I felt compelled to speak up. The pastor had asked for prayer requests and I was armed with my plea. If any family needed a supporting hand or a familiar face in an all too familiar situation it was that family. I was appealing to my fellow helpless to make a move. Any move. A phone call; a card; any action that might reach across to that family and bring them back into the daily stream; I’m sure I must have repeated myself that Sunday morning.
I couldn’t imagine a family sustaining so much hurt. Our family had experienced the reality of one suicide; literally, one was enough. Yet, this family was experiencing their third suicide within two generations – I was struck dumb. No words on any paper had yet described the feelings or alleviated the sense of wonderment; the never-ending, unresolved questions that lingered long after the act.
And while I was still struggling daily to grasp the message from my sibling’s death, I alternately slid from one hand’s reasoning — that his mental illness had affected his action – to the other hand’s logic — that a selfish streak in his personality had claimed the final victory. I had gained no insight from my four year’s pondering.
Three decades later, I have become more pragmatic. Yes, I still wince when I hear of a family’s experiencing a loved one’s suicide. I have been left behind twice now; once by a sibling and once by a very special friend. Having twice muddled through such numbing losses, I have culled from my grief a fickle sense of peace, restless and often at odds with my pragmatic side…