Since my son died just over 15 years ago I have made it my life work to do as much as I possibly can to educate myself and others about suicide, suicide prevention and support for those bereaved by suicide. I have always said that just knowing the work I do has saved one persons life or one mother from the grief I have known would make it all worth while. Today was one of those of days.
This is the message I received today from one of the peer support workers I trained last spring.
I need to thank you for sharing everything you did when you trained us earlier this year. From all your support and training and genuine caring, I handled my first attempted suicide call yesterday. I was able to keep the person on the phone with me 25 minutes until I could get the police and paramedics there where they then took him to the hospital to be treated for an overdose. It’s people like yourself that have shared experiences, caring and heartfelt love for what you do that have given me strength to work in a field that I was not sure I could handle at first. I just wanted to thank you for being you and to please know how many people you touch and inspire on a daily basis. You really inspired me and I thank you.”
And so I blubbered in my coffee a little at 6 a.m. when I was still trying to wake up and I smiled a little and said, “Thank you Lord.”
I am always aware there is not enough being done to prevent suicide. It is still a taboo sort of subject in many circles and many people have already stopped reading this blog because they are uncomfortable with the subject.
I get it. I’m uncomfortable with it too. In my life it has taken my child and my best friend along with many other people I have known and worked with. It is a hurtful and difficult subject and no one really wants to face the consequences of it.
I also know most people don’t really want to die. The problem is they just don’t how to cope with living. The things they face have become too big to handle and too overwhelming to deal with. There doesn’t seem to be any way out or through and in a strange turn of thought they become convinced the world would be better without them.
It is a dark and impossible place to be and the only hope for life is finding people who care enough to listen long enough to the hopelessness until the person is finally able to rediscover their own hope.
I know I speak of this often but until I don’t hear any more reports about a young person who took their own life I will continue to mention it whenever it seems appropriate.
Just so you know, statistically, the rates of suicide during the holiday season are relatively low. It might be a good time of the year to reach out to people so they can carry the hope of the season into January when once again the rates begin to rise.
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