In support of suicide prevention, I'm sharing my heart again...💕
When it comes to putting my heart on paper, I am intentional in posting positive messages, but this one is quite different. This is so out of the ordinary for me. Not that it won’t include a positive spin, but this message goes beyond my comfort level...until now. The reason for posting is twofold. First, I want to share an experience, one of which many are unaware. It needs to be written and read, for I know there are others who need this. And second, I want to send a strong message from the voice of a friend, a mother, a teacher, one who has been relatively quiet about personal challenges and why addressing them now can be healing, especially today, this day: September 10, 2020 ~Suicide Prevention Day.
So let me begin here. While at my brother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving a few years ago, our middle daughter, Delani, called her dad from our home in Shipman. She was completely distraught, unable to be sensible in her communication. She said those magic words, basically “I’m tired of this life; it's not worth living.” Upon realizing she overdosed on something, Scott immediately called 911 and traveled back from Columbia to meet the ambulance at the hospital. I stayed with our youngest daughter, as she was unaware of the unfolding events. I was unsure who responded to our home but later found out the names. Do I ever appreciate our Shipman Volunteer Fire Department. I can’t begin to communicate my gratitude! They left their family on Thanksgiving to help mine. That's selfless service. 💖
Delani was transported to Jersey Community Hospital where she was admitted, evaluated, and what followed were several tests to determine treatment. Her liver enzyme levels were high and she was being monitored in Intensive Care. She participated in a lot of reflection, received visits from some special friends, and after several days was released, quite the blessing. The ICU staff at Jersey Community Hospital was incredible as well. I remain so very grateful. 💖
Why would a young, beautiful girl with a bright future ahead of her decide life isn't worth living? Well, Friends, that remains the big question!
Why? Why? Why? How many times have I asked myself that very question over the years?
I find myself reflecting on my own tragic experience from years gone by, a sad circumstance about which I rarely talk, but it’s necessary no longer to stay silent, for others need to know.
Nearly 25 years ago, my boyfriend and I discussed our future together, which didn’t look promising for a number of reasons. The specific details do not matter and I’m not sure I can remember them anyway, as so much remains a blur. What does matter and what I clearly remember are the grief, struggle, and guilt that followed his actions. After our talk, he drove to our home, wrote out a letter to his parents and me, set up a shrine of pictures in our living room, and then shot himself.
The big question remains unanswered...WHY? His actions have haunted me - even to this day! His family that was once mine never spoke to me or Shayelle again, even though we were family for two years-plus. It was as if we never existed.
The act of suicide is costly to so many. Some describe it as an act of selfishness. I don’t see it that way. Fact is, those who engage in this act are experiencing indescribable despair. They know of no other way to relieve their own pain. They do not plan out the extreme hurt they will cause others. It just doesn’t work that way. I know this...now.
I have asked myself several times, as I reflected on Delani's actions that day: What kind of a mother am I? I worried what others might think of me, especially after they come to realize we don’t have the perfect life. Could I have done more, parented differently? All these questions filled my head. I also think about my former student, Briley. I had seen him at the high school musical. He looked great, seemed to be doing amazingly well. He was laughing and cracking a few jokes. He smiled and said it was good to see you. Oh, if I could only go back. What happened? What if I had reached out? What if I had done more?
So many questions...
Fact is, I’m sure I could’ve done many things differently but the past is the past and living in the past is not healthy - and it's not my way. This reality in front of me is the one I have chosen to live. How I approach THE NOW is what matters. What I've learned along the way is this: Addressing others with love and compassion is what's truly important to me. I love my daughters and will support and love each of them for who they are and what they bring to this life. My family too. I also remain a big fan of kids, and adults. I want every person to know that he or she adds value to other's lives and when life gets seemingly too tough, I pray each one knows to turn to a loved one. Talk to someone. I’m here as well. I'm available! Just a phone call or a trip to the country away.
God has blessed me so, gifting me with a heart that is truly moved by supporting others. I’m uninterested in engaging in people talk unless it centers around the good or what I can do to help another! I have my own challenges, remain imperfect, and know life is hard. So, if you need me, call me. No judgment, no shame, no guilt, and all in confidence. If you are willing to offer the same, please stand up and speak out! One statement: I'm here for you! 💕
I remain thankful- so very thankful - for those who’ve offered to lend a hand or communicated a kind word during my own trying times. I learned a long time ago: People matter. Kindness counts. Love wins. 💖
#suicideawareness #peoplematter #kindnesscounts #lovewins