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Reposted: Thoughts on Suicide

Few tragedies equal the loss of a loved one to suicide.  In honor of suicide prevention week The Peacewriter proudly reposts this essay by Tom Perry.  In addition to his work for The Peacewriter, Tom volunteers as a trained crisis center counselor.  His work after suffering a personal loss is inspirational.  Here are his thoughts:

I had to confront suicide of a good friend recently. I’ve been fortunate that this is the first time someone close to me has committed suicide. This was a whole new experience for me. I’ve dealt with death many times, some unexpected, some were a welcome from the suffering. What I found interesting was the unexpected emotions that I was confronted with. Anger, regret, betrayal were some of these. These are new emotions for me to tie with a death. I gotta tell you, this was new to me.

I spoke to this friend only hours before he took his own life. He left no note and his family hasn’t said much what they speculate as to what the cause may have been. I began to wonder why do we all need to find the reason, or cause of what caused him to do this? What if he had slowly been planning this? What if something completely out of the blue set him over the edge in one moment? But the real question is, why do we need to know? Is it to simply satisfy our need to calm our unclear nerves or minds? I think it is telling that all of us feel like we need to have a clear, logical answer to something that is completely unexpected and unnerving.

Suicide isn’t something that hasn’t crossed each of our minds at one time or another. As humans we all deal with emotions that involved depression. It’s not a good experience. Some require therapy and medication to cope with severe depression. I am not immune to this either. I have thought about taking my life to the extent of planning out an action to do it. I was in my teens and I was very depressed. This is nothing new looking from the outside in, but to me at that time, it was all consuming. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. I went as far as pushing the knife in causing only a small cut, but luckily I chickened out before it got really serious.

So in a very small way I found I was jealous of my friend. I know how messed up that sounds, but to be honest I still find myself with suicidal thoughts. But I never entertain those thoughts very long. As harsh as it sounds, suicide is a very selfish act and I could never put those I dearly love through something like that.

In fact, my 12 year old daughter recently told me that she has thought about suicide from time to time. This wasn’t something that I wanted to hear from her. After I calmed myself down I sat next to her and told her about my friend. I told her some brief things about him. Things like he was a father of 4 kids, had a great job and how generally happy he was. I then went on and told her about the times I’ve thought about it as well. With her eyes wide open I said, “Tell you what. If you do decide to go through with it please come talk to me before you do anything. And in return, I will do the same to you. And even after talking to me if you are still determined to still go through with it, we will do it together. Because, to be completely honest with you sweetie, I just don’t want to be around if you won’t be here to share life with me. So what do you think? Deal?” With tears in both of our eyes, we did a pinky swear on it. So the deal is now set in stone.

I’m still having a tough time coping with my friend taking his life. I wish I could have been a better friend to him. Someone he felt like he could trust and confide in. But I loved him and even if I was that friend he may have still done this. Who really knows? But what I do know is that death is hard to cope with, but suicide is something that I wish on no one. Suicide is easy for the one who does it, but the family and friends who are left. Man. That just isn’t fair. I just wish that my friend would have taken a moment to really consider those who loved him dearly before himself.

So if you are in that place, or just simply considering it, will you do us all a favor and talk to someone first? Anyone. In fact, I freely extend the offer of a listening ear. I do know how overwhelming those feelings can be.


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