The Club No One Wants to Join (Child Suicide Loss)

Karen Kosman:

This story is an excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors, used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

Nancy Palmer on child suicide loss, her adult son’s depression and suicide, and how God helps her cope:

 

Image by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  I belong to a club no one wants to join. Its membership is too costly—the death of a child.

I closed my journal after writing these words. My mind reflected once more on that day my life changed forever.

My 30-year-old son, Jason, had been living with us for several months. We’d had an argument. I knew he suffered from depression. Finally, I had confronted him and pleaded. “Jason, no one loves you as much as I do. Please get help!”

“I don’t need help! I’m outta here!” he shouted as he stomped off to his room to pack.

Jason had become skillful at hiding his inner turmoil from friends and family, but I knew all the signs of Jason’s depression. He had struggled on and off most of his life. The intensity of his emotional state this time frightened me. No matter how much my husband, Bill, our sons Bill and Geoffrey, and I cared; we could not control Jason’s choices. He needed professional help, and he had to be the one willing to seek it.

A Christian psychologist had provided me with a list of therapists that Jason could see, but he refused. Jason was separated from his son, and his son’s mother. She didn’t know how to deal with Jason’s depression and had left him. Jason’s 3 -year-old, autistic son certainly needed his daddy. I hoped and prayed that his son would be the reason Jason might change his mind and seek help.

Wandering into Jason’s room after he left, I felt shocked to find his most cherished belongings—items he’d never left behind before. I tried to convince myself that he’d be back, that he’d announce, “Mom, I am ready to seek help.”

The insistent ringing of the doorbell finally broke through my resolve not to answer the door. A chill ran down my spine as I faced a man I did not know. Suddenly, my eyes fell on Jason’s driver’s license attached to the stranger’s clipboard. My heart sank, and I knew even before he asked the question, “Mrs. Palmer, do you know a Jason Palmer?”

“Yes, he’s my son.”

“We have some bad news. May we come in to speak with you?”

Inside my mind agonized. Noooo! Just go away!

With no way of erasing the dreaded news, I invited the man and his female companion inside.

“This morning a woman heard a noise. When she investigated, she found Jason’s body in a park. He shot himself.”

I went into shock and felt strangely detached. I heard a hysterical woman crying, “Not my baby, not my son. Oh, Jason, Why? Why would you leave loved ones? Why would you leave your son?”

Suddenly I realized the hysterical woman was me. Reality hit. Jason would not be coming home.

Today I still don’t have an answer to my question, “Why?” Yet I have found a renewal of hope by volunteering for a ministry on suicide prevention. This gives me a reason to keep going. I work with the knowledge that we cannot stop all suicides, but saving just one life is worth the effort. I speak whenever I can to tell young people about mental illness and that it’s OK to ask for help.

Am I still grieving?

Absolutely! Some days I wonder how I can go on. I miss Jason so much.

Yet God walks with me in my grief. My family and friends work with me in an untied effort to reach out and help others. And although none of us has found an answer to our “Why?”— we see God making a difference.

Have you suffered a similar loss? Find more articles here on Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. You also might be helped by visiting this site: Love Truth: Hope After Suicide.

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About ThinkingAboutSuicide.com

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).
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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.
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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.

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