So much of what we deal with is influenced by people and circumstances that come long before we’re born, because our stories begin before we’re born.
Thankfully many things are good: like when your parents were set up on a blind date with each other, or how your grandparents modeled a love of God for your mom.
And some things are bad: like when Eve disobeyed God and convinced Adam to join her, or when your mom got hooked on drugs before you were born.
I think suicide is one of those things too.
Now I’ve seen a lot of talk lately about suicide. Either I’m hearing of someone else who’s crossed that line or I’m reading an article about what goes on inside the suicidal person’s mind. Because of this, I didn’t want to write this article now (or ever). I hate band wagons; and this certainly isn’t the band wagon I’d choose for myself.
To be honest, I must admit another reason too. I’m not jumping to put this out there. It’s personal, a little embarrassing, and has the potential to hurt others.
But I haven’t thought of anything else to write for the past several weeks, which usually is God telling me ‘just trust Me.’ I have no idea why, and I don’t know how it could help anyone else, but I know God uses our stories to help others, so I’ll hold onto that.
This part of my story begins with my grandmother. Although I never met her, I feel like I know her. My mom passed a love for her to me through stories.
Mama told me about the fierce love Grandma had for her family and friends, about how she wasn’t afraid to set you straight if you got a little crooked, and about how much she liked a clean house – so much so she scrubbed the floor on her hands and knees.
Her stories held more than a daughter only wanting to remember the good – idolizing the person she lost too soon. Mama told me about the despair Grandma felt that led her to suicide.
Some things Mama didn’t have to tell me, because I could see for myself the heartache that one decision caused. I could see the sadness, guilt, regret, and those things you can’t really articulate and how it all still colors my family today.
I won’t get into any details. I’m sure I don’t know most of them, because Mama always wanted to shield me from that, and that’s not the point anyway.
How Could She?
I had one prevailing thought growing up that I never could voice: how could a mother choose to leave her daughter?
It seemed so selfish to me.
How could she get to the point that taking her own life was the best solution she could see? Did she not suspect that her own daughter could be the one to find her? What was going through her head?
I’ve never gotten answers to most of my unspoken questions, but now I have an understanding I never had as a kid.
What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted? I mean that dream you’ve had since you were a kid. For me that was to have a family of my own.
I dreamed of when I would finally meet ‘the one.’ We’d know immediately we were meant for each other and ride into the sunset hand-in-hand… The classic dream.
I waited, made a mistake or two, and waited some more. I wondered if my dream would ever come true or if I’d be doomed to a spinster life like Paul.
Then I met someone, but he didn’t really seem my type. He was as cocky as any rooster I’d ever seen and seemingly had no desire for God. And then the decision I would regret later: I chose to lay aside the pursuit of my dream for just a little while.
But after we talked for a while, he asked me what I wanted in life, and I told him. He expressed a desire to be that. I couldn’t believe my dream was materializing before my eyes – every girl’s fantasy, that he would change for me.
After a very short time, he asked me to marry him, and it never crossed my mind to say anything but ‘yes.’ As soon as he gave me a ring, I’d start planning a simple wedding, the one we were talking about.
But no ring materialized.
As quickly as everything fell into place, it disappeared. Just like that he was gone, and as the weeks went on, I found more and more ways he’d lied to me – ways that he’d used me.
What meant so much to me became his weapon against me, and he dealt me a killing blow. I retreated into a deep, dark nightmare. Despair became my new reality, and nothing helped, because waiting was never as bad as mourning what I thought I had.
I began thinking about making it all go away. I thought about all the things I’d ever heard about committing suicide, and how to ensure I did it right.
The image of slitting my wrists became all I thought about: It was so enticing. I played the whole scenario in my mind over and over.
When I got to the finish though, when my mind pictured someone finding me, I could only see Mama. She and my dad were the only ones who could possibly find me, and I couldn’t get past that image.
Mama is the strongest person I know, but I knew she couldn’t take losing me like that. Not again.
Over and over the whole scenario played in my mind until finally the certainty came that it wasn’t an option to put Mama through that again.
But I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know how to help myself. I knew I couldn’t be alone, but I couldn’t be around people either. I knew I needed to talk to someone, but the words wouldn’t come.
I had a lot of conversations with God in that time, and looking back now, I can see that I was doing exactly what I needed: pray and wake up each day until finally the world didn’t look so dark.
If the Me Now Could Talk to the Me Then…
This may be getting into corny territory, but somehow it feels necessary. When I was trapped in the dark, all I could hear were my own thoughts and lies. Maybe things would have been a bit easier or the process quicker if I could have seen me now.
I’d say this:
#1: You can’t see it now but there is hope – there’s always hope.
#2: I’m so glad now you didn’t end it then! God’s not finished with you.
#3: You’re focusing on the wrong things. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and you can get through anything.
I’ve learned things as a result of going through that time I never expected to – or wanted. Some I can’t articulate, and some I’m still learning.
I never saw the connection before writing this post how Grandma’s decision and Mama’s stories saved my life, because without either of them, I might not have had the unique view of seeing the aftermath.
I’m living proof that God does bring good out of the darkness.
Extra Resources for You
I pray you read this today and can’t relate, since you’ve never gone through it, but statistically many of you not only relate, you’re going through it now.
I’ve put together a list of resources for you, and I pray you see you’re not alone. There is hope, and God’s not finished with you.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- I Have a Confession: I’m a Christian and I Was Suicidal by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
- What the Bible Says about Suicide: 7 Reminders of Hope by Crosswalk
- Help for the Suicidal by Family Life
- A Prayer for Fighting Suicidal Thoughts by Crosswalk
- Weary Sparrow by HISsparrowBlog