My Son Was Suicidal

By S. Osborn:

If you feel overwhelmed and suicidal, consider how taking your life would hurt people who love you. Instead, communicate with them.


PrayingBecause my son was suicidal at one point when he was in high school, my heart goes out to other mothers who have experienced a suicidal teen. Fortunately my story has a happy ending, so I hope those who experience suicidal thoughts will read this story, see the effect that act would have on those left behind, and will reconsider.

I watched my eldest son race down the stairs, shoving his younger brother out of the way. He had a wild look in his eyes that scared me. I had never seen him behave like that before. As he brushed past me on the way to the front door, I saw a buck knife in his hand. By the time I reached the door, he had jumped in my car and was driving away.

My other son and I stared at each other for a moment, then he turned and walked slowly back up the stairs. Moments later, he cried, “Mom, you’d better come look at this.”

I ran up the stairs and grabbed the paper he held out to me. It read, “I can’t go on any longer. Please forgive me.”

Sinking down on my eldest son’s bed, I began to cry, with my other boy’s arms around me.

“I had no idea he was depressed. Did you?”

“No, Mom. I know his girlfriend broke up with him, but that’s happened before.”

I added, “And you made the varsity water polo team, and he didn’t. That had to be hard for him.” He was the only one on varsity. His older brother was still playing on junior varsity.

We joined hands and prayed, “Lord, please bring him safely home to us.” Throughout the next few hours, I prayed that prayer over and over. I felt so stressed I couldn’t get beyond that one sentence.

My husband was on a business trip, so I called the hotel where he said he was staying. The clerk said no one was registered by that name. We were struggling in our marriage, so I wasn’t surprised my husband wasn’t where he said he would be. The tension in our home had been hard on the boys, too. I realized that, but didn’t know what to do about it.

I sat at my dining room table, praying and staring off into space. Finally, about four in the morning, the front door opened, and in walked my firstborn, head down, knife at his side.

He put the knife on the table and said, “I couldn’t do it, Mom. I couldn’t take my own life. God wouldn’t let me.”

I stood up and wrapped my arms around him. I silently prayed, Thank you, Lord.

My husband and I divorced shortly thereafter. I never did figure out where he was that terrible night, but somehow my son had found out his father was cheating on me. So for over a year he carried around that burden, as well as the problems he had at school.

We talked for several hours that scary morning, and it helped us both to realize how important communication is in a family. After that, when my son was struggling with an issue, he would come to me and we would talk. Today, 28 years later, we still share that closeness.

My prayer is that if you are struggling with issues and feeling suicidal that you will find someone to talk to, perhaps a family member, a friend, a teacher, or a pastor. Or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

You can also dial the following National Suicide Prevention Hotline numbers operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services:

1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

1-888-SUICIDE (1-888-784-2433)

1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432) (Spanish).

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.


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If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.


  1. My 20 year old son was very depresses but , he is just like me, very interverted, when it comes to his feelings so this came to a huge suprise when his father my highschool sweetheart called me and said our son was in the emergancy room on a ventilator. That he took a bottle of sleeping pills, that was the worst moment of my life, . Time seemed to stand still, I couldnt breath, my heart was pounding a way I wasnt familiar with, it actually hurt at every beat. Yet I was rushing around to get my self together it seemed as though I wasnt moving, so I stood still and begged god, pleaded, yelled, . And told him you give us what we can handle, please dont take your child from me , im a good mom, im not ready for him to go home.
    Im very intelligent when it comes to medical knowledge, so I knew what the outcomes could be, ..
    I didnt know if he had completely stopped breathing to cause the brain to lack oxygen,. “What did he take. ” as I walk in the ER room his step mom tried to hug me, well I pushed her away.. I have always got along with his dads girlfriends I even set him up with a friend , they dated for 5 years. But this women has done nothing but caused havoc,. Plus I wanted to see my son not her,
    They finnally told me they had him sedated. So he wouldnt pull his tubes out, I found a reciept in his pocket he took over the counter sleeping pills, which is basically benadryl. Yet still dangerous but nothing compared to prescription .
    He is home now, its been a month but everytime he goes out the door I have anxiety, or a panic attack. Its hard he is twenty,. He works,
    And issue is he is unaware I know but his step mom and him are having an inappropriate relationship. And im trying to bring it to the surface cause in our past she caused problems then pretended she had no idea what I was talking about. So I let it go because thats my ex’s wife and his problem, but now she has crossed the line, my son still is or was a virgin, and she has totally corrupted him, that is why he tried to end his life, my husband even caught her trying to meet him at walgreen at 11pm. When she saw my husband walking with my son she sped off. My husband by chance ran into our son. It was a fluke moment. But a good one, .. his dad wouldnt believe me if I told him, but c-mon, what step mom and there 20 step son have 53 text msgs, and in one msg she told him she got new sheets for his bed,. Umm he lives with me. I had an idea this was the issue from the beginnig, but proof, I was lacking., shw was kisding my butt in the hospital, something she never does. Im at a vulnerable state with him, she is a sociopath, .. Does anybody have any ideas on how to bring this out cautiously, . Or what I should do. But it needs to stop, and I hate to hurt my ex but he needs to know. ? This is not a typical affair, not that , that would be ok,. But im sick to my stomach, everyday, I have not so nice thoughts on how to handle her. But im being strong,. Believe me this isnt the first time ive shut my mouth and walked away before kicking her butt . This has to be handled just right. So im open for ideas, or if anybody else has gone through this. Please.. the longer this goes on im afraid it will drive him to try again and succeed.

    • Thinking About Suicide says:

      Dear hurting friend,
      Hello and we want you to know your comment was read and prayed over. Thank you for sharing your heart and hurts. It’s hard to make sense of other people’s actions and motives, especially when you’re living in the middle of it. Even harder when it feels like you’re an outsider. But God honors your prayers. He honors a mother’s heart. The hardest part of all is letting our children be adults – no longer being able to step in and make everything all right for them.

      A possible suggestion that has helped a lot of people in very complicated situations like this is for the concerned person to attend counseling. Keep reading please because it’s so much more than you might think it is. Going to counseling to help change our responses to our loved ones, and even past spouses/spouse’s new relationships, sounds like the opposite thing to do. But it’s often a key element in helping our loved ones overcome entrenched patterns.

      Think about it this way: If we always respond the same way, we enable our loved ones to repeat the same patterns with us. But if we learn to respond in different ways, we create a natural change in the pattern so our loved ones must learn to respond differently. Sometimes the smallest change can create a huge shift. Go one degree in a different direction and you’ll end up in a completely different destination. So by learning new questions, responses, and behaviors ourselves we change the equation for our loved ones. Once they learn to act/react differently with us, it’s highly possible they’ll consider acting differently with others. Kind of like a domino effect.

      The most important concept to capture right now is that no matter how badly we want other adults to behave the way we think they should – they don’t have to do what we want. Release that sense of control to the Lord and let go of the resentment, frustration, and anger over the things you can’t control in other people’s behavior. Focus on learning how to change the relational patterns that you can control through counseling. Work on learning new communication styles and questions that help the other person to think about what they want, not how to avoid parental anger or disappointment.
      If it’s possible that depression or negative thinking patterns might be commonly occurring within your family, you’re not alone. There are so many families that deal with these issues. We live in a fallen world. No one has the “perfect” family, no matter what it looks like on the outside.

      When you focus on learning how to recognize and cope with the behaviors and family dynamics, how to respond to people in your family that exhibit depression or negative thinking, you may be able to model an amazing and life-saving lifestyle that changes your son’s life.

      Please know prayer covers you. Please consider counseling to change relational dynamics that might be able to help you help your son. A counselor trained in suicide prevention is likely also trained in family support around those who have attempted or are in danger of committing suicide.

      May God wrap you in His arms and flow wisdom into your thoughts, words, and actions.

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