It’s the day after Valentines. We lost too many men yesterday. Men who stared in the mirror and saw only what they never wanted to become. Men who felt unloved, unseen, and ashamed that too often their pain had spilled over in rage. Men who felt they failed because they couldn’t keep their pain from hurting their families. Men who felt they were fucked up, that they should have been stronger somehow, but they weren’t. Men who were exhausted inside, worn thin, torn and battered and who looked perfectly fine to the world around them. What happened?

Hope ran out. In the hype and glare of a holiday that accentuates loneliness, these men killed themselves.

If you are in imminent risk of ending your life, please call 911 or the National Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 

I put my arms around brothers who blamed themselves for not being able to prevent that loss. And trust me, there are very few words that can comfort in that moment. Very few. Perhaps none. Every time one of you goes Home early, it makes it that much harder for the rest of you to stay. Because most of you do think about it. And going Home sounds like relief. And it is relief. But it’s a torturous heartache for those you leave behind.

We all know when you go into battle not everyone is gonna make it. You’re gonna sure as fuck try, but the reality is we can’t save everyone. And the suicides we see now — they are not some spontaneous event that happens out of the blue. Yes, when there are no warning signs, they do shock us. But a suicide starts way back during that first exposure to combat. When all those emotions and the lack of them get jammed down inside and you push on, and you do a fucking good job at war and you don’t have time or space to even realize just how much trauma you’ve been through. It’s your job, it’s what you do.

It starts then. When you are forced to kill off parts of you that feel, when other parts shut down and you can’t sense them anymore, when your heart is hit over and over by death and destruction and numbness is the only way to keep you alive. Meanwhile, the brotherhood keeps you going.

Then you come home. And you’re no longer surrounded by people who instinctively understand you and you are left to fend for yourself out in the civilian world. You come home and all that energy of war is still carried in your body, your mind, your reactions, your senses. But no one around you knows that. They believe the war should be “out of sight, out of mind.”

But it isn’t. So then you kill off parts of you that long to be embraced and helped and healed, as you are diagnosed with a “disorder”, get sent to a shrink, are put on a zillion zombie meds, and told to get to work. And a little voice in the back of your mind starts to believe their lie and says: I shouldn’t be this way.

Every time you reach out for help and are treated as if you are fucked up instead of wounded, hope dies a little. And with it, you kill off a bit more of yourself. The one that just wants to be held and accepted and validated. The one that deeply knows why your heart grieves and why your mind won’t stop racing and why the same goddamn nightmare wakes you up at 0300 every fucking night. The one that understands that a warfighter can’t go through combat and not be angry. And any vet that tells you he’s absolutely fine is either in denial or doesn’t really know combat. Because you DO know, deep down in your soul why war hurts the way it does. But it’s hard to hold on to that knowing when everyone around you insists that you should be fine and get over it. You start to doubt and blame and judge yourself.  Everyone thinks I should be fine now, so there must be something wrong with me.

I have said it before, I will say it again: war is supposed to fucking hurt you. Carrying wounds is part of being a warfighter. You were never going to be stronger, or strong enough, to avoid it. Your pain is a natural result of your experiences. (It is NOT unhealable, however.)

There is nothing fucked up or weak about you. Your wounds are exactly what they should be for what you have been through.

Suicide continues because you don’t realize that.

As long as you believe that you have to hide your woundedness, you will be at risk.

As long as our society disallows you to be rightfully wounded, you will be at risk.

As long as we keep believing that spirit wounds can’t heal, suicide will be an answer.

You can heal. You can transform. You can pick up those shattered pieces and build a new sense of self.
You can’t do it alone. You need a guide, which is one of the reasons I’m here. To walk this path with you and help you find your way.

We can talk suicide prevention all we want, guys, but the problem with “prevention” is that it makes the issue impersonal and someone else’s problem.

And this isn’t actually about suicide at all.

It’s about love.

It’s about taking better care of each other. It’s about being bold and asking someone up front if they are thinking about killing themselves. It’s giving them a safe place to talk about how they are really doing.

You don’t need to be a crisis counselor to help.

You know death. You know what war feels like. You know how to talk about what’s real.
And you know how to listen. You need to pull your brother or sister into an embrace of acceptance and hold them there. That’s all you need to do. Because that is how hope finds its way in the dark.

Suicide prevention is not about some special life-saving skills. Fuck no.
It’s about being present with someone in the moment and getting them through that moment.
It’s about being there and many times, just knowing someone is really there is all a person needs to stay on this earth.

You don’t have to have answers. The spirit knows how to lead itself back to Life, it just needs a caring embrace where it can express its deepest emotions and be truly, deeply heard and understood. That’s how we prevent suicide.

2 thoughts on “Suicide: When a Brother Goes Home Early

  1. Another one bites the dust. Who’s next? Will it be you, me…? Will any one know or care that we served the USA with our all? Some of us have served, told that part of our ongoing service will be to keep our mouths shut about our service. For years I was proud to keep the secrets. It gave me another excuse to avoid my feelings about my time serving in war… I, like so many, hiding to this day, believed that my keeping so much inside was no big deal. I grew up keeping secrets, hiding feelings. But,now I see how ridiculous this has been, keeping my emotional problems hidden, what, asa service to my Country? No va benefits, no DD214. To protect National Security? Ridiculous! I need to talk this stuff out, not Top Secret or anything like that, but my personal feelings! How is that a risk to National Security? It’s not. I know this now. And, I’m seeking help. I can’t hide anymore. It’s bs. It’s what leads some to suicide… Sometimes I wonder how many of we, the unrecognized, unacknowledged Veterans, end up as victims of the concept that we are all alone in this world, and that we don’t have the right to share our feelings about the battles we fought in and through, but even in death won’t be counted among our fallen brothers and sisters. Those fortunate enough to have served outside of the Top Secret+ duties have, at least the promise of benefits, help in times of need. What about the forgotten “few,” (there are more than a few of us), significant in number… As if coming home isn’t hard enough when you Can talk about what you’ve been through, and not doing so is more your choice than it is for some others… There is No good reason that we should be denied as having served at all. God knows that if we were seen as real threats to our Country, the Government officials would have us “die” in accidents, via harsh deadly illnesses, etc. But, wtf? Really, I’m talking about people who need basic human support for the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical, costs of war in our lives. Getting the help we need we will be less likely to kill ourselves, or lose our minds and take out the terror and anger on others. We will be more helpful, productive members of society, contributing more than many might ever imagine. How can we get the help we need? This Site is great. We still need more. Our Government has what it takes to give people new identities, why not for those who witnessed things our Government doesn’t want any one ever to know about? We are strong, patriotic, committed to serving the ideals of the U.S. Constitution. Yet, we remain human, and in need of help from other people. We owe it to ourselves, our friends, neighbors, families, others, and to our Country, to find ways to heal the wounds of war within. And, this just cannot be done “in private.” It’s something that Needs to take place in community, with openness, not shame or some sham of pride and loyalty turned inside out. I don’t want to hide anymore, the fact that I served my Country, that I have wounds of war that need tending to. I don’t want to waste energy feeling angry about the Governmental faux pas of having us live denied and in denial about our feelings, needs for healing/help… It’s been a mistake. Now is the time to remedy this! Our Government has the know how and resources to effectively help all who have served this Country above and beyond the average person’s sense of being called to duty… We are not, nor should we be Top Secret, etc., as human beings! with human rights and human needs that deserve to be met, with kindness, compassion, Love/healing energies, recognition, validation, in life and after death. For, we have served in a uniquely difficult way, all of us who are Veterans of the military have… We deserve to have our voices heard without fearing reprisals for so doing by the Government we risked our lives to support and defend. We are probably among the least threatening people to our Government, our Country… We simply want recognized service: It doesn’t have to be specific to where or precisely when we served, but that we did, and so, are going to be taken care of by our Government, and fellow Citizens. Angry? Yep. Do I want to use the energy in this anger to help turn things around for the too long silent soldiers having come home, only to be burdened unnecessarily by secrecy which is itself unnecessary? Yep. Maybe you will publish this. Maybe others will read it and know that we are not alone! Maybe others will respond, even if with pseudonyms, to let others know that we are not alone, but present, some willing and able to help another in need. It’s out of my hands. But, I’m glad I saw this chance.

  2. Suicide Prevention:

    Damn! It’s a topic that not much seem to want to have any part of. It’s scary to people including professionals…

    I agree that we need to talk with those back from, or still in combat, about suicide. The Government, DoD, etc., aren’t good at it. We Need to get thru our own fears and face facts and feelings with our friends, family members, acquaintances. How?

    There was something I read recently about a young man back from war, in his parents’ place. He reportedly asked his father to hold him as he had during the soldier’s childhood. The dad did this, and his grown boy cried and cried… As far as the story went, it seems that the dad did not know that he could tell his son that, ‘No matter what you’ve seen or done, not done, there’s not one thing in the world that you can’t tell me about. I’ll always love you, No Matter What!’ The Service tells families to encourage their own to get through training and move on to active duty if necessary. I don’t think they prepare the families any better than they do the troops who are heading home.
    Perhaps that dad didn’t feel comfortable saying that he could and would listen to anything that his son might have had to unload. Yet, after finding his son dead the next morning, by suicide, I’ll bet he’d have made himself listen to ANYTHING HIS SON HAD TO SAY; CRYING WITH HIM IF THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED; TELLING HIS SON THAT HE KNEW HE WAS CARRYING TOO HEAVY A LOAD FOR ONE MAN, THE TEARS TOLD HIM THAT, IF NOT THE MERE FACT THAT THE SON HAD RECENTLY RETURNED FROM WAR/A TRAUMA ZONE FROM WHICH NO ONE RETURNS THE SAME.

    Is the dad to blame? Of course not. There’s no guarantee that had he been able to help his son talk about whatever was going on inside at any time of day or night, or if he’d had his son sleep in the same room that night with him on watch as it were for an attempt at the disaster that took place as it did, would have prevented it.

    No doubt, love is key. But, unless the intended recipient willingly receives it, there will continue to be suicides.

    Speaking as one who has been through war, and attempted suicide, maybe I can add some extra insight… We’ll see:

    Coming out of a war zone, a place of ongoing, intense trauma, where to get through it alive you Must subdue your emotions. It is not possible to consciously feel all of your emotions (which actually are still coming up in response to your experiences, even though it often Seems that we have no fear, can face and do anything and all required of us no matter how violent, or violative of our own moral codes, our senses of right and wrong, good and bad, okay and not okay, etc., as if we’re fine with it, or more than fine, we may even feel some pride in what we did or saw done; for the rules of war change every thing and every one). But, how many people are aware of this, Service men and women & or civilians? Every one of us responds to war differently.
    As for myself, I denied Any ill effects on my life until Many Years Later. I looked and acted stronger, sharper, ever ready for any civilian task thrown my way. In fact, I was incredibly busy, going after big challenges, by average standards. It was my way of avoiding my own feelings! And, to deal with them less directly, I ended up specializing in psychology! Yes, I seemed always to have the answers, the ability to tap into what others were going through, get to the guts of it all and help Others learn to face their feelings, based on their perceptions of certain events in their lives… In some circles, I was considered a miracle worker. Even while still in school I was told to publish books on my techniques, theories, etc., expected by a vastly inordinate number of people, whether they knew me, met me on the way to or from a conference, at one, no matter where I went I heard, “You’re going to be rich and famous!”

    That was both pleasant in some ways, and very unsettling in others. For, having the capacity to have had that happen actually ran counter to my deep seated feelings of unworthiness, of love, respect, dignity, honor, affection, healing, hope for myself beyond success in helping others, and certainly of awe!!! But, that was what I faced wherever I was, or seemed to be doing at the time. The pressure felt enormous, to succeed in the ways to which I was then naturally inclined.

    I had also moved away from my ex exceedingly violent parents, was in the States and not at war, on the outside! Inside, though I had been getting counseling, unable to provide excellent services to others via that field if I hadn’t, but war was not even mentioned. There was more than enough in my family history to bowl over any counselor. And, I was still very new to talking about that!

    So, there I was, in a relatively new community, with a rather large number of tried and true friends. Yet, there were always those parts of my life that I vowed never have speak of. It seemed to me that were I to speak of my experiences with war, I might lose my mind and get lost and stuck in the past. Flashbacks had already been a big and exhausting part of my private life. And my counselor had no reason to believe that they were related to anything other than most unbelievably vicious childhood. I believed that I had no reason to tell her otherwise. I was afraid that I’d start to cry and not be able to stop. I was afraid of getting a psych diagnosis, even if only Chronic PTSD if it were to come from all psych hospital. The stigma terrified me, or at least I let it, enough to avoid seeking the deeper healing work I Needed Help With! So, remaining alone with my secrets, I tried to carry on.

    My innermost spirit gave me what may have been a partial solution, to study for formal religiously related ministry. But, that scared me, too. I’d been brought up to despise “the church,” and saw that the path I was on could easily be seen as a form of ministry. And, I argued this point with my highest spirit, until the day that I heard, “You will do this, or nothing at all!”– It was a firm mandate, which I thought absurd, still under the impression that nothing but death could Ever slow me down, or prevent me from work: I was wrong. A disease called, mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, which had been overridden by all of the”survival chemicals” produced by my body, along with excessive oxygenation, etc., basically in a war zone of a different form in my mother’s household, that in many ways mimicked the violence I would face in battle, only in War, I was one of the ones committing acts I’d been convinced that I could Never, under Any circumstance act out in reality. Even so, I was honestly not aware of those memories at the time.

    But, as I lost abilities at a rapid rate, having no idea why initially, I was losing my “armor” and feeling emotions my exceptionally active schedule kept me from sensing without a clue what to do about it. Clearly, much of it was physical, however, I was always, as far as I can recall, aware that the mind and spirit or soul are all intertwined. I felt aware that getting intensive psych help, could possibly help to stave off some of my problems with this generally fatal disease. Nevertheless, fear was stronger than rationale at that point.

    This is Not an uncommon mindset among warriors, in battle, or relatively “safe” at home, on the outside anyway. You see, aware of it or not, and we’re usually not aware of this at all, when in the thralls of war, fear is a driving force. And, it is so powerful, so constantly with us, that we can’t (literally cannot) recognize it as such, for, we have so little ‘down time,’ that we have no thing else to compare it with: To best survive, it is incumbent upon us to be ready for any, ANY FORM OF ATTACK AT ANY TIME, IN ANY PLACE!!!!! We are taught that there are very few, if any, that we can fully trust. Sometimes, this applies to our own comrades. It’s also made clear to us in combat that to allow oneself to get too close to another will mean more pain for us if we lose them in action. Many, (maybe?)most of us, learn to isolate ourselves from our emotions, and so, often also from allowing ourselves to engage in intimate conversations in which we might otherwise share some of our vulnerability. We learn to show those around us only our strengths, the idea being that this will put others at ease, believing those around them, partic. (?) in leadership roles, are ‘always together’ and ‘in control.’

    Yet, while that theory may be accurate to a degree, I’m not convinced that it isn’t harmful to the troops. For, the groundwork is being laid to live this way, hiding our vulnerabilities as if to do otherwise is to fail. Look, I’m not saying that in the heart or heat of battle we sit down and have a good cry!
    That would be ridiculous, and an invitation to death! What I’m getting at is the concept of possibly teaching soldiers, esp the leaders to guide others to talk about some of our real emotions during the down times, or at least when on break from a tour. The perceived risk is that those trained to kill as if machines, will go back into battle unable to accomplish what they could before. It’s a tough call in my mind. As, there is sound reasoning behind this line of thought… But, what if, when we got home, we remained on a new active duty consisting of learning how to honestly and openly, safely and securely, express thoughts and feelings about what we’ve just survived. It could be set up rather like a treatment center, only militarized so that all involved knew that he or she is engaged in official Military Business, that all Must participate in, or risk a dishonorable discharge, and other consequences. The families, to my way of thinking, should absolutely be involved in their own training to live with, & in the midst of people who’ve experienced traumas to degrees that most of them won’t initially be able to imagine. They can be taught, so that when one of us needs to talk, loved ones will be far more prepared to listen.

    Well, that’s not in place yet. So, listen up! Your Veterans have experienced things that will be very hard for you to conceptualize, much less understand. It may even traumatize you to hear some of it. You can get help for that, but first, know that you Can hear absolutely anything, as shocking as it may be, And listen withholding all judgement, while holding instead, your love, your desire to help your Veteran to heal, so firmly in place that it will not be pushed aside by any judgment. You are strictly there to listen, or sit quietly with the one who has been through Hell, the likes of which you probably can’t imagine and don’t want to. As to whether you want to, So What? Someone’s life is at stake here! And, hearing about it will be nothing like surviving it! — I used to fear telling others about what I’d been through as if my telling them would be like putting them through the same meat-grinder of my emotional, conceptual, & spiritual (not religious) shredding that felt like had taken place in me, like bringing them into my personal Hell. I didn’t want to do that to anyone. I also intensely feared judgement of my character, as if I could never again be seen as that amazing woman, that endearing spirit, that whatever, which was infinitely better than the way I was seeing myself post- combat! I felt less than human; defiled; untouchable, certainly with respect to a meaningful, mutually intimate social relationship that would include physical sharing of ourselves more fully than with any other. No, I felt it my duty to stay silent as a way of protecting you!

    Looking back, I believe whole-heartedly that I had people in my life who could and would have heard me out, probably with more compassion than anything else. But, at that time, I was in no condition to believe that. Fear was governing many to most of my steps at the time, for I learned quickly, with repeated validation that it was Not safe for me to think or talk about my experiences of events or emotions, my thoughts and feelings about that possibility either. I had learned to remain isolated… Sure, I felt a quick kinship with the men & women around me, such as one rarely finds under “normal circumstances.” And, I ached when some died, but not always consciously, or at the time. There were too many other things going on for me to take the time to mourn, for the most part. There were still others to protect, still others to prevent from killing myself or my family of the battlefields. There was democracy to fight for, the safety of our Country. These were things ingrained into our souls to the place where my perceptions of reality was. I believed that USA freedom was on the line, and I had to protect it. I had to believe that! If I didn’t, but began to question why we were there, whether it was valid or not, my abilities to function as a soldier would speedily diminish.

    Are you asking what in the hell does this have to do with our subject of concern here? It’s my way of explaining why it is so hard for So Many of us to just move on. It’s been said before that there’s no way out but through. This seems rt on with my experiences. And, if one doesn’t believe that one has the safety, security, for self And others to think or feel, much less talk or even try to express what’s inside regarding all gone through in War in any alternative ways, then that one IS going to have some significant problems to face in time; completely shut down and live as if that part of one’s life never really happened which prevents one from fully living, from being as thoroughly intimate with other people, incl. spouses, family, friends, etc; becoming a recluse, re-victimizing oneself with the memories that just won’t go away, including emotional memory, and our current emotional mindworks in response to the memories, which can come into our consciousness in jumbled and chaotic masses of event, sensory (incl. emotional) onslaughts of memory: Does that sound overwhelming? It Is! And, it can be very frightening, especially when still trying to operate as if our feelings are to be under our control at all times! Well, they’re not. Most people probably know this from their own dealings with emotions, even if not consciously. Yet, many of us are in more denial of this as the way it is, the way our body-minds were created, as a valid experience we are having. So, we hide it from ourselves and others as best we can. Some survive it, others don’t.

    My 1st attempt at suicide took place when I felt I’d lost me walls of protection, which my secret keeping, and ignor-ance of my Need to Express so much of what I’ve held in for so long, feeling that they were genuinely effective tools for keeping myself and others safe! Yes, without them, as stated, it felt as if my life on the surface would be seen by others as just that, a facade behind which a terrified and treacherous creature existed.

    If I were dead, no one would see the pain, the ugly festering woundedness within. I would be sparing them, And sparing myself of the rejection I have so feared.
    So, sick with a disease that was literally taking my life from me, gouging portions and halting my access to them;& they happened to be many of the strengths that I much prefered identifying with, Exclusive of my deepest wounds
    and someone from work, who I’d mistaken as a friend, invited me to climb a small mountain… I went, wearing sneakers rather than climbing gear. It was still early Spring, so further up, there was still a good deal of snow and ice. So, after I followed her off the trail (the disease was impairing my judgement), and she hopped over an ice crusted stream and urged me to follow, I began to study how high up we were, at what turned into a Real”cliff hanger.” Calculating whether a “slip” on my part would end in death or grosser disability, I con cluded that I’d end my suffering, right then. There was No thought in my mind about Any one but myself. I wanted out. So, I “slipped,” only to end up with my jacket caught up on a root that had grown through the cliff face. In struggling to free myself, the person I went w/was calling, “grab my hand! Grab my hand!” I glanced at her, by this time facing the cliff with a grip on the tree root, looking down, then back at her, trying with all of my might to let go of the root, but it was Not happening! I lowered my face into my jacket to avoid having her see me laughing at the absurdity of the situation, which from her perspective looked more than frightening.
    Unable to release the root, once freed to do so, at least externally, I took her hand, and was pulled up to “safety,” though that wasn’t how it appeared to me.

    Our Blog writer is correct, as I see it, in regard to suicide not being an impulsive action. It had been on my mind since the illness hit to a disabling degree…
    It wasn’t something I wanted to admit. I didn’t want the stigma of psychiatric care. I felt not that I was wounded, but of weak character, or worse, “mentally ill,” as if broken, and ashamed to admit it, while more afraid of telling others of my internal struggles than I was of dying.

    As said, I had numerous tried and true friends, who sincerely loved me. It was I who had the biggest problem with myself. Though, then, this was not a thought on my horizon as far as I knew. I knew I was legally blind, when months before I had perfect vision, and that that was the least of the impact of the disease in my body-mind, which still remains to this day. Cognitive Dysfunction: That was the Worst part of this heinous illness. That was the part that was taking my ability to hide
    my self identified “weakest,most un- forgivable, most repulsive…”
    parts of who I believed myself to be, as probably more definitive of who I was than the myriad of fine or better qualities my character exhibited over the course of my life.

    I thought, honestly, that suicide would be a way to spare both the others in my life, and myself, from the pain and angst that seemed bound to come out were I alive for long enough.

    Now, why did some power greater than I arrange it so that my “slipping” would occur above a root, strong enough to hold me, out of sight from the top, in just the right place at just the right angle to snag my jacket & me with it? Why was some force, contrary to my conscious decision to let go, keep my hand locked onto that root, until I grabbed the hand of another, extended to me? Why did I survive, when so many who attempt suicide don’t???

    A few things come to mind. One is that the fatal attempt may not have been the first, but only the 1st known of by others. There was a man I knew who had a small plane. He’d taken it up knowing there was engine trouble; he took it up in some potentially lethal conditions,
    there were at least three times that I know of, who knows if there are more, that he put himself in a position in which he was likely to die.
    Finally, this well trained, expert pilot, went up over the ocean, basically on fumes, the main and backup tanks were empty, things you check before going up every time, no matter what. And, once high and far enough out, expending the bit of fuel left, he took a nose dive. There was no attempts to glide down to the water, he wanted out, and had for longer, by far, I’m sure, than he ever let on to any he knew to care about him, who I believe he knew could be trusted with what hurt so much inside, yet I feel equally sure that the one he did not trust was himself, nor
    the power of Love within him, which he was conscious of, but
    sadly, more from an intellectual stand point than from a spiritual one.

    Reaching out to and for faith in a power greater, more kind capable,compassionate,accept- Ing, loving, intelligent, wise
    strong, sane, giving, open to all, and so much more than any of we humans of ourselves can be…it can be very scary
    For, it is a reaching into the unknown, while on a deeper level, that which we know more than we’ll ever know
    anyone or anything else in life. It involves accepting that we are not completely in control, And, that we never can be. In our society, that not only seems to flip off Reason, or Rationality as we have been taught to believe in it, but also the dominant rules of our culture, which are only intensified in War:
    You Must be self-reliant; you
    Must be in control; you Must decide and determine your destiny; you Must take responsibility for almost everything in order to keep up the illusion that you Are and always were in control.’

    The foundation of much modern thought, based on our most basic instincts, and emotions built in for survival, Fear!
    I’ve heard it many times, Love is letting go of fear. And, what is this that we’re reaching out for with that elusively defined, Faith, but Love?

    Again, I agree with our Blog author, that it is truly love that stops suicide before it takes place as an idea, a plan, all probably thought of countless times before the plan becomes an uninterrupted

    I said that I tried suicide, did I tell you that it was 3x,
    each w/an astonishing interr- uption, mechanical failure being the last. Fortunately, I had some faith, which had certainly been stronger at o/ times than those. But, with that last try right on the heels of the try before it, I felt that Love, a power greater than I which I choose to call, God, wanted me alive,
    and it occurred to me that if I kept trying, I might just get my wish, which as it turned out wasn’t what I really wanted. I wanted to be
    free of my pain, of feeling alone, afraid, unlovable, sad,
    ashamed, bad, wrong, weak, unworthy…so many uncomfort-able feelings, that I’d had instilled in me for most of my as if they were unaccept-able, and if they were, it seemed that I was for having them!

    For many of us it takes a pro-
    found crisis for us to reach out and not only ask for help,
    but feel & realize our Need for that power greater than ourselves, which has our best interests at heart far more than we ourselves do, or will,
    though, with that power’s help, I can see that it is possible to be more in tune w/ the power of Love that does want us to live, but also allows us choices that don’t always work to our advantage…

    I grieve for those who have taken their lives from us, and
    with them, their potential to seek and find healing, via that power of love within each which made them so special to us, along with help from and for others. Try-
    Ing to help others can be a great way to stop harping on how worthless I’m used to feeling, and to see that even I can make a positive impact in others lives. It may be as simple as a smile, helping another to smile if only for a moment, and with a strong chance that it will be passed on to others still.

    It’s amazing how we can easily dismiss as that not being”enough;” however, I recall in a book on suicide, the author told us of someone who lived in a large city. He had written a note, found after his suicide jump from a bridge more than a mile from his home. The note said that, ‘if anyone smiles at me on my way to the bridge, I won’t jump.’ Acts of kindness can be judged as large or small, when they are all acts of kindness. For that young man, a smile may have been seen by him as reason enough to give life another try.

    Of course, if he had told people on the street what he had written, he probably would have gotten many smiles,
    as well as offers of attempts to help him change his mind more permanently… But, he didn’t. So, not one of those people who didn’t smile at him, or perhaps at all that he saw on the way to the bridge had any responsibility for his death.

    He did leave us a message, more than the note in his home: Our actions absolutely affect the lives of others, whether we, or they are aware of it. Suicide is a way of leaving the message that ‘if anyone is feeling as badly as I am, suicide is an accept-able solution.’ This reminds me of my counseling days. When a client spoke of think-ing of, or wanting to commit suicide, I’d ask if any other person were going thru what any of them were, ‘would you suggest that they kill them-selves?’ The answer was always a definite, “No,”often
    startled by the question. I would go on to tell them that if they killed themselves, the
    message they would leave behind was the one they just told me that they would Not want another to do. It was a start at helping them to see that their lives made and would always make a difference. It’s just that when aware of this fact, most will make their choices with this in mind more often.

    After that, I’d usually have them begin working on a gratitude list, once or twice a day, letting them know that it didn’t have to be a World News breaking event, but things as simple as, “Was there toilet paper in the restroom when you needed it today?” What if there wasn’t?
    Was there a toilet to use? Did someone pass you some tissue?” “Were you able to dress yourself today?” They got the point. But, there was one more part of the assign-
    ment, to be sure to put their names at the top of the list as being alive; for, if they weren’t, they wouldn’t have been able to identify so many good things about their lives,
    and those around them in their many forms.

    When I logged on earlier, I’ll be honest, suicide was on my mind. I didn’t think I’d actually go through with it, and hadn’t made any plans to. But, I was suffering. My response here may or may not be posted. Yet in it I found a way to stop thinking about my Problems,’ seen as such only because I was making a not so conscious choice to see my feelings about my feelings, that way. When, they really were just feelings, that had I allowed myself to have, judging aside,
    they may have just been an indicator that I needed to cry, and, or that I Needed to think about others and what good I might do them, as my Response turned into just that.

    It is incredibly difficult to lose someone to suicide. And, it often does leave others thinking that it might not be such a bad way out. It leaves us with many feelings as sited
    In the Blog above. Yet, we are still alive, being granted the opportunity to opt to look for ways through rather than out. Knowing, and seeing, hearing, reading about the impacts our decisions for better or worse,
    do affect the lives of others in ways profound, most of which we’ll never know about, and it remains true nonethe- less.

    The Souls of those we’ve lost,
    I believe live on. They came into our lives in human form to offer us gifts and lessons.
    That process doesn’t need to stop. I highly doubt that these people who finalized a suicide attempt, would ever have wanted another to take the same course of action. And, we can’t bring them back.
    What we can do is let our lives accomplish some of what our departed brothers and sisters won’t be able to with the lives they had. For example, to commit to healing in our own lives, to leave others with messages of hope, respect, honor, genuine interest in their having and participating in the improve- ment of their lives. We can set out to give people just a bit more joy (and with it possibly even a greater desire to live and help others in turn), a sense of respect that we don’t see them as getting or being given… What this Blog Post, above brings home to me, is that not one of us is alone in this life, nor do we need the habit of feeling that we are convince us that it’s true! It’s Not True: THE TRUTH IS THAT WE ARE ALL IN THIS LIFE TOGETHER, EVEN WHEN WE AREN’T AWARE OF IT! AND, WE
    We Are All Alive For Reasons,
    Many of Which Will Unfold As Time Moves On. We won’t see & feel at Every moment why we’re here, or exactly in what ways we are Important. Yet, if we look for answers, look to see, seek to sense that we do have purpose, much of which we can decide to create as we go through our days and nights. It really can be that simple. You don’t have to win a Nobel Prize to be important! Heavens: Most of those awards and the like are so affected by political BS that we will never know if there were candidates more ‘worthy’ to receive one or not. In fact, if you/we live our lives noblely, kindly, justly, honorably…we
    get to receive from the universe, the power of Love, forgiveness, healing, hope, faith, grace (just add on whatever else you’d like), The
    Noble Prize. It’s unofficial, and often unnoticed by the public, but if we put effort into making this world a kinder, saner, more Love aware
    Love filled and fueled, we can humbly accept that award each time we catch ourselves doing something kind, not for recognition by others, but for the gratification we get by doing such. We can allow ourselves to smile with gratitude that we were able to do that ‘little’ thing, like helping the person in front of you at a store to put goods on the table, in a cart, help pay their bill if we see they’ve come up short, And, we can afford to do that.
    Pass toilet paper to one in need if in that circumstance. Or simply set out to treat others kindly, no matter who they be, how they dress or smell. Human beings need respect, love, which can be passed on in endless numbers of ways. In the process of being kind, we may even start to feel more comfortable with who we are, even if we don’t have nearly as much ‘figured out’ as we sometimes feel we ought to.

    Let us be thankful for having known the souls of the people we’ve lost to the choice of suicide, while they were in human form. Let us continue to receive gifts and lessons from the lives they were here to live, very possibly urging us on in spirit to live more fully than they realized they could have if they had chosen life. May we all choose life in their honor, as in the honor of others who had no choice, and finally, to honor those yet living, and yet to be born, helping all by helping any. We all need the help of one another. Sometimes I think that’s why so many of us have been made!
    If the help you need isn’t found in one place there are always more places to try. You are helping me to realize that by seeking help yourselves! Thank You!!;&
    Wishing you the Very Best, R.

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