loss of their loved one. At the end of the year, I write them a note. Generally I begin: Each morning I have prayed for you and your family during your first year of mourning . . . I have received numerous return notes telling me how my prayers have impacted and comforted their lives. One mother at my high school wrote: If my daughter would have had you as her counselor, she would still be alive today.

We have a responsibility and privilege to continue to support those who mourn. Romans 12:15 states, “Weep with them that weep” (KJV).

Jeenie Gordon is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, and author, including contributing to Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors, excerpted in this post and used by permission from New Hope Publishers.

Is There Any Hope for Me? (Decision 4)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

 Do you wonder, “Is there any hope for me?” Considering suicide? There IS hope.

 

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In my previous post in The Traveler’s Gift series here on our site, about the  Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews, I promised to share with you the fourth decision a person can make to start getting their life to a place they want it to be.  (I encourage you to seek out that book as a resource.)

Although this passage pertains to being more successful in life, when you are feeling depressed and overwhelmed one of the most important “successful” things you can do right now will be to succeed in staying alive.

Instead of letting your troubles overwhelm you, lift them up to God, and ask Him to help change your way of thinking about them, because new thoughts lead to new actions and new hope. And remember, this article is only one part in our series on finding new hope, so do read the other articles in this series.

Decision number four relates to the passage in the book titled I Have a Decided Heart where the character makes this declaration with deliberate new choices:

I have a decided heart. I am passionate about my vision for the future. I will awaken every morning with an excitement about the new day and its opportunity for growth and change. My thoughts and actions will work in a forward motion, never sliding into the dark forest of doubt or the muddy quicksand of self-pity. I will freely give my vision for the future to others, and as they see the belief in my eyes, they will follow me. (Page 88, The Traveler’s Gift)

This may be one of those times when we have to “fake it ‘till we make it.” If you notice, it says I have a DECIDED heart. Meaning we can choose to decide to live with a new outlook. Listen to what the historical character of the book shares with our protagonist (main character).

I have a decided heart. I will not wait.

I know that the purpose of analysis is to come to a conclusion. I have tested the angles. I have measured the probabilities. And now I have made a decision with my heart. I am not timid. I will move now and not look back. What I put off until tomorrow, I will put off until the next day as well. I do not procrastinate. All my problems become smaller when I confront them. If I touch a thistle with caution, it will prick me, but if I grasp it boldly, its spines crumble into dust. I will not wait. I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assured. (Page 89, The Traveler’s Gift)

 

I encourage you to take hold of these decisions, and others we have discussed in The Traveler’s Gift. Also, take a few minutes to listen to Andy Andrews description of the Decided Heart himself, in this video:

When you trust God with your future, it’s more than just about positive thinking–it’s about allowing your creator to lead you in new directions, before you give up hope.

Not sure how to find God? Visit GodTest.com.

Loneliness Can Lead to Suicide

Image by Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Karen O’Connor:

An article by Stephen Marche in The Atlantic magazine  focuses on an important point:

“Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever.

Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.”

Loneliness can lead to suicide.

For example, soap opera star Nick Santino took his life on his 47th birthday in January 2012 after euthanizing his pit bull, Rocco, following an alleged threat from a neighbor about the dog, according to an article in US Magazine.

The man was so distraught he believed his only solution was to commit suicide, after posting his concern on Facebook and calling a former girlfriend. “Police found Santino’s body in his bedroom later that afternoon. The actor had overdosed on pills.”

This is just one of many cases of suicide following bouts of extreme loneliness and fear.

Kevin Caruso on suicide.org  encourages lonely people to take the following steps, among others:

“If you are suicidal and feel intense loneliness, please get help for your suicidal feelings. And please take steps to be less lonely. If you feel lonely and isolate yourself, your risk of suicide will increase. So, get out and talk to people. You can talk with people in stores, at events, you name it. And open up to your friends and family.”

And you can find help in the Bible. God cares about you and your feelings of loneliness.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

 Loneliness can lead to suicide but if you turn to God with your feelings he will rescue and uphold you and help you take the steps that lead to healing and caring relationships.

And for further encouragement take a look at this YouTube with Dr. Larry Crabb of NewWay Ministries—”What Does Loneliness Tell Us About Ourselves?”