Far too often I hear someone grieving the loss of someone they love and they are experiencing tremendous guilt, blaming themselves for not knowing, for not stopping the suicide of the one they love.
What I would like to say to you is that we don’t know what we don’t know.
Yes, that sounds simplistic, but please read a bit further.
Not too long ago I had lunch with a man I have known for more than a decade.
He’s very accomplished by any standards. A loving husband and father, beloved by extended family and friends. Successful as a business man as well as a talented athlete. Good natured and an absolute joy to know in any capacity.
So I wonder if you can imagine my surprise when I received a message from him telling me that a conversation we had, many years ago, convinced him that there was reason to keep striving in his life. That it was not time to go.
No, I had no inkling. I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about him and our many conversations over the years. Still, I can find absolutely no indication that suicide was ever even a consideration.
I feel so very grateful that he tells me, with great emotion, that he is thriving now.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
Simply listening to him apparently was enough that day. I had no way of knowing. This doesn’t make me special in any way. It was a normal, warm, human interaction.
When you call someone, share a joke, provide a safe space for them to express themselves, you may be making a life changing difference for that person.
By the same token, when you are feeing deep sadness, not sure if life is for you, I urge you to make a phone call. To reach out to someone and let them show you that you matter. Because you do matter – so much.
We can’t reverse what has been done, but we can care about one another. And that is powerful suicide prevention.
Sending you my love, my hope, and my prayer that today you are experiencing gentle healing.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
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