Suicide Loss Book Translated into Polish (Too Soon to Say Goodbye)

News from our blog writers: the book  Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide by Susan Titus Osborn, Karen L. Kosman, and  Jeenie Gordon has been translated into Polish, and  has also been featured in a Polish magazine.

Too-Soon-to-Say-Goodbye-190x300

Here is Susan’s Q&A with the editor of the Polish magazine, in English:

Questions on the topic of suicide: (Pytania do tematu: SAMOBÓJSTWO)

How does the Christianity approach the issue/topic of suicide? (Wjaki sposób chrześcijaństwo podchodzi do tematu samobójstwa?)

Already in this new century there have been more than 5 million suicide deaths worldwide. Each year approximately one million people in the world die by suicide. This toll is higher than the total number of world deaths each year from war and homicide combined. Suicide is an important public health problem in many countries, and is a leading cause of death amongst teenagers and young adults.  In addition, it is estimated that there are from 10-20 times as many suicide attempts as suicide deaths.

Sadly, suicide seems to carry a stigma with it.  Often people don’t know what to say to someone who seems depressed, and in the aftermath of a suicide they often don’t know how to comfort and help those left behind. However, as Christians it is important to try to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

A terrible misconception is that those who take their own lives will go to hell. There is no biblical basis for this wrong idea, and those who are left behind need to be made aware of this.

Does the Christian community pressure people who struggle with suicide thoughts?  (Czy chrześcijańska społeczność wywiera presję na osoby zmagające się z myślami samobójczymi?)

No, they try to get at the root of the problem and see what is causing the person to be suicidal. The individual may be depressed, may have a chemical imbalance, or may not be able to handle certain problems or circumstances.  Often professional help is needed to help the person, and those close to them should make sure they seek this help and follow through.

Why do people try to take off their lives? What pushes them to it? (Dlaczego ludzie targają się na swoje życie? Co ich do tego popycha?)

It is said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Often the decision to take one’s own life is a momentary, emotional decision made in a split second.  It may be fueled by circumstances such as the loss of a job, a divorce, or serious health issues.

What should we do when someone is trying to take the life off himself? (Co robić gdy członek rodziny próbuje targać się na swoje życie?)

First, if someone you know appears to be depressed and is contemplating suicide, take that person seriously. Listen to what they say. Take the initiative to ask that person what they are planning, but don’t argue with them. Rather, let the person know that you are listening, you care, and you want to understand them.

Encourage a suicidal or depressed person to seek the help of a mental health professional. Because the person feel so hopeless that they may not think it’s possible to be helped, you’ll probably have to be persistent and go with that person.

If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave them alone! Remove any weapons or drugs within their reach.  Also suggest that they seek the help of a pastor, a professional counselor, or a psychologist. [Are there hotlines in Poland they can call?]

During treatment, be supportive. Help the person remember to take antidepressants or other prescribed medications and to continue any other therapy that’s been prescribed.

Does compassion takes a big role In the process of healing the depression or bipolar disorder? (Czy współczucie odgrywa ważną rolę w procesie leczenia depresji lub choroby dwubiegunowej?)

The best solution is a combination of compassion and professional help that may require medication.  Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.

People who reach out to those who are hurting are “God’s angels on earth with skin on.”  Sadly, many people with bipolar disorder and clinical depression take their own lives.  Those who are suicidal need to be under the care of a physician or psychiatrist to obtain the proper medicines that can help them.

What is the difference between the professional secular and Christian help (regarding suicide and depression? (Jaka jest różnica między profesjonalną pomocą świecką a chrześcijańską?)

Both Christian and secular professionals can listen and give excellent advice. If they are medical doctors, they can prescribe medication that can help. However, only Christian professionals can offer the hope that Christ brings.  They can suggest the person pray the following prayer:  Jesus, I’m hurting and want to have a personal relationship with You. I ask that You forgive me for all my sin and cleanse me. Please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. I give You control and ask You to guide and protect me through the difficult days ahead. Please bestow on me the peace that only You can give. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

What are the crimson tears? (Co to są szkarłatne łzy?) p. 148 in English;   174 in Polish

“The crimson tears” represent a teenager’s struggle with depression, pain, and addiction to a point where she was suicidal and cutting herself.  A story in the book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye, tells Kallie’s story of ending up in a mental hospital at age 15 after attempting to take her life.  God healed her in that hospital, and now her desire is to help other teens who are suffering from addictions and depression.  In her words, she wants them to “receive restoration—the crimson tears can stop—but only with the love and the life that Christ provides.”

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old in the US. Among young people aged 10-14 years, the rate has doubled in the last two decades.

How does the environment react to depression? (Jak otoczenie reaguje na depresję?)

Depression is often misunderstood by society, and the public’s reaction hurts the person who is depressed more than helping them.  People say things like, “You’ll get over it in time,” or ‘Just get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be fine.” However, clinical depression cannot so easily be dismissed. Those who are suffering need profession help and often medication to recover.

Is the depression caused by demons? (Czy depresję wywołują demony?)

As in the case of Kallie’s story, as well as many other stories in Too Soon to Say Goodbye, demons can seem real to people suffering from clinical depression.  However, experts say the demons are more likely caused by a psychological disorder than by Satan. Nevertheless, it is important we never underestimate the power of Satan!  Kallie literally heard voices in her head tearing her down and encouraging her to take pills and cut herself.  Then one day she heard a calmer voice, asking her to turn to God. She cried out, “O God, I need help so desperately. Please, transform me…. Please, God, I just want to feel alive.”

Can just the prayer help in depression? (Czy sama modlitwa potrafi pomóc w depresji?)

Prayer is a wonderful place to start. When we turn to God, He listens. However he also speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, and He reaches us through other Christians, who may be family members, friends, pastors, professional counselors, or medical doctors.  Once again in Kallie’s words, “God furnishes something tremendous. He is able to resuscitate broken souls and create wholeness. His love is not a temporary high but resides permanently inside you.”

My prayer is that all the Kallies of the world can find hope, peace, and a will to live through developing a personal relationship with God.

Publisher’s Note and Warning:  We believe people who trust in God, through Jesus will go to heaven when they die.  If you are wondering if you know how to trust God in this way, please take our test at www.GodTest.com.  If you are suicidal, we advise you to give God a chance to help you through your pain, by trusting even your pain to him.

For more help, please see our articles:

Will I Go to Hell if I Commit Suicide  http://thinkingaboutsuicide.com/will-i-go-to-hell-if-i-commit-suicide/

Our Posts for the Depressed and Suicidal  http://thinkingaboutsuicide.com/our-posts-for-the-depressed-and-suicidal/

With this suicide loss book translated into Polish we hope healing and help is found. Our prayers go out to those now reading this helpful book in Polish.

Forgiveness for Someone Who Died by Suicide

By Jeenie Gordon:

Image by mercucio2

Image by mercucio2

Forgiveness – an oft painfulword. One to which we do like to succumb. It seems to rob us of ourselves and we try to push it in the back of our minds.

Yet, in scripture, God has commanded (not suggested) that we forgive. I wonder whether it’s because in His infinite wisdom, He knows it will bring the freedom for which we seek.

When a loved one is gone by his/her own hand, there is a need to forgive. I see four stages in this process:

Stage One.  Admission of pain. Often, around others, we pretend that the pain isn’t all that bad. We say we’re doing well. Admitting the enormity of the anguish to oneself and to others whom we trust is vital.

Stage Two. Anger. We have a reason to be angry. Although anger is a valid emotion, it can be either constructive or destructive. A passive person may internalize fury and pretend it is not there. Another person may explode on everyone around them and about everything. Both ways are unhealthy. It is important to acknowledge and deal with our anger – but we must not get stuck in it.

Stage Three. Confrontation. Even though the loved one is no longer living, there is a need to confront. A healthy way is to write an honest letter, telling the person about our anger and the pain we feel over what he or she has chosen to do.

We must also forgive ourselves. No one is perfect and everyone could have done better. We cannot blame ourselves for a suicide. Forgiving ourselves is a must for our eventual healing.

Stage Four. Forgiveness. The journey toward forgiveness is long and difficult, but the road must be traveled. It is the pathway toward wholeness. Eventually, we must forgive the suicide or attempted suicide. 

Forgiveness liberates us.

This excerpt was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victimsand Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers. Jeenie Gordon is a co-author of the book and a licensed marriage and family therapist.

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.

New Normal: New Hope After Trials

By Jeenie Gordon:

This excerpt, written by Jeenie Gordon (licensed marriage and family therapist) was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers.

Once you have gone through this gut-wrenching painful cycle, you will establish a ‘new normal.’ You will again feel hope.
Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As a therapist, I often tell my clients about the concept of “old normal versus new normal.”

Life has been going on in a normal manner – ups and downs, little annoyances, and joys – the usual stuff. Then disaster strikes and throws us smack dab in the middle of agonizing pain. During the time of mourning, we feel abnormal. Nothing makes sense, we don’t care about life. Nothing brings joy. Grief has us in a vise grip, with unyielding heavy chains surrounding our hearts and minds.

I have told many clients:

“If you weren’t feeling abnormal during this tragedy, then I’d worry about you. This is normal for what is currently happening in your life.

“Once you have gone through this gut-wrenching painful cycle, you will establish a ‘new normal.’ You will again feel hope, be able to laugh, and enjoy life. The old normal is gone forever, but a new one will replace it.

“A word of caution: There will always be residual pain the rest of your life. However, it will no longer control and suffocate you. Emotional health can and will be achieved and you will be able to deal with the residual hurt.”

God certainly has a purpose for us and for all the things that happen in our lives. However, we may never fully understand what those purposes are while we’re on earth. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to know, but we are probably incapable of understanding because of our limited, finite minds.

Consider a two-year-old who sticks a fork into an electrical outlet. The parent grabs it away, yet does not try to explain to the toddler the dangers of electricity. At that age he could not grasp the concept.

Perhaps God withholds the reason trauma has occurred in our lives, not because He wants to hide something from us, but because our minds are unable to comprehend. Someday, when we see Him in His majesty and glory, we will fully understand.

A Mother’s Grief: Coping with Death by Suicide of a Daughter

By Jeenie Gordon:

Coping with death by suicide of your own child is a grief incredibly difficult for any mother to bear. Here’s how one mother, Mary copes.

 

This article is an excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide, used by permission from New Hope Publishers. Jeenie Gordon, contributing author to that book (and many others)  is a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Mary has found that one way of coping with her daughter’s death has been to write about it.[Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net] 

One Sunday after coming home from church, I listened to my voice mail from my close friend, Mary, of twenty-five years.

“Jeenie,” sobbed Mary, “Paulette took her own life.”

Here are Mary’s words.  “Five months ago my eldest daughter, Paulette, took her own life. She had attempted this several times in the last twelve years but this time she accomplished her goal.

“It began when she was diagnosed with a mental illness (schizoid affective disorder). She was hospitalized many times during those years. Medications were adjusted and new ones introduced. One negative side effect of these psychotropic drugs was weight gain. During treatment she gained more than 125 pounds, which contributed to her depression.

“There were times in her life when the medications seemed to work and she’d feel better. I treasure the memories of those moments. We went shopping together and stopped at our favorite coffee shop. I know she felt my love as we sat and talked. I kissed the top of her head and said, “Paulette, I love you.”

“I also find peace in knowing that in fifth grade Paulette accepted Christ as her Savior. During her long illness, her faith brought her through many trying times.

“Shortly after my daughter’s death, thoughts of her constantly filled my mind. Several times I asked myself, “Do you believe that Christ died for you? Yes. “Do you believe in eternal life?” Yes. “Do you believe Paulette is safe in the arms of our Lord?” Of course I do. These conversations with myself gave me solace. Many times, I could almost hear her say, “Mom, I’m O.K. Enjoy your life.”

“Several things have comforted me during with their lives has helped. As one of my friends, whose son died from suicide said, “You get through it, but you never get over it.” Another friend wrote, “No more dark days for Paulette, only happy days with Jesus.”

“Every few days after she died, God seemed to give me insight into her death.

“I am comforted as I look at the pictures of Paulette – pictures of happy times. My favorite is one taken a year ago when she visited us in Oregon. Barefooted and holding a soda, she had a beautiful serene look on her face as she sat among other family members. As I look at this picture, I kiss it and whisper, I love you, Paulette.

 “Not everyone grieves the same way. I have never been embarrassed in front of others if the tears fall. They are tears of love for my sweet daughter.

“Those same memories give me courage to move on with my life. I have set some new goals in my life. Ten years ago I wrote a book. Paulette was the only one who read it in its entirety. I have started a writers group where I live and now am working on the rewrite of that book. This has kept me focused and I can almost hear Paulette saying, “Go for it, Mom.”

At Paulette’s memorial service, Mary requested that I read a special rendition of Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd – that’s relationship.

I shall not want – that’s supply.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures – that’s rest

He leadeth me beside the still waters – that’s refreshment.

He restoreth my soul – that’s healing.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness – that’s guidance.

For His name’s sake – that’s purpose.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – that’s testing.

I will fear no evil – that’s protection.

For Thou art with me – that’s faithfulness.

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me – that’s discipline.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – that’s hope.

Thou anointest my head with oil – that’s consecration.

My cup runneth over – that’s abundance.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life – that’s blessing.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord – that’s security.

Forever – that’s eternity.

                                                                                         –  Anonymous

Coping with death by suicide of a loved one will be different for everyone, including every mother who loses a child this way.  In addition to the Bible, one helpful handbook to walk through the grieving process is SOS, a handbook for family members who have lost loved ones.  You can find that on our Helpful Resources page and download to read. It does address mental illness, and how difficult it can sometimes be to understand the thought processes of those who take their lives. It also addresses struggles unique to parents.

Life Saver

By Jeenie Gordon:

This excerpt was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers and author Jeenie Gordon, licensed marriage and family therapist.

 


Life ring Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Never will I forget the day Anthony stumbled into my high school counseling office. Slamming the door until the windows were shaken, he collapsed in the chair beside my desk. Desperately he pounded his fists on my desk, cursing and yelling. All the while, tears splashed down his shirt.

Silently I waited.

Slowly he began to open up. His parents had split up, just before his high school graduation. What should have been the most exciting day of his life, he anticipated with gut-wrenching pain.

For two hours we talked.

As he was leaving, he commented, “I want you to know, Mrs. Gordon, that as I passed by your office window at lunchtime. I knew I had to talk to you. Actually, I was on my way home to blow out my brains.”

Three years later, with a bright smile on his face, Antony once again stood in my doorway. “Hey there, you remember me?”

I smiled and nodded.

In tow was an adorable, blond, blue-eyed two-year-old girl. Sitting on his knee, he stated.
“This is my little daughter. I’m now married and an electrician’s apprentice. Life is good.”

We had a long chat, catching up on his life, one saved from the death grip of suicide. He gave me a hug as they left.

With tears glistening in my eyes, I thought, if I had not been there for him, he would have missed all this. Thank you, heavenly Father, for using me.

A life was saved.

Many of us could actually be a life saver without our knowledge. We always have enough time to listen to a distraught person. Often it has nothing to do with our ability to guide, direct, or supply the right answers. It is just a listening heart – one attune to the pain of others and the willingness to take a few minutes to care.

Anthony told me he had planned to take his life, but often we do not have that information. But when we allow God to use us as encouragers, who knows, we may be a life saver.

Resource: Too Soon to Say Goodbye (Osborn, Kosman and Gordon: New Hope Publishers)

Posted by Laurie Winslow Sargent:

 

I’d like to call attention today to the book Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide.

The authors, Susan Titus Osborn, Karen L. Kosman, and Jeenie Gordon (with New Hope Publishers) have graciously allowed us to post excerpts from this book, here on our suicide prevention blog.

Here’s the book description from Amazon.com:

Written by three women all uniquely affected by suicide, this compassionate perspective offers renewal of courage and faith for those grieving this tragic loss of a loved one. Grounded in Scripture and illustrated by true stories, Too Soon to Say Goodbye shows the magnitude of God’s love in times of heartbreak and offers tested wisdom for allowing Him to heal the pain. Additional insights shed light on depressive illnesses; and for those considering suicide, the authors offer encouragement to choose life over death.

Here are links to some of the excerpts we have posted so far. We hope they will encourage you and your loved ones.

Help Others Mourn Loss of a Loved One by Jeenie Gordon

Face of Death: Suicide in Youth, Dying Too Soon by Susan Titus Osborn

For Those Considering Suicide by Susan Titus Osborn

A Suicidal Man in God’s Emergency Room by Karen Kosman

Comfort for Grieving Counselors and Parents: You Came! by Jeenie Gordon

Release from Shame and Thoughts of Suicideby Karen Kosman

Deeply Depressed by Jeenie Gordon

[NOTE: The Kindle edition (also can be read as Kindle for PC) of Too Soon to Say Goodbye, this month, is being offered at a discount to readers.]

Help Others Mourn Loss of a Loved One

By Jeenie Gordon:

Mourning the loss of a loved one: how long does it go on? How can we help someone who is grieving?

 

Mourning  can be an especially painful, long process for those who have lost someone to suicide.

 


Image: Salvatore Vuono/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Two years seems to be a typical time of intense sorrow and numbness for those who have experienced the loss of 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.

I’ve 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).

If  you, a friend, or family member has experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide, grief is often complicated: see our article Guilt in Survivors after Suicide of a Loved One.

This excerpt by Jeenie Gordon ( licensed marriage and family therapist) was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers.

Suicide Prevention in the Midst of an Attempt

By Jeenie Gordon:

Many times there can be suicide prevention. Often people are so desperate that in a moment of insanity they choose to get out of their enormous emotional pain by an act which can be non-reversible. Even at the time of despair when the act has been taken, they wish they could turn back the clock. In those seconds, some are able to reach out in desperation for help.

One Saturday, a client, who had received my private number through a speaking brochure telephoned my home. My heart pounded as she softly slurred out her words, “Jeenie, I took a bottle of meds.”

I questioned what they were, but she didn’t know. Since I was not in my office, I did not remember the medication she was taking, nor her address. Over and over I asked, “Tell me your address.” Hesitantly she finally mumbled it.

Dialing 911 I was able to give her location. “We’re on the way,” the paramedics assured me. Later, I was able to locate her husband.

Immediately after, I called her psychiatrist on his emergency cell phone. He remembered what medication she was taking and stated “An overdose can kill her.”

After making the calls, my heart was nearly pounding out of my chest. I earnestly prayed, “Dear God, get them to her in time. Save her life.”

The next week she came in for a therapy session to continue dealing with her underlying issues. “I didn’t really want to die, Jeenie. That’s why I called you.”

I knew God had led my client to reach out to me in her time of desperation for suicide prevention. We continued in therapy for another year, and I saw great improvement and emotional health emerge. The suicidal thinking ceased.

Sometimes a suicidal person has time and the mental ability to call for help. In my experience, it is most often after pills have been ingested. In that short window of time, help can come if called immediately.

In the case of my client, I needed to speak with the psychiatrist to determine the medication so I could inform the paramedics in order for them to administer the proper treatment.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a solvable problem and is never the answer or way out. Families and friends are left in deep despair for the remainder of their lives, often wondering what they did wrong and trying to make sense of the tragedy, when there is none.

Never take lightly a call for help. Take immediate action and you, too, may help save a life.

In a crisis, contact: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free crisis hotline funded by the federal government that will direct callers to a nearby crisis center. The Lifeline will accept calls from non-English speakers.

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Deeply Depressed

By Jeenie Gordon:

Families often deal with a deeply depressed member for years, which takes an enormous toll.  Fear and anxiety become a familiar part of life. As grief recovery ensues, and reality begins to take effect, people eventually realize there was nothing more they could have done. They cannot force a person to seek medical help or take medication. They cannot prevent suicide.

Let me share with you the following story about a pastor.

He was a respected leader in his denomination – a wise and godly man. Young men sought his counsel when they believed God had called them into ministry. “What are the pitfalls? How will I know for certain God has put His hand on my life? Where will I go for training?” were some of the questions he fielded. Beginning pastors asked his advice, as did seasoned men of God.

Yet, something went wrong. He became deeply depressed and lived in a black hole from which he could find no exit. Not willing to seek medical help, he and his wife struggled for years. His wife did not want to interfere by seeking help or even mentioning it to their family and closest friends. They both suffered in silence.

One cloudy day, he drove onto a long expansion bridge over a Pacific Ocean harbor, stopped his car in the middle, stepped out, and jumped.

Many pastors in his denomination believed suicide meant eternal damnation, but at his funeral, they began to realize this was an act of a godly man who was deeply depressed,  and in a moment of insanity, made an instant and final decision.

His dear wife breathed a sigh of relief because the days of deep emotional pain had ended. Yet, guilt haunted her.

I’ve explained to grieving clients that guilt almost always follows death, whether suicide or natural death. We have the irrational sense that somehow we could have prevented the death – that we didn’t do enough. The “what ifs” and “if onlys” become our nagging companions. Emotional health comes when, in time, we are able to accept God’s gift of relief – without guilt.

Often members of the family need to be in grief counseling with a Christian therapist, as well as join a grief support group to help in the recovery process.

 – – -

Jeenie Gordon is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, and author of ten books. This excerpt was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers.