Suicide. . . Grief, Healing, and Hope

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. I have an all too intimate knowledge and experience with suicide. It has left behind an ugly trauma that rears a hideous head from time to time, attempting to erase life and suck away joy. As a therapeutic exercise for myself, I wrote the bulk of the post you read today on Thanksgiving 2020. That day marked 13 years since my son made a dreadful decision to end his life.

Recently, a dear loved one sustained life-altering injuries when struck by a truck as she bicycled home from work. Four days later a cousin died, minutes after arriving at the hospital with Covid-19. These events have caused a resurfacing of grief and trauma responses in me. Thus, the return visit to my Thanksgiving Day writing.

HELP
First, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, people who care and want to help you are available. In the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline day or night at 1-800-273-8255 and talk with someone who understands. Get online support at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or to learn more. For helplines in other countries click here.

Suicide is a terminal choice of hopelessness. Those that end their life by completing suicide are unaware of the tragic ripples they set into motion. An implosion of shock stuns family, friends, co-workers, and others into immeasurable pain. A forever altered life seeps into the pain of the survivors who are left behind. It’s not our choice but a reality we are forced to enter.

Sleep Struggles
The horror of waking to another day with life marching on all around, while my feet were encased in the quicksand of grief. I really didn’t know if I would or could survive another day. I wanted to scream at innocent people going about their life, “This can’t be!! You cannot be living as if nothing has happened—stop the pain is too great!”

Nightmares and dreams stole much-needed rest. This caused an involuntary fear or avoidance of sleep oddly, intertwined with the desire for eternal sleep. Hoping against all hope that maybe, just maybe I would wake up from slumber to find this new reality was only a figment of the mind in the most hellish nightmare ever. (Psalm 22:1-2)

Agonizing Questions
I went through periods of accusatory thoughts and mind tormenting questions. They circled like a wake of vultures ready to pluck away the raw wounded parts of my psyche. What if. . .? Why. . .? I should have. . .? If only. . .? Essentially pointless questions that will remain unanswered.

Sacred Rumination
I was compelled by a desire to cling to my son by touching what he touched, reading what he read or wrote, trying to make sense of what does not make sense. I spent hours in reflection, going back in time via photos, videos, and stories to mentally relive a time when he was still here.

Not Again
During the same month, six years later my husband made the same irreversible decision. This led me into anger and questioning God (Psalm 28:1-2). I felt alienated, a bit shunned, by society. I was “that” woman, the one nobody wanted to be around or talk to because of their own discomfort. If they were to get too close maybe they would hurt too.

Healing Comes
Eventually scarring in the heart began—the knowing, the resigning to the new normal. The post-traumatic survival behaviors began to wire themselves into my system whether I wanted it or not. Then came a day when I smiled or laughed, causing juxtaposed emotions of feeling good or normal for a brief moment and guilt about the sentiment.

Scarring and healing will come when we lean into our Maker and Redeemer. Our emotions can heal just like our physical bodies can. It’s not a perfect metaphor but our bodies heal with proper treatment, time, and attention and so can our emotions. If we break a bone, our body heals again with medical treatment or corrective surgery, time, and aftercare attention to the injury, be that restrictive use, rest, or therapy. In the best circumstances, returning to the previous state but in some instances, there may be lingering after-effect. A person may be left with some residual pain, loss of motion, and a scar.

Hope
In my experience, I can attest to residual pain following healing grief. The loss of motion or something like a limp can be equated to the altered state of life. I’ve learned to view my scars as a gift from my Lord. I wrote about that in Beautiful Scars. God knows unimaginable pain. While grieving my son, I was comforted by the fact my Heavenly Father’s son died too. He knows my pain. I had a choice to make. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew in order to survive, I needed to trust the One who knows my pain even when I didn’t understand.

Today is a good day! A day to count blessings.

“Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard the sound of my pleading. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song” (Psalm 28:6-7, CSB).

Prayer
Dear Father God, I thank you for the continuous healing you offer to all through Jesus. Lord, I pray for any who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. Send your Holy Spirit to their rescue, squelch that thought and plan of desperation. Open their eyes to see You. Give them the strength to reach out for help. Surround that person with loving, caring people.

Make us like You. Teach us to see others through Your eyes and hear others with Your ears through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Your love and grace flow through us. In the strong name of Jesus. Amen.


About Manette

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About section if you want to read more of my story.


Copyright © 2020-2021 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.

Image of hands by Lisa Runnels from Pixabay.

Published by musingsofmanettekay

Sharing bits of memoir in the format of devotionals, prayers and short stories.

22 thoughts on “Suicide. . . Grief, Healing, and Hope

    1. Yes indeed. God’s promise to the Israelites in the OT reveal His character and still holds true today. He will not leave us nor abandon us. I’m so grateful for that!

      There may be times we “feel” like he has vanished and left us in the dust but as we learn to still our heart and cry out to Adonai, our eyes will be opened to see He was there all the time.

      “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1, CSB).

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I cannot imagine what you have been through! I have lost 2 friends through suicide so can understand a little of what you may have felt, thank you that you are reaching out and speaking about this! God bless you and keep you safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Manette, This is a powerful post. Thank you for sharing it. I truly believe that Scripture is true when it says that we comfort those with the comfort we ourselves have been comforted with. It’s like a domino effect. Your victory over negative memories are something to rejoice in.I rejoice with you! For sure, the accusations that come to us from the enemy of our soul are hard to fight. In many cases it takes the power of God to handle them. God bless you!
    (Love all your writings!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary, thank you for your encouragement and rejoicing. I say, “Amen!” to the truth you referred to about comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

      In regards to your statement, “In many cases it takes the power of God to handle them.” I think in ALL cases it takes the power of God to defeat the enemy and silence his accusatory lies. If I rely on my own strength or means, I will gain a temporal victory at best but more likely further enemy entrenchment of the mind.

      Please note, I am not attacking the content of your comment, rather clarifying what I believe you intended. May you have a blessed day.

      Like

  3. Tragically, our society is plunging headlong into the devaluation of human life (although don’t you dare hurt an endangered frog!!). Euthanasia is becoming more widely accepted with some nations even passing laws to protect those who assist in the process. But God is the author of Life; only the devil comes to kill and destroy.
    http://matthewsleethmd.com/books/hope-always/ has a book, “Hope Always” that addresses this very profoundly, and his site has a couple pages called the Tool Kit PDF that has 12 ways to help someone from considering suicide.
    For yourself, Manette, may I recommend Lysa TerKeurst book, “Forgiving What You Can’t Forget”?

    love and prayers,
    c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. C.A., thank you for your contibution to this topic of where the current trend leads. I agree, I’m sickened by the ever rising idolization of animal lives versus devaluing human lives–God have mercy on us.

      I read Matthew Sleeth’s book Hope Always. I learned of it through a review that I believe you posted. It is excellent. I think all who are in ministry or any service work can benefit from it.

      I will put your other recommendation on my reading list. I appreciate your warm regards and prayers. May you be blessed today.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “I needed to trust the One who knows my pain even when I didn’t understand.” Few are bold enough to be so transparent about their suffering in the Lord, Manette. I say in the Lord, because He obviously didn’t leave you during your most desperate moments. The tragedies you describe are almost beyond imagining. Yet here you are today, praying to and praising the Lord for all that remains. To God be the glory!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing your grief with us. Very powerful. Thank you also for allowing God to not only sustain you THROUGH your pain but also work THROUGH you to help others. Love and appreciate you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m grateful for the discipleship you were a direct part of in my life. That ushered in much of my healing by pointing me to the truths of Jehovah. He alone is the one who can redeem and restore the years the locust have eaten (Joel 2:25-27). Thank you for your continued prayers and kind support.

      Like

  6. What a generous heart you have, dear Manette, that you have shared so deeply from it. Thank you for reminding us we’re not alone. There are many believers who have faced dark seasons. I wish I could hug you in person.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wendy, thank you for your kind words. When I was originally writing this, the thought was not for a public post but more as therapeutic processing.

      Now, I saw there could be benefit to others by making myself vulnerable in sharing. Unfortunately, there are others who have or will walk through this tragedy one day and it is for them that my heart aches.

      My prayer is that God use my story to rescue hurting souls into His comfort and healing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No words necessary, Anna. My desire is to bring a greater awareness and give voice to a topic that I wish were not so relevant.

      The frequency of suicide deaths has risen over the years. Matthew Sleeth’s book Hope Always, referenced in C.A.’s comment is an excellent resource for everyone.

      If sharing my personal story directs even one person toward the eternal hope of Christ, there will be great comfort and rejoicing in that. Or if it stirs someone to intervene on the behalf of another–to God be the glory.

      Like

      1. I doubt people that consider suicide are thinking of the after-effects. They are in so much pain they are only thinking of themselves. I hope your post does help someone to look beyond themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

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